Sydney hosts Kerala’s traditional snake boat race: ‘A bridge of our strong cultural connect’
Nine teams took part in the event that underscored the Indian diaspora’s initiative to remain connected to their roots.
Jubilant members of Navodaya Minnal Chundan after winning the first prize in the Traditional Kerala Boat Race organised by the World Malayalee Council Sydney province in Sydney, Australia, on October 14, 2023. (Picture: India in Australia X account/@cgisydney)
‘VALLAM Kali’, the traditional snake boat race of the southern Indian state of Kerala, was organised for the first time in Sydney, Australia, on October 14 and nine teams from various Malayalee associations in the country took part in it.
The event — ‘Traditional Kerala Boat Race’ — was organised by the World Malayalee Council (WMC)-Sydney Province and the teams that participated included Gosford Kombans, Parakkum Chundan, Akkare Akkare Akkare, Kannan Srank, Elara Chundan, Shaji Pappan, Navodaya Minnal Chundan, MAQ Chundan and Aviyal Chundan, The Australia Today reported.
The festival pays homage to local legends and underscores the region’s enduring cultural heritage.
Navodaya Minnal Chundan bagged the first prize of 15 gold coins and an ever-rolling trophy while Parakkum Chundan won the second prize of 500 grams worth of silver coins and an ever-rolling trophy.
According to The Australia Today report, the boat race not only showcased the participants’ sporting talent and served as a platform to promote India’s cultural heritage Down Under but also marked a milestone in the Indian diaspora’s endeavour to remain connected to their roots. The event also aimed at taking the spirit and traditions of Kerala to a wider audience.
“Team Navodaya is so excited and elated to be part of the first ever boat race conducted by WMC and becoming the winners. We had people with different fitness level, from different places of Kerala,” Shahin Hareendran, captain of Navodaya Minnal Chundan, was quoted as saying by The Australia Today.
“Still we were one, backing each other, pushing each other up and we are the champions. It was equally fun as well as spirit raising victory. Love you all for wonderful support. I thank the whole team for the continuous efforts they put in to make it to the champions and the splendid sportsmanship,” he added.
Irfan Malik, WMC Sydney chair & WMC global chair for corporate, industry partnerships and CSR impact, said the race was held in Sydney harbour on Parramatta river supported by the Indian consulate general in Sydney, the local government of New South Wales and Ryde City Council.
“This event brought local Australians and Indian Diaspora together to enjoy this boat race as a bridge of our strong cultural connect with an enthralling atmosphere and support from all community leaders truly reflecting Vasudhaiva Kuttumbakam (the world is one family) at its gloriest best!” he was quoted as saying.
“It was such a pleasure to attend the Kerala boat event today. The event was very well organised. We thoroughly enjoyed watching the races and dances. Very nice event to bring the community together.”