Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple is located around 10 km east of Chengannur town in Kerala. The temple is associated with Pandavas of the Mahabharata. Aranmula Temple was constructed by Arjuna, the third of the Pandava brothers. The shrine is also one among the 108 Divya Deshams – Thiruvaranmula (108 temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu as per Vaishnava tradition).
Story of Aranmula Temple
Legend has it that the Pandavas ruled Hastinapura for a couple of decades after the Kurukshetra war in the Mahabharat. Later, after crowning Parikshit as king of Hastinapura left on a pilgrimage. When they reached the banks of Pampa River in Kerala, each of the Pandava brothers built a shrine dedicated to Bhagavan Sri Krishna.
Legend has it that Arjuna originally worshipped the murti of Lord Krishna at Nilackal near Sabarimala. He performed intense austerities here to expiate for the sin of having killed Karna in the Mahabharata war.
The murti was located inside dense forest in Nilakkal and therefore it was difficult to perform daily pujas. Therefore, the murti was brought to the present location in a raft made of six bamboo pieces. The place got the name Aranmula after this incident. Aru means six and mula means bamboo.
The murti of Sri Krishna worshipped in the temple is that of him taking discus or Sudarshana Chakra against Bhishma in the Mahabharat war. Bhishma and Arjuna surrendered before this form of Sri Krishna and asked for forgiveness.
The murti of Bhagavan Sri Krishna worshipped in the temple is 6 feet tall.
The temple faces east and is approached after climbing 18 steps.
The shrine is a classic example of Kerala style temple architecture with two storeyed gopuram, kottupura, gold plated flag post, deepasthamba, mandapam, nalampalam, Thevarapura, balikkal pura, temple tank, sevapanthal and huge compound wall.
The sanctum sanctorum is noted for its wooden frames with array of lamps, lavish wood and stucco carvings with stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The subsidiary deities worshipped in the temple are Sastha, Yakshi, Nagaraja, Bhagavathy and Balarama.
The temple festival is observed in Malayalam Meenam month (March – April).
Aranmula boat race and the Aranmula Onasadya are organized during the Onam period. Sri Krishna Jayanti is another important festival here.