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One of the oldest traditions of Kerala, Champakulam Boat Race Festival started in the state in the 1500s. Fondly referred to as Champakulam Moolam Vallamkali, the race uses the traditional snake boats or Vallam Kalis. These Chundan Vallams are a symbol of Kerala’s centuries old expertise in Naval architecture. Used by kings and warriors for more than 500 years, these expert pieces of wooden craftsmanship can accommodate more than 100 men in one go. 

History of Champakulam Boat Festival - The Religious Folklore

Held every year on the tides of the Pampa river in Alappuzha, the festival is a symbol of a long held naval tradition. The day the boat race is held marks the auspicious day of the moolam nakshatra of the Malayalam calendar called Madhunam. It is the day when the 17th century Ambalapuzha Temple welcomed its head deity, Lord Krishna in the premises.  

The religious sanctity of the festival lies in the history of its origin. It is said the 15th century ruler Chembakassery revisited his naval strength and directed his naval fleet to design robust boats which would challenge their opponents at the time of war. Little did he know what he started as a war strategy would stand today as a mark of his naval legacy.

Major Attractions of Champakulam Boat Festival

Each year, this festival is organized by the Champakulam Boat Race Society. Different categories of boats are lined up for the festival. The prominent ones are Chundan, Veppu, Iruttu and Churulan. Out of these, Chundan boats are the ones which are decorated in the most regal ways. And this is something which also grabs the attention of the tourists and people who come here to witness this festival.  

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It is exhilarating to see the number of people who come to witness the grand cultural fiesta. Massive boats are seen dissecting the water in half and speeding against one another in their swift yet wispy movements. It is a great sight to see the boatmen rowing in perfect symphony putting in all their strength in each pull and push. Amid the cheers and echo of noises from people cheering, the boats cruise through the water at great speeds.  

How to Reach

By Air. The Cochin International Airport is located at a distance of 75 km and is the nearest airport to Alappuzha. Regular flights from all over the country land here hence one can consider travelling by air if budget is not a constraint. Once you get off the airport, you will need to cover the remaining distance by some means of public transportation like a cab.

By Road. Alappuzha is accessible by National Highway-47 going through Ambalapuzha as well as Cherthala cities. It is very well connected to other cities such as Kochi, Kottayam, Kollam. Tourists coming from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru are required to travel 2,700, 1,400, 2,400 and 590km respectively to reach Alappuzha.  

By Train. The Alleppey railway station lies within the city and is quite well connected by rail to Cochin along with Trivandrum. From the railway station, one can board a bus or hire a taxi to reach the main city.

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


  • 1 Day

  • Cultural

  • Kerala
  • Festival Date

    04 July 2020

  • Venue

    Champakulam Water Stadium - Moolam Boat Race

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