Bhagavathy temple

Bhagavathy temple
Bhagavathy temple

The Bhagavathy Amman Temple in Kanyakumari is home to one of the world’s most sacred shrines, as it was created by Lord Parasurama and is one of 51 Shakti Peethas. Legend has it that Sati’s right shoulder and spine area fell here, imbuing this place with a powerful kundalini energy. People from all over come to experience its divine spiritual power!

Bhagavathy Amman Temple, also known as Kanyakumari Devi Temple, is a renowned destination of worship devoted to Parvati in the form of Devi Kanya The Virgin Goddess (Kanyakumari stands for ‘Kanya’ which means ‘Virgin’ and Kumari which translates to ‘Girl’). Situated along the shoreline, long lines are often seen leading up to its entrance. One cannot miss out on witnessing the bright diamond nose ring of this goddess that reflects an alluring ray toward sea! It’s even more auspicious if one takes time off their pilgrimage schedule to perform bathing rituals at the ghat – where you can find yourself standing upon footprints left behind by none other than Kanya Devi herself. The Temple idols are Devi as Goddess Sharvani and Lord Shiva as Nimisha.

Mahabali’s grandson, the demon king Banasura, performed tremendous penance in order to acquire a boon from Lord Shiva. His request was granted—he could only be defeated by a virgin. He became the ruler of all three worlds and caused great suffering for devas, sages and saints alike with his cruel tactics. Unable to endure this torment any longer, Bhoomi Devi (Mother Earth) and the Devas went to Lord Vishnu seeking help in putting an end to Banasura’s reign of terror. Mahavishnu advised them that they should pay homage to Sathi (Parvathy), Goddess of the universe; She alone would have enough power necessary to defeat him once and for all. In response to the cries of those in need, Shakti manifested as Kumari – a young virgin girl. She vowed to obliterate Banasura’s wicked forces and asked the devas for patience until it was time. Then she ventured down South India where she started her meditation on Lord Shiva, eventually transitioning into teenage years. This is how Kanya Kumari obtained its name: “Kumari” meaning- an adolescent maiden and “Kanyakumari” referring to this very place at which Devi began her penance with hopes of marrying Shiva at Suchindram one day soon.

Lord Shiva, who resided near Suchindrum, was so captivated by the beauty of Goddess Kumari that he wanted to marry her. Narada, being a divine sage, realized this could impede Banasura’s impending doom; it had been divined that only a virgin would be capable of killing him. Thusly, Narada needed to devise an approach to put an end to their union.

Narada attempted to deceive Kanya Kumari by asserting that Shiva is no match for Banasura. In order to prove his identity, Narada asked the goddess that she should request of Shiva three objects which were impossible to find anywhere else in the world – a blind coconut, sugarcane without knots and an un-veined betel leaf. Yet Lord Shiva effortlessly managed this ambitious feat and their marriage plans resumed as planned.

It was Narada who determined midnight as the suitable time for the wedding. Upon Shiva’s procession arriving at Vazhukkumpaarai, Narada cleverly assumed a cock form and mimicked its crowing sound to signify dawn had arrived. As a consequence of this, Lord Shiva believing that he had missed his chance quickly returned back to Suchindrum. In Kanyakumari everyone awaited in anticipation but when they realized their groom wasn’t coming, all wedding preparations were forced to be cancelled. For the wedding feast, Kanya Kumari had prepared a bounty of rice and grains – yet they were left uncooked due to her immense anger over Shiva not showing up. It is said that she scattered all the food items in retribution. As a reminder of this unfortunate tale, tourists can now purchase small stones resembling rice as mementos from their journeys to this holy place.

Dismayed, Kumari Devi chose to take up a vow of penance while she continued her mission to vanquish the malicious Banasura. She resumed her devotions on Sripadaparai – an offshore rock that is known for its remarkable beauty and significance today. News about this beautiful maiden soon reached the demon king who came with his proposal for marriage; however, upon being rejected by Devi, he decided to win over her by force. This led to a fierce battle between them in Mahadana Puram (4 km north of Kanya Kumari), which eventually concluded with Kanya Kumari defeating him using her chakra (divine discus).

