The final day of our trip started really early. We found out that the hotel we were staying was at least 35kms away from Kanyakumari. That essentially meant that to see the sunrise at Kanyakumari at 6am, we would need to leave by 4am. So we were up by 3.30am after a measly 4hours sleep. We managed to leave by 4.10am.
We reached Kanyakumari by 5.50am. The driver directed us to a small path a little away from the main viewing point. The location we were directed was still uncrowded, and we were able to find some comfortable seats on the stones linig the shore. Unfortunately we coundn’t see a proper sunrise as the sky was overcast. Still, the slow brightening up of the sky, and hints of sunrays reflecting through the clouds made the whole experience quite nice. At each stage the lights reflected among the clouds changed. At the end, the world became too bright, and the colour-show was over.
We left the beach at around 7am, meaning to visit the temple of Kanyakumari Devi. However, when we reached the main road, there was a huge queue along the road. The queue was for the ferry ride to Vivekananda Rock, and no one wants to be left out in waiting for the queue. So hubby decided to stand in the queue along with the others from the bus.
In the meantime the driverr wanted us to confirm that we would have lunch at a specified hotel. This time however, we had to pay for the lunch in advance. So we decided to go with it, and added our names into the list.
The queue started moving at 8am, and we finally got into the ferry at around 8.45am. I spent this time effectively, by looking through all the shops lining the paths and trying to decide my shopping list! 😉
We reached Vivekananda Rock at 9am.
It was built in 1970 by the Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee in honour of the visit of the great spiritual teacher Swami Vivekananda to Shripada Parai during the month of December 1892 for deep meditation and enlightenment. He swam to this rock and meditated about the past, present and future of India. It is said that he attained enlightenment on the rock, and henceforth became a reformer and philosopher.
The rock has been long regarded as a sacred place. There is a particular spot on the rock which has an imprint of a small foot. This is belived to be that of the young godess Kanyakumari, who performed austerity here.
We spent some time here. There is a small meditation room, where you can spend a few minutes in meditation. At the back of the structure is a sovenier shop that sells all kinds of memorabilia. We bought a nice keychain here.
Next to the Vivekananda Rock is the the 133ft statue of the poet Thiruvalluvar. This is located on a rock adjacent to the Vivekananda Rock. You can reach here by ferry. We opted to return to the mainland.
Once back on dry land, we made our way to the temple of Goddess Kanyakumari.
Legend has it the the demon Baabaasuran wreaked havoc on the world, and that Vishnu advices the people and Gods together to worship Paraashakthi, the primeveal energy force, to vanquish the demon. Answering the prayers, Shakti appeared as a young virgin girl at Kanyakumari and commences penance with the desire of marrying Siva at Suchindram.
The Sage Narada had fixed the midnight hour as the auspicious time for the wedding. When Siva’s procession reached a site by name Vazhukkampaarai, a rooster crowd, heralding daybreak. Siva assumed that the auspicious hour was past, and returned home. The disappointed Godess decided to spend the resto of her life in Kanyakumari as a virgin, and all the food prepared for the wedding was laid water. The coloured sand at Kanyakumari is said to be the remains of that wedding feast.
The demon Banaasuran, upon hearing Shakthi’s story proceeded to Kanyakumari to win her hand by force. This led to a fierce battle in which he was slain by her.
The Goddess is beautiful to look at. Of particular significance is the nose stud of the Goddess. This stone seems to light up with a light of its own. It is said that in earlier times, the nose stud used to confuse ships sailing in the night, and caused them to crash into the ricks nearby. There is a door now, which is opened only 5 times a year.
We spent some time on the beach, bought trickets at the small stalls dotting the beach, and generally had quite a bit of fun. There is also a Gandhi Memorial at the beach, a place where some of the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi are placed, but we skipped that. We slowle made our way back to the starting point, where the driver was waiting for us, and he directed us to the lunch house. The meal was typically North-Indian in preparation: rotis, subzi, dal and rice. The best part of it were that it was hot, and tasty.
After lunch, I wanted to have an ice cream, so we went over the Baskin Robbins nearby. Good fun! 🙂
We left Kanyakumari soon after, and started our journey back to Madurai. We reached Madurai at around 7pm. It was a tiring journey, given the cramped space in the bus. Also we were exhausted because of the lack of proper sleep the previous night. In all, it was an uncomfortable journey. We were glad to get out of the bus. We all went over to the agent we had first met when we came to Madurai. He had all the return tickets. He gave us a note to another bus agent, telling us that he had the tickets. So we quickly picked up our bags and went over to this bus stop. This wasn’t the same we had come to. This one was within the city, and most private buses plyed through here.
When we reached the bus agent, he washed his hands off the situation saying that all buses from Kanyakumari were full, and we could try for a seat in that. The next bus would arrive only at 10pm, and we could try our luck there. After waiting till about 9pm, a driver approached us. Apparently, there was a jeep travelling to Bangalore, and the front seats were empty. We decided to take the chance. It was one of the most singularly painful experiences we ever had. Hubby sat near the gear-shift. So his leg was at an awkward angle trhough the ight. The good part was: we reached Bangalore by 5am, and by 6am we crashed out at home.
This unfortunaly marred the entire experience.
I would advice travellers to ensure they have all their arrangements made well in advance, and confirm when travelling through agents.