Alleppey boat race – An eventful day in pictures

If locals are to believe, the total audience for Alleppey boat race is more than double of what Wankhede stadium can accommodate. The oarsmen row the boats up to a speed of 80 rows per minute. That’s even faster than your heartbeat. There will be drums beating, supporters dancing, police patrolling and first-time visitors like me trying to make a sense of this one big party, where the entire town comes together to celebrate the biggest event hosted by them. In pictures: Reaching the venue

We take an auto-rickshaw from the town and through a muddy path, reach Vembanad lake, where boats were waiting to take us to the venue.
That’s our abode for the day. Try to reach early and occupy better spots.

Practice sessions

The boats start coming in, one after the other. For once, I thought I got late and missed the show. But then, we were told they’re just practicing. Sigh!
In ones, twos, threes!


People on house-boats are usually visitors from other parts of India and the world. Locals are typically seated on make-shift wooden planks around the lake, or in uncovered boats, more engrossed and familiar with the on-goings.
Any guesses on who got the best view? 😉
Some of them jumped in for a quick dive when it got too hot.

On duty

Because someone has to keep an order.
And someone needs to decide a winner!

The battle

Action packed performances. The tension mounts!
Women’s team making a debut, in 2015.
The competition is fierce, the struggle, real.


To the after-party 😛
Off, in their own directions.

It was my first trip by myself – 11 days in Kerala, starting from Kochi. While planning, I had initially discarded Alleppey, assuming it would be all about expensive backwater rides and Kerala tour packages, but this one-of-a-kind looking event made me consider it. Also, on the first solo trip, being surrounded by a crazy crowd somehow sounded a better idea than wandering around in a dense forest. Also read: How I planned my first solo trip Where I stayed? After a lot of online research, I got in touch with Johnson Gilbert at Alleppey boat race. He, along with his team arranges accommodation, transport and other logistics for the event. They have various options for stay, meals, house-boats and pickups. For costs and other details, you can visit their website or contact them directly at 9961466399 or 9846466399. Planning to visit this year? Here’s some practical information for you:

  • Held on second Saturday of August, every year, for 2016, the date is 13th August. Make that long weekend count.
  • Also known as Nehru trophy boat race and Kerala snake boat race. So, don’t be confused if someone mentions a different name.
  • Carry as much drinking water and/or beer as you can, plus some snacks. You’ll be there for about 5-6 hours and it gets hot & humid. A few house-boats sell chips, cold-drink at double the price, and the stock gets over by mid-day.

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© 2016 – 2017, Swati. All rights reserved.


  1. I think Kerala is the only state in India where boat race is done. Just as a short additional information the boat race is called Chundan Vallam kali where Chundan means Snake, Vallam means Boat and Kali means Race. The race is worth watching and a lifetime experience. There are many races that happen but as above mentioned Snake boat race and Allepy boat race are the major events.

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