This event, the most famous single attraction in Alappuzha, is held on the second Saturday of August The Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race is a spectacle and it can be described as the biggest team sport. It is the queerest display of a rural culture and vitality in a fast urbanising world. It is Kerala's greatest tourism event. It is estimated that some two lakh spectators witness this.
The race starts in the afternoon. By the late forenoon itself, the rows of bleachers under the palms are packed and other spectators have scaled up the overhanging palms and, the richer ones, have even come here in their own cabin cruises and motor boats. There is an air of tense expectation. Chundan Vallams (Snake Boats) manned by scores of rowers shaded by colorful umbrellas presents a spectacular sight.
There is always severe competition as Snake boats sponsored by different villages and with more than 100 rowers in each race to finish it to the accompaniment of rousing music. When the starter's flag falls a roar tears out of thousands of throats. The oared boats cleave through the water accompanied by frenzied cheering. Some palm-straddling spectators even tumble off their perch. The greatest roar, however, is reserved for the battle of the hundred-oared chundan valloms: those ram-snouted battle wagons of another age, with flaring tails on which their straining helmsmen lean on steering oars. You have' missed water-sports if you've not seen the battle of the Chundan Valloms off Alappuzha.