Friday, December 1, 2017

Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanyakumari

Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanyakumari
Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a popular tourist monument in Vavathurai in Kanyakumari Town in Kanyakumari District of Tamilnadu. Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a must visit tourist destination in Kanyakumari. This sacred memorial is on one of two rocks which are half a kilometer from the mainland at Vavathurai, which has the distinction of being India’s southernmost tip. The memorial is a distinct symbol of unity and purity – virtues preached by the renowned holy man, Vivekananda.



It was built in 1970 in honour of Swami Vivekananda who is said to have attained enlightenment on the rock. The Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a fitting tribute to one of the greatest proponents of Vedanta - a key Hindu philosophy that aims to the eternal truth of life. Although the idea was mooted in 1962 to coincide with the birth centenary of Swami Vivekananda, the monument was built only around 1970.



Swamy Vivekananda, the great disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Parama Hamsa (the best-known saint of India during 19th century) and the founder of Ramakrishna Mission, on his quest to know the purpose of life, wandered all over India after the death of Sri Paramahamsa Dev. He came to Kanyakumari on 24.12.1892 and it was on this rock that the Swami Vivekananda meditated before leaving for Chicago to address the World Religious Conference on 11th September 1893. According to local legends, it was on this rock that Goddess Kumari performed austerity.




The design of the mandapa incorporates different styles of temple architecture from all over India. The rocks are surrounded by the Laccadive Sea. The memorial consists of two main structures, the Vivekananda Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam. While the main building has an architectural style reminiscent of the Sri Ramakrishna Temple at Belur, the entrance is inspired by the Ajanta and Ellora cave temples.



Inside the main hall is a life-size statue of the Swamiji. Besides the hall, there’s also a dhyana-mandapam, where devotees can sit in meditation. Adjacent to the main mandapam, is the Sri Pada Mandapam. A meditation hall known as Dhyana Mandapam is also attached to the memorial for visitors to meditate. Interestingly, the 2004 tsunami which left death and destruction in its wake, hit Kanyakumari and the Rock, but the Vivekananda Rock Memorial was unaffected.




