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Vallam Kali

Aranmula Boat RaRalw Uthrattathi Boat Race
Boat race witlh snake boats
Vallam Kulangara - Snake boats

Vallam Kali (vaḷḷaṃ kaḷi, literally: boat game) is a traditional boat race in Kerala, India. It is a form of canoe racing, and uses paddled war canoes. It is mainly conducted during the season of the harvest festival Onam in autumn. Vallam kali includes races of many kinds of paddled longboats, the traditional boats of Kerala. Each team spent about 6 lakh rupees for nehru trophy.

The race of chundan vallam ('snake boat', about 30-35 meter (100-120 feet) long with 64 or 128 paddlers aboard[1]) is the major event. Hence Vallam Kali is also known as the snake boat race and is a major tourist attraction. Other types of boats which do participate in various events in the race are churulan vallam, iruttukuthy vallam, odi vallam, veppu vallam, vadakkanody vallam and kochu vallam. The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is a popular vallam kali event held in the Punnamada Lake near Alappuzha, Kerala, India.



In Kerala, during an early 13th-century war between the feudal kingdoms of Kayamkulam and Chembakassery, King Devanarayana of Chembakassery commissioned the construction of a war boat named Chundan Vallam and he tasked a famous carpenter of the day with the responsibility of creating it.[2] Hence, the technical methods for creating these snake bats are around 650 years old. Of the snake boats still in use today, the Parthasarathi Chundan is the oldest model[3].

Vallam kali has mainly been conducted during the season of the harvest festival Onam in Autumn. The race of chundan vallam is the major event. Vallam kali also includes races of many other kinds of traditional paddled longboats of Kerala, and is one of the major tourist attractions in the state.


Vanchipattu (lit. 'boatsong') is the form of poetry in Malayalam language commonly used during vallam kali and related festivals. During Aranmula Uthrattadi Vallamkali, the vanchipattu is performed by the participants for its significance in the rituals. Ramapurathu Warrier is considered to be the pioneer of the vanchipattu.[4]

List of periodical vallam kali events

Major events

Map of Backwaters in Kerala where boat racing is conducted

Minor events

  • Thuruthippuram Boat Race, Thuruthipuram
  • Paravur Jalothsavam & Boat Race in Paravur Thekkumbhagam, Kollam
  • ATDC Boat Race, Alappuzha
  • Rajiv Gandhi Trophy boat race, Pulinkunnu
  • Neerettupuram Pampa Boat Race
  • Karuvatta Boat Race
  • Kavanattinkara Boat Race
  • Kumarakom Arpookara Vanitha Jalamela, Kumarakom
  • Mahatma Boat Race, Mannar, Alappuzha
  • Kottapuram Boat Race, Kottapuram
  • Kodungallur and Kumaranasan Smaraka Jalotsavam, Pallana
  • Indira Gandhi Boat Race, in Kochi Lake
  • Kaithappuzhakkayal Boat Race, in Kaithappuzha Lake, Ernakulam
  • Biyyam Kaayal Boat Race, Ponnani
  • Uthara malabar Boat Race, Thejaswini Lake, Kasaragod
  • EK.Nayanar Trophy -Malabar jalolsavam, Mangalassery, Kuppam river, Kannur district
  • Kuppam Boat Race, Kuppam River, Kannur District [7]
  • Kattampally Boat Race, Kannur District [7]
  • Madayi Boat Race, Pazhyangadi River, Pazhyangadi, Kannur District [7]

See also


  1. ^ "Snake Boat Races (Vallam Kali)".
  2. ^ MS, Prasanth. "karichal chundan - Nehru Trophy Winner 2016, karichal, karichalchundan,,payipad boat race,kerala snake boat race,snake boat race in kerala". Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Origin of Vallamkali (Boat Race)".
  4. ^ "A fusion twist to Vanchipattu". August 8, 2015.
  5. ^ "Gothuruthu Boat Race, Gothuruth Boat race, Ernakulam, Muziris Heritage Site, Kerala, India - Kerala Tourism". Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  6. ^ [1] Archived 2014-05-18 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ a b c "The Internationally famous Boat racing Festival of Kerala". Retrieved 20 December 2017.

External links