Kanyakumari Has A Special Place In India’s Sacred Geography; Opposition Should Welcome Interest Brought By PM Modi's Visit

S Rajesh

May 31, 2024, 07:39 PM | Updated 07:39 PM IST

Kanyakumari has a special place in India's sacred geography
Kanyakumari has a special place in India's sacred geography

Since yesterday, all eyes are on the Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is doing a long meditation after the end of the 2024 election campaign.

The visit has been criticised by opposition parties like the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Congress in the state, who say that it has caused inconvenience to tourists or that it is another method of campaigning after the completion of the schedule. However, the opposition needs to go beyond politicking, given that Kanyakumari has a special significance in India’s sacred geography.

Located at the southern tip of the Indian peninsula, it is where the three seas—namely, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal—meet. Bathing here is considered auspicious. Additionally, it is one of the Shakti Peethas.

Just on the shore is the Bhagavathy Amman temple dedicated to Kanyakumari Devi, i.e., a form of Goddess Parvathi who incarnated there to kill Banasura.

Lord Parasurama is believed to have built the temple.

The story goes that the Devi was to marry Lord Shiva, who was supposed to come from Suchindram (a nearby town), and all preparations were made. The muhurtam for the marriage was set before dawn. However, Sage Narada realized that the Devi would not be able to kill Banasura if she got married. So, he made a rooster crow (some accounts say he took the form of a rooster), indicating that the muhurtam time had passed, i.e., dawn had arrived. Lord Shiva turned back, thinking he had missed the moment.

Angered, the Devi threw away all the food prepared for the occasion. This is believed to be the reason for the multicolored sand found in the area. Later, she decided to undertake intense penance.

Banasura, unaware of her identity, tried to force her to marry him. In the battle that ensued, the Devi killed him.

The Rock Memorial, which has been talked about so much in the past few days, has the footprints of Kanyakumari Devi. She is believed to have meditated there in anticipation of marrying Lord Shiva. The site is now called 'Sripada Mandapa'.

A little distance away from Kanyakumari town are the Thanumalayan Swamy Temple in Suchindram and the Nagaraja Temple in Nagercoil.

In the former, the trimurtis are worshipped together in a single linga, making it a unique temple. The Nagaraja temple has shrines dedicated to Nagaraja—the king of serpents, Ananthakrishna (baby Krishna) and Shiva.

There is also a connection to the Ramayana. A hill in the district, called the Marunthuvazh Malai, is believed to be where a small part of the Sanjeevani mountain brought by Lord Hanuman fell down.

The area has many other smaller temples and sites that are important to Hindus. Thiruvananthapuram, which is home to the world famous Padmanabhaswamy Temple, is also not too far away.

A more astute opposition would thus have welcomed Prime Minister Modi's decision to choose this place to meditate when he could have easily chosen to go anywhere else, like Ujjain or Somnath. People would now be more aware of the sacred geography, the connection with Swami Vivekananda, and thus choose to visit Kanyakumari.

More people coming in would mean better cultural literacy, more opportunities for the locals, and increased revenues for the government.

If the opposition has doubts over what a visit by the Prime Minister can accomplish, they should just take a closer look at what happened in the case of Lakshadweep. Interest in visiting the islands soared, with news reports stating that a travel platform found a 3,400 percent increase in searches related to the destination.

Also Read: India Had To Fight 'Secularism' Even To Build The Vivekananda Memorial

S Rajesh is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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