Witnessing hundreds of people rowing in incredibly precise formation, cutting the waters with amazing ferocity is truly a spectacle to watch. If you still haven’t got it, then, for the unversed, here we are talking about Nehru Trophy Boat Race. This is a magnum-opus event which combines unparalleled precision and physical strength.
Nehru Trophy Boat Race 2020 will be marking the 68th anniversary of this amazing event. Named after, India’s first Prime Minister; Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru this boat race is conducted on the Punnamda Lake on the second Saturday of every August.
With the onset of Nehru Trophy Boat Race, also known as the Alappuzha Boat Race, one can expect to witness a fierce competition of water boats. The tranquil lake is soon turned into no less than a war zone where each and every opponent has only one objective - winning.
About 2 lakh people, inclusive of the participants as well as foreign and local tourists, come to witness this cultural spectacle. This heart-pounding event is truly unmissable for adventure lovers.
History of Nehru Trophy Boat Race
Nehru Trophy Boat Race traces its history back in the time of newly independent India. It was the time when Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister of our country. It is said that once, he came on a trip to Kottayam to Alappuzha on a boat via water logged Kuttanad. Back then, the whole pageantry of boats had accompanied him on this trip.
It is said that the very first boat race was an impromptu decision and was conducted solely in the honour of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. At the end of the race, Nadubhagam Chundan (a type of boat) stood first and seeing the whole event, Panditji couldn’t hide his excitement and jumped into the winning boat without any security precautions sharing the winning spirit with that of the participant oarsmen.
On his way back to Delhi, he also donated a silver trophy to be awarded to the winning team. There was also an inscription on the trophy which said:
“To the winners of the boat race which is a unique feature of community life in Travancore Cochin."
It was this trophy which later on in July 1969 renamed as the Nehru Trophy. And it was in his cherishing memory that the people of Alappuzha started celebrating this race which they named Nehru Trophy Boat Race.
Major Attractions of Nehru Boat Race
1. Nehru Trophy Boat Race Preparations. As the day of the race arrives closer, the people start decorating their boats in the most artistic ways. Temporary platforms for the pavilion as well as the audience are set up. A total of eight tracks; each with a 30-meter width is marked in the lake. To do this, long bamboo poles are used. After everything is done, minute by minute, everyone waits for the moment of the race to commence.
2. Adrenaline Fuelled Boat Race. Each boat carries about 90-100 oarsmen who are perpetually hauling the oars and cutting the waters with great strength. It is truly a phenomenal experience to watch them executing everything in such amazing synchronization. During the race, a few oarsmen can also be seen singing energetic songs to cheer up the fellow participants. This race truly defines the athleticism and sportsmanship of the participants. At the end of the race, people are also distributed with trophies.
How to Reach
To reach Alappuzha you need to cover a total distance of 2,753, 1,380, 2,388, 576 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. Here are the details on how you can reach Alleppey by the following means of public transport.
By Air. You will need to deboard at the Cochin International Airport situated 80-90 km away. The airport is fairly well-connected with several other Indian destinations via direct and connecting flights. After deboarding at the airport, you will need to cover the remaining distance by a cab or some other means of public transport.
From Pune - Board IndiGo, Spicejet, AirAsia flights from Pune Airport. The airfares start from INR 4,000-5,000
From Gwalior - Board Spicejet, IndiGo, AirAsia flights from Gwalior Airport. The airfares start from INR 7,000-8,000
From Patna - Board IndiGo, Go Air, Spicejet flights from Patna Airport. The airfares start from INR 8,000-9,000
By Train. Deboard at the Alleppey Railway Station situated within the city limits. You can take connecting trains via Trivandrum and Cochin to reach here. From the station, take a locally available means of transportation to reach your respective destination.
By Road. Depending upon your geographical location, you can consider travelling to Alleppey via well-maintained and structured roadways as well. For this purpose, you can hire a taxi, or board frequently run private or government interstate bus from nearby towns and cities. However, if you want to travel at your own pace, then you can drive it down as well.