Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple

Janardana Swami Temple is a 2000 year old temple situated in Varkala. It is also known as Varkala Temple. Janardana Swami is a form of Lord Vishnu. It is a very well known temple in Kerala about 3 km west of Kallambalam on NH 47 near sea, 25 km north of Thiruvananthapuram.It is situated near the Arabian sea shore.It is referred to as Dakshin Kashi (Benares of the south). The temple is located close to the Papanasam beach, which is considered to have medicinal properties since the waters wash the nearby medicinal plants. It is also an important Ayurveda treatment centre. The temple has an ancient bell removed from a shipwreck, donated by the captain of the Dutch vessel which sank near Varkala without causing any casualties.


Once Narada, son of Lord Brahma and a sage who constantly travel the Heaven, Hell and Earth, visited Heaven. Lord Vishnu was also following him unknowingly. As Narada enters Brahma’s court, Brahma perceived Lord Vishnu and prostrated before the Lord. The nine Prajapathis (Progenitors) who were also present on the occasion did not get the vision of Lord Vishnu and they thought that Lord Brahma prostrated before his son Narada. They started ridiculing Brahma for falling at the feet of his son. When Brahma told the true fact they deeply expressed grief and begged for a solution. Brahma asked them to carryout penance at a place in Earth where Narada suggests. Narada threw his Valkalam (the upper garment made out of tree bark) to the earth and the place where the Valkalam fell is known as Varkala. Prajapathis consecrated an idol of Lord Vishnu and started penance there for the prescribed period. This is one of the legends about the origin of the temple. Another legend says that Lord Brhma and Lord Parasurama performed a great yaga at Varkala and this is the reason for the existence of mineral water and lignite terrain at Varkala. The temple is considered equal to Gaya. It is believed that this renowned Vaishnavite shrine was existed as early in 12th century A.D. as evidenced from the mentions in Syanandura Puranam, written in 1167 A.D. Unnuneeli Sandesha another literary work written in 14th century A.D. also mentioned about this temple. The present form of temple architecture also show that the temple dates back to 12th century A.D. Available records are also show that the temple was constructed in the year 1252 A.D. Umayamma Rani, who ruled Venad during 1677 to 1685 brought this temple directly under the control of her kingdom. Today its administration is with the Travancore Devaswom Board.


The principal deity is Lord Krishna otherwise known as Janardhanaswamy. The idol is made of black granite (Krishnasila) in a standing posture and four armed. Lord Siva and Sree Sastha (Lord Ayyappa) are the other deities.
Special feature: Varkala is considered as one of the sacred place for performing Bali rites like Kashi or Rameswaram. A large number of people gather here on the new moon day in the month of Karkadakom (July/August) for observing Bali rites. This ritual is performed on the nearby beach of Arabian Sea. Many performed this rite daily in the temple.

Festival: Only one festival is celebrated in the temple. It is in the month of Meenam (March/April) that last for ten days.

Nearest bus station: Varkala
Airport: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport (5 km)
Railway Station:
Railway Station: Thiruvananthapuram (1.5 km)

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