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Snake boats (Chundan Vallams or chundans )in Alappuzha (Alleppey) Kerala, India

snake boat chundan in kerala

A snakeboat .Photo by M T Cherian

The snake-boats, it is said, have its origins in Alappuzha with a history of over 400 years when kings of erstwhile Chempakasseri (Ambalappuzha), Kayamkulam, Thekkumkoor (Changanassery), and Vadakkumkoor (Kottayam) fought battles on these boats in the backwaters of Kuttanad.

Chundans or snake boats are some of the largest human powerd boats in the world. It can accomodate about 100 oarsmen who can produce 90 to 120strokes per minute, the 100 foot chundan can cover a distance of 1.4 kms in about 5 minutes.

The first design of a chundan was submitted by Kodupunna Venkitanarayanan Asari, because of the eel like structure these boats are called snake boats by foreigners.

Snake Boat race is stated to be the sport event having the highest number of members in a single team. Usually, a snake boat is manned by four helmsmen, 25 cheerers /singers and 100-125 oarsmen, who row in unison to the fast rhythm of `vanchipattu'or boatmen's song.

Related Links
View the snake boat gallery

For details of snake boat races in 2014 in kerala click here

Palliyodams : Another class of snake boats are called the Palliyodams meaning boat of Lord Parthasarathy


Some famous chundans

Sree Ganesh chundan rowed by Alappuzha Town Boat club

Karuvatta Puthen Chundan rowed by Punnamada Boat club
Champakulam chundan ( snake boat)

Ayyaparambu Valiya Deevanji rowed by Paravur amrita Boat club

Cheruthana chundan rowed by Manjadikara angel Boat club

Karichal chundan rowed by st.george and Jesus boat club kollam

Payipad chundan rowed by Kumarakom Boat club

Vellamkulangara chundan rowed by Arpunkara navajeevan Boat club

Anari chundan rowed by kayinakari village Boat club

Ayyaparamba Pandi chundan

Karuvatta Sree Vinayaka rowed by Karuvatta Boat club

.Kavalam chundan,

Karichal chundan

Pulinkunnu chundan

Jawahar Thayankari chundan

Kallooparamban chundan

Nadumbhagam chundan, the longest snake boat made of wood

St George chundan

Sree Vinayaka chundan

Illikkalam chundan snake boat
Parthasarathi chundan

Ambedkar chundan



houseboats kerala alappuzha kumarakom






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