Snake boats, India

Photo © Ross Morrison McGill

Hang onto your seat or you’ll end up without one, or even in the water, at this manic boat race. A hysterical atmosphere in which crowd members climb, jostle, cheat, swim or smile to get a pew in front of you sets the scene for what is now a tourist pilgrimage.

The masses come to see a small flotilla of ‘snake boats’ with apparently impossible dimensions compete in a series of races. These huge canoes measure up to 120ft long, and carry up to 100 rowers sitting in tandem, begging the question of how they even stay afloat.

Yet the surprisingly fast craft dart through the backwaters like a snake, propelled by the rowers who paddle to a drum-led beat. The race has taken place in Punnamada Lake, near Alappuzha in Kerala, for over half a century.

Written by - Photo by Ross Morrison McGill

Readers who enjoyed
this article also liked:

  • The Redneck Games, USA

    With tongue firmly placed in cheek, the folks of East Dublin in Georgia decided to create an annual celebration of all things trailer trash.

  • Maison MK, Marrakech

    This quirky little haven is an unusual mix of modern and traditional Moroccan with the “best roof top in the city” according to Jamie Oliver.

  • Kaiju Big Battel, USA

    Monster lovers, maniacs and anime geeks – this is the spectator sport for you.

Discuss

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close