Edayaranmula East lifts R. Sankar memorial trophy for best performance in snakeboat pageantry
The annual Uthrittathi snakeboat regatta was held with traditional fervour and gaiety on the Pampa river at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district on Friday afternoon.
The regatta marks the anniversary of the idol installation at the centuries-old Sree Parthasarathy temple at Aranmula.
The snakeboats (palliyodams) belonging to the Maramon and Kottathoor karayogams lifted the Mannam trophies in the ‘A’ and ‘B’ categories respectively. Mallappuzhassery and Thottappuzhassery came second.
The Edayaranmula East palliyodam lifted the R. Sankar memorial trophy for best performance in the snakeboat pageantry held prior to the race.
Film star Suresh Gopi flagged off the pageantry after lighting a ceremonial lamp at the pavilion prepared on the banks of the Pampa at Sathrakkadavu at 2 p.m.
P.N. Narendranathan Nair, president, Nair Service Society (NSS), presided over the inaugural ceremony.
Mr. Suresh Gopi said the Uthrittathi boat race and the feast for the oarsmen were ritualistic events rooted in the rich rustic tradition of Aranmula. The actor said he himself had offered a feast at the Parthasarathy temple this year and a galaxy of stars would be offering as many as 16 feasts next year.
He said he would institute an ever-rolling gold trophy for the winners of the race held as part of the regatta from next year.
According to local people, Aranmula witnessed an unprecedented crowd at this year’s boat race.
Raju Abraham, Ranni MLA, delivered the keynote address. P.K. Kumaran, Travancore Devaswom Board member, inaugurated the boat race. K.N. Viswanatha Pillai, NSS treasurer, presented the trophies to the winners.
A strong contingent of the police was deployed at Aranmula and Superintendent of Police P. Vimaladitya supervised the security arrangements.
As many as 44 snakeboats took part in the race, held in two categories. Forty-seven snakeboats participated in the pageantry.
Ajayan, an oarsman belonging to the Pulloopram karayogam, near Ranni, was reportedly missing in the river when the boat capsized a few metres down Sathrakkadavu before the beginning of the regatta. A search is on for the missing man, according to the police.