The Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple is one of the "Divya Desams", the 108 temples of Vishnu revered by the 12 poet saints, or Alwars. located near Aranmula, a village in Pathanamthitta District, Kerala, South India.
The temple is dedicated to Parthasarathy, Lord Krishna's role as Arjuna's Charioteer in the Mahabharatha war. The temple is on the left bank of the Pampa River. The sacred jewels of Ayyappan (Thiruvabharanam) are taken in procession to Sabarimalai each year from Pandalam, and Aranmula Temple is one of the stops on the way.
Also, the Thanka Anki (golden attire) for Ayyappa, donated by the king of Travancore, is stored here and taken to Shabarimala during the Mandala season (late December). Aranmula is also known for the watersports involving a spectacular procession of snake boats. It is also linked with legends from the Mahabharata.
On the ninth day of the battle of Kurukshetra, theKauravas reigned supreme under the leadership of Bheeshma, when Krishna motivated Arjuna to take initiative and vanquish his foe.
Upon his hesitating to do so, Krishna jumped down in rage, and took up his discus; seeing this sight Bheeshma surrendered to him and Arjuna beseeched him not to kill Bheeshma, as it would have been against Krishna's vow to take up arms in his battle. It is believed that it is this image of Krishna that is enshrined here, with a discus. Aranmula Mirror is also very much related to the history of this temple.
Sree Parthasarathy Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, is one of the most ancient and famous temple in Aranmula (16kms from Pathanamthitta) on the banks of the holy river Pamba. 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).
The Aranmula Parthasarathi temple is a simple structure in Kerala style of architecture and the idol of Parthasarathy is six feet high. The walls of the temple is beautifully adorned with fine murals of the 18th century.
The temple has four gopurams (towers) on four sides of its outer wall. The eastern tower is accessed through a flight of 18 steps and a descend of 57steps from the northern tower leads to the Pampa river.
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 in the Malayalam month of Meenam, during the Onam season, is more popular for its water carnival known as Aranmula Vallamkali.