Aranmula Parthasarathi Temple
At a distance of 15 km from Pathanamthitta, Sri Parthasarathi Temple is one of the most ancient and famous temple in Aranmula on the banks of the holy river Pamba in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala.
Sri Parthasarathi Temple is dedicated to Lord Sri Krishna. It is one of the 108 Divyadesams dedicated to Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, who is worshipped as Parthasarathi. This temple is believed to be one among the five temples built by the Pandava brothers. The five temples are at Chengannur (Yuddhisthra), Tiruppuliyur (Bhima), Aranmula (Arjuna), Tiruvanvandur (Nakula) and Tirukkodittaanam (Sahadeva). Aranmula temple is said to be built by Arjuna to expiate for the sin of having killed Karna on the battlefield, against the dharma of killing an unarmed enemy.
According to the legend, the temple was first built at Nilakal near Sabarimala and the image was brought here in a raft made of six pieces of bamboo. Thus the place derived the name Aranmula which means six pieces of bamboo. Aranmula Parthasarathi Temple houses the Thiruvabharanam (the sacred jewels) of Lord Ayyappa, which are taken in procession to the Sabarimala temple every year.
The Aranmula Parthasarathi temple is a simple structure in Kerala style of architecture and the idol of Parthasarathi is six feet high. The walls of the temple are beautifully adorned with fine murals of the 18th century. The temple has four gopurams (towers) on four sides of its outer wall.
The annual temple festival that lasts for 10 days is celebrated as the anniversary of the installation of the temple idol. The festival which falls during the Onam season is more popular for its water carnival known as Aranmula Vallamkali. A tradition of sending rice and other materials on a water boat as an offering for a feast to the nearby village relates to the origin of the festival and this tradition is continued even today. The festival commences with the kodiyettam (flag hoisting) and concludes with Arattu (the holy dip of the image of the deity) in the Pamba River. Garudavahana ezhunallathu is a colourful procession held during the festival where Lord Parthasarathi is taken on the garuda mount to the Pampa river bank with the accompaniments of caparisoned elephants, Panchavadyam and other traditional temple orchestra.
Another festival celebrated here is the Khandavanadahanam in the Malayalam month of Dhanus. During the festival, a replica of a forest is created in front of the temple with dried plants, leaves and twigs. Then a bonfire is lit symbolizing the Khandavana forest fire of the Mahabharata. Ashtamirohini, the birthday of Sri Krishna is also celebrated in this temple.
Timings: 4.30 AM - 11 AM and 5 PM - 8.30 PM.