Built in 1970, the Vivekananda Rock Memorial is one of the finest pieces of human endeavor at architecture in Southern India. Situated on a rock island, Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a major tourist attraction in Kanyakumari and houses the statue of the great preacher Swami Vivekananda.
Swami Vivekananda visited Kanyakumari on December 24, 1892, prior to his Chicago trip to take part in the 1893 ‘World Religious Conference’. It is said that he meditated on the rock for two days and attained enlightenment. He was one of the eminent disciples of Ramakrishna, an Indian mystic and yogi of the 19th century, and later played an instrumental role in introducing Indian philosophies of Yoga and Vedanta to the Western countries.The Memorial inaugurated in 1970 and is a blend of various architectural styles of India. It is an architectural masterpiece. The Memorial was constructed in 2081 working days with an average of 650 men working.
The Vivekananda Rock Memorial is located near the village of Vavathurai in the Kanyakumari district of the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It lies on the southernmost tip of India, at the point of convergence of the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and the Bay of Bengal. It is the only place in India where people can see the sun rise from the sea in the morning and set again into the sea in the evening.
Off the tapering end of the mainland, around 500 meters away from the shore, two rock islands stand out of the sea. The Vivekananda Rock Memorial was built on the bigger rock, whereas the smaller rock features the statue of Thiruvalluvar, a renowned Tamil poet.
The Vivekananda Rock Memorial gained nationwide popularity during the construction phase. Shri Eknath Ranadhe never let the construction work pause or slow down, even though there were political and financial problems. Shri Ranadheji campaigned all over India for donations from the public, with one rupee as the minimum amount per person. He also approached various state governments for donations, including states in the Northeast.
The memorial was completed with donations from the Central and State Governments to the tune of about 3.5 million rupees. The public committees raised 9.5 million rupees. The Tamil Nadu government helped by contributing a breakwater near the shore to facilitate construction of platforms as well as to provide a shelter for vessels at the rock.
Architecture of Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Vivekananda Rock Memorial boasts of great architectural excellence. The memorial which was inaugurated in 1970 now mesmerises every visitors with its architecture. It was in 1962, when the idea of the memorial was first proposed. There two primary mandapam- Vivekananda Mandapam and Sripada Mandapam; both these mandapam have been built in such a way that the statue of Swami Vivekananda can be seen directly from Sripadam.
Vivekananda Mandapam –
The Vivekananda Mandapam looks elegant and it reflects the ancient culture. It is similar to Sri Ramkrishna temple which is in Belur. You need to know that the entire building is designed by overlooking the Ajanta and Ellora cave temples. In the main hall, there is a dome which holds a life-size statue of Swamiji.
Vivekananda Mandapam holds a Meditation Hall, Sabha Mandapam, Mukha Mandapam, Front Entrance Steps.
Shripada Mandapam –
This square hall consists of the following structures.
- Garbha Graham
- Outer Platform