75 years of Gothuruth Boat Race

Jul 01, 2013 | Vol. 5, Issue 3
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Gothuruthu Boat Race (Kerala, India) celebrates its Platinum Jubilee, the 75th year. The event takes place in one of the tributaries of River Periyar and since 1938, the boat race is conducted every year on third Sunday of September, which happens to be the feast day of Holy Cross, as well.

Along with the waves of river Periyar the heart and soul of people in and around the small island of  Gothuruthu reverberate to the rhythm of songs of boatmen, as they all gear up to celebrate the famous Gothuruthu Boat race. Gothuruthu Boat Race celebrates its Platinum Jubilee, the 75th year. The event takes place in one of the tributaries of River Periyar and since 1938, the boat race is conducted every year on third Sunday of September, which happens to be the feast day of Holy Cross, as well. Kadalvathruth Holy Cross boat jetty which forms the focal point of 'Muziris' backwater sceneries forms the finishing point and hosts the VIP pavilion of GBR.

The races are usually held in boats of various shapes and sizes - Churulan Vallam, Iruttukuthy Vallam, Odi Vallam, Veppu Vallam, Vadakkanody Vallam, Kochu Vallam etc. However, it is Chundan Vallam (snake boat) that hogs much of the attention because of its attractive shape and massive size.

Gothuruthu is a quiet and serene island village situated in the Periyar river with rich  cultural heritage  and communal harmony. It is  connected to the mainland by two main bridges, the Gothuruth-Moothakunnam bridge and the Gothuruth-Vadakkumpuram bridge. According to history this island was created due to a flood in the early 14th century. This island has got two big churches, St.Sebastian's Church and Holy Cross Church, under Roman Catholic Diocese of Kottapuram. The river bank is dotted with numerous traditional Chinese fishing nets. The village is also known for the unique art form- Chavittu Nadakam, a colourful theatre form of Christian tradition with music and drama. The special feature of this art is that the artists stamp or strike (Chavittu) the dance floor producing resonant sounds to accentuate the dramatic situations.

Local support

GBR forms a mega event of over 7000 families hailing from various islands and the mainland near to Gothuruthu. On the day of GBR, houses located on the shores of Periyar will be filled with their family members and friends as spectators. .  The tributary of River Periyar which happens to be the venue of GBR derives pride in having Moothakunnam Sree Narayanamangalam temple and Kadalvathurthu Holy Cross Church on its either banks. This in turn leads to religious harmony and ensures mass participation in the organising of GBR.

Officially though, the Sports & Arts  Club Gothuruth is the organiser, it is the contribution from the families belonging to Gothuruth, numbering over 2,500 support GBR for the last 75 years. Their donations, just as an extension to the offerings to the feast of Holy Cross helped organisers of GBR ensure the initial working capital. With passing years, the expenses for the conduct of race and the prize money kept rising and the organisers resorted to sponsorships from business groups.

Location/access:  Gothuruth is situated approximately 24 km north of Kochi city and just 4km from  North Paravoor Town. The venue of GBR can be accessed from Ernakulam through new Container Road, connecting Vallarpadam islands to Kalamasserry. The venue can also be reached through NH 17, passing through Edappally, Paravur and via Vypin, Munambam, Malyankara after crossing the Goshree bridges.

For Info:  The Secretary
The Sports and Arts Club Gothuruth
Gothuruth p.o , Kadalvathurath
Moothakunnam via, N.paravur, Ernakulam Dist, Kerala- 683516 , (India)

Ph: 9847547730
Email : secretary@gothuruthboatrace.com
www.gothuruthboatrace.com

The coming event of GBR to be held on 22/Sept/2013 from 11am onwards

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