The major attraction of Kerala can be said to be the snake boat race (Vallamkali) a sport that displays excellent team spirit, integration and amity of people of Kerala. Snake boat races are usually held in connection with Onam, the harvest festival in August/September. Scores of long snake boats and other smaller crafts participate in this event. The largest team sport in the world, the snake boat races are preceded by colourful water parades.
Usually a snake boat is manned by 4 helmsmen, 25 singers and anything between 100-125 oarsmen who row in unison to the fast rhythm of the vanchipattu (song of the boatman). Thousands of people crowd the water's edge to cheer the huge black crafts as they race through the placid waters to the finishing point.
The oldest of these events have curious legends and myths attached to their origin. Myths closely linked to the rustic people and their beliefs.
The oldest and most important events in this connection are the
Champakulam Moolam Boat Race (July)
Aranmula Uttrattadi Vallamkali (September)
Payippad Jalotsavam (August)
Nehru Trophy Boat Race (August)
The other boat races held during Onam ie (August/ September) are
ATDC Boat Race - Allapuzha
Rajiv Gandhi Boat Race - Pulikunnu
Neerettupuram Boat Race
Kumarakom Boat Race
Karuvatta Boat Race
Kavanattinkara Boat Race - Kumarakom
Arpookara Vanitha Jalamela - Kottayam
Mahatma Boat Race - Mannar
Thazhathangadi Boat Race - Kottayam
Kottapuram Boat Race - Kodungaloor
Kumarasan Smaraka Jalotsavam - Pallana
The Indira Gandhi Boat Race is held on the Ernakulam Lake during the Cochin Carnival in the last week of December.
Winters in December to March and monsoons in May are the best time to go to Kerala. The day time temperature is about 32 degrees and night temperature drops to the lowest of 20 degrees. The hottest months are April, May and June, where the temperature soars above 36 degrees with high humidity.