Sunday, January 4, 2009
Located at the southern most tip of the Indian Peninsula where the Arabian Sea, the
Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet, is Kanyakumari, the place famous for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Here out in the sea, about 400m from the shore, on
a rocky islet lies a magnificent monument, a memorial dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, the Bengali religious leader, philosopher and social reformer.
Was built in 1970 by the Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee to commemorate the visit of Swami Vivekananda here in December 1892, for deep meditation and enlightenment.
Was designed by Sthapati Sri S.K. Achari.
Was consecrated by Srimad Swami Vireshwarananda, President of Ramakrishna mission and formally inaugurated by Sri.V.V. Giri, the then President of India in September 1970.
It has two main structures Vivekananda Mandapam and Sripada Mandapam, on two rocks standing adjacent to each other separated by about 70 metres.
The smaller rock known as `Sripada Parai` has been revered as a sacred place even from very ancient times. Legend has it that Goddess Kanya Kumari meditated on this rock and there is actually a projection on the rock similar in form to a human foot believed to be the `Sripadam` or the feet of the Goddess. It is now enclosed in a square shrine or Sripada Madapam. This shrine consists of the sanctum sanctorum, an inner compartment as well as outer compartment.
There is an outer platform all around.
Wide entrance steps lead to the main entrance.
Vivekananda Mandapam with a dimension of 534` x 426`, consists of a Meditation Hall(Dhyana Mandapam) with six adjacent rooms for meditation and an Assembly hall (Sabha Mandapam) with two rooms and a corridor; this hall has a statue of Swami Vivekananda in a standing posture.
The sacred Hindu Symbol `aum` or `om` is written above the main entrance of the memorial, in Tamil.
The cost of construction of the memorial came up to 1 crore 35 lakhs. The rock on which the memorial stands measures about 164 mtrs. x 130 mtrs. at the water level and has a spacious level top at an altitude of 17 mtrs.
In 1892 Swami Vivekananda came to Kanyakumari, swam in the ocean up to the Sripada rock, spending the whole night meditating; it is believed that he received enlightenment here which transformed him into one of the most charis