Champakkulam Boat Race, Kerala

champakkulam moolam boat race
Kerala is famous for its backwaters, and also the several native boat races that are held in various parts of the State during the harvest season. The Champakulam boat race is the first popular race during the season.

On this day, the gracefully flowing waters of the river ‘Pamba’ become a track on fire once the majestic snake boats set their pace.

Champakkulam Boat Race
Event date: July 11, 2014
Venue/Location: Champakkulam in Alappuzha District
For more details, check here…

In Kerala, the season of boat races starts with the renowned ‘Champakkulam Moolam Vallam Kali’ (vallam kali means boat race). The festival takes place at Champakkulam, a serene village in Alappuzha district, on the moolam asterism (star or Nakshathram) in the Malayalam month of mithunam (which roughly falls in June/July).


What to Expect

Spectacular water floats, decorated boats, Vanchipattu – the song of the oarsmen and the most thrilling Chundanvallom race. Chundans are a category of boats over 100 feet in length with raised prows. The foreign rulers first called them snake boats.

The traditional annual boat race of Kerala begins in late June and early July at Champakulam. This one is the oldest and most popular snake boat race in Kerala, and is closely connected to the Sree Krishna Temple at Ambalappuzha.

On the day of the race, people, both locals and travelers from far off places, flock the river bank to enjoy the race. Boats under various categories, from nearby regions, assemble at the starting point of the race. Among these boats, the chundan (snake boats), with its fascinating design catch the attention of all.

As the oarsmen set the pace of their boats, with oars striking the placid waters of River Pamba, the spectators’ spirit soar in sheer excitement. Being the largest sporting event in the world, snake boat race is often considered as the ultimate test of endurance, speed and skill.

About Its History

Legends say that Maharaja Devanarayana of Chempakasseri, as instructed by the royal priest, built a temple at Ambalappuzha. But just before the installation of the deity he was informed that the idol was not auspicious. The king was disturbed, but his minister suggested an inspired solution. To bring down the beautiful idol of Sree Krishna – presented to Arjuna by the Lord himself, from the Karikulam temple in Kurichi. The minister with a few others went to Kurichi, met the authorities there and returned with the idol.

champakkulam boat race

On the way back they stopped at Champakulam to spent the night and perform a pooja. The next morning boats from the entire region assembled to escort the idol in a colourful, ceremonial procession through the lake to the Temple. Years later, this event is still re-enacted with the same enthusiasm. An exotic procession of water floats, boats decorated with colourful parasols and performing arts greets the spectator before the race. The race proper is held in various stages for various categories of boats. Source:

How to Get There
Nearest railway station: Alappuzha, about 17 km
Nearest airport: Kochi International Airport, about 85 km