Tag Archives: harvest

2012 (Part 2)

Kia Ora Fellow Gallopers,

Another year’s come and gone – a year that was packed with events ranging from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to the London Olympics to the US Presidential election. The aftershocks of the economic crisis continued to rock the world economies and the world was to have ended this year.

While being a silent spectator to the atrocities that one fellow human inflicts on another, this beautiful planet that we call Home sent out very clear signals to us, by way of storms and super storms,  that we will have to bear the consequences of our bad and reckless stewardship of her.

Following on from yesterday’s post – 2012 (Part 1) – here are the rest of our most highly rated* images from the past 12 months. Hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed making them:

July 2012:

Jul01

Jul02

Jul03

Jul04

August 2012:

Aug01

Aug02

Aug03

September 2012:

Sep01

Sep02

Sep03

October 2012:

Oct01

Oct02

Oct03

Oct04

November 2012:

Nov01

Nov02

Nov03

Nov04

December 2012:

Dec01

Dec02

Dec03

Dec04

As we all ‘Gangnam Style’ our way into the Year of the Snake, here’s hoping that it’ll be a good one…

Thank You so much for your support in 2012. We’ve loved having you around in Black Stallion Country.

See you all in 2013.

Gallop Free.

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* – All the images in this post were showcased on our Facebook Page as part of our ‘Picture of the Day’ feature and were highly rated by the most important and valued viewer of all – You.

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Snake Boat Race – Vallam Kali (വള്ളംകളി)

Hello Fellow Gallopers,

It’s been sometime since I’ve made an entry and that’s because I’ve been travelling quite a lot of late. I was in Alappuzha (Alleppey), a town and district in southern Kerala, India, where an annual traditional boat (paddled war canoe) race is held on the second Saturday of August during the season of the harvest festival of Onam. The traditional name for this boat race is Vallam Kali (വള്ളംകളി) in Malayalam.

“Thei thei thei thei thithai thakathaithaithom

Thithithara thithithara thithai thakathaithaithom”

goes the rhythmic tune of the boatmen’s song. The jewels in the crown of the Vallam Kali at Alleppey are the sixteen long wooden boats of serpentine appearance (Chundan Vallams – Snake Boats) that race for the coveted Nehru Trophy. As if carried on the wings of lightning and accompanied by the thunderous cheers from fans on both shores of the Punnamda backwaters, the snake boats epitomise sheer energy and team work.

The snake boat has the record of being the biggest water vessel used for sports purposes. It is the sporting event that has the highest number of members in a single team. Usually a snake boat is manned by 4 helmsmen, 25 cheerers / singers and 100-125 oarsmen who row in unison to the fast rhythm of the boatmen’s song. The 100 – 120 foot long snake boats are made of a forest wood locally called Aanjili. The Vallam (boat) is under the command of the captain called Karanaathan. Three hands under him control the pace and movement of the boat. All along the two sides of the boat, in two long rows, sit the oarsmen, 64 in number (supposed to represent the 64 shires). In their midst sit 25 singers with traditional accompaniments. They provide the rhythm which the rowers follow with their oars as they row in sync. In the second half of the boat there is a platform for eight singers – they represent the eight directions and regulate the pace and song.

This famed boat race in Kuttanad can be likened to the bull fights in Spain. The vigour of the Spanish matadors, who hail from various villages with their fighter bulls, is evident in the Vallam teams that hail from the surrounding Kerala countryside.

This sport belongs to an era when kings ruled Kerala. Boat racers are leftovers from the legacy of Chembakasseri kings who ruled Alappuzha about 400 years ago. The snake boats now bask in the grandeur that radiates from royalty. There existed the tradition of ushering in kings on the boat, making the boat really special.

In addition to the Chundan Vallams (Snake Boats) other categories of boats such as the Iruttukuthy Vallam, Odi Vallam, Veppu Vallam, Vadakkanody Vallam and Kochu Vallam also take part in these races in their respective categories. People from across the globe usually flock to Punnamada Lake to soak in the spirit of this exciting yet graceful boat race and is a prominent event on the tourism calendar of God’s Own Country.

To see all the images* in this set, please click the links below:

http://koshy.smugmug.com/Sports/Vallam-Kali/13495665_Vk77Q#982982235_BZAY9

http://koshy.smugmug.com/Sports/Vallam-Kali-1/13497010_HAE6q#983136440_Gie38

Till next time, take care and gallop free.

* – images taken with the Canon 50D.

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