Only temple dedicated to Janardana Swami (Vishnu) Kerala, South India


Incredible Kerala

 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

Balarama, the elder brother of Sri Krishna, according to Sri Maha Bhagavatham, was believed to have visited this ancient shrine. According to the legend  Brahma saw Narayana (Vishu) following his son Narada who was on his  way to  Vaikuntam, Narayana (Vishnu)  was engrossed by the Veena music  of Narada, and  followed him unseen.  When Brhma  offered obeisance  to Him, at this juncture, Vishnu, realizing the awkward situation, suddenly disappeared. Brahma,  without his knowlede, paying respect  to his own son, Narada. The  Devas  laughed at this funny incident, upon which  they were cursed by Brahma that they would be born on earth and suffer the miseries of human beings. Narada told them to perform penance to relieve of their sin at a place, where his ‘Valkalam' (upper garment/ Vastra’)  fell down. Then they built and consecrated a temple for Vishnu (Janardanaswamy). Hence the name Varkala. 
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.