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Snake boats, the remnant of a rich heritage

April 29, 2013  by: Ravikumar Ambadi  Points: 6   Category: Others  Earning $0.20   Views: 907

Kerala, the southernmost state in India has always kept an identity as its own. being termed as God''''s Own Country, with its eye catching natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, it attracts thousands of tourists every year. Snake Boat Race is one of the most attractive events conducted in this part of the world.

         

Kerala, the southernmost state of Kerala has a rich cultural heritage and it differentiates itself from remaining India in many things. Whether it is the food habit or the way they celebrate festivals. Kerala has a distinction from other states on India. Onam, the most important festival of this state is being celebrated by every people in the state, irrespective of religions. This is a unique feature as most of the festivals are being celebrated on the basis of religions in India. Secondly, most of the grand festivals which are being celebrated in rest of India with great fanfare has not much significance in Kerala's life.
State keeps its identity with many cultural art forms such as Kathakali, Koodiyattam (which has been approved by the UNESCO as a heritage art form.) and many other events, which has centuries old history. Big events such as Thrissur Pooram, which will be conducted for two days every years sometime between April 15th and May 15th is one such event which attracts thousands of people. Another, attractive event is Snake Boat Race or "Vallam Kali" in local language. There are many such boat races and all those will be conducted at different places during the festival season between August 15th and September 15th every year. Snake Boats, long wooden boats with a beak on one end represents the cultural heritage of Kerala.
Snake Boats, which are 100 to 140 feet long, can accommodate about 100 rowers easily. These boats are built as per the specifications mentioned in Stapathya Veda, an ancient script that deals with the making of wooden boats. These boats are ancient naval ships which indulged in many wars in the past. Though, the traditional boat races are called as Snake Boat Race, it includes the races between different types of ancient boats and not only the Snake Boat or Chundan Vallam as it is called in the local language. The boats other than Chundan Vallam are Churulan Vallam, Iruttukuthi, Odi Vallam and Vappu Vallam.
Each of these boats has a function to do in ancient days. When the Chundan Vallam or long snake boat has been used as a battleship to fight the enemies, Odi Vallam, long wooden boat with one end pointed and the other end curved inwards has been used a mode of transportation by feudal lords. Kerala, has almoat 42 rivers and many more rivulets and lakes, most of which are interconnected. Hence water transport was common on those days. Churulan Vallam, the boat with both the ends curved inwards is being used for travelling of lady folks in elite families.
Iruttukiththi, not so long, and narrow boat with both the ends pointed and have a flat bottom which helps to move fast is being used by pirates on those days. Vappu Vallam, broad wooden boat is used to accompany the warship or Chundan Vallam as its pantry car.
Though, the technology has outdated all these vessels as battleships, the people of Kerala still revere them as a symbol of rich past. And that is why they conduct boat races for these ancient boats.




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Snake boats, the remnant of a rich heritage
Kerala, the southernmost state in India has always kept an identity as its own. being termed as God''''s Own Country, with its eye catching natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, it attracts thousands of tourists every year. Snake Boat Race is one of the most attractive events conducted in this part of the world.

 

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