[Image from http://www.aranmula.net]
This is also one of the five malai nAdu divya dEsams associated with the five pAndavAs of mahAbhArathA fame. Also, this is one of the six divya dEsams that can be visited with the town of TiruvallA as the travel base.
Location and Access:
It is located 10 kilometres east of the town of ChengannUr and is on the banks of the PampA river. There are very limited facilities for boarding and lodging here. It is best to travel by road from ChengannUr or TiruvallA. Incidentally, the pampA river at the banks of this temple is the site of the famous Aranmula boat race that is held in the Onam season (August – September). Also, Aranmula is the provenance of the famous Aranmula kannAdi, which is a type of hand-crafted mirror made of metal alloy instead of glass. For more information on this, see this link: http://www.aranmula.net/AranmulaKannadi.aspx
The temple is fairly big. The thAyAr here is known as padmAsani nAchiyAr and the mUlavar here is ThirkkuraLappan who is in a standing posture. The mUlavar is also known as pArthasArathy (literally means, ArjunA’s charioteer). Also seen here are icons of BrahmA and sage vEda vyAsa. The theertham here is known as vEda vyAsa saras.
Legends and History:
According to legend, Arjuna, the third of the pAndavAs renovated this shrine. He worshipped the Divya Dampathi here to expiate for his sin of killing Karna when the latter was unarmed during the great mahAbhArathA war, and regained his peace. It is also believed that the vanni tree here has healing properties.
Also, once, a couple of demons named Madhu and KaitabhA stole the vEdAs from BrahmA, the creator. BrahmA, bereft of the vEdAs, prayed to the Divya dampathi for their restoration. The Divya Dampathi here restored the knowledge of the vEdAs to BrahmA.
[Note: The numbering convention for the pAsurams seems to differ in various Divya Prabandham books. In some Divya Prabandham books, the same pAsurams by srI nammAzhwAr are listed as verse numbers 2843-53.]
A sample pAsuram:
இன்பம் பயக்க எழில் மலர் மாதரும் தானும், இவ் ஏழ் உலகை
இன்பம் பயக்க, இனிது உடன் வீற்றிருந்து ஆள்கின்ற எங்கள் பிரான்
அன்புற்று அமர்ந்து உறைகின்ற அணிபொழில் சூழ் திருவாறண்விளை
அன்புற்று அமர்ந்து, வலஞ்செய்து கைதொழும் நாள்களும் ஆகும்கொலோ ?
In this pAsuram, Sri nammAzhwAr wonders when he will have the fortune of worshipping and circumambulating the Lord at ThiruvAran vilai. The Lord rules the world benevolently with His Consorts, spreading happiness.
SrI padmAsani thAyAr samEtha SrI ThirukkuraLappan thiruvadigaLE saranam