History
Vivekananda Rock Memorial was constructed in 1970 by the Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee to commemorate the illustrious spiritual teacher Swami Vivekananda. Sri Eknath Ranade was the inspiring force behind the erection and conceptualization of this holy memorial. Swami Vivekananda had swum to this rock, where the memorial stands, to meditate on India’s past, present and future. It is believed that he attained enlightenment on this rock, transforming him into a reformer and truth-seeker.
The rock has been a holy spot from days of yore. As per myth, the rock is known as Shripada Parai which means that the rock has been sanctified by the touch of the holy feet of the Devi Kumari or Parvathi. Parvathi is believed to have done penance here as Devi Kanya. You can see a brownish projection, like a human foot, on the rock. This has been worshipped as a sign of Shripadam.
Initiation of the Memorial:
In January 1962, on Swami Vivekananda’s birth centenary, a group of people formed the Kanyakumari Committee whose objective was to put up a memorial on the rock and a pedestrian bridge leading to the rock. Almost simultaneously, the Ramakrishna Mission in Madras planned about this memorial. However, this news was not taken in good taste by a sizable population of the local Catholic fishermen. They put up a big Cross on the Rock, visible from the shore.
This led to protests by the Hindu population who said the Rock was a place of worship for Hindus. A judicial probe ordered by the Madras (now Tamil Nadu) government stated in unequivocal terms that the rock was Vivekananda Rock, and that the Cross was a trespass. Amid all this acrimony, the Cross was removed secretly in the night. The situation turned volatile and the Rock was declared a prohibited area with armed guards patrolling it.
The Government realized that the Rock was turning into an area of dispute with Hindus claiming it to be the Vivekananda Rock and Christians that it was St. Xavier’s Rock. It decreed that although the rock was Vivekananda Rock, there would be no memorial constructed on it. The then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Shri M. Bhaktavatsalam, said that only a tablet declaring that the rock was associated with Swami Vivekananda could be put up, and nothing else. With government permission, the tablet was installed on the Rock on 17 January 1963.
Role of Eknath Ranade:
The first step he took on being asked to take charge of the Rock Memorial work, was to ascertain that this effort had the full support of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. He was made the Organizing Secretary of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee so that he was officially in charge of the Rock Memorial mission. The immediate obstacles were Bhaktavatsalam’s stand that he would not allow the memorial to come up as Humayun Kabir, the Union Minister for Cultural Affairs, had said that the natural beauty of the Rock would be spoiled. Kabir’s constituency was Calcutta. When Ranade publicized in Calcutta, that it was Kabir who was against the creation of Memorial of one of the greatest sons of Bengal, there was such a hue and cry that Kabir had to do a volte-face.
However, to prevail over Bhaktavatsalam, only the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s support would do. To that end, on Lal Bahadur Shastri’s advice, 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. Bhaktavatsalam had no option now but to allow the construction of the Rock Memorial. Bhaktavatsalam had given permission only for a small 15’ x 15’ shrine. Knowing his reverence for the Paramacharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, Ranade approached the latter for suggesting the design of the Rock Memorial. Bhaktavatsalam unhesitatingly agreed to the larger design (130’-1½" x 56’) approved by the Paramacharya. Once all the political hurdles were removed, construction was underway.
Ranade was in the forefront facing all the challenges that came his way: to establish scientifically that the Rock was structurally sound and could support such a huge structure on it; the logistics of quarrying and transporting large blocks of stone from great distances, and from the shore to the Rock; provision of water and power supplies; the growing demand for skilled artisans, craftsmen, and labor; building of jetty platforms on the rock and the shore (the pedestrian footbridge idea to the Rock was dropped); the de-silting around the jetty platform areas to enable bigger crafts to approach the shore, and so on.
The biggest and ever-present challenge, however, was that of financing the whole operation. Ranade’s belief in the success of the Rock Memorial mission was so strong, that he never slowed down the pace of work when funds were in paucity. He brushed aside the discouragement of others whose belief was not as strong and started a fund-campaign. Ranade believed that as the Vivekananda Rock Memorial was a national monument, every Indian should be invited to contribute to its construction. He approached almost every State government and asked for their contribution, making a special effort to go to the north-eastern states of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh so that they could also feel a part of the national endeavor.
But the bulk of the contributions came from the public. Ranade launched the campaign of one-rupee folders throughout the nation, which were used to mobilize the donations of the common man, starting from as tiny an amount as a rupee. Thus, so many people visiting the Rock Memorial could feel with justified pride that they too had contributed to that monument. Within the unbelievably short period of six years, the Vivekananda Rock Memorial was inaugurated in 1970, and dedicated to the nation.
The Living Memorial:
The establishment of Vivekananda Kendra—the Living Memorial alongside the stone structure of the Rock Memorial—was mentioned in 1964. After the groundwork of about nine years, Vivekananda Kendra was officially founded on 7 January 1972 (the 108th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda by the Hindu calendar). On that day, as the sun rose, a saffron flag with Om inscribed on it was unfurled on the Vivekananda Rock Memorial to celebrate the founding of the Vivekananda Kendra: a spiritually oriented service mission of non-monastic order.
The tradition of penance was to be continued by young men and women coming as Karyakartas of Vivekananda Kendra to spread the message of Swami Vivekananda. A hundred thousand men and women, fired with the zeal of holiness, fortified with eternal faith in the Lord, and nerved to lion’s courage by their sympathy for the poor and the fallen and the downtrodden, will go over the length and breadth of the land, preaching the gospel of salvation, the gospel of help, the gospel of social raising up, the gospel of equality. The twin objectives of Vivekananda Kendra are man-making and nation-building. Shri Eknath Ranade decided that Vivekananda Kendra was to be a cadre-based organization.
Young men and women whose hearts long to serve the nation would be provided the opportunity and the right platform to serve God in man. When Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial was blueprinted, it was modeled by E. Thanumalayan, a student of the S. T. Hindu College, Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu. He modeled it with paraffin wax. The Memorial is the fusion of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu architecture and the design of Ramakrishna Math, Belur, West Bengal. He was deeply appreciated by the then Madras Chief Minister Bhaktavatsalam for its aesthetic quality.
The Structure
This magnificent memorial stands tall and proud reaching out to the sky amid the sea at India’s land end. While the main building has an architectural style reminiscent of the Sri Ramakrishna Temple at Belur, the entrance is inspired by the Ajanta and Ellora cave temples. The rocks are surrounded by the Laccadive Sea. An awe-inspiring site here is the confluence of the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean – symbolic of Vivekananda’s message of unity and harmony. The famous Thiruvalluvar Statue is close by (220 feet away), so do hop across and have a look at it too. The memorial consists of two main structures, the Vivekananda Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam.




