Sunday, September 10, 2006

Kerala cheers to fete on the river

Kerala marked the end of Onam with the popular vallam kalli or boat race at Aranmula.

The Aranmula -vallam kalli race, one of the oldest boat races in Kerala, celebrates the occasion with oarsmen rowing energetically to the chant of the singers and a cheering crowd on the banks of the Pampa.

Vallam kalli celebrates the role of lord Krishna as Parthasarathy watching over every snake boat in the fray.

"It’s a very unique boat race. It’s 600 years old," MLA Aranmula, Sivadasan Nair says.

As many as 30 snake boats or chundan vallams fight it out at the race. Each 100-foot long vallam has four helmsmen, 100 oarsmen and the 25 singers who play great cheerleaders in their traditional dhoti or mundu. Even the crowd, many of them tourists, cheer the participants.

"This is the second time that I have come here. I love the boat race," a tourist, Will says.

Eventhough it's time to say goodbye to the festive season with the Aranmula race, the race leaves the people of Kerala with unforgettable memories to welcome yet another festive season.


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