Nehru Trophy Boat Race

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Nehru Trophy Boat Race

Kerala’s most famous boat race, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held every year in the month of August. It celebrates water sports in the country and is held in Punnamada backwaters in Alappuzha district, Kerala. Snake Boat Racing or Vallam Kali in Kerala is a traditional event dating back to the 13th century, it is celebrated as a part of the famous Oman Festival. Wondering why the snake boat race was named after India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru? Scroll down to find out more!

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What is the Nehru Trophy Boat Race?

Nehru Trophy Boat Race
Source: HelloTravel
Number of team members64 to 128 per side
Type of eventVallam Kali (Boat Game)
Venue Punnamada Lake
Region Kerala, India
First Vallam Kali1952
Prize Money5.9 crores
YouTube: Kerala Tourism

The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is a prestigious and renowned snake boat race held annually in Kerala. Every year on the second Saturday of August, thousands of people flock to the Punnamada backwaters in Alappuzha district to witness one of the fiercest boat races and competitive sports in India. With 125 members on each boat, 100-foot-long snake-like boats compete against each other to the tune of old boat songs. In 1952, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited the state of Kerala to inaugurate the first boat race in Independent India. On that day, the winner was awarded a trophy named after the first prime minister and since then the tradition has continued.

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History of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race


Jawaharlal Nehru’s association with the annual boat race extends beyond its naming. Nehru’s enthusiasm for this historic sport led to the event’s renaming after his death. His visit to Kuttanad with his family in December 1952, during his first tour of Kerala after independence, resulted in the commencement of one of the world’s most esteemed water sports events. A snake boat race was organized to welcome Nehru and his family then.

The boat race saw 8 participants, namely Nadubhagom, Chambakkulam, ParthaSarathy, Kabalam, Vliya Diwanji, Neppolean, Nethaji, GearGross. After the boat race, Nehru sent a silver trophy bearing his signature to the then-Kollam Collector NP Chellappan Nair after arriving in Delhi. The Prime Minister’s Trophy Boat Race was founded in 1954 by the Kollam Collector. The day was renamed after Nehru’s death. In 2019, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race became a part of the Champions Boat League (CBL). The Star Sports network became the television broadcasting partner of the event. In 2020, for the first, the event was cancelled due to the rising covid-19 cases in India.

Nehru Trophy Boat Race
Source: TravelogyIndia

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Sponsors and Prize Money

The sponsoring company of the boat race is Nerolac Paints while Star Sports Network is the broadcasting television partner of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race. It was ranked fourth for the best sports leagues in India. The event is highly competitive and the winner of the event gets a staggering amount of rupees 5.9 crores, which is a remarkable feat. Many famous personalities like Shri. M Nassar, Allu Arjun and Sachin Tendulkar have supported and witnessed this unique competition.  

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Past Winners of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race

YearClub name Winner of the event
2019Pallathuruthi Boat ClubNadubhagom Chundan
2018Pallathuruthi Boat ClubPayippadan Chundan
2017Thuruthippuram Boat ClubGabriel Chundan
2016Kumarakam Vembanad Boat ClubKarichal Chundan
2015Kumarakam Vembanad Boat ClubJawahar Thayankari

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The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is the pride of Kerala and one of the most fierce competitions in the world! Due to the ongoing pandemic, the event has been postponed, however, we all can celebrate this event by looking at the unique history of this magnificent Keralite boat race. We hope you enjoyed our blog! For more riveting content, Leverage Edu on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and LinkedIn

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