In News: Recently Vallam Kali and Pulikali were observed during the onam festival in Kerala.
About Vallam Kali:
- It is a traditional boat race in Kerala, India.
- It is a form of canoe racing, and uses paddled war canoes.
- It is mainly conducted during the season of the harvest festival Onam in autumn.
- The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is a popular vallam kali event held in the Punnamada Lake near Alappuzha, Kerala, India.
- Under this the race of chundan vallam is the major event.
- Hence Vallam Kali is also known as the snake boat race and is a major tourist attraction.
- The snake boat, or ‘chundan vallam’ is essentially a long canoe that can seat up to 100 rowers and can have a length between 100 and 138 feet in length.
- Snake boat races owe their origins as far back as the 13th century when princely kingdoms, located in present-day Alappuzha along the backwaters, would have raging battles in the water.
- These battles used to be fought on the snake boats especially constructed for the purpose.
- It is a folk art of Kerala performed on the fourth day of Onam festival.
- It is popularly called as Tiger Dance.
- In this artists wear a tiger mask, paint their bodies like tigers and dance to the rhythm of traditional percussion instruments such as thakil, udukku and chenda.
About Onam Festival:
- It is a major annual event for Malayali people in and outside Kerala celebrated during August-September months.
- It is a harvest festival, one of three major annual Hindu celebrations along with Vishu and Thiruvathira.
- It is observed with numerous festivities which include Vallam Kali (boat races), Pulikali (tiger dances), Pookkalam (flower Rangoli), Onathappan (worship) etc.
- According to legends, the festival is celebrated to commemorate King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam