August 12, 2017
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday inaugurated the 65th Nehru Trophy Boat Race at Punnamada lake in Alappuzha, also known as Venice of East.
The boat ‘Gabriel’ handled by oarsmen from Thuthikkad Boat Club in Ernakulam won the trophy.A record number of 78 boats participated in this year’s race, out of which 30 were ‘Karichal Chundan’ and 28 ‘Devas Chundan’. Forty-eight youth from Kashmir too participated in the event, that was keenly watched by Malayalis in Kerala and across the globe.
Nearly one lakh people, including a large number of tourists from other nations, turned up at the venue of the event, which began late due to some issues raised by the participating teams.
State Ministers Kadakampally Surendran, Thomas Chandy, G. Sudhakaran, Thomas Issac, E. Chandrashekharan were also present to witness the event. The main attraction of the event was the 140 feet snake boat with 120 oarsmen.
Other snake boats that vied for honours were ‘Paayippaattu’, ‘Kaarichaal’ and ‘Mahadevikkadu Kaattilthekkethil’.
The event started in 1952 when the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, travelled from Kottayam to Alappuzha by boat.
A boat race was organised in his honour. Nadubhagam Chundan won the race. He was so excited to witness the event that he boarded the winning boat ignoring all security risks. He was so impressed by the event that he sent a replica of snake boat from New Delhi with his signature engraved on it – which is now given to the winner.
The Nehru Trophy is conducted on the second Saturday of August every year.