Aranmula, the picturesque village in Pathanamthitta district has been declared as an international tourism destination by the Union Government. It has also been included in the Cultural Tourism program, a joint initiative of the Union Ministry of Tourism and the United Nations Development program (UNDP). The Vastuvidya Gurukulam, an institution under the state Cultural Department for the promotion of Kerala's traditional architecture, is the implementing partner of the project.
Aranmula Sree ParthaSarathy Temple is one of the most ancient temples of Kerala. The presiding deity is ParthaSarathy (Lord Krishna). The temple is on the left bank of the Pampa River. The temple has four towers over its entrances on its outer wall. The eastern and western tower is accessed through a flight of 18 steps. Descending 57 steps through the northern tower, one can reach the Pampa River. Legend has it that the Pandava princes, after crowning Parikshit left on a pilgrimage of India, and in Kerala, each of these brothers installed Vishnu temples on the banks of the Pampa and nearby places and offered worship (Trichittattu - Yuddhishtra, Thrippuliyoor - Bheema, Aranmula - Arjuna, Tiruvamundur - Nakula and Thrkkodithaanam - Sahadeva). It is said that Arjuna built this temple at Nilackal near Sabarimala and the image was brought here in a raft made of six pieces of bamboo to this site, and hence the name Aranmula (six pieces of bamboo).
The Aranmula Vallamkali, the world famous water carnival is the main important event related to this place. It started in relation with the thiruvonathoni which starts on uthradam (the day before Onam) evening from Kaattoor MahaVishnu temple with provisions for the 'Nivedyam' and 'samoohasadya' (mass feast) on Thiruonam at the temple. It is believed that the temple is installed on the “Utrhittathi” day during Onam. To memorize this, there is a boat race conducted on this day. It is a great sight for the viewers and devotees to see around 48 boats playing together in the pampa river.
Aranmula Mirror is also very much related to the history of this temple. The famous Aranmula Mirror, locally known as Aranmula kannadi is made here. This mirror is made of a combination of 5 metals.
PHOTO COURTSEY: www.enchantingkerala.org