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Kerala postpones the Nehru Boat Race -- for third year running
Alappuzha, August 7, 2020
Kerala's signature event -- the annual Nehru boat race, scheduled for the second Saturday in August, has been postponed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisers said.
The race this year would be the 68th edition of the hugely popular event, which has always been considered the curtain-raiser for a new tourist season in Kerala.
But things have not gone according to plans in the previous few years, with delays in in 2018 and then in 2019, on account of the worst-ever floods witnessed in the state.
The race was finally held in November in 2018 and on August 31 in 2019.
The history of the event dates to 1952 when then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited the area and a small flotilla of decorated boats accompanied him from Kottayam to Alappuzha on the famed backwaters.
An impromptu race was conducted in his honour. Thrilled by the performance of the oarsmen, Nehru, too, jumped into a snake boat.
On returning to Delhi, he donated a silver trophy, comprising a replica of a snake boat placed on a wooden abacus with an inscription and his signature.
This trophy is awarded to the winner of the snake boat category every year.
The snake boat race is the main tourist attraction because of the boat's length, spanning from 120 to 140 feet, and with about 120 oarsmen to propel it.