Vivekananda Mandapam, which is erected in honour of Vivekananda consists of the following sections:
Main Hall:
The main hall has an imposing life-size statue of Swami Vivekananda cast in bronze. It houses a statue of Vivekananda, made by renowned sculptor Sitaram S. Arte.
Dhyana Mandapam:
A meditation hall (Dhyana Mandapam) is also attached to the memorial. The Dhyana Mandapam is a peaceful hall where you can spend some quiet time meditating. Dhyana Mandapam is the meditation Hall with six adjacent rooms.
Sabha Mandapam:
Sabha Mandapam is the Assembly Hall including Pralima Mandapam (statue section) two rooms, a corridor and an open prakaram (outer courtyard) round the Sabha Mandapam.
Mukha Mandapam:
Mukha Mandapam is the porch in Vivekananda Memorial. The Rectangular Shikharam called 'Aya Vistara Shikharam' along with corner foliage-designs are from Pallava Architecture. The Lower portion called Prastaram is in Ajanta style. For the Shikharam and Prastaram, red granite has been used. Below the Prastaram, are six pillars in Ajanta style. The celling or Vitana is in polished blue granite. A Padma motif, in bold relief, adorns the centre of the celling. On the beam above the door-frame, 'Gaja-Poorna Kumbha' is carved. The height of the celling from the floor is 20'-10'. The dimensions of the Mukha Mandapam are 17'-0' x 11' -0'.  The flooring of the Mukha Mandapam is done in polished red and blue granite.
Namashtubhyam to the Son of Jagadamba:
This is the place where Vivekananda got his aim of life. It was believed that Mother Parvathi called him to come there and to know the truth of india i.e what was the glory of india, why it stepped down, what are the reasons and how it can be elevated.
Shripada Mandapam:
There is also Sri Padaparai Mandapam which is a shrine erected at the spot where the footprint of the Virgin Goddess is seen on the rock. This Mandapam is located adjacent to the Main Mandapam. This square hall consists of the following structures;
·        Garbha Graham
·        Inner Prakaram
·        Outer Prakaram
·        Outer Platform
Both the Mandapams are so designed that the vision of Vivekananda in the statue would be seen direct towards the Shripadam.
Operating Hours
·        Mon-Sun: 07:45 AM - 04:00 PM
Fees
·        Still Camera Fee: Rs. 10/-
·        Entry Fee: Rs. 20/-
·        Video Camera Fee: Rs. 50/-
·        Ferry Fees: Rs. 20/-
Contact
Vivekananda Rock Memorial,
Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu.
Phone: +91 4652 2246201
Connectivity
Kanyakumari Town is well connected to major cities by road / rail / air across India. Kanyakumari is located at about 20 Kms from Nagercoil, 13 Kms from Suchindrum, 47 Kms from Thiruvattaru, 33 Kms from Thuckalay, 47 Kms from Marthandam, 100 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram and 245 Kms from Madurai. Reaching Vivekananda Rock Memorial is not a difficult task as it is well connected to the land. There are many ferry services that run between the island and the mainland with minimal charges. The ferry services usually operate from 8 AM to 4 PM.
By Road:
Vivekananda Rock Memorial is located about 1.5 Kms from Kanyakumari State Transport Corporation Bus Stand. The Memorial is well connected from Bus Stand by means of Buses, Taxis and Autos. One should avail the ferry services that run between the island and the mainland with minimal charges to reach this place.
By Train:
The Memorial is located at about 1.3 Kms from Kanyakumari Railway Station. The Memorial is well connected from Railway Station by means of Buses, Taxis and Autos.
By Air:
The Memorial is located at about 100 Kms from Trivandrum International Airport and 240 Kms from Madurai International Airport.

10 comments:

Ashwin said...

Hi, very nice post about Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari. This is one of the famous tourist spots to visit in Kanyakumari. Nice place to visit during weekend. Thanks for sharing this post. If anyone planning to travel from Hosur to Nagercoil then book bus tickets either in SRS Travels, KPN Travels or Kallada Travels.

