Tamil Nadu - Temples - Kumariamman Temple

Devi Kanya Kumari

Devi Kanya Kumariis also known as Kumari Amman (the virgin goddess) one of the forms of Devi. She is widely known as "Bhagavathy Amman". Bhagavathy Amman Temple is located in Kanya Kumari (formerly Cape Comorin) on the union of the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean. She is also known by several other names, including Kanya Devi and Devi Kumari.

According to legend, Devi did apology here to secure Siva’s hand in marriage. When she was unsuccessful, she vowed to remain a virgin (kanya). The temple is open daily from 4.30 to 11.45 am and from 5.30 to 8.30 pm, but non-Hindus are not allowed into the inner workroom. Men must remove their shirts and everyone their shoes on entering the temple.

About the Temple

The main entry to this temple is through from the northern gate though the god is facing east. The eastern entrance is kept closed except on special occasions when the god is taken out for formal bath. Three corridors surround the workroom. The outer corridor has no special shrines, but after a walk round it the devotees cross the 'Navarathiri mandapam' and a pathway leads to the second corridor encircling the shrine. There stands the flag mast or 'Kodisthambam'. From here you can have a clear view of the Goddess. A move further forward will take you in front of the sanctum.

Sage Parasurama is said to have installed the deity of Devi Bhagavathi on the shores here. A small gopuram on the northern entrance of the temple leads one to the sanctum. The beautiful image of the Goddess in resplendent glory, with a rosary in her right hand doing eternal penance, bestows on the deotee immense wealth of spiritual energy and peace of mind.

Lord Ganesha, Surya, Bala Soundari, the processional deity of the Goddess, and Lord Ayyappa have separate shrines oon the prakarams. A well inside the second prakaram, known as Moola Ganga Theertham,Provides water for the Devi's abhishekam. The eastern entrance, facing the sea, remains closed throughout the year except for the Aaraattu rituals.

According to a lengend, Banasura, the king of Demons, had obtained a boon from Lord Siva that he could be vanquished only by a virgin. Unable to bear the harassmentof the Asura king, the Devas invoked Goddess Parashakti too redeem them. Shakti came here as a virgin girl and did penance on the shores.

Lord Siva of Suchindrum wished to marry the Goddess, and the wedding was fixed for an auspicious hour before dawn. Devarishi Narada, realising that the marruage will spoil the end of Banasura, falsely heralded the break of dawn by assuming the form of a cock even as the wedding party was on its way to kanniyakumari. The Divine wedding did not take place as siva returned to Suchindrum disappointed. The Devi also resumed Her penance on the rock, now known as Sripadaparai, a few hundred metres offshore.

Meanwhile, Banasura heard about the beauty of the girl and came to request Her hand in marriage. When Devi rejected the idea, the demon king decided to win her by force. This led to a fierce battle, in which the Goddess killed the demon. The relieved Devas returned blessed. The Sripadaparai is now known as Swami Vivekananda Rock, where the holy feet of the Goddess is enshrined.

The tradition here is to take a holy dip at the bathing ghat at the confluence of the three seas. There are about 25 Theerthams on the shores.