The 65th annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race is all set to take place today at Punnamada Lake in Kerala. It will be inaugurated by Chief Minister of the state, Pinarayi Vijayan at 2PM.
The race has been named after the first Prime Minster of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. As a matter of fact, the annual event is held on the second Saturday of August. This year, the event is being conducted on August 12.
As many as 78 boats will be part of the race, and out of them 24 are chundans (snake boats). Twenty snake boats will participate in the race in five heats while the other four will be part of exhibition race.
Race enthusiasts are expecting a thrilling battle between the top teams. Karichal Chundan which was the winner last year will put all the efforts to retain the trophy. Other strong contenders which are gunning for the trophy include Vellamkulangara, Jawahar, Mahadevan, Gabriel Chundan, Payipaadan Chundan and Karuvatta.
More than one lakh people are expected to attend the prestigious event. Galleries and pavilions have been erected so as to accommodate them.
Several politicians will grace the event including Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu, Kerala’s ministers G. Sudhakaran, T.M. Thomas Isaac, E. Chandrasekharan. The Nehru pavilion has been reserved for the VVIPs.
Officials have worked hard to ensure the event turns out to be a successful affair. A mechanized starting system has been installed because disputes and clashes over the starting point has affected the smooth conduct of the race many times in the past. A digital platform which can count the time of the boats has been set up at the finishing point. The viewers at the even can check the finishing time through the digital display.
The race will be broadcasted live on Doordarshan while All India Radio (AIR) will provide the running commentary.