Vallamkali or Kerala Boat Race is one of the most fascinating competition of boats during Onam season. Vallam Kali is a major tourist attraction of Kerala. This annual event attracts a large number of tourists to Kerala. The snake boats which are participating in the Kerala Boat Race are called Chundan Vallam. These are long boats of about 100 ft. and can contain more than 150 people on it. These boats are specially constructed by the master carpenters. Mostly Anjili or Teak wood is used in the construction of chundan vallam. The boat race being one of the cultural heritage of the State, the tourism department has made every effort to develop the boat race.
The most important boat races of Kerala are Aranmula Boat Race, Payippad Boat Race, Nehru Trophy Boat Race, Champakulam Boat Race and Indira Gandhi Boat Race. The Champakulam Vallam Kali is the oldest and popular boat race in Kerala. It is closely connected with the Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple. The race is held in the Champakulam Lake. The finishing moment of the boat race in Kerala is supreme. Kerala boat races are a must-see for tourists on holiday in Kerala.
The Vallamkali in Aranmulla is one of the most famous boat races. Aranmulla is famous for Krishna temple where the Lord is depicted as the friend, philosopher and guide of Arjuna. The beautiful river Pamba flows beside this temple and it is here that the famed Aranmula Snake Boat Race is held.
Vallamkali (Snake Boat Race) is one of the spectacular events held all over Kerala during Onam. People from all over the world gather here to witness this competition of boats. The major boat race is the Nehru Trophy Boat Race. Once Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru witnessed and thrilled by the boat race and he instituted an award for the winners of the boat race. So this competition is called Nehru Trophy Boat Race. The boat races conducted in Aranmula on the Pamba River, Payipad river and Thayathangadi river are also similar boat races.
The Snake Boat iscalled Chundan Vallam. These are narrow canoe like boats but unlike the canoe are about 100 ft long and can seat 150 men. They are specially built by master carpenters out of Anjili wood. Sometimes Teak Wood is also used. One end of the boat is fashioned to look like a serpent. Hence it is called snake boat.Hard labor, skills and patience are needed for crafting these boats.