Kanyäkumäré Temple, Kanyäkumäré
Kanyakumari is picturesquely situated at the tip of India, at the confluence of the three seas, Bay of Bengal on the left, the Arabian Sea on the right, and the Indian Ocean in front. Its fame as a pilgrim centre dates back to Puranic era.
A small gopuram on the northern entrance of the Temple leads one to the sanctum. The beautiful image of the Devé in resplendent glory, with a rosary on her right hand denoting tapas bestows the devotees with immense spiritual energy and peace of mind. The day I visited she was not wearing her famous diamond nose ring, but her gold nose ring was shining brilliantly nevertheless.
Lord Ganeça, Sürya, Bäläsundari, the utsava - processional image of the Goddess and Lord Ayappä have separate shrines on the prakärams. A well inside the second prakäram, known as Müla Gaìgä Tértham provides water for Devi’s abhiñekam.
Sunrise and sunset seen from the shores are brilliant spectacles. From our hotel windows while I was videoing the rising sun, I could see the whole locality watching the sunrise.
Though sunrise can be viewed round the year, sunset is clearly visible only from around October 15 to March 15. On the evening on Chitra Purnima (April-May), one can witness the rare spectacle of sunset and moonrise simultaneously.
The dakshinavarta conch which is revered in our culture, and used in all temples for abhishekam are available at throwaway price on the shops on the beach. The conchs reportedly regularly available on the Kanyakumari sea beach, and are picked up for sale. I bought three good ones to gift away.
Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Kanyakumari is also famous for the Vivekananda Memorial and Tiruvallur. On two rocky islets just off the shore, southeast of the Kumari Amman temple, are the Vivekananda Rock Memorial built in 1970. One of the rocks, called Sri Pädaparai, is said to bear the footprints of Kanyakumari. Swami Vivekananda is said to have meditated on this rock for three days. Also on this rock, there is a Dhyana Mandapam, an area for meditation. Ferry services are available to reach the memorial.
A 133-feet (41 m) tall statue of Tamil Poet-Saint Tiruvalluvar is on another rocjy islet. It is one of the biggest statues in Asia, completed in 2,000 by sculptor V. Ganapati Sthapati.
Somehow, I felt the place has become more famous for these two places than the original Kanyakumari Temple. It is like Mount Abu now being more popularly known as the centre for Brahmakumaris, than the i) two exquisite Dilwara Jain Temples that it houses, and ii) the Çaìkara Maöh.
Work in progress