Janardana Swami Temple, dedicated to lord Vishnu is a 2000 year old temple of great antiquity situated in Varkala (Thiruvananthapuram district)), 25 km north of Thiruvananthapuram city, Kerala. Varkala, a famous sea side town, is also known by the name of Janardanapuram. Also known as Varkala Temple, it is a well known sacred pilgrim center in Kerala and is referred to as Dakshin Kashi (Benares of the south) built near the Arabian sea shore - close to the Papanasam beach, which is considered to have medicinal properties since the waters wash the nearby medicinal plants. Hence, it has emerged as one of the important Ayurveda treatment centres. The temple is 13 km south of the famous backwater destination Paravur and 2 km from Varkala Sivagiri railway station.
|Janardanaswamy_Temple, Kerala. Trips on Bid|
The temple of Sri Janardana is atop a table-land adjoining the sea and can be accessed by a long and arduous flight of steps. There are the idols of Hanuman and Garuda on either side at the entrance to the inner shrine and in the Srikovil/Garbagraha (sanctum) is the idol of Sri. Janardana with Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi. The circular ‘Sanctum sanctorum” surrounded by a conical dome of copper sheets is unique to this temple. Inscriptions in the temple point out that during the reign of Umayamma Rani (1677-84 A.D), the temple seemed to have undergone major architectural changes rich in artistic work.
It is the only temple where Vishnu is referred to as Janardana in South India. The impressive idol has four arms having all the attributes of Vishnu. The presiding deity is in standing position facing towards the east. His right hand is positioned as if he is performing "Aachamanam". His right hand is raised towards his mouth and legends say that if his hand goes nearer to his mouth, the world will come to an end - deluge or Pralayam . It is believed to happen at the end of the Kali Yuga when evil forces dominate the world. There are the shrines of Sasta and Shiva with Nandi on the temple premises.
Arattu festival is a major event celebrated in the month of Meenam (March–April/ on the day of Uthram), at this temple in The festival starts with a Kodiyettam flag hoisting ceremony, and ends with a procession of five decorated elephants through the streets. During the fourth and fifth days of the festival, the celebrations include all night long performances such as traditional Kathakali dancing
Lots of devotees come here to do Pithroo Karyam - paying obeisances to the departed souls and forefathers and it an important ritual here. Four poojas are conducted in a day by the priest. The chief priest is a Tulu Brahmin, who is not native to this place.
The temple has an ancient bell removed from a shipwreck. It was donated by the captain of the Dutch vessel which sank near Varkala without causing any casualties.