Vallam Kali in Malayalam literally means boat race. In Kerala, it is the traditional boat race. The boat used in this race is paddled war canoe. In autumn, during the season of the harvest festival Onam, it is mainly conducted with full vigor and joy. Many types of traditional boats that are paddled longboat of Kerala are included in Vallam Kali.
The major event is the race of Chundan Vallam which is known as snake boat. Therefore, in English, Vallam Kali means Snake Boat Race. In the recent years, the state government and the central government is promoting and conducting the event through the tourism department and with the help and support of the public too.
In the race, other kinds of boats that do participate in several events are Odi Vallam, Churulan Vallam, Veppu Vallam (Vaipu Vallam), Iruttukuthy Vallam, Karichal Chundan, Kochu Vallam and Vadakkanody Vallam.
The most renowned of these races are
- Nehru Trophy Boat Race in Punnamada Lake, Alappuzha
- President’s Trophy Boat Race in Ashtamudi lake, Kollam, Kallada Boat Race in Kallada River, Kollam
- Champakulam Moolam Boat Race
- Thazhathangadi Boat Race (Kottayam Boat Race), Kottayam
- Payippad Jalotsavam, the oldest snake boat race
- Kumarakom Boat Race
- Rajiv Gandhi Boat Race, Pulinkunnu
- ATDC Boat Race, Alappuzha
- Neerettupuram Pampa Boat Race
- Kavanattinkara Boat Race
- Karuvatta Boat Race
- Kumarakom Arpookara Vanitha Jalamela
- Mahatma Boat Race, Mannar
- Kottapuram Boat Race
- Thazhathangadi Boat Race, Kottayam
- Kodungallur and Kumaranasan Smaraka Jalotsavam, Pallana
- Indira Gandhi Boat Race, in Kochi Lake
- Kaithappuzhakkayal Boat Race, in Kaithappuzha Lake, Panangad/Kumbalam, Kochi.
- Kannetty Sree Narayana Boat Race, Karunagappally