Cochin Snake Boat Race – Old Postcard 1951

An old 1951 photo postcard of  Kerala’s famous snake boat race at Cochin, now Kochi. The pen inscription reads “Feb.17, 1951 Annual Race Cochin India Malabar Hotel”. The boaters are getting ready for the annual event that was once held in Kochi. Snake boat race or “Vallom Kalli” in Malayalam is unique to Kerala only. It dates back to over 400-500 years and is still going strong annually.

The biggest of this race is the annual Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race at the Punnamada Lake. The lake is an extension of the Vembanad lake in Alleppey, now Alappuzha. Many of the smaller races are held in the backwaters and lakes of Kerala. The snake boats called chundan valloms (Malayalam) vary in size from small to medium to large.

The larger ones are 140 feet and can accommodate 110 oarsmen. And it comes to life magically once the men pitch their oars synchronously into the water. With the rhythmical thumping and chanting, the snake boats shoot forward swiftly. Originally the Chundan Valloms were war boats. Most of the chundan valloms are named after the village where it is built.

Read more Vallam kali.

Did you know- this event is the biggest water sport anywhere in the world. 

From the collection-  1971 Raja Ravi Varma Commemorative First Day Cover., Britishers On Tour of Cochin Backwaters – Old Photo 1895., Taj Mahal Hotel Bombay -1907 Rare Advertisement., 24 Choice Views Of Bombay – Photogravure Book 1915

The images are of the actual items from my collection. And Not a photocopy, pirated, reproduced, or stock photos or taken from other sources.