Champakkulam boat race is the first in the list of all boat races that are held in Kerala. The Champakkulam boat race of Kerala is held according to the Malayalam calendar. Usually, it is held on Moolam Vallamkali. Moolam signifies a Malayalam star or Nakshathram of the month Mithunam. In Kerala, Champakkulam boat race is held on the river Pampa. It is regarded as the oldest in all boat races. Since it is the most popular of all boat races, the turn over of people who come to witness the event is huge. The Champakkulam boat race has an interesting legend behind it.
In the days of yore, Maharaja Devanarayana of Chempakasseri was
instructed by the royal priest to build a temple at Ambalappuzha.
However, before he could install he deity, he came to know that the idol
was not propitious. The King was anxious to find a solution to this
problem. His faithful minister suggested a brilliant way out of this
problem. He said the beautiful idol of Lord Krishna at the temple in
Kurichi, which was presented by Arjuna himself, should be brought to
this temple. The minister went there and arrived back with the idol.
While coming back, they stopped for a night at Champakkulam to perform
a holy ceremony. The following morning, a colorful procession of
beautifully decorated boats assembled to escort the auspicious idol to
the temple across a lake. Today, the Champakkulam boat race is held in
the same honor and the age-old tradition is kept alive till date. A
striking demonstration of water floats and decorated boats greet the
spectators before the race. It is a time to spread cheer and well being