Champakulam Boat Race associated with Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple

The origin of one of the oldest boat race in Kerala, the Champakulam Boat Race is associated with the history of Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple. Champakulam Moolam Boat Race, also known as Moolam Vallamkali, is annual traditional boat race held on the Moolam asterism (Mool Nakshatra) day of the Malayalam month of Midhunam every year. Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Swamy Temple also celebrates the Prathista day (idol installation day) of Ambalapuzha Sreekrishnan idol on the same day. There is a legend associated with this which is explained below. 

Legend of Champakulam Boat Race and deity of Sree Krishna Temple Ambalapuzha

Champakulam Boat Race and legend of Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna TempleThe history of Champakulam Boat Race dates back to 1545 AD. History has it that the Maharaja of Chempakasseri, Sri Pooradam Thirunal Devanarayanan constructed a temple at Ambalapuzha according to the instructions of the royal astrologers. Just before the installation of the temple deity, the Raja of Chempakasseri was informed that the idol to be installed at the temple was not auspicious. The king got disturbed and thinking of a solution the priests suggested him that they can bring the auspicious idol of Sree Krishna from the Karikulam temple in Kurichi. This idol was presented to Arjuna by the Lord Krishna himself and hence it is the best one to be installed in the temple.

The minister and a few others went to Kurichi to bring the idol of Lord Krishna. On the way back they took shelter at Champakulam at a Christian household, the home of Mappilassery Itty Thommen – a loyal subject and a confidant of the Maharaja of Chempakasseri. Next day poojas were made to the deity and a huge mass of people accompanied the idol in a colourful ceremonial procession to Ambalapuzha Temple. The King was very pleased with the love and affection of the people and declared to commemorate these events every year with a great water carnival. This resulted in the Champakulam Snake Boat Race on the Malayalam Midhuna Masam every year. Rajapramukhan Trophy is awarded to the winning team in the Champakulam Vallamkali.

Tourist Attractions of Champakulam Boat Race

The major tourist attractions of Champakulam Vallamkali include decorated boats, extravagant water floats, Vanchipattu - the song of the oarsmen, and the thrilling Chundanvallom race. Chundan Vallams are huge snake shaped boats which are more than 100 feet length raised prows.

How to reach Champakulam

Champakulam Boat Race is held at Champakulam, which is around 26 KM from Alappuzha. Champakulam is around 18 KM from Changanassery by road.

Boat Services

The place is also linked by ferry services through the backwaters of Alappuzha (1 hour), Kumarakom (3 hours), Changanacherry (3 hours), Cochin (4 hours), and Kollam (8 hours).

By Air

The nearest international airports are Cochin International Airport (85 km) and Trivandrum International Airport (150 km).


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