Located 500 meters away the mainland, Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a place of great scenic beauty, historical importance and religious significance. Undeniably one of the most popular places to see in Kanyakumari, this rock is considered to be holy as well as an architectural wonder. Vivekananda Rock Memorial is one of the two rocks located slightly away from the mainland.
Vivekananda Rock Memorial was built in 1970 in honor of Swami Vivekananda on one of the two adjacent rocks projecting out of the Lakshadweep Sea. This is the site where Vivekananda attained enlightenment. This was to honour the great saint and leader of India, Swami Vivekananda who has visited Kanyakumari in 1892, a few days before leaving for Chicago for World Religious Conference. He had then visited the rock and meditated here for two days.
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Historically, it is believed that Goddess Kanyakumari, who is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, prayed to Lord Shiva proposing marriage in this region. This is why the region was named in her honor. Keeping with the mythological traditions, women from all parts of the country flock here offering prayers to find a suitable groom. Hence this place got the name ‘Kanyakumari’.
The marks of Goddess’s pious feet can be seen on the rock. There is a small projection which resembles the human feet. Hence the name Sri Pada Parai was given; a Tamil word denoting the rock which has been sanctified by the Goddess’s feet. According to some beliefs, the original ancient temple of Devi Kanya was built at this rock. However, later with changing time, the rock became an island and the mainland separated from it.
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A mix of conventional and modern architectural styles of India, particularly a blend of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal style of architecture is palpable from the design of the memorial. The memorial consists of two main structures, the Vivekananda Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam.
Vivekananda Memorial Mandapam resembles Sri Ramakrishna Temple at Belur, West Bengal, the design of its entrance features architectural styles of Ajanta and Ellora. It houses a life size bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda standing in his famous ‘Parivarjak’ posture that was made by famed sculptor Sitaram S. Arte. Vivekananda Rock is also called ‘Sripada Parai’ .
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This mandapam has various sections. There is a meditation hall with six rooms adjoining it; it is called as Dhyana Mandapam. Its spiritual atmosphere is ideal for a peaceful meditation. The assembly halls combined with two rooms, corridor, and open courtyard (prakaram) is the Sabha Mandapam. It also includes the area where statute has been kept, called as Pralima Mandapam. Another section is Mukha Mandapam. The area with front steps has two more rooms and a corridor.
One of the two principal structures of the memorial is the main sanctum sanctorum, the ‘Shripada Mandapam’, which is enclosed within an outer platform. This hall, square in shape also includes a ‘Garbha Graham’, an ‘Inner Prakaram’ and an ‘Outer Prakaram’. Sunrise and sunset are even more beautiful when viewed from the memorial.
Vivekananda Memorial is not only the only tourist spot in Kanyakumari. Thousands of tourists flood Kanyakumari every year, seeking to explore its beauty and serenity. Some famous tourists places are Thiruvalluvar Statue, Kumariamman, Suchindram and many more.
This sacred memorial symbolising purity and unity preached by Swami Vivekananda has over years emerged as one of the most revered memorials of India and one of the must visit destinations of Kanyakumari. The rock also offers a striking view of the confluence of the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
Kanyakumari experiences pleasant weather between October to February and this is known to be the best time for tourists to visit the coastal city. Filled with fun, adventure, and spirituality, this city has something in store for everyone.
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