Information on Nehru trophy boat race
Preparations for the big event begin several weeks in advance. The snake boat is smeared with sardine oil for smooth passage through water, the best oarsmen are selected and, under the supervision of the senior most oarsmen, the practice sessions begin. Around 150 oarsmen, who would represent the village, take the vow to observe strict abstinence and celibacy till the oars to each of them. Each ward in the village and at time rich individuals takes their turn in feeding the athletes on the days of the practice at mass feasts on the river banks.
Even in the days of untouchables, this was a feature of the regattas with caste Hindus, Scheduled Castes, Christians and Muslims sitting in the same row for the feast symbolising the communal amity in Kuttanad. In fact, the Church has a traditional role in the celebrations at Champakkulam though the water festival there is associated with a temple legend.