The Champakulam Moolam Boat Race, also known as the Champakulam Vallam Kali, is an annual traditional boat race held in the village of Champakulam in Alappuzha district, Kerala, India. It is one of the oldest and most famous boat races in Kerala, with a history dating back centuries. The event takes place during the Malayalam month of Moolam, which usually falls in July.
The boat race is an integral part of the annual festival held at the Champakulam Valia Palli, which is a nearby ancient Christian church dedicated to St. Mary. The festival and boat race are celebrated to commemorate the installation of the idol of Lord Krishna at the Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple, which took place in the past. The race attracts thousands of spectators and is a major cultural and sporting event in the region.
During the Champakulam Moolam Boat Race, different types of traditional snake boats or chundan vallams, adorned with vibrant and colorful decorations, participate in a friendly yet fiercely competitive race on the Pamba River. Each snake boat is manned by a large crew of oarsmen, and the rowing is synchronized to the rhythm of the vanchipattu (boat songs) and the beating of drums.
The race creates an electrifying atmosphere, with enthusiastic cheers and encouragement from the spectators, as well as traditional music and performances adding to the festivities. The snake boats, with their long and sleek design, glide gracefully through the water, showcasing the rich tradition and heritage of Kerala’s boat races.
Apart from the Champakulam Moolam Boat Race, Kerala hosts several other famous boat races, including the Nehru Trophy Boat Race in Alappuzha and the Aranmula Boat Race in Aranmula, which attract tourists and visitors from all around the world, offering a unique glimpse into the state’s vibrant culture and traditional practices.