River Pamba, Aranmula
Considered an auspicious event, it is held on the day of the star sign of Uthrattathi, in the Malayalam month of Chingam. The race among the handcrafted snake boats in the river Pamba is an offering to Lord Krishna, who is worshipped as Parthasarathy at Aranmula Sree Parthasarathy Temple. The boats used for this race are called Palliyodam with the design credited to the Lord who is said to have appeared on a raft made of six bamboo poles. Aaru in Malayalam means six and Mula means bamboo, giving the village its name Aranmula.
One of the many legends around Onam says that a Brahmin man vowed to provide all the provisions for the Thiruvona Sadya or the feast on the day of Thiruvonam at the temple. But the team in the boat carrying the provisions came under siege from enemy factions on its voyage to the temple. Soon snake boats from the neighbouring areas arrived to rescue them. It is in memory of this incident that the grand tradition of the special snake boat race is held. Every year, it attracts countless spectators from around the world, the cheering and festivities surrounding it being unmatched.