Bharatha bhooshira mandira sundari bhuvana manohari, Kanyakumari
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Kanyakumari is the beautiful song from Kannada movie Upasane, describing the southernmost tip of India.
In Kanyakumari two moments are priceless and both have to do with the sun – the dawn and the dusk. We reached Kanyakumari around 4PM, after a good 3-hour journey from Thiruvananthapuram. We thought of paying a visit to the temple before catching the glimpse of the setting sun.
Kanyakumari was a maiden Goddess who was stood up by her groom, Lord Shiva. An incarnation of Goddess Parvathi, Kanyakumari was born to kill the demon, Bana as predicted. Bana was blessed with a boon that his death would only be with the hand of a virgin girl. So the Gods plotted to ensure that the marriage did not take place and Kanyakumari remained a maiden who eventually killed the demon, fulfilling the sole purpose of her incarnation.
The temple has a petite idol, resembling an adolescent girl in a half-saree. One specialty of the idol is her diamond nose-ring, sparkling in the light of the lamps. The temple’s legend says that the light reflects off it so brightly that once an ancient mariner mistook it for a lighthouse. Sailing his ship towards the beacon, he wrecked upon the rocks. In order to prevent such tragedy from happening again, the eastern door of the temple was closed, only to open on special occasions.
Further on, we rushed to the shore to get a view of the setting sun. The sunset point is easily 2 kilometers away from the temple. We parked ourselves, ready with cameras to get a view of the setting sun.
After sundown, we took a stroll along the beach, watching the waters rise and fall in tides.
Kanyakumari is the only beach where you can watch both sunrise and sunset! The following morning, we were up as early as 5AM, to witness the rising sun. Most of the travellers had gathered at the terrace of their hotels to catch a glimpse of the sun. While we waited for the dawn, the view of Vivekananda memorial in pitch darkness was mesmerising.
It was a cloudy morning and all that we could see was a pale sky and a thin shimmering ball of fire glowing above the horizon and in that light, the confluence of Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and Arabian see. Wind was very strong and we could see the water lashing furiously against the rocks. We couldn’t stand on the terrace, barely on the sixth floor of the hotel, without any support.
We went back into the hotel to get fresh and start our excursion for the day and were deeply disappointed to learn that all ferries to Vivekananda Rock Memorial were cancelled because of high tides. Instead, we went exploring the market and Gandhi mandapam , where the urn containing ashes of Mahatma Gandhi was kept before a portion of it was immersed in the confluence of the three seas. There is also an altar dedicated to Swami Vivekananda by the shore.
Kanyakumari is one place I would want to visit one more time to explore more hidden treasures and visit the places I missed coz of climatic conditions. If you haven’t been there yet, you should definitely add this place to your travel bucketlist.