The Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) has decided to promote the state’s oldest race between Dumas and Magdalla at different levels and include it in the list of prominent cultural events of the state.
Boat race organised in Surat is one of its kinds not only in South Gujarat, but in the entire state.
Since 1954, coastal villages of Surat have been organising the race every year. It is held in the month of January-February. The approximate distance of the boat race from Aaliya-bet, an island in middle of sea near Dumas, to Magdalla port is 20 miles.
All the boats are non-motorised and sailors have to guide them through wind direction. Sand bags are used to maintain the balance of the boat.
Villagers feel that TCGL can help in keeping the sport alive. As with passage of time, the contestants have dwindled and race is getting limited to certain villages only. Today majority of competitors are from Dumas and Magdalla village. This is mainly due to lack of interest among the villagers. And the young generation is least bothered in maintaining the legacy.
“Earlier numerous boats used to participate in the race, while only nine to ten boats take part today. Lack of promotion and sponsorship has taken away its luster. If Gujarat Tourism supports the race, it will be of great help,” said Kanu Patel from Magdalla.
Raja Patel, MLA of Choryasi, said that if promoted, the race will generate revenue and employment. It will also place Surat on the tourist map.