The Aranmula Boat Race is the oldest river boat fiesta in Kerala, the south western State of India is held during Onam (August-September). It takes place at Aranmula, near a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and Arjuna. The snake boats move in pairs to the rhythm of full-throated singing and shouting watched by an exciting crowd. In 1972, snake boat races were also added to the program of the festival. Thousands of people gather on the banks of the river Pampa to watch the snake boat races. In 2009, forty one snake boats or chundan vallams had participated in the festival. The oarsmen sing traditional boat songs and wear white mundu and turbans. The golden lace at the head of the boat, the flag and the ornamental umbrella at the center make it a show of pageantry too.
The Parthasarathi Temple (dedicated to Sree Krishna) on the banks of the holy River Pamba attracts large crowds of devotees. The famed Aranmula boat race is held on the last day of the week-long Onam festival.
The Vijnana Kalavedi at Aranmula imparts training in the traditional arts like Kathakali, classical dances, classical music, as well as Kalaripayattu. Foreign tourists stay here for long periods to get a first hand knowledge of the culture of Kerala. The Parthasarathi Temple here has fine murals from the 18th century.
Aranmula is also famous for its metal mirrors - Aranmula Kannadi, a unique craft which is not found anywhere else in the world.
Nearest railway station: Chengannur, which is about 10 km away.
Nearest airport: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, about 115 km away.