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Nehru Trophy Boat Race

Traditional Kerala Snake Boat. Courtesy of Kerala Tourism
Courtesy of Kerala Tourism
8 Aug 2009 (annual)
The unmissable Nehru Trophy Boat Race takes place each year on Alappuzha's Punnamada Backwaters and features the gigantic snake boats of Kerala, known as Chundans.
The race first took place in 1952 when India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, visited Alappuzha. Since then the competition has grown into the area's single most important tourist event, with boats being sponsored by different villages. Competition is intense as the boats, with more than 100 rowers in each, battle it out to the accompaniment of rousing music.

Chundans (snake boats) are an impressive sight, measuring more than 100 feet in length, with a raised prow. They were called snake boats by the former colonial rulers, who based the name on a native boat found in Norway, although Kerala's Chundans bear little resemblance to their European namesakes.
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