The traditional boat race (Vallam kali) season is round the corner and the harmonious strains of Vanchipattu, cheering crowds and display of physical prowess are all set to return to the fore . On June 28 the season of boat race in Kerala will begin with the Champakulam Moolam boat race. Moolam Race Committee chairman A.V. Murali said that a total of 19 boats including six snake boats (chundan vallam) and 13 smaller boats would participate in this year’s race. For the first time, a police team will participate in a boat race in the state. Races will also be held in the categories of veppu ‘A’ grade, veppu ‘B’ grade, iruttu kuthi ‘A’ grade and iruttu kuthi ‘B’ grade categories. The moolam boat race, though associated with religious observances, is known to present a picture of harmony as people irrespective of religion and caste take part in the event.Following the Moolam boat race, the State will witness a host of races in various districts in the coming months. The Tourism Department has already announced that it will launch an Indian Premier League (IPL) model boat race league in the State this year. The Kerala Boat Race League will commence with the Nehru Trophy Boat Race at Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha and conclude with the President’s Trophy in Kollam.