The ancient shrine of Kerala has a history of some 2000 years. It is a major pilgrim centre in Varkala located on a steep hill near the entrance of Beach Road. Varkala Janardanaswamy Temple allures a lot of people with its architectural splendour. The temple faces ‘Papanasam’ Beach and its proximity to the sea adds to its spiritual as well as aesthetic aura. A flight of broad steps lead to the Janardanaswamy Temple and on the way, you will be greeted by a high entrance arch with a tiled roof. An old banyan tree stands on the temple ground and idols of several serpent gods and goddesses are also installed here. Brightly painted idols of Lord Hanuman, Lord Garuda, Lord Shiva and others greet you once you are about to enter the sanctorum. The main shrine Lord Janardana (Vishnu) has four arms that are holding ‘shankha’ (the holy conch shell) ‘chakra’ (wheel), ‘gada’ (mace) and ‘kumbham’ (pot). The temple has many attractive features and it has a circular sanctum sanctorum surmounted by a conical dome of copper sheets. There is a hall in which the ‘bali peetha’ is situated and this too is an important feature of the temple architecture. Though the original date of construction of the temple is not available, one of the inscriptions says that the temple was renovated by Umayamma Rani, who ruled this region in the later 17th century.