Turmeric, Roses, And Gold – Experience The Essence Of South India At Kanyakumari Temple
Kanyakumari Temple is located in the city of Kanyakumari, the southernmost city of India. It is a popular tourist destination and also a holy pilgrimage site since it is believed to be a Shakti-Peeth. It is believed that the shoulder of the Goddess Sati fell on this site and that is why the region has kundalini shakti. Today, the temple of the Goddess Kanyakumari Devi attracts tourists and pilgrims from all over the world and the Vivekananda Rock is also another major site at this spot.
Legend of Kanya Devi and Kanyakumari temple history
According to Hindu mythology, there are many legends associated with this place. It is said that Kanya Devi was the sister of Lord Krishna, and she is said to remove the rigidity of the mind and is the goddess to pray to when girls want to get married.
The most popular legend goes that Devi Kanya, an avatar of Goddess Parvati, was stood up by Lord Shiva on her wedding day when he failed to turn up. Legend says that Lord Narada prevented the wedding from taking place because he could see into the future and could foretell that a demon named Bana would wreak havoc and he could only be killed by a virgin girl. On the morning of the wedding, he sent out a wrong signal to Lord Shiva by letting out the cry of the cock and Shiva thought that the auspicious moment of the wedding, at the early morning, had already passed. The marriage procession returned.
All the rice and other grains meant for the wedding were left untouched and uncooked and eventually turned to stone. It is said that the pebbles found on the shore of the Kanyakumari by the sea, which looks like rice grains, are actually the stone turned grains from the wedding that never took place. It is said that the Devi Kanya remained unmarried ever since and performed strict penance at the spot where the temple is now built. Years later, when Bana surfaced, he tried to lure Kanya Devi without realizing who she was. In her rage at being solicited without her permission, Kanya Devi took the image of Bhadrakali and immediately killed Bana and destroyed everything around her. Later, in his dying moment, Bana realized that she was the Goddess Shakti herself and asked for her forgiveness during his final moments.
There is no entry fee to go inside the temple but the Kanyakumari temple timings are from 4:30 am in the morning to 12 noon and again from 4 pm to 8 pm.
Other Legendary Tourism Spots in Kanyakumari
According to another legend, it is said that a huge chunk of rock fell out of the hill carrying Mrita Sanjivani when Lord Hanuman carried it over his shoulders to revive Lord Laxman during the Ram and Ravana war. The piece of rock is called Marunthuvazl Malai, and it is said that is the reason why the region has an abundance of medicinal plants and herbs. There is also a nearby village here named after the sage Agastya, who was considered to be an experts with herbs and medicines, another reason why it is said that the region has so many of them.
On the other hand, Kanyakumari is also the site of the Vivekananda Rock, named so after Swami Vivekananda swam out into the sea and performed meditation here till he gained enlightenment and chose to become an active sannyasi and perform his duty for the people. It is said that he swam out to seek blessings from the Goddess Kanya and become a monk wholeheartedly at this very spot. The memorial was constructed in the late 1960s after much controversy but today it is very much a tourist site and people come here to pay their respects to the sage. The only way to reach the rock is to take a ferry.
Historical significance of Kanyakumari
The city of Kanyakumari has had a lot significance due to its mythological legends in India but after the British took over, the name of the region was changed to Cape Comrin and it became an important port city as well. It was also under the Portuguese rule for some time before that and there some buildings that still retain the Portuguese architecture.
Tourism in Kanyakumari
Apart from being a holy site for the pilgrims, the tourists come to Kanyakumari to spend a relaxing time by the beach. The city is located at the confluence of the three oceans of the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea and it is quite an experience to be here. There are lush green landscapes a little way off the main city and the laid back lifestyle here is perfect for a holiday.
There are many tourist spots in Kanyakumari where you can go for picnics and long walks. Do not miss a trip to the wonderful waterfalls that dot the region like the Courtallam waterfalls, Olakaruvi falls and the Thirparappu falls.
Those who come here also visit the Tsunami Memorial that was constructed in the memory of those who lost their lives in the 2004 Tsunami not only in India but in Sri Lanka, Thailand and other countries in the sea.
Kanyakumari also has a statue of the saint-poet Thiruvallavur who is one of the most famous Tamil poets in India. His statue stands at a height of 133 feet and is the biggest in the Asian subcontinent.
People also come to pay their respects in the Gandhi Memorial Hall, where the urn containing the ashes of the Mahatma were kept before immersion. It is said that the hall is built in such a way so that the first rays of the sub fall exactly on the place where the urn was kept.
How to Reach Kanyakumari
The easiest way to reach Kanyakumari by air is to travel to Trivandrum airport, which is 67 km. One can easily get cabs and taxies to the main city from here and then to the temple.
Those traveling by train can go directly to Kanyakumari station which has trains from all leading Indian cities. There are taxis and cabs outside the station to take you to the temple.
The Kanyakumari Road Transport Corporation has buses from various parts of Tamil Nadu regularly.
Where to Stay in Kanyakumari
There are a number of budget hotel options in Kanyakumari and you can easily book rooms through the OYO app. There are hotels near the beach and the sea view rooms are a real pleasure for the eyes. You can also book rooms near the outskirts of the city to keep away from the crowd of the tourists and enjoy the wonderful views of the countryside instead. There are hotels serving both vegetarian and non- vegetarian fare so you can choose according to your preferences through the app.