Payippad Boat Race 2017 , Kerala | Onam Festival

The entirety of “God’s Own Country” as Kerala is also known, is a traveler’s paradise with the famed backwaters of Kerala taking one of the most popular roles in the tourism the in India. The rich heritage of Kerala also finds reflection in the various folk tales, legends and myths which surround almost all the parts of this tropical paradise. This in turn influences the various rituals and festivals in Kerala, with a number of the festivals which are celebrated in Kerala bearing resemblance to some of the myths and legends of Kerala. Due to the large number of beaches and backwaters, water sports are extremely popular in this state and one of the most famous water sports in Kerala is boat race, also known as, Vallamkali. Boat races are one of the major reasons which attract tourists from all over the world to this mesmerising state. One of this is the Payippad Boat Race, a festival which combines the rich folklore as well as the natural abundance of the land to perfection.

This race is also known as snake boat race because when the boats move along the tracks, they look like snakes moving around. The oarsmen splash the oars in unison to the rhythmic chants and beats of drums, setting the track on fire.

Do you know why Payyipad boat race is celebrated?

Bearing a close resemblance to one of the best loved legends of Kerala, the Payippad Boat Race is homage to two of the most revered deities of Kerala, Lord Sree Ayyappan as well as Lord Subramanya. The legend relates that the people of the Haripad Village once decided to build a Sree Ayyappan temple in the premises of their village.

However, just before the temple was about to be begun, the villagers has a vision that the idol of Sri Subramanya Swami should be installed in the temple. The vision also stated that the idol would be found in the Kayamkulam River, within which a whirlpool would be formed which would serve as the temporary abode of the God. True to the words of the vision, the villagers found the Subramanya Vigraha in the whirlpool of the Kayamkulam River, which they ceremoniously brought back to their village. The journey of the idol was accompanied by countless devotees in a number of well decorated colored boats.

It is this incident, which is ceremoniously enacted every year for three days during the Payippad Boat Race in Kerala.


Payyipad boat race enthralled all people belong to all age groups in Kerala and devotees thronged to this place from all parts of Kerala to participate in the festivities. Payyipad boat race offered different perspective of celebration to comprehend the deep native culture and tradition. Apart from the breathtaking snake boat races, the event was made more impressive by colorful water pageants. The banks of the Achaan Kovil River got flooded by people from far and near, cheering the oarsmen. These snake boats driven by hundreds of oarsmen tearing through the serene waters and the festive environment made the boat race a grand visual spectacle.

Locals thronged the bank of the river to witness the boat race despite hot weather.

All set for race! I captured the silhouette of people and boat.

After a short walk on the bank, inspection was performed to clear the route and I framed it.

During the inspection process, oarsman cleared the path for snake boats.

Police were performing their duty to ensure the smooth traffic I could say they performed very well and liked the way they dedicated towards their work.

Veeyapuram bridge offered excellent aerial view to capture the pictures despite it was crowded.

While performing dill , i pressed shutter to freeze it.

Another aerial shot offered new perspective of moving boat.

Streets were filled with festive mood and it was vibrant.

They halted near the bank after the first round and it got flooded by  thousands of people from far

All boats were assembled at the end point for drilling purpose before race was started.

The fury of oarsmen were well seen.

One of the two snake boats reaching the first position to win the race.

Devotees thronged the bank of river to witness the grand boat race.

Exciting visitor was curious to know what was going to happen.

After reaching the final lap,  they were anchoring it near the bank.

A huge crowd thronged near the veeyapuram bridge to witness the boat race

Curious passengers were taking pictures using mobile phone.

Mesmerizing sun set enthralled us with this view

All images are copy right protected and shouldn’t be used without explicit permission.

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