Kumarakom has a wide variety of houseboats. They are used only for tourists these days. A separate boat known as Kettuvallam is used by the people to go fishing or to transport goods. Apart from these, there are elegant special boats like Kochu-odi Vallam, Odi-Vallam, Iruttukutthi Vallam, Churulan Vallam and Chundan Vallam (Snake Boat), which take part in the boat races during Onam time. The Kumarakom boat-race is conducted in the big canal in the centre near the market. There is a private sailing club in Kumarakom, located on the shore of the Vembanad lake.
Boat races are held during Onam, the harvest festival in August/September. Scores of long snake boats and other smaller crafts participate in these events. The largest team sport in the world, the snake boat races are preceded by colorful water parades. Usually a snake boat is having four helmsmen, 25 singers and 100 - 125 oarsmen who row in combination with the fast rhythm of the vanchipattu (song of the boatman).
The electrifying races by carved wooden boats set the backwaters on cheers. The 'Nehru Boat Race', is the most exciting of all the boat-races. It is held on the second saturday of August. During the 'Onam' festival, many boat-races including the spectacular Aranmula boat-race are conducted in the Alappuzha region. Kavanattinkara, near Kumarakom hosts another boat-race with almost 50 race boats as participants on the next day after Onam.
A huge crowd on the banks cheer the huge black crafts as they pass smoothly through the waters to a spectacular finish. These events have curious legends and myths and beliefs attached to their origin.
The snake boat races of Kerala conducted from July to September, with four of the oldest and most important events Champakulam Moolam Boat Race, Aranmula Uthrattadi Vallamkali, Payippad Jalotsavam, Nehru Trophy Boat Race.
Travelhot.in offers exciting Kumarakom tour packages.