Aranmula Snake Boat Race
Aranmula Snake boat race or Aranmula Vallamkali, as it is known in the local language of Malayalam, is held annually on “Uthrattathi” day, normally the 4th day after “ThiruOnam”. Aranmula Snake boat race is conducted during the Onam (or Thruonam) Festival Season. Thiruonam is Kerala’s traditional harvest festival celebrated during August or September. Aranmula Snake boat race is a canoe racing kind of activity among the various nearby villagers.
Each boat is more than 30 feet in length with a minimum of 124 oarsmen rowing; many others standing on the boat singing traditional ‘Vanchipaattu’; traditional songs to encourage the oarsmen. These trophy boats are decorated with Kerala’s traditional golden lace, flag and colorful umbrellas. Only men are allowed to row the snake-boats in these races. Nobody wears shirt or footwear. Traditional ‘Mundu’ also known as “vesti” and ‘Turban’ to head are the dress allowed. It is a pleasure watching these snake boats glide swiftly through the water. 48 snake boats have participated in the last year’s Aranmula Vallam Kali.
Trophy Boat races are the highlight of Kerala Tourism during the Onam season. Allapuzha Nehru Tropy Boat Race, Aranmula snake boat race, Champakulam Moolam Boat Race, Neerattupuram boat race, etc, are to name a few.
Anamula Parthasarathy Temple
Anamula Parthasarathy temple is a temple which is one of the ancient temples dedicated to Parthasarthy or Lord Krishna. “Thanka Anki”, which is the Golden dress to Sabarimala temple’s Lord Aiyappa which was donated by the Tranvancore royal family, is kept at Ananmula. It is taken to Sabarimala temple every year, for a few days. Back side of the temple is the holy river Pamba. Temple celebrates its annual festival during regional calender’s month of ‘Meenam”. It is believed that Lord Aiyappa of Sabarimla temple, after getting the Tiger’s milk from Sabrimala , came to Aranmula in a country boat made of six bamboos and landed here, on his return journey to Pandalam palace, ;where his parents were residing. Thus the name Aranmula. ‘Aru’ is six and ‘mula’ is bamboo in Malayalam, the local language of Kerala.
Aranmula Metal Mirrors
Aranmula Metal Mirror or Anamula Kannadi as is known locally, is handmade with metal alloys. Unlike mercury coated mirrors, which has mercury at backside, these mirrors reflect image from the front of the mirror. Exact metals used to make the mirrors are still a secret to the outside world. It is made of some alloys, and takes many days of polishing by hand to make it smooth.
There is also the famous ‘VastuVidyaGurukulam’, supported by government, which promotes the traditional art, culture and heritage of Aranmula.
How to reach the Site of Aranmula Snake Boats, Temple, Metal Mirrors
Aranmula is at a distance of 110 Kilometers from the capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, previously known as Trivandrum. Chenganoor is the nearest railway station to Aranmula snake boat race site, at 9 kilometers away. Aranmula is well connected by roads. Cochin International Airport and Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, at around 110 to 125 kilometers away ;receptively, are the nearest airports.
Being a Village, there are no hotels at Aranmula. One can stay at Aranmula home stay or nearby Pathanamthitta homestay.
Aranmula is a beautiful heritage village.