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Aranmula is a beautiful village located between Chengannur (9 km) and Pattanamthitta. It is on the left bank of Pampa River. It is from here, the sacred jewels of Lord Ayyappa are taken in procession to Sabarimala each year. Aranmula is known for the water sports involving a spectacular procession of snake boats and the world famous Aranmula Mirror. Aranmula is also linked with legends from the Mahabharata.
Aranmula Boat Race:
The famous Aranmula boat race is held on the last day of the Onam festival. The snake boats assemble near the Sri Parthasarathy Temple before the grand procession. Each boat is 100 ft. long and accommodates 4 helmsmen, 100 oarsmen, and 25 singers. The snake boats move in pairs to the rhythm of full-throated singing and shouting, watched by an excited crowd.
At the Aranmula boat race, the deity of the Aranmula temple is believed to part take on the race with every snake boat - and all boats are destined to try their best to reach the finishing line simultaneously. Thus the concept of competition is eliminated and there is more of merriment, cheerfulness, and friendly rivalry.
The festival is with the Parthasarathy temple of Aranmula, and the occasion breaks all barriers and differences among people. Palli oda seva Sangam, a popular organization of the boat owners manages the festival. During the boat race thousands of spectators pack the riversides. Spectators from all across India and around the world come to Aranmula for the festival.
The race is a grand and enchanting spectacle. The back-end of the boat the "Amaram", curves upwards while the front tapers gradually. Each boat accommodates about 100 rowers, a group of drummers, and some ornamental umbrellas. The Aranmula boat race combines devotion, sportsmanship, and friendship in a grandeous, unforgettable event.
An Aranmula kannadi or Aranmula metal mirror is a special type of mirror produced in Aranmula. Composed of a special metal alloy, instead of glass, the Aranmula kannadi is a front surface reflection mirror, which eliminates secondary reflections and aberrations typical of back surface mirrors. The exact metals used in the alloy are unknown, before being polished for several days in a row to achieve their reflective surface.
These unique metal mirrors are the result of Kerala's rich cultural and metallurgical traditions, and have great historical and cultural value. Produced by a single extended family in Aranmula, the origins of the Aranmula kannadi are linked with the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple. Legend has it that eight families of experts in temple arts and crafts were brought by the royal chief to Aranmula from Tirunelveli district to work in the Parthasarathy temple centuries ago on the mirrors.
Though most commercially available mirrors have a coating of silver or other metal on the rear,this is the only mirror of its type, which reflects from the front. The mirror is believed to be A Lifetime Possession which brings good luck and prosperity. The British Museum in London has a 45 centimeter tall Aranmula metal mirror in its collection.
Vijnana Kala Vedi:
Vijnana Kala Vedi, a school of traditional art was founded by French artist Louba Schild, is in Aranmula, on the way to Kozhencherry.
Apart from the above specialities, Aranmula is famous for many other things like Valla Sadhya, Thanungu perukku. The Aranmula Tiruvaranmulayappan temple is very famous and one of the biggest in Kerala. Other small temples in Aranmula are Ganapati Temple,Kadakal, Punnamthottam, Kuruvilakkavu, Kaippuzha, Pallimukkom etc.
Sabarimala Temple: This shrine of Lord Ayappa located in Pamba is considered to be one of the important pilgrimage centers of India. This shrine is considered to be holy amongst the devotees who overcome this hilly terrain to reach Sabrimala.
Pandalam: Lord Ayappa reincarnated in human form as the son of Raja Pandalam and he was the one who created this temple in his name. This is known as Pandalam and the people drop in here before visiting the Sabrimala Temple.
Peruthenaruvi Waterfalls: Cascading from a height of 60- 110 feet these waterfalls are a must watch for the tourists.
Maramon Convention: Attended by Christians from all over the world, the Maramon Convention is attended by Christians from all over the world. On the banks of River Pamba, this is one of the largest Christian gatherings in Pamba.
How to get there:
Nearest Airport: The nearest airports are at Trivandrum and Cochin and Aranmula can be reached easily once you are at any of these airports.
Nearest Railhead: The three railway junctions in Cochin are Ernakulam town, Cochin harbor and Ernakulam junction. Once here, you can always hire local transport and reach Aranmula.
By road: Cochin is well connected by a wide network of roads and Aranmula is easily accessible once you reach Cochin.
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