Alappuzha: Kerala is set to host the Nehru Boat Race here on Saturday with nearly 80 boats participating.
The 65th edition of the race, named after Jawaharlal Nehru, will take place in the Vembanad lake in the presence of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Of the 78 boats of various sizes and shapes slated to take part, 24 are snake boats.
The snake boat race is the main tourist attraction because of its length, from 120 to 140 feet and with about 120 oarsmen.
The history of the event dates to 1952 when Nehru visited the area and a small flotilla of decorated boats accompanied him from Kottayam to Alappuzha on the famed backwaters.
An impromptu race was conducted in his honour. Thrilled by the performance of the oarsmen, Nehru jumped into a snake boat.
On returning to Delhi, he donated a silver trophy, a replica of a snake boat placed on a wooden abacus with an inscription and his signature. This trophy is awarded to the winner of the snake boat category every year.