About the temple
The temple is among the 108 divyadesams of Sri Vaishnavas and comes under Kerala based/Malai naatu/chera naatu divyadesams. The presiding deity here is Thirukkuralappan or Parthasarathy in standing posture and thayar is known as Padmasana valli thayar. The temple is among the most important Krishna temples of Kerala and part of the Anju ambalam near Chenganoor.
Anju ambalam means five temples where the Pandava brothers installed deities and worshipped Lord Vishnu in different forms. Yudhistara worshipped at Chengannur temple, Bheema worshipped at Thirupuliyur, Arjuna worshipped at Aranmula, Nakula at Thiruvamundur and Sahadeva at Thirukadithanam.
Aranmula is a big temple built like a fort with four towers on each side. On one side is the main entrance with 18 steps while on other there are steps to get down to the Pampa river that flows besides it.
Arjuna is said to have constructed this temple to be relieved from the sin of slaying an unarmed Karna in the battle. The deity is said to be brought by Arjuna from Nilackal near Sabarimalai in a raft that was built with six pieces of bamboo and so named Aranmula. Aranmula is popular as the place for snake boat race during Onam festival and Lord Ayyappan's jewels are taken from here to Sabarimala for the Makara jyothi festival.
How to reach
The temple is around 20 kms from Thiruvalla and 6 kms from Chenganoor. The nearest railway station is Chenganoor and nearest airports are Cochin and Trivandrum.
One can hire a vehicle for half a day trip and cover all the six divyadesams in this region.
Temple tank and pushkarni
The temple tank is Vedavyasa Saras and the vimanam is called Vamana vimanam.
The temple is open in the mornings from 5 am to 11 am and in the evenings from 5 pm to 8pm.
Temples in proximity
Thirukadithanam, Thirupuliyur, Thiruchittaru, Thiru vavandur, Thiru Vallabha kshetram
Additional information by Sri Sankaran Nampoothari
1. The presiding deity here is Parthasarathy perumal. (Triplicane in Chennai being the other Parthasarathy)
2.The difference between this and the 'Tiruvallikeni' Parthasarathy being the 'Bhava' of Lord Krishna- here he has his Chakra ready for use against Bheeshma- yes Bheeshma. Remember that scene when Bheeshma, like a samhara Rudra Himself, single handedly destroys the pandava army and the entire pandava Army looks on helplessly, with Arjuna in a state of stupor and absolute inaction? It was then that Krishna tells Arjuna that if he did not act now, Krishna would himself slay Bhishma... this is the scene here.
3. The name 'Aranmula' finds it origin from Six Bamboos (Six= Aru, bamboo= Mula), as you've pointed out,(I am just adding the actual meaning)
4. The famous Snake 'Boat race' of Kerala originates from here- this is little known elsewhere! The 'Boat race' we see nowadays are the Tourism Department show- the original was/ is an 'offering' to Lord, and is played among various neighboring villages.
5. The 'Vallasadya' (Boat Feast) is an integral part of this. It is said that every single boatman is treated to the feast- there are hundreds for EACH BOAT- remember!
6. And they have to be served ANY FOOD? DELICACY they ASK FOR during the feast! Therefore this valla sadya is the single feast in Kerala that serves almost EVERY IMAGINABLE DELICACY/ FOOD ITEM in Kerala!
7. ONE of these boats' Oarsmen is always believed to be Lord Sri Krishna Himself! HE would be there in one boat, among the several ordinary people! It is perhaps this belief that makes Vallasady such a grand event!
Visiting ALL the FIVE Temples in this circuit is considered a great blessing. With proper planning, this is eminently possible.