Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple is at Aranmula
, a beautiful village located further inland about 9 km west of Chengannur
. The presiding deity is Parthasarathy (Lord Krishna
). The temple is adorned beautifully, with the outer walls and four main towers facing in the four directions. The eastern tower is accessed through a flight of 18 steps. The
can be approached by descending 57 steps from the northern tower.
The significance of the temple is that it dates back to the time of the Mahabharata war. Legend tells that the temple was built by Arjuna at Nilackal near Sabarimala and the image was brought here in a raft made of six pieces of bamboo. Thus the place is named Aranmula (six pieces of bamboo). Placed on the left bank of the Pampa River, it is the place from where the sacred jewels of Lord Ayyappa are taken in procession to Sabarimala every year.
This temple is also associated with Aranmula Uthrittathi, the main festival. It is conducted as the anniversary of the installation of the temple idol. During this festival, which falls on the last day of Onam celebrations, the snake boat race is conducted.
Another festival celebrated here is the Khandava Vana dahanam held in the Malayalam month of Dhanu. This festival commemorates the Khandava forest fire described in the Mahabharata. In the Malayalam month of
Meenam, yet another festival is celebrated where Aranmula Parthasarathy is taken in a grand procession on the garuda mount to the Pampa river bank.