TEMPLE - TEMPLES IN TAMILNADU, INDIA
Kanyakumari is at the southernmost
tip of India and off its shores meet three seas; the Arabian
Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. It derives its
name from the virgin Goddess Kanyakumari whose temple is situated
here on its shore.
Legends : Kanyakumari is a railway terminus and can
be reached from any part of the country by rail via Trivandrum
or Thirunelveli. There are buses from all cities in Tamilnadu
and some places in Kerala state. The nearest airport is in
Trivandrum about 86 Km away.
Temple : The main entrance to the temple
is through the northern gate though the deity is facing
east. The eastern entrance is kept closed except on
special occasions when the deity is taken out for
Three corridors surround the sanctum. The outer corridor
has no special shrines, but after a walk round it
the devotees cross the 'Navarathiri mandapam' and
a pathway leads to the second corridor encircling
the shrine. There stands the flag mast or 'Kodisthambam'.
From here you can have a clear view of the Goddess.
A move further forward will take you in front of the
The Goddess stands with rosary in one hand as if in
prayer. It is believed that Parasurama installed the
Idol made of blue stone. After worshipping the Goddess,
the devotees walk around the inner corridor where
the shrines of Vinayagar and Thiagasundary can be
Legends : Many ages ago Banasura, the demon king,
harassed the Devas and imprisoned them. Unable to bear his
atrocities the Devas sought the help of Lord Vishnu, the protector
of the Universe. He advised them to pray to Goddess Parasakthi
who alone could banish him. So the Devas started a 'yagna'
to propitiate the Goddess who appeared and promised to destroy
Banasura. It was pre-ordained that only a virgin could kill
Banasura, so she arrived here as a Kumari (virgin) and started
a penance to attain the special powers before setting off
to kill Banasura. Lord Shiva (Lord of Suchindram temple about
11 km away) saw this beautiful virgin and wanted her as his
wife. He let the Devas know this and wanted them to make arrangements
for the wedding. The Devas, having known that only Kumari
could kill Banasura, did not want the marriage to go ahead.
So they sought the help of Naradha, the celestial roving trouble-shooter,
to stop this wedding.
Arrangements for the marriage
were made and an auspicious time was fixed as midnight of
a certain day. On the appointed day the Lord left Suchindram
and traveled with his entourage to where the bride was residing.
As he was approaching the abode of this virgin incarnation,
Naradha played his trick. He turned himself into a cock and
crowed, signifying the approach of dawn. On hearing this,
the Lord thought that he had missed the auspicious time and
returned to his abode.
The Goddess Kanyakumari was
waiting eagerly for the arrival of the groom. When the groom
did not turn up at all she was disappointed and in a rage
cursed all the articles, ornaments and the food that had been
prepared for the wedding. They turned into sand and seashells
that had scattered along the seashore. That is why you see
an abundance of colored sand and seashells of every shape
and form along the sea front in this town.
Banasura heard about the beauty
of the virgin Goddess and came to request her hand in marriage.
When the Goddess refused, the demon king tried to take her
by force. As he drew his sword the Goddess killed him with
The Devas were thus restored
to their kingdoms and the relieved Devas requested her to
remain there protecting them forever.
Main Festivals and Opening Times : The main festivals
are held in the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May/June) and the
Navarathri festival in September/October.
The temple is open to the
public from 4.30 AM to 11.45 AM and 5.30 PM to 8.45 PM. Male
worshippers are required to remove their shirts before entering