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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. 

Also Read: An open theater is the highlight of this annual festival that finds its mention in Guinness Book of World Records

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

This race takes place in Alappuzha which is easily reachable from all sides of Kerala. The nearest airport is the Cochin International Airport which is about 75 km away. The railway station of Alappuzha in within reach and is well-connected to other cities of Kerala and some major cities of India. 

You can plan your trip and create your own route to the city with Adotrip’s technically driven circuit planner. Click here


  • 1 Day

  • Entertainment

  • Kerala
  • Event date

    31 August 2020

  • Venue

    Alappuzha

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