Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Aranmula Vallasadya: Snake boats, Feast and a bunch of good people

Kerala, the small penisular state in the southern part of India, got its name from the abundant cocunut trees (Kera trees). But one of the most popular things about Kerala which stays in the minds of tourists is undoubtedly the beautiful Snake Boats. In local slang it is called "Chundan vallam" or the Beaked boat. The annual Nehru trophy boat race at Alappuzha and the annual Aranmula Uthrattathi Boat race draw a lot of crowds even from the western countries. Here I try to take you through another ritual based on the Snake boats - the Valla Sadya.

My journey to Aranmula temple on the weekend just before Onam was to attend a "Vallasadya", an offering to Aranmula temple.The ritual consists of rowing the snake boat to the temple, following all the traditions. On reaching the temple a pooja ensues, followed by a good feast for which the person who is offering the Vallasadya can invite guests. Since this vallasadya was been conducted by one of my relatives, we were invited for this function.

By the time I reached the starting point of the boat christened "Laka - Idayaranmula chundan" the rowers had already embarked on the boat dressed in traditional attire.

Believe me, this thing is really huge and can accommodate around 100 people, with the protruding back portion standing as tall as 15feet.


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