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The Kanyakumari experience....

Sunset
The town of Kanyakumari is strategically located. Surrounded by sea on three sides and thus ideal for watching the sun, rise or set. Come evening, and as the clock ticks away, hundreds of enthusiastic folk make a beeline towards the western side. Some walk the one-kilometer distance to what is called "Sunset Point". It's said that the view of the setting sun is best hereabouts. The fact is, no matter how close one can get, the view is still breathtaking from whichever spot one chooses.

The euphoria heightens as the sky loses its vast blue tinge giving way to streaks of purple and golden orange. And then, all eyes zero-in towards the west. There is stony silence as the sun gradually begins its descent. Dipping into the sea to finally disappear. Presence of clouds on certain days can dampen spirits and expectations, like it happened the day we witnessed the sunset. There was some cloud cover out there and suddenly, instead of merging with the sea, the clouds seemed to have draped themselves around the sun to vanish without trace.

A bit disappointed, the crowds begin their trek back. Realization dawns that the sky has turned black so quickly. Such was the eagerness of the sun to set here and perhaps, rise elsewhere?

sunset

sunset
Sunset colours... dramatic moments.

sunrise
A new day dawns at Kanyakumari...
Sunrise
If the expectancy of watching a glorious sunset dampened spirits a bit, the sunrise next morning made good the setback of the previous evening. Almost all hotels wake up their residents knocking on their doors with the wake up call of "Sunrise". The "Good Mornings" and the cup of tea (or coffee) is a secondary matter.

At around 5.30 in the morning (this last day of February) people of all age groups, all nationalities assemble at various vantage points - hotel balconies, on the seashore, from their homes, or whichever spot that faces the eastern sky. The estimated time of the sun's arrival is indicated at around 6.15 am. And yet, people are checking in early. Not a time to take chances with time.

All eyes are glued to the horizon way beyond. The tiniest of speck or movement in the sky or the dark sea is noticed and commented upon. A crow in early morning flight flexing its wings, preparing for a hot and tiring day. The silhouette of a tiny fishing boat eager to bring home the first catch. The slightest hint of changes in the color of the sky above. All keenly observed with hawk-like eyes.

And soon enough, there is a distinctive change. From pitch darkness just seconds ago to a sort of faint twilight. Ah yes, we can see it, as the reddish-orange ball rises ever so gradually as it set. Never in a hurry, but then, it sure makes time pass by. The sun hasn't come full circle yet. Those all-familiar clouds are lingering around but this time they don't play spoilsport. The next few minutes of watching this amazing spectacle makes one forget everything. Again, there is that silence because as the sun ascends, it's a stunning sight indeed. The sea is now visible, as the narrow streak of golden light sparkles on its rippling surface creating a shimmering effect. The entire atmosphere is a grand extravaganza and in the next ten minutes or so, there's sunshine all around. Yes, God said, "Let there be light".

Sunrise and sunset is best viewed in April, during "Chitra Poornima" (Full Moon day).

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