Alappuzha seal on Kasargod boat races

Building boat worth Rs 8.5 lakh takes three months, but was delayed due to fund crunch.

ALAPPUZHA: Making a ‘mark’ of Alappuzha to the boat races in northern districts, a boat named after Vayalkara Devi is all set for its maiden journey in Tejaswini River in Kasargod. The boat is constructed by a group of carpenters from Kuttanad under Sabu Narayanan from Champ-akulam here, spending Rs 8.5 lakh. It will make its maiden water journey in the presence of minister Ram-achandran Kadannappally on August 20. Champakulam native Joseph Elamkulam who designed it said it has a carrying capacity of 30 oarsmen. Ninety per cent of the work of the anjili craft is over.

This is the first time a team of carpenters from Alappuzha working on the banks of Tejawani, which had played a major role in propagating boat races in the region. It has nurtured more than hundred competent rowers. Now there are six annual events including APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial on Kavvayi River and Mahatma Gandhi Boat Race at Karyamkod river in the region. None of the 13 boats in Iruttukuthi (Churulan) category was constructed in proper traditional design.

“For the first time, a boat is carved following all rules of traditional carpentry strictly under Mr Narayanan who is a doyen in the field. So, it’s expected to reign boat races of the region,” he said. The boat club authorities bought the wood from Meenachil near Pala and took it to Kasaragod. Usually, it takes three months to finish. But it got delayed due to financial crunch of the club.

“We raised money from local people from all faiths. Though the boat was named after Vayalkara Devi, (a traditional deity of Thiyya community in the village), it belongs to all, and it is a symbol of communal harmony," said P.V. Prakasan, coordinator. "The desire to have a boat of their own was born out of inspiration of annual Nehru Trophy Boat race in Alappuzha. It was a long cherished dream. It’s accomplished. We had rowed for many boat clubs in the previous years. This year we will row Valiya Divanji."

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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