Here is happy news for festival buffs in Kerala. The state-run public transport corporation is getting ready to charter special buses to have a glimpse of the annual Nehru Trophy boat race, which will be held on September 4.
Named after the first Prime Minister of the country, Jawaharlal Nehru, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race is conducted on the Punnamada Lake, near Alappuzha district.
It was instituted to commemorate the visit of the late Nehru to the area and his boat ride on the tranquil lake.
Seeking to cash in on the upcoming Onam festivities and the Malayalees’ inherent interest in boat races, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has come up with an exclusive tour programme offering people an opportunity to enjoy the spectacle at an affordable price.
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The highlight of the package, announced by the budget tourism cell of the KSRTC, was the cost-effective travel from various districts to Alappuzha, which plays host to the historic boat race every year, and arranging of tickets to watch the event.
According to KSRTC sources, chartered buses would be arranged from various districts based on the demand from the public and the tickets costing Rs 500 and Rs 1000 would be made available to the travellers. A counter would be opened at the KSRTC depot at Alappuzha on Monday for the public to buy the boat race tickets. Those who book the tickets online and through Whatsapp can also collect it from the same counter, they added.
The boat race is named after Nehru to commemorate his visit to Kuttanad in the year 1952, during his first tour of Kerala after independence.
He was escorted by the huge snake-boats giving him a roaring reception on his way to Alappuzha from Kottayam then.
Impressed by the reception and the tremendous excitement of sailing in a snake-boat, Nehru donated a rolling trophy to be awarded to the winner. This trophy was later christened the ‘Nehru Trophy.’ An invitation extended to Union Home Minister Amit Shah by Kerala’s Left government to attend the colourful water sport this year was criticised by the Congress recently.
While the opposition party alleged the invitation extended to Shah revealed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s ”loyalty towards the communal forces and his love for the BJP”, the government has defended the decision, saying the Union Minister, along with the CMs of southern states, has been invited for watching the spectacular event as they will be in Kerala to attend the 30th Southern Zonal Council meeting on the eve of the event.