The Sthapathya Veda tells the people of Kerala how to build this war canoe. Any man who touches it must show his respect by being barefooted. The boat is wide enough for two rowers sitting on a bench, and long enough for thirty two benches, because, after all, there are sixty four art forms. Thirty two singers keep time by singing the boatsong. The stern scoops up to a height of twenty feet and provides a platform for seven singers and the cantor. The gods of the eight directions and a common heritage oversee the annual race at the harvest festival. This has been the practice for the previous eight centuries.