Onam is a magnificent festival of many attractions, and Vallam Kali Snake Boat Race is definitely one of them. For the majority, this race is the biggest attraction of the ten-day-long festival. The state government also capitalizes on its popularity and has declared it a ‘foremost attraction’ for tourists from across the globe.
Vallam Kali Boat Race is a long-held tradition of the state, and its fame has consistently been reaching to new heights. The race received a major boost when the former prime minister of India, Lt. Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, started a trophy for the winner. During the race, spectators from all parts of the globe flock to Kerala to enjoy a colourful event laced with Indian tradition.
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No other attractions of Onam draw as much attention as this boat race, and it can easily be branded the most important one. Representing the villages near the river Pamba, each boat is designed with great care and creativity to carry the burden of around 150 men. The boat holds a great significance to the villagers who worship it as a deity. Embracing a sharp and pointed edge, each boat is elegantly decorated with silk umbrellas and often garnished with different types of ornaments.
In this big event, around 30 ornately designed boats compete against each other in the fascinating backdrop of folk songs, reverberations and dancing. Signifying teamwork and unity, the race concludes amid great fanfare and joy and so does the grandest of the festival, called Onam.