Aries Guinness Chundan, longest steel-made snake boat in Kerala, is all set to enthrall tourists once again. 143.25 feet long Aries Guinness Chundan, bu ilt at a cost of Rs 15 lakh in 2006, is reincarnating as a major attraction under the aegis of Indywood Film Tourism, a novel concept to brand India in global tourism map by blending the immense potential of entertainment and tourism.
Aries Group Chairman cum CEO Sohan Roy officially inaugurated Aries Guinness Chundan on 31st July at a function held at Aries Vismayas Max studio.
Now tourists can experience this architecture wonder displayed at Aries Vismayas Max Studio, previously owned by actor Mohanlal, as part of Travancore Treasures, ambitious project of Indywood Film Tourism, connecting prominent film tourism destinations in Thiruvananthapuram. Indywood Film Tourism, is an initiative of 10 billion US dollar Project Indywood, promoted by 2000 Indian billionaires and corporates, which aims at elevating Indian Film Industry to global standards.
The eleven-year-old Aries Guinness Chundan, one of the flagship projects from Aries Marine and Engineering Services, stormed into the Guinness Book of World Records for carrying 141 rowers and being the longest, fastest, safest and cheapest ever snake boat made of steel. It was featured in the Limca Book of World Records and Asian Book of Records as the longest steel made snake boat.
The snake boat conceived by Naval Architect Sohan Roy became a prominent shooting location for more than hundred movies including Oscar qualified DAM999, short films, advertisements, music albums etc due to its uncomparable beauty and 24×7 availability
The snake boat is a tribute to people of Punnamada, where the famous Nehru Trophy Boat race is conducted. “At that time Punnamada was lacking a snake boat in annual water regatta. Most of the snake boats were from other parts of Alappuzha and the region was ruling the race. As people from Punnamada cannot afford the huge expense of constructing a snake boat and maintain it properly, we decided to build an exclusive snake boat for the citizens of Punnamada without costing anything on its maintenance for more than a decade. And we titled our snake boat as Aries Punnamada Chudan because it was initially operated and managed by the people of Punnamada,” he said.
Setting new track
The entry of Aries Guinness Chundan became a turning point in the history of Kerala Tourism and it could have set new benchmarks in snake boat construction and race if it was not officially banned from taking part in Nehru Trophy Boat Race due to some cheap political reasons eleven years back irrespective of getting full support from High Court. Aries Group also has the credit of launching Safe Botel, first of its kind, the unsinkable houseboat in India. This partially solar powered steel houseboat with eco-friendly features played an instrumental role in framing very strict norms for boats operating in the back waters of Kerala especially emphasizing the safety of the passengers.
Array of hurdles
He added that the snake boat was launched surpassing lot of hurdles including lack of local infrastructure facilities at Punnamada, raw materials, trained manpower and approvals “We faced lot of hurdles during construction. But determination, dedication and unity of our team led by traditional Thachan (carpenter) Babu helped to launch the boat with unique features in record time.”
Another highlight is ladies can enter this snake boat. Normally ladies are not allowed in traditional snake boats as per Thachan Sastra. “But lot of foreigners including ladies used Aries Guinness Chundan for the first time to experience the beauty of sailing in snake boat and to explore exotic locations in Alappuzha. Currently we are trying to build 4 same size steel snake boats to conduct weekly and annual league races promoted by various corporate brands for the promotion of Indian Tourism,” he said.
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