Sivagiri Temple, Varkala

The revolutionary religious social reformer Sree Narayana Guru established the Sivagiri Temple at Varkala in the 19th century. The main feature of the Sivagiri Temple is that there is no idol inside the temple.

Sivagiri Temple

It is one of the sacred pilgrimage centres in Kerala and is positioned at the top of the Sivagiri hills. Sree Narayana Guru preached the principles of one caste, one religion and one God. To spread this concept, he established an organization of his disciples and saints known as Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham. It is believed that the saint Sree Narayana Guru has breathed his last at this place and the temple preserves the samadhi (tomb) of the saint. Millions of pilgrims visit this temple in yellow attire every year between December 30 and January 1 which is regarded as the Sivagiri pilgrimage season. The Sivagiri Temple also enshrines a temple for Goddess Sarada (Saraswathi).

In 1904, Sri Narayana Guru visited Varkala. Admired by the beauty of the Sivagiri hill, he made an ashram on its top. The Travancore government and some other people gifted him the surrounding lands and hence he built the Sivagiri Temple or Sivagiri Mutt. It is believed that Sree Narayana Guru attained enlightenment here. And he preached the principles of one caste, one religion and one God. And his followers are known by a unique name, Ezhavas. He built a Saraswathi Temple within the Sivagiri Mutt complex and abolishes the customs like oil bathing and offering food at the Saraswathi Temple. Sri Narayana Guru was a writer as well as a poet. He wrote a poem in praise of Goddess Saraswati, known as Janani Navaratna. While worshipping the Goddess at the shrine, the devotees still recite this verse. In 1928, Sri Narayana Guru breathed his last at this temple.


  • There is an elementary school built here. Besides this, there is also a night school for the illiterate people who belong to the untouchable caste.
  • The Sivagiri temple houses a small museum which was earlier the home of Sri Narayana Guru. At this museum, you can find the belongings of the Guru and also the pictures and writings here explain the life and work of Sri Narayana Guru. Hence, it is a great place to learn about the ancient social system.
  • The main feature of the Sivagiri Temple in Varkala is that there is no idol inside the temple and people irrespective of caste and religion can enter this temple.
  • The temple shows modern architecture and is pure white in colour with unique roof that rises in steps, resembling a gopuram. The temple is built in an octagonal shape.
  • The Sivagiri Mutt has a shrine inside the complex which worships Goddess Sarada. The idol of this shrine is pure white in colour and sits on a white lotus. This posture of the Goddess Sarada seated on a white lotus indicates knowledge blossoming on purity. The devotees also call her as Goddess Saraswathi, the Goddess of knowledge and music.


  • Sivagiri Pilgrimage: Sivagiri Pilgrimage takes place from 30th December to 1st January during which devotees come in yellow dresses and visit the tomb and resting place of Sri Narayana Guru. The yellow dress indicates that the devotees are willing to follow the path shown by the Guru. During this time public meetings, community feasts and group weddings are also held here.
  • Guru Deva Jayanti: Every year in the month of August, Guru Deva Jayanti is conducted which is the birthday celebration of the saint Sree Narayana Guru. On this day, colourful processions are organized. Debate on spiritual topics,  seminars and cultural shows are also conducted on this day.
  • Samadhi Day: It is the death anniversary of the saint Sree Narayana Guru which takes place in the month of September.


  • 5:30 AM to 12 PM.
  • 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM.

Dress Code

Traditional wears are the most preferable attire while visiting the Sivagiri Temple. But the devotees come in yellow dress during the festivals.

How To Reach the Temple

 By Air -  Trivandrum International Airport is the nearest airports to Sivagiri Temple Varkala which is situated at a distance of 46 Km. On reaching the airport, one can hire a taxi or bus to reach the temple.

 By Rail -  Varkala Railway Station is the nearest railway station to Sivagiri Tempe which is situated at a distance of 3 Km. On reaching the railway station, one can hire a taxi, bus or an autorickshaw to reach the temple.

 By Road -  Many state transport buses and private buses are easily available from major cities to Varkala.