Images of India : The great snake boat race…

snake-boatsA hundred men bring down their oars in perfect harmony with frenzied beats of drums, creating a drizzle in mid-air as spectators go wild. The boat that springs forward is one of the biggest in a water sport anywhere in the world. Each team has 110 players. The wooden boats they row are nearly 140 ft (42.6m) long with the stern rising 15 ft above the surface of the water. And each race has at least 20 teams, leaving the audience with an unenviable task of viewing 2,200 players competing at the same time. If it were in the Olympics, the snake boat race would be the largest team sport in the world. The snake boat race boasts of the biggest statistics for a game, but it takes only a little over four minutes for a boat to row to victory over a watery track of 1 km. Most people come to watch the marquee race for the Nehru Trophy in the famed backwaters of the seaside town of Alappuzha (Allepy). But there are 50 more boats of various sizes and shapes, which participate in different categories. One of those categories is for boats that used to be kitchens for the king of the region centuries ago.