Kerala backwaters


nehru trophy

Your Guide to the Nehru Trophy-Snake Boat Race, Kerala


The calm backwaters of Alleppey, Kerala come roaring alive every year on the second Saturday in the month of August. The waters are dotted with the famed snake boats fighting neck to neck in the palm fringed Punnamada Lake in Alleppey; each vying to be the victor and the proud owner of the prestigious Nehru Trophy.

It is once again the time to feast your eyes and  lose yourself to the mesmerising ripples of the backwaters.

The Race Particulars:

Venue: Punnamada Backwaters in Alleppey, Kerala

Date : August 8,2015 at 2:30 PM

Location: Punnamada

District: Alappuzha

Nearest Railway Station – Alleppey

Nearest Airport – Kochi International Airport


How to get there:

Alleppey is well connected by trains, but Ernakulum (Kochi) has better connectivity by both air and rail. Ernakulum lies 62km from Alleppey; multiple local buses and taxis are available. Taxis charge as much as ₹2500 for a one-way ride during this weekend. Overnight buses from Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and other cities can be booked via state run operators

Where to put up:

This is a super busy time of the year with people flocking in from all over the state, the country and world.

It is best to stay somewhere close to Alleppey to witness this great race. You can take your pick from Alleppey, surrounding villages, Marari beach or Fort Kochi. You can always book a houseboat( and relax and maybe get a good view from the boat as well.

Ticket Tariff (official)  :-

Book Tickets Online





DO’s and Don’ts for the Visitors of Nehru Trophy Boat Race


* Purchase tickets from authorized retail outlets (through Govt. depts. And tourism information office– authorized ticket counter)

* Please check the tickets for authorized seal of the committee and serial number

* Authorized counters can be identified with banners having logo of NTBR

* Try to reach Alappuzha by 9 AM

* The committee already arranged separate boats for the tourists and ticket holders to reach the race area

* The ticket holders must reach the specially arranged boat jetty by 11:00 for catching the boat

* Try to bring food items and water and can take to the venue

* Occupy your seat by 12:00 noon

* Vehicles can be parked in Municipal Stadium north of Zillah Court Bridge

* This facility will available only up to 11:00 AM

* Less luggage more comfort

* Show your tickets at the entrance of the boat jetty and also at the entrance of the pavilion

* For any help please contact the control room 2243441 / 100 (police)


* Do not purchase tickets from unauthorized person

* Do not purchase complimentary passes by paying cash

* Do not purchase tickets having no seal or serial no. etc.

* Do not bring any explosive items and dangerous electronic devices

* Smoking is not allowed in the pavilion

* Do not bring liquor to the pavilion

To Know more about Tracks and Heats:

Book Your Kerala Houseboat cruise with and set adrift on the scintillating backwaters!


The Nehru Trophy -Where Tranquillity Meets Sheer Excitement!

The calm backwaters of Alleppey come roaring alive every year on the second Saturday in the month of August. The waters are dotted with the famed snake boats fighting neck to neck in the palm fringed Punnamada Lake in Alleppey; each vying to be the victor and the proud owner of the prestigious Nehru Trophy.

The history of these unique and carefully engineered ‘Chundan Vallam’ or the Snake Boats takes us about more than 400 years back in time when kings of yester years, Chempakasseri (Ambalappuzha), Kayamkulam, Thekkumkoor (Changanassery), and Vadakkumkoor (Kottayam) fought battles on these boats in the backwaters of Kuttanad.

The snake boats are originally known as the “chundans” in the native tongue has its rear portion towering to a height of about 20 ft., and a long tapering front portion; it resembles a snake with its hood raised. Its hull is built of planks precisely 83 feet in length and six inches wide. It embodies the prowess of the ancient Indians in Naval Architecture.

In can accommodate about 100 oarsmen who produce 90 to 120 strokes per minute of which, the 100 foot ‘chundan’ is adept at covering a distance of 1.4 kilo meters in 5 minutes.


Nehru Trophy Tradition- The beginning

The roots of the passionate tradition was laid down in the year 1952 when the then prime minister of India, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru underwent the magical allure, the fiery gusto and sheer passion and excitement of the majestic boats, when he bore witness to the race orchestrated in his honor. This was followed by his enthralling journey in the regal “Nadubhagom Chundan” (the victor of the race that day) towards the Alappuzha jetty .The experience inspired him to donate a rolling trophy to be awarded to the winner of the race each year.

The Silver Trophy is a replica of a snake boat placed on a wooden abacus and bears the following inscription above his signature:

“To the winner of the boat-race which is a unique feature of community life in Travancore-Cochin.”

Since then, the race that breaks across all communal barriers, came to be christened the Nehru Trophy and holds a significant position in the world tourism map. The majestic beauty of the backwaters swarming with spectators coupled with the surging energy of the race heightened by the rhythmic chorus of the “vanchipattu” or the boatsmens’ song is truly an ambience worth experiencing.

A communal water sport that is marked as one of the most colorful one in Kerala; the Nehru Trophy, attracts a huge number of spectators from all over the world to witness the high adrenalin pumping event which is more of a tradition and heritage of the people in  the region than just a race.

The arrangements and the prep ups for the race begin well in advance over several weeks; the boats have to be brought to top performance and smeared with sardine oil for smooth passage; about 150 oarsmen selected to represent each village; then the commencement of the practices sessions.

The health and well being of the oarsmen turn into the chief priority of each of the villagers with the rich and the wealthy bearing the brunt of all the incurred expenses irrespective of religion or castes. During this regatta, the Hindus,  Christians and Muslims all feast together setting an example of communal harmony and unity for the whole of India. For each of the villages in Kuttanad, a victory at this race is a symbol of prestige and celebration to be carried forward for many months to come.

Dignitaries and distinguished personalities from all over the country travel to Alleppey this time of the year to be a part of this prestigious water carnival. This would be the right time for those who crave to get a real whiff of the backwaters, to throw their bags over the shoulder and find their way into the mesmerizing greenery and traditions of Kerala, as the Nehru Trophy celebrates its 62nd year of its illustrious race on the 9th of August, 2014.

Getting there

Alleppey is an easily accessible district lying at a distance of 80 km from the Cochin International airport which is a 70 minutes drive by the NH47.

It is also accessible by the railroad from Ernakulam wherein the railway station is at a distance of 8 km from the destination.

Witnessing the great event

It’s a commercial event and you’ll need to buy tickets from the tickets stands on the way to get an optimum unless you are ready to settle onto the banks amidst excited frenzy of the local viewers. The viewing angle gets better with the amount of money you are ready to shell out for the spectacular event. It would be a wise decision to carry an umbrella along if you do not want to get caught under the sudden monsoon drizzles.


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