An Outing to Ashtamudi and the Snake Boat Races

An Outing to Ashtamudi and the Snake Boat Races

Need a change from the daily rigors of the rat race of city life? A change from the daily grind amid the bleak cemented walls and glass panes of artificial life? Maybe a trip back to where nature meant us to be? A chance to rejuvenate and recuperate with the balm of greenery, blue waters and vast open air spaces…

Ashtamudi Lake might be just the right place for you to head out to as the sights, sounds and colors are enough to soothe the most ruffled of minds. With the sun playing peek-a-boo among the swaying palm fronds and the lushness of the green vegetation you feel you have died and been reborn again in paradise! The sweet trilling of the numerous water birds form part of the music to be enjoyed in this vast lake that stretches for about 16km. There are numerous islands and islets dotting the surface of this lake that further add to the romance of this beautiful location and bewitch the mind about various mysterious creatures that could be living among their dense vegetation; for those who are fans of the Jurassic Park series, this is the ideal place to visit! But alas, there will be disappointment as most of these islands are inhabited by villages of simple farming and fisher folks.

Kollam city, which is about 70km from Kerala’s state capital Trivandrum as well as the nearest airport, is set on the banks of the Ashtamudi Lake which forms the gateway for the famous backwaters of Kerala. The lake is shaped like an eight-tentacled octopus and attracts tourists in their thousands every year, both domestic as well as foreign. The best way to experience the Ashtamudi Lake is by taking a boat ride and experience natures gifts at close quarters.

Talking of boats, Ashtamudi Lake is famous for its snake boat race; this adrenaline-thumping event known as the President’s Trophy boat race is conducted once every year on the 1st of November to mark the birth of Kerala state. Usually the Indian President is at hand to give away the trophy to the winning team; it’s a televised event and watched avidly by the locals as well as people who travel far and wide to witness this special event. The various teams are assembled on slim black long wooden boats shaped like canoes and known as snake boats. Snake boat races are conducted in various other water bodies also in Kerala with a history of its being practiced for at least the past 400 years.

Some of these colorful boats can hold up to a 100 people and comprise of a captain, a drummer and a bevy of oarsmen, rowing away in rhythmic unison to the chant of boat songs.

The fervor with which these racing events are appreciated by the public during the month of November has inspired the management of the nearby Raviz hotel to provide similar simulated events for their customers; this great consideration towards its esteemed customers makes The Raviz hotel a favorite among the hospitality industry in Kollam. It’s located on the banks of the Ashtamudi Lake and easily accessible by road, rail as well as air.

So take the opportunity and make a trip that would set the adrenaline pumping back again in your veins and set your mind thrumming with excitement!