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Photographer's Note

Located at the southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula where the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet, is Kanyakumari, the beautiful place famous for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets. The town of Kanyakumari about 60 kms from Thiruvanatapuram is a cape and was earlier known as Cape Comorin. The present name is coined from Kanniya Kumari meaning a virgin. According to legend, the Goddess Parvati in one of her incarnations as Devi Kannya did penance on one of the rocks of this tip of land to obtain the hand of Lord Shiva. But on the wedding day when Lord Shiva failed to turn up and the auspicious time of marriage was over, the Kannya continued to remain as a virgin.

Previously, it was in the erstwhile state of Travancore (now Kerala), but from 1956 when the states were formed on linguistic basis, it became a part of the state of Tamilnadu.

400m off the coast, in a rocky island, stands a memorial dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, who swam across the rough sea in 1892 to meditate here before he set out to America to spread a message of social justice.

Adjacent to the Vivekananda memorial stands a 133ft statue of Saint Thiruvalluvar, the honoured Tamil poet who gave us quintessential words of wisdom through his philosophical work Thirukkural -- a great masterpiece with 1330 verses dealing with virtue, wealth and love. It has been a code of living -- a bible for South Indians.

The statue, standing amid the dancing blue waves, creates a lasting impression as it rises high over the rock. The monument is 133 feet high including the pedestal, signifying the 133 chapters of the 'Thirukkural'. The pedestal is 38 ft high representing the 38 chapters in the first part of the Kural [Virtue] and the 95 ft statue represents the total chapters in the second and third parts of the Kural [ Wealth and Love ]. Thus the statue symbolises the themes of wealth and love based on virtue. The right hand of Thiruvalluvar with three fingers (not clearly visible in the shot) pointing skywards signifies the three cantos of 'Thirukkural' - 'Aram, Porul and Inbam.'

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Additional Photos by Partha Chattopadhyay (Partha_c) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 384 W: 175 N: 559] (2029)
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