Founded By: Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee
Founded In: 1970
Architect: Sthapati Sri S.K. Achari
Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year
Timings: 7:00 am to 5:00 pm Daily (Except Tuesday)
Vivekananda Memorial is situated near the city of Kanyakumari, which
lies at the southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula. The meeting point
of Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, the city is
known for its breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. It is in the sea that
we see a rocky islet, at a distance of approximately 400 m from the
shore. On this islet stands a magnificent monument called the
Vivekananda Rock Memorial, dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, a leader, a
philosopher a social reformer.
The memorial was built under the aegis of the Vivekananda Memorial
Committee. It dates back to the year 1970 and was built in the
commemoration of the visit of the great leader to the islet. Swami
Vivekananda visited the city of Kanyakumari in 1892. One day, he swam in
the sea and reached the islet. He stayed there for an entire night and
kept on meditating. It is believed that it was here that he received
enlightenment. The Vivekanand Rock Memorial was later erected in honor
of his visit.
Sthapati Sri S.K. Achari was the architect of the memorial, which was
later consecrated by Srimad Swami Vireshwarananda, the President of
Ramakrishna Mission. The official inauguration ceremony of the monument
was held in September 1970 and it was conducted by Sri. V.V. Giri, the
then President of India. There are two main structures that make up the
entire complex of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, namely Vivekananda
Mandapam and Shripada Mandapam.
Each of the madapams is situated on a rock, which lie at a distance of
about 70 meters. The smaller one is known as 'Sripada Parai' and is
believed to be the place where Goddess Kanya Kumari meditated. Standing
as a testimony to this incident are imprints of feet, believed to be
those of the Goddess. The footprints have now been enclosed in a shrine,
which has been given the name of Sripada Mandapam. The shrine comprises
of the sanctum sanctorum, an inner parikrama (passageway), an outer
parikrama (passageway) and an outer platform all around it.
Vivekananda Mandapam is a large complex, which comprises of a number of
structures. One of them is the Dhyana Mandapam, a huge meditation hall
with six adjacent rooms. Visitors coming here use them for meditation
purposes. Then, there is the Sabha Mandapam, an assembly hall with two
rooms and a corridor. There is also an open parikrama (passageway)
around the Sabha Mandapam.
Inside the hall is the statue of Swami Vivekananda in a standing
posture, in which he is looking towards the 'Sripadam'. The main
entrance of the Vivekananda Mandapam has the symbol 'om' written on the
top, in Tamil language. The architecture of the mandapam represents an
amalgamation of styles of temple architecture from different parts of
India. The main entrance to the Vivekananda Mandapam is provided by a
flight of steps.