Kanyakumari formerly known as Cape Comorin, is a town in Kanyakumari district in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. It lies at the southernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent
Kumari Amman (Kanyakumari) Temple, Kanyakumari
The 3000-year-old Kumari Amman (Mother) temple at Kanyakumari is dedicated to goddess Kanyakumari. The name Kanyakumari literally means “virgin goddess.” She stands in eternal vigil protecting the land. The temple is surrounded by a stone wall and stands on the edge of the ocean.
There is the following legend about goddess Kanyakumari. Once Banasura, the demon king achieved supremacy over the demigods and started punishing them cruelly. The demigods performed a yajna pleading to annihilate the evil Banasura. In answer to their prayers goddess Durga appeared here in the form of a beautiful virgin girl and began her penance. Meanwhile Lord Siva (at nearby Suchindram—11 kms from Kanyakumari) fell in love with her and arrangements for their marriage were made to be conducted on the midnight on a particular day. The divine sage Narada realized that their marriage would destroy the chances of Banasura being killed because he had a boon that he could only be killed by a virgin girl. To reduce the chances of the marriage taking place, Lord Siva was requested to present Himself on the appointed day of his marriage with rare gifts such as coconuts with no eyes, mangoes without seeds, betel without veins, and other similar hard-to-get items. Lord Siva managed to get all of these. The preparations for the marriage were afoot. The time of midnight was fixed as auspicious time for the marriage. Lord Siva started from Suchindram with all pomp and splendor. When Lord Siva was on his way to Kanyakumari from Suchindram, at Valukkamparai (5 kms south of Suchindram), sage Narada playing a trick assumed the form of a cock and cocked falsely, heralding the break of dawn. Thinking that the auspicious time for the marriage was past, Lord Siva returned disappointed.
Meanwhile, goddess Kanyakumari, dressed for the occasion in all her bridal glory, was awaiting the arrival of Lord Siva from Suchindram. The approach of the auspicious hour kept her in great eagerness. The hour fixed for the wedding was nearing its end and yet Her Lord did not arrive. When it was dawn, she gave up hope. In a rage, she cursed the food articles brought for the meals during marriage to be turned into sea-shells and sand. Even today the sea beach at Kanyakumari is filled with shells and sand particle of varied colors.
Asuras are known for their becoming captivated by beauty. Banasura was no exception. When he heard of the beautiful Kanyakumari, he came to see her for himself and was totally captivated by her beauty and begged her to marry him. She said that she had vowed to marry only the one who could defeat her in battle. The demon was delighted to hear this since he was sure that he could overcome her easily. He drew his sword and rushed at her but she took on her terrible form as Kali, holding a trident and slew him easily. The demigods were thus restored to their positions. But the goddess was determined to remain a virgin forever and continued with her penance.
The blue-stone Deity, believed to have been installed by sage Parasurama, stands as a charming, young girl in her penance with beads in her right hand, and a sparkling nose jewel that spreads lustrous radiance. It is believed that the nose ring of Devi Kanyakumari set with rubies is so bright that it could be seen from far at night. It is said that some ships sailing in the sea, mistaking the brilliance of the rubies for the light of a lighthouse, went off-shore and hit some rocks nearby. Thus, the eastern side gate of the temple is always kept closed except on some rare occasions when the Deity is taken out for a ceremonial bath.
During the Mahabharata war, Lord Balarama did not wish to participate in the war and decided to go on a pilgrimage. It is mentioned that this is one of the temples that He had visited. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also visited this temple during His South India tour. This temple is also said to be one of the hundred and eight Durga-alayas, or temples dedicated to goddess Durga.
Kanyakumari also happens to be meeting point of 3 oceans – Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and Arabian sea. Many great Vaishnava acharyas have come to take a holy dip at this sangam place.