Kanyakumari, A Tribute to Swami Vivekananda
Posted: Monday, November 10th, 2008 | Posted by: derebail2009 | Views: 8764
Beach  -   kanyakumari
Visit hours: 6 am 6 pm
How to reach:  Basically one can catch a train directly to Kanyakumari, or Fly to Trivandrum and catch a train to Kanyakumari, or detrain at Nagercoil and catch a bus.
Best time to visit: Nov to February
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The lands end, where both Sunset,sunshine and moonrise is visible from the sea. Virtually making it an ideal place for meditation saints to meditate on the rocks.  This rock island invited Swami to meditate, and to obtain gyaan beyond human imagination.  Kanyakumari was known as Cape Commorin during the British times.  Kanyakumari signifies virginity of mind, body and soul for the locale populace.

In order to understand the history of construction of Vivekananda Rock memorial one has to dwell into the literature published by the Vivekananda Ashram.  A unique national monument was conceived by Swargiya Eknath Ranade.  Immediately a controversy seems to have arisen with Christian missionaries claiming it was place of Saint Xavier.

Prolouge :

Swami Vivekananda reached the lands end  in December 1892. Swamiji had traveled the entire length and breadth of the country. He had suffered from hunger, from thirst, form murderous nature and insulting mankind. When he arrived at Kanyakumari, he was utterly exhausted and penniless to pay for a boat ride to take him across the sea on the island, he flung himself into the sea, and swam across the shark-infested strait and reached  atop mid-sea rock on 25 December, 1892 ( Christmas day ) He spent three days there meditating, and returned to the shoreline  on 28th December 1892. At last his task was at an end, and then, looking back as from a mountain he embraced the whole of the India he had just traversed, and the world of thought that had beset him during his wanderings. For more than two years hitherto he had lived in a seething cauldron, consumed with a fever, he had carried a soul on fire, he was a  bundle of storm and hurricane.

Now on this mid-sea rock, There he meditated not on God but on Mother India who for Swami Vivekananda was Divine Durga incarnate. What a strange meditation ! It was as if all the pages of India's history opened up before him. The vast panorama of his experiences during his travels past before his mind's eye. He meditated on the past, the present and the future of India, the cause of her downfall and the means of her resurrection.

He felt in his heart of hearts that India would rise only through a renewal and restoration of that highest spiritual consciousness which had made her, throughout her history, the cradle of religions and cultures. He then, sitting at the last bit of rock in the Indian ocean, took the momentous decision to go to the West to give shape to his life's mission of spreading India's religion and culture throughout the whole world.


The first obstacle that Eknath Ranade had to cross was from Shri Bhaktavatsalam who was then Chief Minister of Madras State. He took a stand that he would not allow the memorial to come up on the mid-sea rock on the flimsy ground that it would pose a hazard to the environment by spoiling the natural beauty of the Rock. He was also concerned about hurting the religious sentiments of the Catholic fishermen in the area. Bhaktavatsalam's view was also endorsed by Shri Humayun Kabir, the then Union Minister for Cultural Affairs, who too had to give his clearance for this project.

To that end, on Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri's advice, Shri Eknath Ranade camped in Delhi. In three days, he collected the signatures of 323 Members of Parliament in a show of all-round support for the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, which was presented to the Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who in turn directed both Humayun Kabir and Shri.Bhaktavatsalam to give their immediate clearance for the construction of the Rock Memorial at Kanyakumari.

Shri Bhaktavatsalam had given permission only for a small 15" x 15" shrine. Knowing his reverence for the Paramacharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, Shri Eknath Ranade approached the latter for suggesting the design of the Rock Memorial. Shri Bhaktavatsalam unhesitatingly agreed to the larger design (130"-1˝? x 56") approved and suggested by the Paramacharya of Kanchi! Which was inspired by Ajanta cave arches.   Thus all political hurdles for the construction of the Memorial were removed in one masterstroke by the shrewd move of Shri. Eknath Ranade


The Vivekananda Rock Memorial was inaugurated on 2 September, 1970, and dedicated to the nation by V V Giri, the President of India. Kalaigner Karunanidhi presided over the dedication ceremony. There can be no doubt whatsoever that without the catalytic and stellar role of Shri Eknath Ranade, this grand national monument could never have been completed in such a record time. Emerson, the great American thinker of the 19th century said, "A great and timeless institution is the lengthened shadow of one man". If that be so, I have no doubt that the final verdict of history will be that the magnificent Vivekananda Rock Memorial at Kanyakumari is the lengthened shadow of Eknath Ranade.


There are two mid-sea rocks off the shore of Kanyakumari. One of the rocks is the Vivekananda Rock, on which a memorial has been constructed. There is another smaller rock, not very far from the Vivekananda rock, and many of the Christian missionaries laid their claim for constructing a small church or a statue of Jesus Christ on this rock in 1979. Eknath Ranade showed his clairvoyant vision by persuading Dr MGR, the then Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, agree to the installation of Thiruvalluvar statue on this rock. The foundation stone for the Thiruvalluvar statue was laid by Morarji Desai, then Prime Minister of India on 15 April, 1979. Eknath Ranade was a great statesman and he used the good offices of Prabhudas Patwari, the then Governor of Tamilnadu to make Dr MGR agree to this proposal. Like Mahakavi Bharathi, Eknath Ranade was a true nationalist and a true Tamilian rolled into one


Hundred acres of land was allotted to Vivekananda trust to construct the ashram and museum to propagate the teachings of Swamiji. This ashram is located approximately 3 kms from the Railway station and 5 kms from the local bus stand. The room tariffs are reasonably levied for the piligrims. The ashram contains a K V school, Ayurvedic farm, Prayer Halls, Museum, Sunrise beach, Ranade Memorial, Garden, Canteen, Shops and other basic amenities which include a browsing centre too.

“We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one's own feet.”

So long as the millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every man a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them.
Daily activities:
Musuem, Gandhi memorial, Vivekananda ashram, monks monastry, Wax exhibition, Shamugham beach, Fort, Vivekanda Memorial
Special occations:
All the hindu festival do have some special occasion, try to visit on full moon days.
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