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Varkala:A beautiful place in Kerala

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Submitted by UMAMAHESWARI on Wed, 2006-12-06 21:37. Tourist_places

About half way between Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam is Varkala, ideally situated on a piece of cliffy head-land, over looking a strip of surf beaten beach. Located on the hill top is the Janardana temple. The tradition behind the origin of the temple is well worth relating.


It is said that the Sage Narada in the course of his wonted peregrinations around the fourteen worlds, once went to Viakunta to pay his respects to Lord Vishnu. The sage was playing as usual upon his veena producing rapturous melodies. Lord Vishnu enthralled by the music followed him all the way unseen, till he reached the abode of Brahma-his father. Brahma observed Vishnu behind Narada and prostrated him. Vishnu however vanished leaving Brahma in a delicate situation of doing obeisance to his son. The navaprajapatis the nine attendants of Brahma, burst out laughing. This ill timed hilarity infuriated Brahma, so much that he inflicted on them a terrible curse. They were to lose their Godhead and descend to the earth as mortals to undergo the miseries and the cycle of births and deaths.

Narada however came to the rescue of the Prajapatis. He counseled them to propitiate Lord Vishnu at a spot on earth he would indicate by throwing his Valkalam (the robe). The place where it fell is called varkala. The Prajapatis constructed a temple for Lord Vishnu and observed the penance to absolve of the curse that lay on them.
The present one is not said to be the one built by the Prajapatis, although the idol is believed to have consecrated by them.

Pandyan King’s dream:

The original temple was washed away by the sea. It so happened that a Pandyan King pursued and harassed by the Ghost of a Brahmin, he had killed, came to Varkala in the course of his pilgrimage to get rid of the evil spirit. He was advised by learnt men to construct a temple, where the old one stood. One night the King had a strange dream. A celestial being appeared which said that on the next morning he would find some flowers floating on the sea at a particular spot and that if search were made the original idol of consecrated by the Navaprajapatis would be recovered.
The dream proved true. Fishermen were engaged to discover the idol. The right of the idol which was broken was later attached to the body using gold leaves.

The Trance: An auspicious hour was fixed to install the idol. At that moment the assembled people fell into a trance. When they recovered their senses they found that the idol had been installed. So they believed that Brahma himself consecrated the idol.

The Pandya king stayed there for long. During the reign of Umayamma Rani the temple was taken over by Travancore administration. Varkala is now a popular pilgrimage and is considered as the Gaya of the South.

The Beach:
IT IS OF HOLY SIGNIFICANCE. Stretching from North to South in the form of a segment of a large circle, it is a picturesque sight to behold. The surf lines form the chord of the segment. All along the curve the cliffs of Varkala rear the towering heights. From these cliffs gush forth the three sacred springs namely CHAKRA TEERTHAM, PAPANASA TEERTHAM, AND JANARDANA TEERTHAM. The springs posses wonderful curative properties.

The Dutch Bell: The bell in the temple has an interesting story behind it. Many years ago a Dutch ship, sailing south was suddenly becalmed opposite the temple of Janardana. For weeks there was no breath of wind. The ship’s captain, who on coming ashore was told of Lord Janardana’s omnipotence, approached the temple priest and told him, in faith and despair that if a wind blew to fill the sails and send him on his voyage he would make of the ship’s bell an offering to the Lord. That night a wind arose and the ship was enabled to continue in its course. The captain sent the bell to the priest and eve since it has been in use in the temple.

The Tunnels:
No visitor can afford to miss the experience of visiting the tunnels. It had been bored through the cliffs to complete the line of canal and back water communication between the northern and southern parts of Travancore. Opened in the seventies of the last century the bigger of the two tunnels is 2364 feet long.

Two miles from the temple is situated the Sivagiri mutt, established by Sree Narayana Guru a socio-religious leader and reformer. He preached the universal document “ONE CASTE, ONE RELIGION, ONE GOD.” The Mutt was built in 1904 and the great teacher gave up his mortal coli in 1928.

Devotees throng this place during the new moon day in the month of KARKITAKOM/AADI, when they pay their obeisance, to he departed souls.
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