The oldest and the most popular snake boat race in Kerala, this event is closely connected to the Sree Krishna Temple at Ambalappuzha.This race is held on the Champakulam Lake on the moolam day of the Malayalam month midhunam, the day of the installation of the deity at the temple.
Legend has it that Maharaja Devanarayana of Chempakasseri, as instructed by the royal priests, built a temple at Ambalappuzha. But just before the installation of the deity, he was informed that the idol was not auspicious. The king was disturbed, but his minister suggested an inspired solution - to bring the beautiful idol of Sree Krishna - presented to Arjuna by the Lord himself, from the Karikulam temple in Kurichi. The minister with a few others went to Kurichi, met the authorities there and returned with the idol. On the way back they stopped at Champakulam to spend the night and perform a pooja. The next morning, boats from the entire region assembled to escort the idol in a colorful, ceremonial procession through the lake to the Temple.
Years later, the pageant is re-enacted with the same enthusiasm. An exotic procession of water floats, decorated with colorful parasols and performing arts, greets the spectators before the race. The race proper is held in various stages for various categories of boats.