Aranmula Boat Race is regarded as the oldest and ancient boat races in Kerala. Held during the ‘Chingam’ month the Aranmula boat race and Onam celebrations go hand in hand. Along with other Onam celebrations, the Aranmula boat race adds fun and joy to the long weekend showcasing the true spirit of Kerala.

During the race several people gather on the banks of the river Pampa, Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district and the scenario will not change during the long weekend that invites Onam celebrations. The Aranmula boat race and Onam celebrations add to the uniqueness of the backwaters of Kerala. The snake boats are called as ‘Palliyodams’ and are considered as the divine vessel of the deity seated in Sree Parthasarathy temple.

Aranmula Boat Race and Onam celebrations

ThiruvonathoniThe race is carried out by specially trained rowers. They practice the art of speed rowing using heavy wooden oars and is not something anyone can do with ease. The rowing demands proper discipline and dedication. The boat race is a sport that enables an ordinary person to become an experienced snake boat rower only after dedicated practice. life mein ek baar – a popular series on Fox channel showcased the Aranmula Boat Race and Onam celebrations. Famous VJ and actor Purab along with his fellow travelers took part in the boat race and was left speechless on how his travel had unfurled.

The rules of engagement

Plan a trip over the weekend and make it memorable by enjoying the Aranmula Boat Race and Onam celebrations. The rules of engagement to take part in the rowing is that the oarsmen have to mandatorily wear only a turban and white loin cloth.  Ideally the men of the village are allowed to be in the boat however if you can befriend someone finding a spot in the boat will certainly be worthwhile.  No footwear is allowed on board the boat.

ThiruvonathoniAccording to the age old tradition, the boat crew is led by Kaarnavan (village head). Three main oarsmen take care of the movement of the boat which is controlled by a 12 feet long main rudder-oar called Adanayampu.  The men stand at the back end of the boat while the other oarsmen sit in two rows on either side of the boat.   After the boat race begins, the oarsmen sing vanchipattu- a popular oarsman’s song. The song is sung loudly to keep the spirit of rowing. This loud singing keeps the energy high and prevents the oarsmen from feeling fatigue.

What to expect during Onam holiday weekend

The Aranmula boat race and onam celebrations will add to the holiday experience certainly. You will find atleast 40 boats taking part in the event. Before the event, the boat is adorned and beautified in a traditional manner. As soon as the oarsmen start to assemble the vibe in the region just gets exciting. After all this annual event has been a tourist attraction for a long time. Visitors from across the globe pay Kerala a visit to experience the Aranmula boat race and Onam celebrations.