Champakulam Moolam Boat Race

Champakulam Moolam Boat Race 2016 Date

Monday 20 June

(Confirm with local authorities)

The Champakulam Moolam Boat Race beautifully tells that festivals of India are not only associated with the religious aspects of people’s lives here but also with their traditions and culture one of which is adventure! Champakulam Chundan Vallam Kali (Chundan Vallam Kali means Snake Boat Race) represents the adventurous side of Indian people along with their sportsmanship spirit through the spectacular snake boat race which finds its roots in a legend related to idol installation in the historic Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple of Alappuzha district in Kerala.

Champakulam Moolam Boat Race Date & Location

Champakulam Moolam Boat Race Kerala

Date: 20 JUne 2016 (confirm with local authorities)

Location: Champakulam village, Alappuzha district, Kerala

Kerala boat races are indispensable part of the lives of people here. Kerala boasts of a series of boat races during June to October every year. Champakulam Boat Race is the oldest and the first boat race of the season each year. It is held on the River Pampa in Champakulam village of Alappuzha district on the Moolam day (Mool Nakshatra) of the Malayalam month Midhunam. This date corresponds with the English months of June-July. Before the boat race, a procession is held every year in memory of the installation of the idol of Lord Shri Krishna. A legend related to this procession will clarify the association between the Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple and the snake boat race.

Champakulam Moolam Boat Race Lagend

Ambalappuzha Temple KeralaIn the year 1545 A.D, the King of Chempakasseri, Pooradam Thirunal Devanarayanan, constructed a temple at Ambalappuzha as per the suggestion of royal astrologers. When the idol of Lord Krishna was about to be installed in the temple, the priests told the king that the idol was not auspicious and suggested to bring the idol of Shree Krishna at the Karikulam temple situated in Kurichi. This was the same sacred idol which was said to have been given to Arjuna by Lord Krishna himself.

The King sent his men to bring the said idol who went in a boat and after taking the idol started their journey back to the Ambalappuzha temple. At night, a Christian family headed by Mappilassery Itty Thommen gave them shelter in their house. Mappilassery Itty Thommen was a loyal subject and a confidant of the king.

Next day, when the idol was being taken to the temple, Mappilassery too accompanied the mass and took part in all the rituals conducted for installation of Krishna’s idol in the Ambalappuzha temple. The Raja (king) was pleased with the love and affection shown to him and his God by a Christian subject and therefore declared that a great water carnival would be held at Champakulam every year to comemmorate the day. Since then, the snake boat race is held every year at Champakulam on Moolam day.

Snake Boat Race Kerala

In the year 1613 A.D., the house of Mappilassery was demolished and reconstructed. Raja Devanarayanan’s successor informed the son of Itty Thommen that the place where the idol was kept in the house was a sacred place and thus should be used only as a place of worship. He also gifted a special lamp made of rare metals to the Christian family to be kept in the holy place. This lamp is known as the Vazhakoombu Vilakku. The son of Itty Thommen was asked to keep the flame of the lamp burning. To provide for the oil of the lamp, some land and coconut groves were granted to the family so that they did not face financial difficulty in keeping the flame of the lamp alive.

Even today, the lamp is kept perpetually burning and the priests and other delegates from the temple go to the house on Moolam day. They take with them gifts and prasadam for the head of the house. This ceremony is referred to as the Moolakazcha. The Temple delegates go to the prayer room, where the lamp is kept along with Christian sacred icons like the cross, and statues of Jesus and Mary. The temple delegates pay regards to the lamp. A sumptuous feast is organized by the Christian family for them. After all these ceremonies, begins the famous Champakulam Snake Boat Race.

Spectacular Snake Boat Race of Champakulam

The grand Chundan vallams or the snake boats of Kerala are very long boats with a length of about 100 ft or more. They have a raised prow which give them their name- ‘Snake Boats.’ When more than 100 oarsmen make the long snake boat cut the waves of the river and speed through the water to leave the other racing boats behind, thousands and lakhs of people standing at the river bank can literally feel the adrenalin rush in their bodies!

The long decorated boats, the extravagant water floats, the song of the oarsmen and the thrill involved in this spectacular water sport has given this festival an international identity. This identity only attracts tourists from world over who head towards the Alappuzha district of Kerala each year to witness the spectacular Champakulam Moolam Boat Race.


The date for the snake boat race has been calculated as per Malyali calendar. Please check the date with official organizers of the boat race. This site is not responsible for any change in the dates of the event.

Add Comment