Kochi | In the second Saturday of August, Punnamada lake of Kuttanad in Alappuzha district comes to life with an adrenaline-pumping event that sees huge, low slung chundan vallams (snake boats), rowed by up to 100 people, compete for the Nehru Cup.
The Nehru Trophy Valaam kali conducted today was the sixty third edition of the great event. A wonderful spectacle with specially crafted boats measuring over 100 feet, rowed by upto 100 oarsmen including drummers accompanied by boat chants and frenzied local supporters- it’s truly exciting. It was the day of Kuttanad, the eyes and minds of each and every Malayali on the surface of the beautiful lake, Punnamada.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of Independent India visited Kerala in 1952. He was given a roaring reception by the people of Alleppey, escorted by the huge snake-boats. Having gone through the tremendous excitement of sailing in a snake-boat Jawaharlal Nehru donated a rolling trophy to be awarded to the winner of the race. The trophy is a replica of a snake-boat in silver, placed on wooden abacus on which the following words are inscribed.The trophy was first known as Prime minister’s then later it began to be known as Nehru Trophy.
Every mind wish to be there and to be the part of the most beautiful game, the traditional game of Malayali. For a moment the mind is becoming the Punnamada lake and the emotional ripples are slowly stepping up and scribbling a poem …
…..aarppu vilikalil chundanum, churulanum
aalthmaavil odi kithacheedave…..
(….yes….the snake boats are coming into my soul …where they are competing and sharing their joy…).
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