While there is a lot to keep you engaged in the village itself, the surrounding region too is laden with religious destinations of international repute, as also an elephant training centre - and you may find a week's trip too short to fully explore around.
The temples of this region are especially famous; the most famous pilgrim site being the Sabarimala Temple (85 km from Aranmula). It is open for five days every month and then for 72 days from November to January. The pilgrims hailing from all castes, creeds and religions walk up the hill of 900 m to reach this temple. Women in the fertile age group are not allowed to visit this temple.
The Parthasarathy Temple , Chengannur Mahadeva Temple , Vallabhaswami Temple , Malankara Syrian Church Headquarters are among the other most-visited religious places around Aranmula. Close to the Chengannur Mahadeva temple are ancient temples like the Trichitat Krishna Temple, Puliyoor Krishna Temple and Thiruvanvandoor Temple.
Parthasarathy Temple :Famous ancient temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, it has murals dating back to the 18th century. The temple is rooted in the Mahabharata era, when the war between the Pandavas and Kauravas took place at the Kurukshetra battlefield. Pilgrims from all around the world come to pay homage at this temple especially on the occasion of the annual Onam festival celebrated in August or September.
Chengannur Mahadeva Temple :Chengannur (12 km from Aranmula) is famous for the Chengannur Mahadeva Temple and the Chengannur Bhagawati Temple . Many great legends are attributed to this temple. This is a sprawling temple complex with a circular sanctum typical of Shiva temples in Kerala, with a copper plated conical roof. The western side of the sanctum enshrines Shiva - Chengannur Mahadeva while the eastern side enshrines Bhagawati or Parvati. The Shivalingam (idol) is covered with a gold plate bearing an image of Ardhanareeswara (Shiva-Shakti manifestation that is half woman and half man). The temple complex was damaged by fire in the 18th century and later restored. Chengannur complex also has the rare Chatankulagara Temple dedicated to Lord Narasimha. Beautiful wooden carvings in this temple depict scenes from Indian mythology.
Chengannur Bhagawati Temple :An interesting belief with respect to the Bhagawati shrine prevails at Chengannur temple. Celebrated as a symbol of fertility, a menstruation ceremony has been observed periodically, corresponding to certain physical observations on the image of Bhagawati. As per tradition, the Bhagawati shrine is closed and worship is offered to another image elsewhere in the temple. At the end of a three day period, the second image of the deity is taken to the nearby Pampa River on a female elephant. The returning procession is received ceremoniously at the temple, after which worship commences as usual for the main Bhagawati idol.
Vallabhaswami Temple, Thiruvalla :17 km from Aranmula, this is a famous shrine amongst the Vaishnavaites (devotees of Lord Vishnu). The flagstaff at this temple is a single stone of granite, 60 feet high, on top of which the statue of Garuda is carved. The bottom of this pillar is supposed to touch the water table below. Kathakali performances are performed daily here.
Malankara Syrian Church Headquarters:Located in Thiruvalla, 17 km from Aranmula. Mar Gregories Metropolitan, the declared saint of Malankara Orthodox Church took his eternal rest about 10 km away at the Parumala Church. The commemoration day is celebrated every year on the 1st and 2nd of November.
Maramon is another holy site for Christians of all denominations. Every February, Clergy and evangelists address the congregation that hails from all over the world. It is probably the largest such convention in Asia.
Aranmula is fast growing as a centre of Kerala's Vastu architecture, cultural art forms, and traditional crafts, and the Vijnana Kala Vedi Cultural Centre has emerged as an important centre in this context.