» »Travel to Kerala to be a Part of the Energising Aranmula Vallam Kali

Travel to Kerala to be a Part of the Energising Aranmula Vallam Kali

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The Festival of Onam is celebrated all over Kerala and by all the Malayalis around the globe. On this day the entire state is decked in flowers and many cultural programs are held throughout the state. What is more enticing is the beautiful aroma of various dishes escaping from the kitchens of the houses.

The town of Aranmula has its own way of celebrating this festival. People here head to the temple to pay their respects to the lord and thank him for the bountiful harvest that he has blessed them with. There after they head to the mega event of the day which is the boat race.

The Aranmula Boat Race better known as Aranmula Vallam Kali is held here every year and sees many participants from the neighbouring towns. The long snake boats battle it out on the waters for the coveted trophy. Tourists come here from far and wide to be a part of this mega show. For those who missed it, here are a few snapshots of the boat race that is definitely going to make you want to go there next year.

Aranmula Temple

Aranmula Temple

Devotees going to offer prayers to the god on Onam at the temple just before the onset of the much famed boat race that takes place here.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

Pookalam

Pookalam

A beautiful Pookalam made by the devotees on the porch of the temple. The devotees have made an image of a snake boat keeping in mind the boat race that is going to be held.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

The Snake Boat

The Snake Boat

The boats are out of the docks and are ready to be boarded by the oarsmen. A puja is performed on the boat by its owner who prays that may his boat come first in this thrilling competition.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

Arrival of Oarsmen

Arrival of Oarsmen

Here come the Oarsmen all set to climb onto the boats and get ready to race. The men before embarking on the boat visit the temple and pray to Lord Krishna for their victory. They are then led by a band till the banks from where they embark onto the boats.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

The Gathering of Crowds

The Gathering of Crowds

The boat race sees a mega gathering of crowds along the banks of the river. People come here from the village as well as outside to be a part of this event.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

Preparing the Oars

Preparing the Oars

Once the Oarsmen clamber upon the boats they pray to the god once again and take up their oars. They settle down in their respective places and place the oars in water waiting for the helmsman to signal them to row.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

The Final Preparation

The Final Preparation

After the Oarsmen take their place on the boat they are joined by the helmsman, who directs orders and motivate the rowers to keep going. They are also joined by men carrying umbrellas. Each boat has its own colour of umbrella that is chosen by its owner. At times the owner himself participates in the race.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

The Final Puja

The Final Puja

Once everybody is on the boat, a final puja is held where everyone thanks the lord and seeks his blessings. As per the customs a coconut is broken to apeace the lord and set the boat on its journey.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

To the Start Line

To the Start Line

The rowers lazily row the boats to the start line of the race. They test their oars in the course and see if it is perfect. The crowd start cheering aloud as they know that they are just minutes away from the race to start.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

Entertainers

Entertainers

The boat race is a time consuming event and therefore in order to keep the huge crowd interested a few entertainers set about in small boats to entertain the gathering with their acts.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

The Course

The Course

With the event just moments away we set our sights onto the course that the competing boats have to cross. A few small boats set out first to ensure that there are no obstacles on the way.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

Light, Camera, Action

Light, Camera, Action

The Aranmula Boat Race is well known among all Malayalis and therefore the entire race is recorded and showcased on telivision for those who could not make it here. The cameras are mounted on to huge cranes that look down upon the water course.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

The Final Stand

The Final Stand

The boats have docked themselves at the starting point and are ready to set sail. You can hear the excitement among the crowds who are already shouting.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

The Bell Sounds

The Bell Sounds

The long wait is finally over. The bells have sounded and the oarsmen hit the water with fervour. The crowds go ballistic and you can hear them shout and scream their lungs out.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

The First Rows

The First Rows

It is not easy when you row a boat with a team and that too with such a large team of oarsmen. The first phase of rowing is when these oarsmen help themselves to get into sync with others and thereafter its a fight till the last.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

The Power Showcased

The Power Showcased

It takes a lot of stamina to row these boat and moreover each and every single rower should be in the same mode to get them going. It is not an easy task but these men have been practising it for a long time and that can be seen in the energy they show while rowing.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

Motivation is the Key

Motivation is the Key

You can never win a team event on your own and the best example for this is the Aranmula boat race. The helmsman other than shouting directions also keep up the spirit of the rowers. It is hard to keep rowing continuously with the hot sun smiling down at you.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

The End is Near

The End is Near

The rowers have put in a lot of effort and have reached halfway. This is where the race is decided as many have already gotten tired and have lost their edge in the race. The actual competition is now set foot as we are yet to see who among the rowers will go beyond all odds to win it.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

The Last Few Meters

The Last Few Meters

The race is nearly over with just a few meters to go. It is a neck to neck scenario with just one boat leading by a few inches. Time for the other boats rowers to push themselves to full speed.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

And We have a Winner

And We have a Winner

The race is finally over and we have a winner. The oarsmen have done their best and so have others who supported all through. Finally they can thank their stars for having been with them all through.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

Celebrations Galore

Celebrations Galore

The jubilations have already started. The rowers are already in celebratory mode. Weeks of practice have ensured them victory. They take a moment to thank the lord for having seen them through the tough race.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

Prizes and Garlands

Prizes and Garlands

The winning team is garlanded and carried on shoulders by their supporters. The owner along with his team goes to the podium to claim their prize. Now for one year they are the undefeated champions. The boats then sail back to the dock where it shall silently wait for a year to pass by when it shall ride these waters again for the coveted trophy.

Photo Courtesy: Yedhu Krishnan

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