Vinu said...

Such a awesome beach, really good post, thanks for sharing such a good post.I really got more think after seeing your post. Want to visit this places then start your journey in Hosur to Nagercoil Bus.

rajikrish27 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rajikrish27 said...

Hi all, Vivekananda Rock memorial is located in kanyakumari. It is one of the famous place. If you want visit the destination of kanyakumari, you can visit vivekananda Rock memorial.I visited this place twice in my life time. After seeing your post i got more idea about this place. Thaks for sharing this kind of post. Again i want to visit this places, So i started my journey from hosur to nagercoil

Swathi said...

Hi
Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a popular tourist monument in Vavathurai, Kanyakumari, Tamilnadu, India. It was built in 1970 in honour of Swami Vivekananda who is said to have attained enlightenment on the rock. According to local legends, it was on this rock that Goddess Kumari performed austerity.

Nice post about this place, thanks for sharing your experience in this blog. It really helps people to plan for future trips. If anyone want to travel this place then book your bus tickets advance in Hosur to Nagercoil Bus and get more offers.

Ashwin said...

Hi
Vivekananda Rock Memorial was established in 1970 to honour Swami Vivekananda. It was said that Vivekananda attained enlightenment on the rock. The place is surrounded by Laccadive Sea. The memorial is designed with infusing various temple architectures around India. The place consists of two main structures Vivekananda Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam. A meditation hall is also constructed and the visitors are encouraged to meditative.

Very interesting post, we enjoyed each and everything as per written in your post. Thank you for this article because it’s really informative. If you are planning for your holiday and searching for the beautiful place to spend your time then you can wander around this vibrant city. It really helps people to plan for future trips. If anyone want go to visit these places book your online bus tickets advance in Hosur to Nagercoil Bus and get more offers.

Swathi said...

Hi
Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a popular tourist monument in Vavathurai, Kanyakumari, India. It was built in 1970 in honour of Swami Vivekananda who is said to have attained enlightenment on the rock. According to local legends, it was on this rock that Goddess Kumari performed austerity. A meditation hall known as Dhyana Mandapam is also attached to the memorial for visitors to meditate. The design of the mandapa incorporates different styles of temple architecture from all over India. The rocks are surrounded by the Laccadive Sea. The memorial consists of two main structures, the Vivekananda Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam.

Very interesting post, we enjoyed each and everything as per written in your post. Thank you for sharing this article because it’s really informative. If you are planning for your holiday and searching for the beautiful place to spend your time then you can wander around this vibrant city. It really helps people to plan for future trips. If anyone want go to visit these places and your online bus ticket booking advance in Hosur to Nagercoil Bus and get more bus ticket offers.

Kalai said...

Hi
it was on this rock that Goddess Kumari performed austerity. A meditation hall known as Dhyana Mandapam is also attached to the memorial for visitors to meditate. The design of the mandapa incorporates different styles of temple architecture from all over India. The rocks are surrounded by the Laccadive Sea. The memorial consists of two main structures, the Vivekananda Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam.

Very interesting post, we enjoyed each and everything as per written in your post. Thank you for this article because it’s really informative. If you are planning for your holiday and searching for the beautiful place to spend your time then you can wander around this vibrant city. It really helps people to plan for future trips. If anyone want go to visit these places book your online bus tickets advance in Hosur to Nagercoil Bus and get more offers.

rajikrish27 said...

Hi
Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a popular tourist monument in Vavathurai, Kanyakumari, India.[1] It was built in 1970 in honour of Swami Vivekananda who is said to have attained enlightenment on the rock.[2][3][1][4] According to local legends, it was on this rock that Goddess Kumari performed austerity. A meditation hall known as Dhyana Mandapam is also attached to the memorial for visitors to meditate. The design of the mandapa incorporates different styles of temple architecture from all over India.[1] The rocks are surrounded by the Laccadive Sea. The memorial consists of two main structures, the Vivekananda Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam.[5]

Very interesting post, we enjoyed each and everything as per written in your post. Thank you for this article because it’s really informative. If you are planning for your holiday and searching for the beautiful place to spend your time then you can wander around this vibrant city. It really helps people to plan for future trips. If anyone want go to visit these places book your online bus tickets advance in Chennai to Tuticorin Bus and get more offers.

thanasingh said...

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