Kanyakumari – The Land’s End, Places To Visit

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Vivekananda Rock Memorial, KanyaKumari
Vivekananda Rock Memorial, KanyaKumari

In Kanyakumari, no matter what your focus may be, you cannot miss the giant statue of Thiruvalluvar. The ancient poet and philosopher of Tamil Nadu, who is said to have lived in Kanyakumari. This statue was installed at the dawn of 21st century on Jan 1st 2000. That makes it a modern Indian marvel. Literature on this statue says that it stands on 38 feet platform to mark the 38 chapters of virtue in his work Thirukurral. The stone statue is 133 feet high with face alone some 20 feet high. It seems it has been handcrafted under the supervision of stapathi and on the principles of vaastu shastra.

Pity is that there is no in situ documentation or guide service that explains this when you are there. Should his literature not be available at the same place? The ferry does not stop at this island. You just pass by it, but you can see it from the Vivekananda Rock Memorial quite clearly.

Kanyakumari – Places to visit

Giant statue of Thiruvalluvar, Kanyakumari
Giant statue of Thiruvalluvar, Kanyakumari

Giant Statue of Thiruvalluvar

Aesthetically, I found the height of the statue its most overpowering characteristic. It stands tall in the middle of the ocean. Towering the other rock with two temples and overlooking the city of Kanyakumari. You can see the stones assembled to stitch the statue together. I wondered if we have lost the art of concealing the joints like in our ancient temples? Have we lost the art of having monolithic statues – and think of a complete monolithic temple we carved at Ellora? I wanted to know why is he facing the city and not the ocean. If you know the answer, please share.

Gandhi Bhavan, Kanyakumari
Gandhi Bhavan, Kanyakumari

Gandhi Bhavan & Kamaraj Bhavan

Then there is Gandhi Bhavan – a modern building where a part of Gandhiji’s ashes are kept. The dome above the ashes has a hole that never lets any rain water in. But lets the sun rays hit the ashes on 2nd October every year at the time of Gandhiji’s birth – so we were told. I am sure it is a possibility to design such a thing. But then this is the first time I heard about it. Besides Gandhi Bhavan is Kamaraj Bhavan, which is just a huge hall with a lot of pictures of Kamaraj.

Kanyakumari Temple
Kanyakumari Temple

Kanyakumari Temple

Towards the end of the day, I did manage to see the Kanyakumari temple. After standing impatiently in the queue for good 20 minutes. It was dark inside, lit only with oil lamps – giving a bit scary, mystic and surreal feeling. The idol was beautiful with the doorframe holding the oil lamps made it glow. Strangely, I found the depiction of the goddess very North Indian. I know the legend of Kanyakumari is pan-Indian but I have rarely seen the dressing style of deities in South India in North Indian style. This is a point to be explored further…

Temple at Kanyakumari
Temple at Kanyakumari

Visiting Kanyakumari and that too visiting the rock was like crossing hurdle that had been standing in front of me for years. Need not say – I am happy I visited Kanyakumari.

Recommend you to read following Places to visit in Tamil Nadu.

  1. Brihadeeswara Temple, Gangaikondacholapuram.
  2. Soaking in the charms of Airavatesvara Temple, Darasuram.
  3. Largest living Temple at Srirangam, Trichy.
  4. Maratha Palace Tanjore – Maratha Might in South India.
  5. Edge of India – Vivekananda Rock Memorial.

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