The race, being conducted in Kuttanad, is expected to spread the message that tourism is back in Kerala.

Keralas Nehru Trophy Boat Race kicks off with Allu Arjun Kerala Blasters in attendancePhoto: Navin Sigamany
news Sport Saturday, November 10, 2018 - 17:40

The 66th Nehru Trophy Boat Race was inaugurated today by Kerala Governor P Sathasivam at the Punnamada Lake in Kuttanad, Alappuzha. The event’s special guest is Tollywood star Allu Arjun, who came with his wife Sneha Reddy. Team members of Kerala Blasters were also special invitees.

As of now, the heats or prelims competition of the cheru vallam (smaller boats) is complete, and the heats contest of the Chundan vallam (snake boats) has begun. Once the heats competitions are over, the finals will begin.

Earlier today, Allu Arjun and his wife Sneha Reddy arrived in Kochi, and got a grand welcome from the star's many fans in Kerala. The Kerala Blasters team also arrived, bringing a lot of joy to fans in a place that had gone through a lot of suffering in the last few months, following a bout of heavy rainfall and floods. Kuttanad in Alappuzha was one of the worst-hit areas and this had, in turn, affected the state's tourism industry, which depended heavily on the houseboat business of these parts.

In their attempts to rebuild the place and revive tourism, district authorities recently conducted a houseboat tour called ‘Back To Backwaters’. Those who took part in the event were asked to spread the word on social media.

The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is the next big event, which had to be pushed from August to November due to the flood. There are 81 boats taking part in the race -- 25 chundan and 56 cheru boats among them. The chundan will carry more than a hundred oarsmen while the smaller ones carry 40 to 50 people. The NTBR is expected to send out a message that tourism is back in Kerala.

Also read: Alappuzha rises from floods, prepares to host iconic Nehru Trophy Boat Race

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