Kanyakumari Temple is a famous Goddess Parvati temple located on the seashore of Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India, in Tamilnadu. Kanyakumari is the merging point of three seas; the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. This is an ancient temple, dedicated to Devi Kanya Kumari. She is worshipped as Kumari Amman (the virgin goddess) who is one of the forms of Goddess Shaki. Kanyakumari Devi is also known as Bhagavathy Amman, Kanya Devi, and Devi Kumari. The town is named after the deity.
Kanyakumari Bhagavathy Amman Temple is known for its architectural beauty and stands facing the shoreline. Main entrance to the temple is through the northern gate and the deity faces east. A door to the east of the shrine is opened only five times a year. There are three corridors which encircle the sanctum. Though there are no special shrines in the outer corridor, there is a Navarathiri mandapam and a pathway that leads to the second corridor. Devotees can see the flag mast or Kodisthambam from where a clear view of the Goddess is seen. A symbol of a Hindu Nun, the Goddess is seen in a black stone image in the sanctum with a garland. The most significant feature of the deity is the glittering diamond nose ring that is visible from a distance. Other deities of the temple are Vijayasundari and Balasundari, friends of the Goddess. One can see 11 theerthams in the surrounding area. There are two rocks rising out of the ocean on the southeast of the Kanyakumari Amman Temple. Footprints of the goddess are seen on one of the rocks. Another one is the rock where Swami Vivekananda meditated and attained enlightenment.
Legend of Kanyakumari Temple
Legend has it that a demon named Baanaasuran caused damages to the Devas and the public. The helpless victims sought Lord Mahavishnu for help. The Lord in turn directed them to pray Goddess Shakthi to destroy the demon. The Goddess answered their prayers and appeared as a young virgin girl at Kanyakumari. She started penance to marry Lord Shiva at Suchindram temple (about 11 km away). However the wedding did not happen. The rice and cereals remained uncooked and turned into sand and seashells. These are scattered along the seashore and the Devi became a virgin goddess.
Besides the usual abhishekam and archanas, people lit lamps in the temple and offer new saris to the goddess.
Kanyakumari Temple is open from 4.30 AM to 11.45 AM and 5.30 PM to 8.45 PM.
A ten-day festival called Vaikasi Visakam is held during the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May/June) with a Boat Festival. Navarathri is also celebrated during September/October.
How to reach Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari is 25 km from Nagercoil, 91 km from Tirunelveli and 242 km from Madurai. Trivandrum International Airport at Thiruvananthapuram is the nearest airport, 93 km away. Kanyakumari is well connected by train and bus services also.
Tourist Attractions in Kanyakumari
There are numerous tourist attractions and places to visit in Kanyakumari, apart from the spectacular views of Sunrise and Sunset. Some of the major tourist places in Kanyakumari include Kanyakumari Beach, the 133 ft Thiruvalluvar Statue, Vivekananda Rock Memorial, the Gandhi Memorial, and the Government Museum. Tourist places located a short drive from Kanyakumari are Vattakottai (Round Fort), the Snake Temple at Nagercoil, Suchindram Temple, Udayagiri Fort and Padmanabhapuram Palace.