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Sunrise at Kanyakumari

Haven't been there yet? Then pack your bags and head for this super, small town. If the gods are kind, you'll have the distinction of having witnessed the most breathtaking sight of a beautiful sunrise and an equally spectacular sunset. Kanyakumari (once know as Cape Comorin) is the southernmost tip of India where three massive oceans converge - the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. It's not so much about purifying souls with a symbolic dip in the sea, as most tourist brochures will highlight. It's about reveling in the grandeur of the sun and the sea. And if you have an eye for natural beauty, then this is it.

The Legend
One-time travelers to Kanyakumari are many all-year around, who visit primarily to savor Nature's bounty - the sunrise and sunset. The frequent visitors, however, come for religious reasons. Because, Kanyakumari is also a pilgrim center, main attraction being the temple dedicated to the Virgin Goddess, Kanyakumari.

Suchindrum TempleLegend has it that Goddess Parashakthi, a charming, young virgin was chosen by Lord Vishnu (the Protector of the Universe) at the behest of Mother Earth, to destroy Banasura the King of Demons whose evil ways had caused much agony to sages and saints. Lord Shiva (from nearby Suchindrum) was so enchanted by the beauty of Goddess Parashakthi that he decided to marry her. The divine sage, Narada, felt this would endanger the chances of destroying Banasura, for it was preordained that the king of demons could meet his death only at the hands of a virgin. Therefore, Narada had to find someway to scuttle the marriage.

The wedding was to be performed at an auspicious hour (mid-night) and even as Lord Shiva was on his way to Kanyakumari, Narada assumed the role of a cock and crowed the heralding of dawn. On hearing the crowing of a cock, Lord Shiva presumed the auspicious hour had past, turned back and returned to Suchindrum. Meanwhile, in Kanyakumari all waited for Lord Shiva's arrival and eventually, when he didn't turn up, the wedding ceremonies were cancelled. A disappointed Goddess Parashakthi decided to do penance and continue with her quest to fight the evil forces of Banasura.

For the demon king, Bansura, this episode presented him an opportunity to seek the Goddess' hand in marriage. She, however, refused. Spurned by the rejection, Banasura decided to use force and in the fierce battle that followed, was slain by the Goddess. Relieved that the evil forces had been destroyed, there was much rejoicing thereafter and Goddess Parashakthi continued with her penance, and remained a virgin forever. The name Kanyakumari stands for "Kanya" (Virgin), "Kumari" (Beauty).

Let's now experience the sheer natural beauty of Kanyakumari...

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