Payippad Boat Race – A Universal Carnival

Alluring backwaters, beautiful beaches, traditional temples, ever-green forests and a wonderful climate, make the state of Kerala, a paradise on earth.  No wonder, it is one of the states where tourists are always present in every season.

A visit to this paradise, especially to Alappuzha, during the months of August and September can give you a unique experience. The famous boat race of the river Payippad, near Alappuzha, is a grand event which happens between August and September months, every year. This much celebrated carnival is three day long and is deeply connected with Sri Subramanian Swami temple of Haripad.

Payippad boat race kerala 2013 - Snake Boat Festivals

History of the race

The ancient temple of the village Haripad belongs to the 16th century and hence the boat race can be traced to that era, making it the oldest boat race of India. It is believed that villagers had a dream of an Idol of Lord Subrahmanya present in Kayamkulam Lake near the village. Trusting their vision, they went to the lake. A whirlpool appeared in the lake and a beautiful idol with four hands of Lord Subrahmanya was found there. Then the idol was taken out and was brought to the shore in a ceremonious procession of country boats. It was installed in a temple at Haripad village.  In remembrance of the retrieval of the idol, it became a ‘Jalotsavam’ (a celebration with water) and gave birth to the present day boat race.

A feast to the eyes  

Payippad boat race is a sight to behold as it has maximum number of traditional snake boats participating in it, next only to Nehru trophy. The race between the decorated snake boats in deep backwaters, with a big crowd cheering the participants and the entire festive atmosphere would be exhilarating and intoxicating in Payippad. It is a great feast to the eyes ”From the beginning to ending we were in a magical spell” was the testimony of many tourists who witnessed this race. After the race, several water pageants with decorated country boats shall be held, adding more attraction to the three day event. Throughout the event, the place becomes vibrant and every visitor will be charmed for sure.

Another impressive feature of the Payippad Boat Race is the active participation of everyone irrespective of their caste and religion. It is a celebration that unifies all the villages around the area of Alappuzha. Payippad boat race is well publicized by the tourism ministry of Kerala and draws people from worldwide. This unique carnival is a must-watch for tourists who visit Kerala.

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