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Crushed by deluge, buoyed up by spirits

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Palliyoda Karayogam has taken up repair work of Edayaranmula Palliyodam

Palliyodams, or snakeboats, have always had a pride of place for villages in the Pampa river basin in and around Aranmula.

Palliyodam means boat of Lord Parthasarathy, presiding deity of Sree Parthasarathy Temple situated on the banks of the Pampa river at Aranmula. There are 52 of them in and around Aranmula.

Palliyoda Karayogams, representing the villages along the Pampa, are the custodians of these boats that cut through the river during the Onam regatta, known as Uthrittathi Vallamkali. A reignited enthusiasm for the sport and associated pageantry seems to be dusting off the snakeboat-building technology. And only a few master craftsmen are left in the field. The devastating deluge of August 2018 had damaged a few palliyodams anchored in the river as it being the Onam festival season. A snakeboat at Ranni that had been washed away up to Vaipur in Alappuzha — nearly 60 km downstream of Ranni — was shredded into pieces.

The 21-year-old Edayaranmula Palliyodam that was anchored near the Aranmula temple too was badly damaged in the nature’s fury.

₹25 lakh

The Palliyoda Karayogam has taken up the repair works on the 115-ft-long, 6-ft-wide Edayaranmula Palliyodam at an estimated cost of ₹25 lakh, says N.K. Krishnan Nair, boat-building committee convener.

Changamkari Venu Achary, master craftsman who had originally built the vessel, has undertaken the repairs, say Rajashekharan Nair and Vanamali, committee members.

Aranmula Palliyodams are unique in their shape and structure. Only the central portion touches the water.

Mr. Krishnan Nair says the repair work will be completed by Vishu in mid-April next year.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2019 10:52:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/crushed-by-deluge-buoyed-up-by-spirits/article30110154.ece

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