Amidst the balmy sea breeze that blows from the distance and the imagery of the grass, banana leaves, coconut palms, and other colorful flora and fauna of the Varkala hills, the presence of the Janardhana Swamy Temple adds a distinctive quality to this charming landscape. Believed to be in existence for at least two millenniums, this granite structure stands as a dedication for Lord Vishnu, one of the most revered deities of the Hindu faith.
Featuring exquisite wooden carvings of Navagrahas, the nine cosmic influencers on the living beings of earth, the structure serves as a good example of ancient South Indian architecture from the Chola period of the 13th Century AD. Within the interior of the temple are many other intricate workings of wood, stone, and cement that make it a beautiful specimen of ancient Indian architecture. Incorporating copper sheets in its construction, the structure encompasses a distinct South Indian appearance. Although non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the inner chamber of the temple, all visitors can enjoy the sights of this sacred ground for its peaceful and serene ambience is worth experiencing regardless of religious belief and cultural background.
The Janardhana Swamy Temple has many rich traditions and practices bound to its colorful history. The banyan grove surrounding the main temple is home to many large, shady banyan trees. The stone shrines found within this sanctum are said to be older than the temple itself. The water of the pond in the temple is held by devotees to be sacred as it is believed that immersing oneself in it will wash away all a persons sins and taints. The nearby Papnashnam Beach is also revered by devotees to have the power to purge ones sins. Some Hindus scatter the ashes of their beloved ones in order to grant their deceased relatives and loved ones a passage to the bliss of heaven. The month of March ushers in a time of reverence and festivity as a weeklong procession is held to celebrate and pay respects to the patron deities of the temple. The procession includes colorfully dressed elephants, rhythmic ritual music, and colorful traditional cultural displays that will undoubtedly open the eyes of visitors to a new world of spiritual and cultural festivity.
There are many Varkala hotels for those who are interested in undertaking a leisure trip. The Gateway Hotel Janardhanapuram Varkala is one such hotel that offers the best retreat for those who seek charming surroundings and hospitable service. Situated nearby are splendid attractions, where guests can easily stroll around the streets as a part of Varkala sightseeing experience.