The Palliyoda Seva Sangam is a membership based organisation with two members from each of the 48 villages that own a palliyodam (snake boat). The PSS are responsible for the annual snake boat race that takes place on the day of the Uthruttadi star in Chingam month (usually between 15 August and 20 September). We have set up a museum in Aranmula to showcase models of boats, trophies won, photographs of famous guests, etc. We have a video of the annual boat race for guests who are unable to attend the boat race. The traditional songs (vanchipaattu) that are sung by the oarsmen have been recorded and can be bought at the museum. The boat itself has a lot of history behind it and is a repository of several of the popular Indian myths. It is believed that its design was made by Lord Krishna, the reigning deity at the Aranmula Parthasarathy temple. The Lord is supposed to have arrived at the shore on a raft made of six bamboos, giving the village its name – Aranmula or Six Bamboos.
The Parthasarathy temple has several 18th century murals inside and is the most famous of the Pancha Pandava temples in the region. The image of Krishna here is believed to have been worshipped by Arjuna himself. (Heroes from the Mahabharata, one of India's oldest epics) The Pampa Parirakshana Samiti was set up to help those living on its banks understand how much their lives are connected to that of the River Pampa and therefore, the urgent need to protect it.
The most famous of the temples here is the Sabarimala temple (85 km from Aranmula) which is open for five days every month and then for 72 days from November to January. The faith of the pilgrims helps them to walk up the hill of 900 m carrying their own food. Pilgrims from all over India are to be found visiting this famous temple with no bar on caste, creed, colour or religion. However, Aranmula lies in the banks of the river Pampa in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala.