The season of boat races in Kerala kick started with the Champakulam Moolam boat race yesterday.
The Champakulam boat race which started yesterday marks the onset of the season of boat races in Kerala leading to the famous Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race that is held in the second week of August every year.
The Champakulam boat race commemorates the installation of idol of Hindu god Krishna at a local temple in Ambalappuzha town more than 400 years back.
People pay their respects to the Kalloorkkad church and the Mappilasserry ‘tharavad’, a Christian family at Champakulam village, before the start of the race.
Elaborating on the history behind the tradition, a lawmaker and chief guest at the boat race, Kodikkunnil Suresh, said that four centuries back a Christian family protected the idol of a Hindu god which was later installed at a temple in Ambalappuzha town.
“There was a procession to the Amabalapuzha temple with a Sri Krishna vigraha (idol) but at that time the Pamba river was overflowing and the ‘vigraha’ was not safe. At that time a Christian Mappilasery family gave space to protect the vigraha in their land,” said Suresh.
The Deputy Collector of the southern Alappuzha district, C.R. Azad, said that the boat race was a ‘national festival’ for the locals.
“The historic Champakulam Moolam boat race is a national festival of this place. Every year in the month of Midhunam, the boat race is held in front of hundreds of enthusiastic spectators,” said Azad.
The boat race organised by the District Administration and the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) had 19 boats participating in it, including five snake boats which are capable of accommodating over 100 oarsmen.