Friday, July 6, 2007

Chundan Vallam

Chundan Vallam

Chundan Vallam (Chundan boat) known to outside world as Kerala snake boats is one of the icons of Kerala culture used in Vallamkali (boat race).


Constructed according to specifications taken from the Sthap Athya Veda, an ancient treatise for the building of wooden boats. These boats are about 100 to 158 ft in length, with the rear portion towering to a height of about 20 ft. and a long tapering front portion. It resembles a snake with its hood raised. Its hull is built of planks precisely 83 feet in length and six inches wide.


It is decorated with golden lace. And there will be a flag and two or there ornamental umbrella.


Traditionally each boat belongs to a village and the villagers worship that boat like a deity. Only men are allowed to touch the boat and to show respect they should be barefooted. To make the boat slippery while in water it is oiled with a mixture of fish oil, coconut shell carbon and eggs. Repair works are done annually is done by the village carpenter.

Capacity and Usage

Traditionally it will be commanded by a Kaarnavan / Karanaadhan Village leader)with 'First Adanayampu' and under him there will be three main oarsmen, symbolize the four Vedas who control the movement of the boat with 12 feet long main rudder-oar (Adanayampu). Sitting two in row along the length of the Boat there will be 64 oarsmen, representing 64 art forms (or sometimes there will be 128 oarsmen). They row in rhythm of the vanchipattu (boatman's song). There will be around 25 singers in a row at the middle between the oresmen. And in the middle of the second half of the boat is a platform for eight people to stand from where the main singer will lead the song.They represent the Ashtadikpalakas(the Devas or Gods who guard the eight directions).A colourful and decorated umbrella also will be there.Sreerenganathan 06:04, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

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