The famous Aranmula snake boat regatta in Kerala will not be a competitive race in the Pampa river waters at this year's Onam festival, and will instead return to its roots as a spectacle of color and song.
The ruling in favor of regalia, the Pallioda Seva Sanghom(PSS) which conducts the show, has decided to do away with the race format during the Uthrattadhi Vallamkali in August. What caused concern was the influence of competitive sport on the legacy of style and color.
" The AranmulaVallamkali has strong moorings in the traditions of the centuries-old Sree Parthasarathy temple at Aranmula, regarded as one of the 101 Vaishnava Tirupati", PSS secretary P.R Radhakrishnan, added.
The Vallamkali marks the anniversary of the idol installation at the Aranmula temple and participates 50 Pallioda Karayogams which have their own snake boats. The high-crested boats that take part are distinct from those used in races elsewhere in Kerala, Some of the participants were recruited from Kuttanad, which has a major boat race, and the traditional padding style was overtaken by sport.
The Mannam Trophy will thus go to the snake boat that is adjudged the best in terms of padding style, discipline, the costume of the oarsmen, and Vanchipattu singing.