Thiruvaranvilai also known as Aranmula, is one of the 108 divya desam temples situated in Chengannur, Kerala. It is around 10 kms from Chengannur railway station.
According to the legend , the Pandavas , after crowning Prince Parikshit left on a pilgrimage tour of India. While travelling in the parts now known as Kerala, these Pandav brothers installed Sri Narayana on the banks of the Pampa and nearby places and offered worship. It is said that Arjuna built this temple at a place called Nilackal near Sabarimalai and the idol was brought here in a bamboo raft made of six pieces and hence the name Aranmula (six pieces of bamboo).
During the 18 day Kurukshetra battle, Karna’s chariot wheel stuck in the ground and while Karna was trying to lift the wheel leaving his weapons in the chariot, Arjuna took the opportunity and killed him. The guilt of killing Karna when unarmed overwhelmed his mind. He came here at the end of the Mahabaratha war to undertake a penance repenting for the killings of his kith and kin, especially his brother Karna. He is said to have hid his weapons under a Vanni tree in this place. Arjuna got himself absolved of his sins with the grace of Sri Narayana here.
The significance of this sthalam is that the precious ornaments of Sabharimalai Ayyappan are safely kept here. During Makara Jothi, these ornaments are taken from here to Sabarimala to Ayyappan
The temple is situated in a serene place among lush greenery. The temple is situated in an elevated ground. As you climb the steps and walk past the arch you enter the vast area of the temple. The temple is architected in typical Kerala style with slanting roofs and red Malabar tiles. As you walk past the copper plate covered flagpost (Kodi maram) into the sanctum, you can see a small mandap where the pillars are intricately covered in brass plated sheets. Beyond the mandap is the sanctum where the main deity Mayapiran appears majestically in a standing posture with Sri Chakra in his right hand and a lotus on his left hand.
The Moolavar of this sthalam is Thirukkuralappan in Nindra Thirukkolam facing East. He is also known as Parthasarathy. Prathyaksham for Brahma , Vedavyasa Maharishi.
Thaayar of the temple is Padmasani Naachiyaar.
The temple is revered by the verses of Nammalvar
Temple location In the outskirts of the Chengannur town around 10 kms from Chenganur railway station
Temple Timings The temple is open from 4:30 AM till 11:00 AM and from 5:00 pm till 8:30 pm
How to reach?
Chengannur is well connected by Rail,Road and Air. The nearest airport is Cochin. Chenganur railway station is a major hub in the Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram),Ernakulam line.
Thiruvaaran Vilai locally known as Aranmula is 10 kms away from Chenganur railway station enroute to Pamba / Sabarimala. Autorickshaws or cab can take you there. If you are undertaking a pilgrimage to Sabarimala and happen to get down at Chenganur station, you can ask a cab driver to take you to Pancha pandava temples. There are four Divya desams around Chengannur and one near Changancherry all said to have been built and worshipped by the Pandavas
Boat Race (Vallam Kali) in the Pampa river of Aranmula is world famous and attracts visitors from all over India and the world. Every year during Onam festival participants come from all parts of Kerala to participate in the race. Snake shaped boats beautifully decorated each about 100 ft length with 100 rowers , race in the water here during Onam days.
These mirrors are not found anywhere else in the world. Made by an alloy of bronze waxed into crystal clear mirrors . Theses are produced only by a few families in Aranmula where the production details are held secret and passed down only to their generations.