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Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India


Situated on Cape Comorin, the southern tip of India, Kanyakumari is a tourist and pilgrimage centre named for the goddess Kanya Kumari ("Youthful Virgin"), whose love for Shiva was never consummated. The tsunami of Dec 2004 claimed over a thousand human lives in this district. On a rocky island just off the coast is a monument for Swami Vivekananda built in 1970. Another island has a giant statue of Thiruvalluvar, a Tamil poet-saint and author of the Tirukkural ("Sacred Couplets"), often compared to the Bible, John Milton's Paradise Lost, and the works of Plato. Little is known about his life except that he lived in Mylapore, India, no later than the 4th century CE. He was probably a Jain ascetic who worked as a weaver. Both Buddhists and Shaivites, however, claim him as their own; he is especially revered by those of low caste. Aphoristic in nature, many ideas in the Tirukkural were bold for his time. He dismissed the caste system: "One is not great because of one's birth in a noble family; one is not low because of one's low birth." Goodness is its own reward, not a mere means to a comfortable afterlife. Now the patron saint of Chennai bus drivers, his likeness appears above the windshields in the vehicles of the city's official Tiruvalluvar Bus Company. [Adapted from Encyclopedia Britannica]

Gray dawn

Vivekananda Rock and
Thiruvalluvar statue (1, 2)

Land's End (1, 2)

Fiery dawn

Tsunami boat graveyard


Fishing boat


Goodies from the sea


Kanyakumari town square


A weathered old mandapam


Siesta time


Coconut stall, Land's End


View from Vivekananda Rock


Sunrise


Mandapam enshrining the
"footprint" of Kumari Amman


Vivekananda memorial


Gandhi memorial (more)


The Mahatma on Kanyakumai


Thiruvalluvar statue


Evocative tsunami memorial


The Malabar coast


Kumari Amman temple
entrance (1, 2)


Church of Our Lady of
Ransom (1, 2, 3)


Sari-clad "Lady of Ransom"


Fishing village street


Fishing village houses


Fishing village street


Rebuilt after the tsunami (more)


Village dwelling

       

 

 

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