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The annual snake boat races are a thrilling festival event held in Alappuzha. These annual races feature many classes of boats but the most spectacular event is the race between the giant snake boats or chundan vallams held on the Punnamada Backwaters at Alappuzha. The chundanvallams can seat upto hundred people. The rowers pull with all their might, sitting two on a row along the length of the boat.
The boats float low in the water and have a long curving stern.

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The prow is pointed in shape or may have a decorative knot at the end.
The prow rides low in the water with the length of the snake boat extending behind it.
Apart from the rowers, the chundan vallam carries a cox and leaders who maintain the rhythm of rowing through chants, songs and exclamations.

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Nearly 30 chundan vallams or snake boats participate in the festival, singing traditional boat songs. Each snake boat belongs to a village and is worshipped like deity. Every year the boat is oiled with fish oil, coconut shell and carbon, mixed with eggs to keep the wood strong and boat slippery in the water.

The most renowned of the boat races are Nehru Trophy Boat Race, Champakkulam Boat Race, Aranmula Uthrattadi Vallamkali, Payippad Jalotsavam etc.

The excitement of the Snake boat races has to be experienced to be appreciated. The snake boat races at Alappuzha have become a popular attraction for international travelers.

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