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The Nehru trophy regatta at Alappuzha on 14th August every year has become an Independence Day feature. Different types of boats take part in this competition. They include the bean-shaped boats, kitetailed, curly-headed and so on. Between 30 and 60 metres long with tall, cone-shaped, tapering helms protruding several metres above water and accommodating 100 or more at the oars, these boats of exquisite elegance plough the water with the rhythm of drums and cymbals and legendary songs typical of Kerala. Above each boat gleam scarlet silk umbrellas as the boats go in procession in the backwaters and rivers of a Kerala, which remind one of the sea-faring and martial traditions of ancient Kerala. The trophy was instituted by former Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who was enthralled by the charm and gaiety of the Kerala Water Carnival .

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