Alappuzha (Kerala) | ‘Karichal Chundan’, the snake boat powered by the oarsmen of Kumarakom Vembanad Boat Club, today won the 64th edition of the prestigious Nehru Trophy held at the Punnamda Lake here.
The Karichal oarsmen, who dipped their oars in unison through the scenic lake, led the majestic ‘chundan’ (snake boat) to the finishing point in an awe inspiring pace, pushing fellow competitors far behind. While ‘Gabriel chundan’ came second, ‘Nadubhagam chundan’ and ‘Mahadevikad Kattil Thekkethil chundan’ secured the third and fourth spots in the race respectively as thousands of spectators watched them, organisers said.
‘Karichal Chundan’ has won the prestigious trophy 14 times before. As many as 20 snake boats, known as ‘chundan vallam’ in local parlance, took part in five heats in the event, which is held on the second Saturday of August every year. A large number of spectators including foreign nationals thronged the banks of the lake to get a glimpse of the event, which is considered as one of the biggest water-sport events in the country.
The Nehru trophy was instituted to commemorate the visit of first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to the area and his boat ride in the lake. Earlier, Kerala Governor Justice (rtd) P Sathasivam inaugurated the boat race at a function.