July 24, 2010

The world will come to an end - Varkala Janardhana Swamy Temple, Kerala, India

Varkala is a coastal town, located near Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Indian state of Kerala. Varkala has an ancient temple named Janardhana Swamy temple, which is believed to be 2000 years old. Jarardhan is the name of Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Varkala Janardhana Swamy temple is one of the important pilgrim centers of Kerala, and it is also called as 'Dakshin Kasi' (Southern Kasi). The temple is located very near to Papanasam beach, which is believed to have medicinal properties.

The presiding deity of the temple is Sri Janardhana Swamy. The idol is found in the standing posture and has four arms. One of his right arms is raised towards his mouth as if he is performing 'Aachamanam'. (Aachamanam is a kind of purification ritual followed in Hinduism, in which the water is sipped thrice into the mouth.) As per the belief, the deity's right arm has water and it moves one inch towards his mouth every twelve years. When it reaches his mouth, that will be the end of 'Kali Yuga', and this world will come to an end.

There are many legends associated with this temple. Let us see some of them very briefly. Once Lord Brahma wanted to get the blessings of Lord Vishnu and bent down; however, Lord Vishnu had already moved, and it appeared to everybody as if Brahma was saluting the sage Narad. Hence, the devas made fun of Brahma and laughed at him. Brahma cursed them; Narad threw his Valkala (deer's skin) towards the earth. The devas worshipped Lord Vishnu in the place where Narad's Valkala fell, and they got rid of their sin. Varkala is the place where the devas built the temple for Janardhana. After many years, it appears a Pandian king found the idol of Janardhana in the sea and rebuilt this temple.

The temple also has small shrines for Lord Shiva, Ganesha, Ayyappa and Chandikeswara. There are Nagaraja (snake worship) idols found below a tree. Even though this is a Vishnu temple, all other idols belong to Saivism.

When you happen to go to Kerala, enjoy Varkala which has a lot of good beach resorts, and also get blessings of Lord Janardhana.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Janardhana Swamy Temple
City Name: Varkala
1) 2000 years old temple
2) The end of the world is connected with the idol of the temple

Location: 6 kms from Trivandrum, Kerala state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Trivandrum
Nearest Airport: Trivandrum
How to reach: Easily reachable by road from Trivandrum
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available in Trivandrum
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in Trivandrum

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