Kerala hosts numerous native boat races in different parts of the state during the harvest season every year. The Champakulam boat race is the first and the oldest among the eight boat races that Kerala hosts annually. This tradition has been running for more than 500 years. The people also refer to this festival as “Moolam Vallamkali”. This tradition has its strong roots in the Sree Krishna Temple at Ambalappuzha. This boat race takes place on Moolam day in the Malayalam month Midhunam, the day when the installation of the deity of the temple took place.
History behind the Champakulam boat race
According to legend, Maharaja Devanarayana of Chempakasseri constructed a temple at Ambalappuzha. The royal priest had instructed him to do so. But just before the installation of the deity, someone informed the Maharaja that the deity wasn’t auspicious. On hearing this, the Maharaja was annoyed. But later, his minister proposed a solution to bring down the stunning Sree Krishna idol from the Karikulam temple in Kurichi. Then, the minister, with other fellow people, went to Kurichi and returned with the Krishna idol. On their way back, they stopped at Champakaulam to spend the night there and carry out a Puja. The following day, several boats gathered to go along with the idol in a colourful ceremonial procession to the temple.
Major attraction & celebration of this festival
The oldest snake boat race that’s been running for centuries, with immensely long country boats, is the main attraction of this event. This festival hosts many decorated boats and spectacular water floats, the songs of the rowers known as Vanchipattu, and the thrilling Chundanvallom race. Chundans are the kind of boats that are over 10 feet long with elevated prows. The foreign rulers used to refer to these boats as snake boats. Although it’s been more than 500 years of tradition, people still celebrate and carry the tradition with the same passion and enthusiasm.
The spectators of these festivals can see the decorated boats with vibrant sunshades, the succession of the water floats, and the various performing arts in the celebration.
This race involves different stages for different categories of boats. This race demands the next level of endurance, speed, and skill from the racers. For this race, they have to undergo rigorous training for many days before participating.
Time and place of celebration of the Champakulam boat race
The Champakulam boat race will begin this year on 12th July. This fascinating snake boat race takes place on the river Pampa, on the day of ‘moolam’, which people follow according to the Malayam month of Midhunam.
Date – 12th July
Venue – Champakulam, Kerala
District – Alappuzha
How to reach there?
The nearest railway station is Alappuzha which is about 15 km from there, and the nearest airport is the Cochin International Airport which is about 78 km from there. For flights, one can check out the best flight booking offers available online. After deboarding from the railway station or airport, several taxi services are available to reach there.
Where to stay?
A number of budget-friendly to luxurious hotels are available in the proximity for accommodation. For the best hotel booking experience, check out HappyEasyGo to scroll through some fantastic offers and discounts.
Till then, a very happy and thrilling day ahead at Champakulam!!