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Aranmula boat race
Aranmula boat race is one among the great events celebrated during Onam season in Kerala. This exotic event is generally conducted in Pamba river in Aranmula. Today, boat race is conducted here in a competitive mood. Boat race is conducted during Uthrittathi day in Malayalam calender. This boat race is renowned for its long tradition during festival season.
Do you know the story behind this tradition? Once upon a time a Brahmin vowed all requirements for sadhya during Thiruvonam day at Parthasarathy temple. Boat carrying offerings was attacked by enemies. To protect boat carrying offerings, people from neighboring areas decided to accompany Thiruvona thoni with snake boats.
During later years, this tradition was continued as snake boat race in Aranmula Pamba Lake. It is generally conducted during Uthrittathi day. Aranmnula is about 11 km from Chengannur railway station and 117 km from Trivandrum railway station. Snake boat race is conducted near the Parthasarathy temple in Aranmula.Generally, this boat race is conducted with an exciting crowd from nearby places.
Snake boats are also known as Chundan Vallams in Kerala. In order to spice up the beauty of tradition, you can hear oarsmen singing traditional boat songs during the event. Participants are given white mundu and turbans to add the elegance of event. At present, many foreigners are also coming to this exotic place to watch the event.
Similar to dresses worn, boats are also decorated with golden lace, flag and umbrellas at the center of boat. We had already seen that this function is conducted near the Parathasarathy temple in Aranmula.
As per history, the age of temple is believed to be almost one thousand seven hundred years. Unique snake boats used for Aranmula snake boat festival are also known as palliyodams. Palliyodams generally belong to different rustic parts or karas. Each one among them generally consists of rowers, singers and helmsmen.
How this palliyodams are made?
This is a common question heard from people. Generally, palliyodams are generally made using Anjili tree. Anjili tree is cut down to pieces and brought to the location for work. Boats used for race range about one twenty feet in length with twenty feet height in the rear portion. As the name suggested, boat resemble like a snake with its hood raised to about twenty feet. Hence the name snake boat is given to palliyodams.
How did owners care their snake booat? Snake boats are generally polished with oils like fish oil, coconut shell and carbon to make wood strong and slippery in water. To participate in events, annual repairs are generally conducted by carpenters in nearby areas.