Aranmula Temple known as Aranmula Sree Parthasarathy Temple is a Hindu temple located in the state of Kerala, India dedicated to Lord Sree Krishna. This temple is situated on the banks of holy river Pamba in the town of Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district.
The temple is a stopover for the holy ornaments of Ayyappan (Thiruvabharanam), which are taken into a procession every year from Pandalam. A golden outfit (Thanka Anki) presented by the king of Travancore to Lord Ayyappan is kept in this temple and taken to Sabarimala in the Mandala season.
This temple is believed to be one of the five temples built by Pandavas. 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. It’s believed that 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.
There is a subshrine for Lord Balarama near to the northern gopuram. This shrine is located in a big pit and devotees have to step down to get the darsan of Lord Balarama. There is no other sub deities in this temple.
Aranmula Sree Parthasarathy Temple also features outstanding murals that date back to the 18th century. Spread over a huge area, every part of the temple has been meticulously designed, which give the clear picture of the architectural richness of that era. There is a golden flag staff in front the entrance of the temple. This pyramid shaped temple features intricate carved stones on its exterior that create an exclusive design consisting of unique impressions.
Aranmula is also known for the world famous water carnival - The Aranmula Uthrattathi Vallamkali - held every year during Onam linked to the legends of the Mahabharata. 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 journey of the locals who used to accompany the Thiruvonathoni in their respective Palliyodams has evolved into the Aranmula Uthrattathi Vallamkali. This famous boat race in Pampa river will take place on Uthrattahy day in the Malayalam month of Chingam(August-September), 4 days after Thiruvonam.