Indira Gandhi Boat Race

Indira Gandhi Boat Race - A Water Sport-cum-festival

An eye-catching water festival of Kerala, Indira Gandhi Boat Race is held to boost tourism in the state. Enthusiastic oarsmen rowing in unison to the rhythm of the “Vanchipattu” (the song of boatman) create a spectacular sight. People in huge crowd along the waters can be seen cheering the participants of the event. Cochin Backwaters serve as the centre of activity during the event. Conducted to promote Kerala tourism, the competition enjoys the participation of several snake boats among which only few are selected in the final round.


Organized during the last week of December, this grand event takes place in the backwaters of the Cochin city.


The trophy of this race was commenced in memory of the late Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi.


The preparations for this unique festival of Kerala start several week in advance. The sportive spirit of the contestants makes the competition unique. Around 150 oarsmen vow to observe stringent rules during the game. Each one of them represents a different village. Villagers and well-to-do people often take the responsibility of feeding them during practice sessions.


Packed with energy, the boat races beckon tourists from all around the world. The boats are stream lined in order to make them run faster. These are smeared with sardine oil to ensure a smooth passage through the water. Backed by around 125 oarsmen, 25 singers and four helmsmen, the spectacle casts a spell on the beholders. The boats used for racing are traditionally made. The winner of the race is complimented by a trophy in the name of Indira Gandhi. The heart throbbing rhythm of music coupled with pushing of snake boat by Oarsmen leave the beholders mesmerised.

Cheers for Rowers at the spectacular Indira Gandhi Boat Race on your Kerala Tour!

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