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Kanyakumari - The Southern Tip : South India X

Have you looked around yourself and ever wondered – where does this ever-expanding piece of land of our country ends, that is if it ever does. Is there a point beyond which we are no longer there in India. There is an end to everything and it stands true for a country too. There is a point beyond which India- being such a massive and beautiful country – ceases to exist and give ways to oceans spreading far and wide. While the country as a whole has a bottommost tip in the Andaman Islands, the mainland has this tip in Kanyakumari.

We reached the outskirts of this city by about 7:30 in the evening and as the first day of the year 2016 came to end we visited our last spot of the day which was incidentally the first spot of the city. In the suburbs of the city, there is a town, Nagercoil, which has its own strategic significance. This town lies on main trunk routes and Kanyakumari itself is a small shoot away from mainline. Hence this town has become a major railhead and roadway. It was here that we visited the famed Nagaraj Temple which is an important place of worship for Hindus. There is a huge statue of Lord Hanuman which is believed to be the savior of many when in a problem. Again as we had come to know about South India, temple administrations are very particular about dressing and we had to shed our clothes in favor of traditional “dhoti-gamcha” before we could enter the temple premises. While there was some laxity in the rule, apparently there was a high court order which gave legitimacy to the practice and hence was gradually being implemented strictly. We entered the temple after costuming up and went around the premises. The reverence of devotion was evident in every nook and corner and the one and a half hour we spent there for darshan were full of solace and peace. After spending some time sitting in the realm of the god, we proceeded to the guest house to set our camp. After dinner, we took a walk around the station area to absorb the cool breeze and look of this new city.

Tourists Flocking the Beach for Sunrise
First Rays of the Sun
Next morning had a pretty early start as the plan was to capture the views of sunrise from beyond the oceans. We were all up by 5 in the morning and were driving down to the beach in next 30 minutes to be there in time. We had chosen a designated sunrise point in Vivekanandpuram, a campus of Vivekanand Trust and reached the venue in time to have the glimpses of rising sun across the horizons donned by three large water bodies at once. However, as luck would have it the effort only paid off partially. It usually happens at this place that the clouds play spoilsport to the views for tourists, who had thronged the place in decent numbers. By about 6:15 we had seen the first rays of the sun and acknowledged that it was the best view we would get there and decided to head back. We did stroll on the crisp clean beach under the calm breeze of the morning sea before we got in the car. We readied after breakfast and set forth on our sightseeing tour of the city.

The first destination was the Vivekanand Memorial built on an island rock away from the mainland shores by the Vivekanand Trust. Vivekanand is believed to have visited this rock before departing for his famous Chicago’s World Congress on Religion speech. He apparently had to swim to this rock in high waters for a three-day meditation from 25th to 27th December 1982. Today, one has to board the special motor boats run by the city corporation which maneuver through rough seas to reach the memorial. We boarded a boat from the jetty and tied up the jackets as required. Once the boat left the shores, soon we realized that the sea was really wild and navigating through the high waves was a real challenge for the driver. After some adept maneuvering, we docked at the island and disembarked on the makeshift pier. What welcomed us were winds - strong winds, chilling winds - which only grew stronger as we climbed up the stairs to reach the memorial. The strength of the winds was capable enough to sweep anyone off the feet and we could witness tourists crawling to avoid being caught in the sweep-away. The trust has put up a 6.5 feet panchdhatu (5 metal alloy) statue at the meditation place. Though Vivekananda was 5.5 feet in height the extra 1 feet was given to the statue to have its eye have a line of sight to the imaginary legs of Parvati, drawn at a point where she is believed to have prayed on a single foot for want of a groom. The statue is situated in the Bay of Bengal and stands tall in the face of strong with and rough weather. There is also a sunrise calendar which is a topic of interest among astronomical curios. Another feature of the memorial is a meditation room to spend some silent moments amidst peace. Before leaving, we sat on the rock for about half an hour enjoying the wind and the water around and had a great experience at the location. Another important point built next to this memorial is the statue of Saint Thiruvalluvar, a great Tamil poet. This is built on another island rock close to the Vivekanand Memorial. While the memorial is built and maintained by the trust, the statue is a government initiative.

The next destination was the Triveni Sangam where the three mighty water bodies – Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea - come together. This celebrated confluence of water bodies is a place or worship to a lot of Indians. A further tourist enjoys a quick dangling of feet in water over snacks and tender coconut. One can easily differentiate between the three colors of water and sand to realize how the three varied elements come together. We did what other tourists do and spent about half an hour playing in the water as a sign of touching the lowest point. Then we proceeded to the Kanyakumari Temple. The temple is built as devotion to an incarnation of Devi Parvati who prayed for her marriage to Lord Shiva. Then we took a break for lunch at the Sparsha Resorts. The place served decent North Indian food for the region with a good spread of options.

Kanyakumari Temple
Vivekanand Memorial and Thiruvalluvar Statue
Triveni Sangam - Confluence of 3 Seas
Later we proceeded to Baywatch, a theme park in this city with a limited population and avenues of enjoyment. For a city which is a tourist hub yet lacks the scale it deserves, this theme park is a welcome addition. It provides a destination for children and grown-ups to unwind and spend quality time. The newly opened park had a scale that was good enough for a city like this and offers over 20 rides and slides. We went to the park and took some dry rides and enjoyed the 9D show which too was of decent quality compared to many other we had seen earlier.

Next stop for us was the wax museum, a copy like of Madam Tussauds Wax Museum. It is touted to be the first wax museum in the country and attraction for many. Though we found the waxwork falling short of expectations and the ticket price too high for the offering. However, we were definitely impressed by the quality of 3-D paintings by a local artist – Rajendra. Various creations on walls and floors were brought to life when we posed in a guided way to create real impressions of objects and situations. The staff at the museum was really cordial and cooperative. They made the experience a notch higher by relentlessly encouraging us to pose for pictures and explaining the significance and effect of each of the 3-D art.

This was the last location we toured in the city and returned to the guesthouse in time to pack and leave for the railway station – Nagercoil. The trained rolled off the Nagarcoil Station at about 6 in the evening and reached Chennai Egmore by 6 in the morning. With the end of the trip to Kanyakumari came the end to a fortnight of exploration and relaxation – our trip to South India. Looking forward to the next opportunity to visit the area. Till then keep experiencing cities across India and abroad through my eyes and lens.

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