The End of the Line

So this is it. The end of the line, so to speak. You know you’re at an outpost when the railroad lines come in perpendicular to the railway station vs along side of it. This is Kanyakumari, the southernmost point in India (at least, the mainland). It’s where the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea waters all mix together in a beautiful blue horizon. Giant waves roll in and crash among the rocks, sending white foam into the sky. Small sailboats dot the surface of the water as they catch the plentiful winds. Looking out towards the water, it’s a beautiful place.

The land is a bit less memorable. 

There’s the Gandhi memorial, which was my favorite. It was erected to house where a portion of his ashes were kept in the town before being released into the sea. It’s a peaceful, open structure, 79 feet tall for each year he was alive. Ind in the ceiling there is a circular hole, through which once a year on his birthday, the light streams directly on the inner memorial shrine.

There’s also the Vivekananda memorial rock and shrine, where one can take a ferry out to the rock where he meditated for several days.

And there’s the 133 foot high statue of Thiruvalluvar, an ancient Tamil poet. Built one foot for each chapter in his classic work, Thirukural.

Last but not least, the temple for the goddess for which the town was named. The Kumari Amman Temple, built for the virgin (kanya) princess (kumari) manifestation of Devi.

And sadly, a billion trinket stalls and more trash and pollution than you could pick up in a month.

Of course, I suppose in the states it would either be a beautiful national park (which I admit was how I pictured it before I got here), or in U.S. capitalist fashion, a trendy spot where one couldn’t visit the beach without spending a fortune in a swanky hotel.

So it is what it is, and I’ll share some of the pictures I took of the more beautiful aspects.

While I was here, I also visited the Padmanabhapuram Palace. Having admired Keralan architecture, I read about this place and knew I had to visit. It was totally worth a few hours on local buses.

The palace is a classic example of Keralan architecture and is actually a conglomeration of fourteen palaces, some dating back to the mid 16th century. Perhaps it’s the heavy use of wood, but it reminded me of older Japanese structures. Either way, it was a peaceful way to spend the morning.