The story goes that the Aranmula Sree Parthasarathy Temple had its idol brought here in a raft made with aru (six) pieces of Mula (bamboo). This is what gave the place Aranmulaits name as well. Dedicated to the Hindu Deity Lord Krishna, the temple is situated on the banks of the Pamba River.
Valla Sadya is an important event held at the temple on the eve of Ashtami Rohini, in the Malayalam month of Chingam. It is the birthday of Lord Krishna and one of the famous festivals celebrated here. The sadya is massive and includes around 60 varieties of food donated by the devotees to Lord Krishna, the presiding deity of the temple.
An interesting aspect of the feast is that guests theatrically demand more food by singing in the Vanchippattu style. The legend is that in a Valla Sadya all dishes asked for must be given to the people in order to please the Lord.
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The procession carrying rice, provision, vegetables and other articles in a specially designed vessel, Thiruvonathoni, for the feast on the Thiruvonam day at the Sree Parthasarathy Temple is also a fabulous spectacle to behold.
- Timings: 4:00 AM to 11.00 AM & 5:00 PM TO 8:00 PM
- Entry Fee: NA
- Photography: Not allowed
- Approximate visit duration: 1 to 2 hours
- Foreigners: Yes but if you are Hindu
- Best time to visit: In Winter
- Address: Chengannur, Kottayam Mallapuzhassery, Kerala 689533
- Dress Code: There is a stringent dress code that has to be followed to enter the temple.
The dress code of the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple is similar to the most other temples of Kerala state.
- Men need to wear dhoti. Shirts or upper garments must be kept at the temple counter prior to entering the temple.
- Women must be in traditional clothing. Saree, half saree and salwar kameez are a few examples.
How to Reach Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple:
The Trivandrum airport is very close to the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. Kochi International Airport is also a choice for the tourists who want to visit the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. Taxis and buses are available from the airport which can directly take the tourists to the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple.
The nearest railway station is at Chengannur. Tourists can hire cabs from the railway station. Buses are also available here.
Besides planes and railways, you can travel to Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple on roads. There are many buses and other transport available which connect the various cities of Kerala to the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. Chengannur is only 10 km from the temple. Pathanamthitta is 15 km and Pandalam is 14 km from the shrine.
The temple has its own customs, like:
- Only Thantri and Melshanthi can enter the Sreekovil. Thantri refers to the main priest while Melshanthi refers to the second priest.
- Thiruvonathoni: This is a famous custom of the temple. The ritual takes place during the Onam festival.
The Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple celebrates Lord Krishna festivals with great pomp and grandeur.
- Ashtami Rohini: This is the birthday of Lord Krishna. The temple celebrates this festival with great pomp and grandeur. A large feast takes place on this date. This feast also has a name, ‘vallasadya.’ It is one of the largest vegetarian feasts in the world. The festival includes 64 types of dishes. The devotees offer the food to Lord Krishna. Besides feasting, the deities are carried around Aranmula on this day. Another important part of the festival is the boat rides. A special boat, Palliyodam sails over River Pampa. These boats look like snakes and many people ride them. This custom of boat race also has a name, Vallam Kali. People worship the boat before the race starts as locals believe these boats are vehicles of Lord Aranmula. People use many types of flowers to worship the boats. 100 rowers take part in the race. Also, 25 singers take part in this race. They sing songs as the boats sail on the river. The boats sail in pairs. People also play music. The festival goes on from July to October. This is also the time of Onam festival in Kerala.
- Procession: A large procession on the Garuda Mount to the Pampa River takes place during the Meenam month. Along with Lord Parthasarathy, Goddess Bhagavathy also participates in the procession. The idol of the goddess comes from the Punnamthode temple.
- Khandavanadahanam: This festival takes place during Dhanus month. Devotees create an artificial forest at the temple front. People use dried plants, leaves and twigs to make the forest. A bonfire is lit after this. This festival shows the fire that took place at the Khandavana forest. This is also a story from Mahabharata.
- Fasting: This custom takes place during Thiruvonam. Three Brahmin families in Aranmula fast at this time. Brahmin families from Nedumprayar village also fast at this time. This is a two-centuries-old custom. As per myth, one Brahmin vowed to feed one pilgrim every day. Lord Krishna was pleased with the vow. Thus, He came to bless the priest. The Brahmin was very happy and he started to conduct a feast every year. This feast takes place after the boat race.
Where to stay nearby:
Hotel All Season, Hotel Santhi Palace, Bessota International Hotel, Club 7 Hotel, CGA Elite Continental and Contour Backwaters are just 21 km from the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. These hotels also have all the basic facilities.
Where to eat:
There are some good eat outs near the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. Favourite, Hotel Aryaas Park, J’ Mart Arabian Restaurant, Khyber Pass Bake & Grill, Union Bakery, Arabian Restaurant, and Vensec Kitchens serve delicious food. The eat outs are also clean.
The environment of the temple is peaceful. The temple architecture is extremely stunning. Alongside architectural magnificence, this temple offers Hindus an incredibly spiritual experience.