Temles

Kanyakumari Amman Temple

The place Kanyakumari takes its name from Goddess Kanyakumari (also called Kumari Amman).The Kanyakumari Amman temple is situated on the seashore, the confluence of the three oceans – Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean.

Kanya Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Parvathi, was to marry Siva, but as he failed to show up on his wedding day, the rice and other grains meant for the wedding feast remained uncooked and remain unused thereafter. As legend goes, the uncooked grains turned into stones as time went by. Some believe that the small stones which look like rice on the shore today are indeed grains of the wedding that was never solemnised. Kanya Devi is now considered a virgin goddess who blesses pilgrims and tourists who flock the town.

The black stone image of Kanyakumari in the sanctum sanctorum is an enchanting one. Her glittering nose ring is visible from a distance. Legend has it that the light emanating from this nose ring misguided arriving ships and caused them to crash onto the rocky coast. There is a door now, to the east of the shrine, which is opened only five times a year.

There are also shrines for Vijayasundari and Balasundari, friends and playmates of the goddess, in her youthful form. There are 11 theerthams associated with the temple in the ocean surrounding the area.

Pooja is carried out throughout the day in a manner similar to Keralite temples as Kanyakumari was part of the erstwhile Travancore kingdom.

The Vaisakha festival is celebrated in Vaikasi where an image of the goddess is taken around the town in procession on various mounts. The car festival, the aaraatu (when the eastern door to the shrine is opened), and the float festival are significant.

The eastern door is opened also on New Moon days during Thai, Aadi, during Navarathri and Kaarthigai.

The Kalabham festival in Aadi is of importance when the image is covered with sandal paste, and on the 13th day, i.e. the last Friday of the month, vast crowds throng the temple as the image is covered with vast quantities of flowers brought in from several villages.

An idol is established in the Navarathri mandapam throughout the duration of Navarathri, and processions mark the festival on each of the nine nights.

The elimination of Baanasuran is enacted on Vijayadasami, the concluding day of the Navarathri festival, where an image of the deity is taken in procession on a horse mount to a nearby village - Mahadanapuram.

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