When spirited rowers dipped their oars in unison cutting the placid water surface at a tremendous pace, hundreds of onlookers here burst into joy forgetting the wounds inflicted by the flood of the century.
They thronged the banks of the panoramic Punnamada Lake here and clapped and cheered the oarsmen as they powered their ‘chundan vallam’ (snake-boats) at a vigorous pace.
Their joy went boundless when the majestic ‘Payippadan’, the snake-boat powered by the oarsmen of the Pallathuruthi boat club, lifted the trophy of the 66th edition of the famed Nehru Trophy boat race at the end of the thrilling regatta Saturday.
The prestigious annual boat race was slated to be held on August 11, but was postponed due to the destruction caused by the deluge, the worst faced by the State in the last 100 years.
While the snake-boat ‘Mahadevikkad Kattilthekkethil’ came second, ‘Aayaparambu Pandi’ and ‘Chambakulam’ secured the third and fourth spots respectively as thousands of spectators gathered on the banks to cheer them.
Around 25 snake boats, known as chundan vallam in local parlance, took part in the event, organisers said.
A large number of spectators including foreigners thronged the banks of the lake to get a glimpse of the event, which is considered as one of the biggest water sport events in the country.
The Nehru trophy was instituted to commemorate the visit of the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to the area and his boat ride in the lake.
Earlier, Governor P Sathasivam inaugurated the boat race. Actor Allu Arjun and the members of the Indian Super League (ISL)team Kerala Blasters were present during the event.