The Nehru Trophy boat race, a popular fixture held annually in the Punnamada Lake near Alappuzha in Kerala, is slated to be held in Ras al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates this year, in a move to build on the close-knit ties between the Gulf nation and the southern Indian state, the organisers said on Friday.
The race, named after former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, will be held on March 27, 2022 at the Al Marjan Island.
“The move is to build on the beautiful relationship between UAE and Kerala,” a statement from the organisers said.
The organisers of the UAE Nehru Trophy boat race met Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is currently in the UAE, and briefed him about the same.
“We were conducting boat events in the region for several years. This year, we plan to take it to a grand scale by inviting teams from across the Emirates and present this event to different nationalities in the UAE,” Riyas Katil, Advisory Board Member, International Marine Sports Club, Ras Al Khaimah said.
The Nehru Trophy boat race is amongst the pioneer snake boat races in Kerala is a top tourist draw, where millions gather to watch 100 feet long boats compete to the tunes of old Malayalam folk songs.
The name of the water race was coined following Nehru’s visit to Kerala in 1952.
He was so enchanted by the sight of the majestic snake boats, that he leapt into one of the snake boats himself, ignoring the security cover.
Later on in the year, he donated a silver trophy in the form of a snake boat as a gift for his memories, and subsequently the boat race was named after him.
The boat race was not organised over the past two years in Kerala due to the COVID-19 pandemic.