Aranmula (Pathanamthitta): The annual snake boat regatta, Uthrattathi Vallamkali, was held in the Pampa at Aranmula with traditional fervour and gaiety on Saturday.
The snake boats (palliyodams) belonging to the Edasserimala and Edakkulam villages lifted the Mannam trophies in the ‘A’ and ‘B’ categories respectively. The winners also bagged the Devaswom Board's trophy and cash award.
As many as 48 snake boats took part in the race, held in two categories, while 51 snake boats participated in the pageantry.
Inaugurating the event here in the afternoon, Cultural Affairs Minister Saji Cherian said steps would be taken to make the annual water regatta at Aranmula a key part of the state’s cultural heritage. The boat race here forms the part and pride of Aranmula natives, he said.
“Plans are afoot to establish a Chengannur-Aranmula Heritage Village with the Pampa as its core at a cost of Rs 1 crore. The government aims to develop tourism while conserving the environment,” the minister added. K S Rajan, President of the Palliyoda Seva Sanghom, presided over the event.
On the occasion, Agriculture Minister P Prasad launched the souvenir titled ‘Panchajanyam’. Health Minister Veena George flagged off the snake boat pageantry while the Travancore Devaswom Board President K Ananthagopan inaugurated the boat race that followed. Nair Service Society president P N V Ayyappan Pillai presented trophies to the winners.
Earlier, braving the heavy downpour, a huge crowd gathered on both sides of the Pampa River to witness the race. The excitement in the air was palpable right from the morning as overnight showers wiped off the lingering concerns of a declining water level in the river.
The annual water carnival, which marks the anniversary of the idol installation at the Sree Parthasarathy temple, is regarded as one of the oldest events of its kind in the state.