Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu

Kanyakumari weaves a magical spell over all those who visit this mesmerizing place blessed with nature's beauty in excess. Kanyakumari has that imposing splendor of striking sunrise and the soft sunset that simmer over the confluence of three oceans - the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the India Ocean, whose every grain seems to seep inside your body, refreshing you to the core. 

Kanyakumari is the southern most tip of peninsular India sprawling over an area of 1672 sq. km, occupying 1.29% of the total extent of Tamilnadu. With multi-colored sand on its beach, this exquisite land has a ringlet of majestic hills along with swaying coconut trees and paddy fields. 

Vast and clear coasts with Azure Ocean lapping the shore, Kanyakumari is dotted with patches of red cliffs and valleys along with temples and churches that add to the resounding beauty of the place. 

Kanyakumari is also known as Kanniyakumari in Tamil Language. As a major Hindu pilgrim center, devotees visit Kanyakumari from across the country. Delving into Kanyakumari's history, one finds the place to be onetime Alexandria of the east. The Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Nayaks who contributed greatly to the architectural marvels of the region ruled Kanyakumari. 

Apart from being a hub of art, culture, civilization, and pilgrimage for years, Kanyakumari is equally famous for commerce and trade. The architecture of this beautiful beach land is greatly inspired by religions like Islam, Christianity and Jainism. 

Among the major tourist attractions in Kanyakumari is Kanyakumari temple dedicated to Parvati or Devi Kanya, who is also revered as the protector of India's shores. Kanyakumari is also home to Gandhi Mandapam that has oriyan architecture and built in memory of Mahatma Gandhi. There is also Vivekananda Memorial, about half a kilometer away from the mainland seated on a rock. The memorial has dhyan mandapam where you could sit and meditate.
Places to See:

Kanyakumari Temple

Overlooking the shoreline, Kanyakumari temple is dedicated to Parvati as Devi Kanya. The Hindu Mythology has it that this was the place where the Virgin Goddess did penance to obtain the hand of Lord Shiva. Devi Kanyakumari is revered as 'the protector of India's shores'. The temple is open for the devotees and tourists early in the morning from 04:30am to 11:30am and again from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. There is one downside about this temple that no one other than Hindus are allowed inside. 

Padmanabhapuram Palace

As a unique repository of some of the most ancient monuments in South India, Padmanabhapuram Palace is about 15 km from Nagercoil. Built with strategic planning and military architecture, the palace remained the seat of power for the Travancore emperors till 1790. The palace is popular for its striking aesthetic beauty, innovative designs and timeless wooden carvings.

Vivekananda Memorial

About half a kilometer away from the mainland, Vivekanad Memorial is perched on one of two rocks separated by about 70 meters. Built in 1970, the memorial is dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, India's greatest social reformer. This was the rock on which Vivekanand meditated in his quest to know the truth and enlightenment. Today this memorial has a meditation room, where you can sit in peace and reflect. The memorial has a stature of Swami Vivekanand and it also houses the different styles of temple architecture from across India. It opens from Wednesday to Monday. Tuesday is holiday. It is open from 7am to 11am and from 2pm to 5pm.

Gandhi Mandapam

Quite near to the Kumari Amman Temple there is the Gandhi Mandapam, built in remembrance of Mahatma Gandhi. The memorial is said to have been built on the place where the urn carrying his ashes was kept before it was immersed in the confluence. The memorial reminds one of an Oriyan temple and was designed in such a manner that on Gandhiji's birthday (2nd October), the sun's rays kiss the place where his ashes were kept. 

Suchindram Temple

Dedicated to the trinity of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, Suchidram temple is just 13kms from Kanniyakumari, The temple has a captivating gopuram, musical pillars and an imposing statue of the Hanuman............

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