At the moment of his passing, Banasura humbly asked Parashakti for forgiveness on behalf of himself and all those who take a bath in Kanya Kumari’s sacred waters. The Goddess Devi granted him this wish, prompting people from around the globe to travel here. Consequently, even Lord Parasurama and Sage Narada have requested to stay at this divine confluence until Kaliyuga ends – an indication that they were greatly blessed by their visit. The goddess agreed and remains at this place ever-dedicated to Lord Shiva and continues to perform austerities to this day with the hopes that he will one day unite with her.

Parasurama later constructed a magnificent temple on the shore and placed in it an awe-inspiring idol of Goddess Kanya Kumari. Her glorious figure, adorned with a garland in her right hand while doing perpetual penance for Lord Shiva’s arrival, offers devotees not just peace but also untold spiritual estimations.

The precious diamond nose-ring of the idol is said to be visible even from the sea. The temple’s legend claims that this singular piece was acquired from a king cobra, and its gleam has been known to reflect so strongly off it that once an ancient mariner mistook it for a lighthouse! This seafarer sailed his ship straight towards what he thought was safety but wound up crashing into the Kanya Kumari rocks. To prevent any similar accidents in the future, now only five special occasions throughout the year grant access through Eastern entrance of this sacred site.

Lord Ganesha, Surya and Ayyappa have their own individual shrines. Additionally, the temple also includes shrines dedicated to Vijayasundari and Balasundari who were companions of the Goddess in her earlier years. Within this temple lies a well known as Moola Ganga Theertham which supplies water necessary for Devi’s abhishekam ceremony. The entrance facing eastwards towards the ocean remains locked all year-round except when Aaraattu rituals take place or on new moon days during certain months such as Edavam, Karkkidakam (Capricorn/Cancer), Navaratri and Vrischikam.

Legends abound surrounding the formation of this temple, but one theory claims that it was formed by the spine of Goddess Sati Devi as Lord Shiva sadly traversed Aryavartha with her body. Another legend says that after a demon king Banasura prayed to Lord Shiva and received a blessing that he could only be slain by someone pure, his tyranny over devas, sages and saints subsequently knew no bounds. As an answer to his wickedness, the devas venerated Goddess Parvati or Sati who then manifested in the form of a young maiden (Kanya Kumari) to defeat the demon. One day Banasura attempted to court Devi with marriage proposals; however, she refused and proceeded into battle against him – eventually defeating him at Kanyakumari as retribution for his unjust deeds.

Sage Parasurama created a magnificent temple dedicated to Devi Kanya Kumari, and placed Her stunning idol in the center. This hallowed place of worship is mentioned reverently in both Hindu epics – Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Lord Brahma performed a yajna to propitiate Shakti and Shiva, culminating in the manifestation of Goddess Shakti who assisted him with the creation of the universe. Henceforth, Daksha – Brahma’s son – conducted several sacrificial ceremonies so that he could obtain motherly energy as his daughter Sati by marrying her off to Lord Shiva. Unfortunately, Daksha was displeased with this union and refused to invite Shiva when carrying out a yagna. Although hesitant at first, due to Sati desiring an audience with her father; eventually, Shiva permitted his wife leave for it. Subsequently, these locations became regarded as sacred shrines or divine sites known as ‘Shakti Peethas’. Daksha’s disparagement of Shiva broke Sati’s heart to the point that she self-immolated. In a fit of rage, Veerabhadra (Shiva in his wrathful form) destroyed Daksha and his yagna. Overcome with sorrow, Lord Shiva then traveled across Aryavartha carrying Sati, embodying all the anger and grief through a mesmerizing dance known as Tandava – an awe inspiring spectacle of destruction. Lord Vishu, with the aim of stopping the Tandav, used his Sudarshana Chakra, which cut through the Sati’s corpse. The parts of Sati body fell at varroas spots all through the Indian and neighboring country and these Sacred sites came to be called Shakti Peethas .

By Flight
The nearest airport to Kanyakumari is Trivandrum International airport, which is situated at a distance of 67 km from Kanyakumari. From here on, buses and rental cabs are easily available to reach Kanyakumari.

By Road
Kanyakumari is well connected with the major cities of South India by road. You can opt for the self-drive option, else a number of Tamil Nadu and Kanyakumari road transport buses are available to Kanyakumari.

By Train
Kanyakumari has its own railway station -Kanniyakumari railway station which is well-connected from most of the major cities of India. The second closest railway station to the city is Trivandrum railway station.

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