Aranmula Vallamkali

Aranmula Vallamkali is a snake boat race which is held on 10th of September during an Onam festival in Kerala. Aranmula is a district in Kerala where Aranmula boat race is organised near a temple of Lord Krishna in every year. All the boats are accumulated on the Pampa River near the Parthasarathy temple. Large number of people gathers to watch and enjoy the snake boat race by singing and shouting. These snake boats stir with rhythm of songs sung by the boat rider during the race. Hundreds of tourists and people from different parts of India specially come to Kerala to watch snake boat race.

What is Snake Boat?

Snake boats or Palliyodams are in length of about 100 to 138 ft with 20 ft height in rear portion. The hood of these boats is raised and look like a snake. Hence, they are given the name snake boats. The hull of the boat is 83 ft long and 6 inches broad. These snake boats are taken care by oiling with coconut shell, fish oil and carbon with eggs. These oils make the boat greasy in water. These boats are not only boats for the people but are a pride for them. Their villages are epitomized by their snake boats.

Special Celebrations

On Aranmula Vallamkali, three types of events are prearranged and celebrated by the people of Kerala. The snake boat race is a traditional custom and not a competitive race. So, this race is enjoyed with full of joy and happiness and all the audience take pleasure by watching this race.

Thiruvonathoni’ arrival starts the Aranmula festival. A special boat having a burning lamp start its journey at 6pm from Kattoor temple and reach Aranmula temple at 4 am to represent a extravagant meal to Lord Krishna. The snake boat soars with the current’s speed. People of Kerala believe that Thiruvonathoni is protected by the palliyodams.

Uthrittathi is the anniversary day of Pandav’s sanctified establishment.

The last event is Ashtami Rohini Vallasadya which is served to the oarsmen of the snake boats in the dining hall near the Parthasarthy temple. This is a mammoth banquet having 68 side dishes with rice which is served in banana leaves. Around 50,000 people from different places and states participate on this occasion and take pleasure of vallasadyas.

Snake boat race

In this snake boat race, around 120 people assemble in a single boat. Some special people are oarsmen, helmsmen and remaining are singers who sing the popular traditional song. According to the rhythm of the song, the boat moves. More or less 40 boats take participation in this race. Different colourful flags and parasol are decorated on the boats which give it a beautiful look. The boat is fully decorated from top to bottom and all the people take their seats to start the race. After all the rituals and morning prayers, the race starts at afternoon.

Vanchipattu which is a popular song sung by the people sitting on the boat and the oarsmen and helmsmen move the boat according to the rhythm of the song. But, only men can sit on the boat.

This snake boat race seems so wonderful and thousands of people come to witness this spectacular ritual.

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