BY DEBAJYOTI CHAKRABORTY
KOLKATA, 31 AUGUST 2022
Come 4 September and after a hiatus of two years, the much awaited 68th edition of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race (NTBR) will be held at Punnamada lake in the backwaters of Alappuzha, the ‘Venice of the East’ in the God’s Own Country, Kerala.
The NTBR was held last on 31 August 2019.
A million tourists both domestic and international arrive every year in Kerala to witness the spectacle on water. Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan has invited union home minister Amit Shah for this year’s NTBR event along with the Chief Ministers of South Indian states.
This year 77 boats will participate in the competition including 20 chundan vallams ( snakeboats). Track and heats have been finalised by DC Krishna Teja. There will be a total of five heats.
From today the NTBR committee and the Alappuzha Municipality will hold various cultural shows till 4 September.
Neeraj Kumar Gupta, DIG ( Ernakulam range) has visited the venue and reviewed the security arrangements.
Meanwhile, Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has announced running special chartered buses for the events. The tour packages will cost Rs.500 to Rs.1000 from different districts and will be within the budget.A counter is also opened for selling tickets of NTBR.
The lodges and the hotels in Alleppey are likely to be filled up for the NTBR 2022 as the demands are already very high.
Boat race crews begin to practice for the race months before the great day. They live together, eat together, toil together to work themselves into a smooth, co-ordinated team. A splendid procession unfolds with all types of ‘Kali-Vallangal’ or RACING BOATS, led by the largest and the most majestic of them, the ‘Chundan’. Its rowers sing songs known as ‘ Vanchi pattu ‘ to the rhythm of the oars – a feast for the eyes and the ears. The largest of the ‘Chundan’ boats the length of which varies between a hundred and a hundred and thirty feet can seat a hundred and twenty rowers, sixty on each side.
The history of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race is associated with the maiden visit of India’s first Prime Minister, the late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, to Alappuzha. He chanced a trip from Kottayam to Alappuzha by boat, through water logged Kuttanad. A pageantry of boats accompanied him on the trip.The first race was an impromptu once conducted in 1952 in honour of Panditji who visited Alappuzha.In that race of snake boats, Nadubhagam Chundan stood first. Panditji, who was thrilled and excited in the performance of the oarsmen, jumped into the Nadubhagam Chundan, forgetting all security arrangements. The boat proceeded to the boat jetty carrying the Prime Minister.On his return to Delhi in December 1952, Nehru donated a Silver Trophy, which is a replica of a snake boat placed on a wooden abacus. The trophy bears the following inscription above his signature.
This trophy later came to be known as the Nehru Trophy, and in fond memory of great Panditji, the people of Alappuzha celebrate the Nehru Trophy Boat Race every year.
The race course having a length of about 1370 meters is divided into various tracks for the conduct of the competition. Online sales of tickets have also started.
Venue: Punnamada Backwaters in Alleppey, Kerala
Date & Time : September 4 at 2:30 PM
District: Alappuzha, KERALA
Edition: 68th Edition of Nehru Trophy Boat Race
Nearest Railway Station – Alleppey
Nearest Airport – Kochi International Airport
The Champions Boat League, the biggest battle on the world’s greenest racetrack, is an unmissable experience. Check out the schedule and plan your trip!#GreatBackwaters #BackwaterGrandPrix #ChampionsBoatLeague #CBL2022 #SnakeBoatRace #KeralaTourism pic.twitter.com/cTmbrXyeW8
— Kerala Tourism (@KeralaTourism) August 30, 2022