Saturday, June 13, 2015

Varkala Janardhana Swamy Temple

Varkala Janardhana Swamy temple is an ancient Maha Vishnu Temple which is situated at Varkala 2 km from Varkala Railway Station and close to the sea on the top of an elevated land.The beach adjacent to the temple is known as Papanasam Beach and famous for the 'Pithru Karmam', 'Karkadaka Vavu Bali','Pitru Tharpanam', etc which the Hindus perform for the salvation for the departed souls  and or as a tribute to them.In this temple 'Thila Homam' in the dead person's name can be get performed by the priests of the temple  which would give peace and salvation for the soul is the belief.Usually in other temples except a few like Thirunelli temple  and Thiruvallam temple such rituals are not done for dead person's salvation.By performing these rituals in such temples even the sins performed by them when lived here on the  earth  would be excused is the belief.
Varkala Janardhana Swamy Temple was established by celestial beings 'Devas' and believed to be more than 5000 years old.The present structure is of 12th century A.D., and was constructed by a 'Pandian King'.The temple was renovated during the reign of 'Umayamma Rani'.Varkala is also known from olden periods as 'Janardhanapuram'.The temple is also referred as 'Dakshina Kasi'.(Dakshina Kasi is referred to several temples in Kerala).
The cause of the erection of this temple itself was to remove the sins of a few Devas.The foundation legend is as follows.Once as usual Sage Narada visited Lord Maha Vishnu at 'Vaikunda', his celestial abode  and returned happily after some time.Narada always chant Lord Vishnu's names and sing in his praise using the divine musical instrument 'Veena' which he carries always.When Narada was traversing in the skies Lord Vishnu followed him invisibly enraptured in his divine music which even Narada did not notice.On the way 'Brahma Deva' was coming along with a few Devas and when Brahma Deva saw Lord Vishnu along with Narada he bowed down in salutation to Vishnu.The group of Devas could not see Vishnu standing behind Narada and misunderstood that Brahma Deva prostrated before his own son Narada and laughed teasing at Brahma Deva.In his anger Brahma Deva cursed those Devas to take the form of humans and suffer for a certain period on earth.When the Devas realized their mistake they repented and pleaded guilty requesting to relieve from the sin and curse.Brahma Deva instructed them to perform 'thapas' (penance) at a place on earth  which would be suggested by Narada and worship Lord Vishnu and their sins would be relieved.
Narada threw his upper garment 'Valkalam' towards earth which fell at 'Varkala' and the spot where Sage Narada's shoulder garment fell became the place name 'Valkalam' which in course of time became 'Varkala'.The Devas constructed a temple where the 'Valkalam' fell and as per Narada's request Lord Vishnu  with his 'Sudarshana Chakra' made the temple pond bringing the Ganga waters in it is the belief.The temple pond here is known as 'Chakra Theertham'.
The belief is that Brahma Deva consecrated Maha Vishnu idol in this temple and performed the first pooja ritual.The Devas performed worship to him for a certain period as redemption and got deliverance from their sins.They went  back after gaining liberation happily.The temple became a boon to the people which  helped to remove the sins of the living and the dead alike.
However due to unknown causes  the temple became dilapidated in the 12th century and even the idol got immersed in the sea near the coast.A Pandian King suffering from an ailment which was not curable by medicines was on a pilgrimage during that period  and reached Varkala also.When he found the ruins of the temple he took an oath praying to Lord Vishnu that he would reconstruct the temple if his disease would be cured.On that night the King had a dream in which Lord Vishnu told him that his idol could be found near to  the coast in the sea where he could find some flowers floating on  the next day.Lord Vishnu told him in the dream to regain the idol and to consecrate it at the same spot of the ruins of the  temple  and proceed as he vowed.The King recovered the idol, repaired one of it's left hand with gold and consecrated it.He constructed the temple.Needless to say that his ailments were cured by the Lord.Devotees believe that by worshiping Varkala Janardhana Swamy some chronic disorders would be cured by the deity.
There is mention in Maha Bhagavatham about this temple that 'Lord Balarama' the elder brother of 'Lord Sree Krishna' visited this temple  during his pilgrimage to several temples during Mahabharatha war.He visited many South Indian temples including Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple at Thiruvananthapuram, Kanyakumari Devi Temple etc including Varkala Janardhana Swamy Temple.
For offering obeisances to the departed souls and forefathers large crowd assemble at 'Papanasam' beach' close to the temple on Karkadaka Vavu and other auspicious days in this regard.Thila Homam can be performed on all days.More details regarding the rituals which can be performed in this temple for the departed souls can be known from the temple authorities.
The sub-deities of this temple are Lord Ganapathy,Lord Shiva,Chandikeswaran,Hanuman Swamy,Lord Sastha,Anantha(Naga Devatas), etc.
The sanctum sanctorum is round in shape and copper sheet roofed.The temple architecture is Kerala style and is very beautiful.There is golden flag staff in the temple.The annual festival lasts for ten days and is celebrated in the Malayalam month Meenam (March 15-April 15).
There are two bells tied in the temple premises which was donated by the Captain of a Dutch vessel which got grounded near the place and was relieved from the stuck when the Captain along with some other sailors prayed in this temple.The Captain donated the bells here in gratitude.
The deity is having four hands and is in standing posture on a lotus and about six feet tall including the lotus pedestal.Janarhana Swamy is along with Bhoomi Devi and Sree Devi."Mukhacharthu,Muzhukkappu,Archana,Paal Payasam" and all the usual offerings in Vishnu temples are performed here.
There are images of Hanuman Swamy and Garudan Swamy on either sides of the main entrance of the sanctum.
One has to climb a flight of several steps to enter into this peaceful, divine sacred place which soothes the mind and the soul.
The timings are morning 4 to 12 and evening 5 to 8.
The distance from Thiruvananthapuram to Varkala is 25 km and can be reached by road and rail.


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