Sunday, January 30, 2011

Places to visit in Kanyakumari - Mathoor Hanging Bridge

       The  Mathoor Hanging Trough is the tallest as well as the longest trough bridge in Asia, having a height of 115 feet and a length of one kilometre.  Constructed in 1966, this bridge has become a place of tourist importance and hundreds of tourists visit this place.  This is situated in Mathoor, hamlet of Aruvikkarai revenue village in Thiruvattar Panchayat Union. 
                                                                                The bridge has been constructed at Mathoor across the river Parazhiyar at a cost of Rs. 12.90/- lakhs and the trough canal (Pattanamkal canal) on the bridge carries water for irrigation from one side of a hill to the other side of a hill.  The trough has a height of seven feet with a width of seven feet six inches.  The canal is being shouldered by  28 huge pillars.  By the unrelented efforts of late Thiru. K. Kamaraj, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, this canal was constructed as a drought relief measure and for the development of agriculture in Vilavancode and Kalkulam Taluks. The District Administration has recently put up a staircase from top to the bottom of the bridge and also built a children's park and bathing platforms over here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Places to visit in Kanyakumari - St. Xavier Church

St. Xavier Church  
            St.Xavier an outstanding and dedicated priest visited the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu from Goa, he never missed the opportunity of visiting Kottar in Kanniyakumari district which was a celebrated commercial centre at that time. During his stay at Kottar, he used to worship St. Mary in the small temple. He was popularly known as “Valiya Pandaram” among the people of Kottar. While he was at Kottar, he averted the invasion of Padagas on the people of Venad which was appreciated by the king, who became closer to the Priest. In recognition of Xavier’s services, the king allotted a land to him for the purpose of constructing a catholic church at Kottar. There was already a church in 1544 in the same place, where the St. Xavier’s church stands now.The church records show that the church was built in the year 1600 A.D. In the year 1865, the Church was enlarged and the shrine of our lady was also renovated and vaulted over. In 1930, the church was raised to the status of a Cathedral.
       In 1942, in commemoration of the fourth centenary of the arrival of St.Xavier in India, a beautiful tower to the saint, a grotto to Out Blessed Mother and a small shrine to St.Ignatius who sent him to India were constructed in the Cathedral premises. In 1955, the church was further extended and the chapel of Our Lady was incorporated into the enlarged church.

   The Church of St. Xavier enjoys a great fame as a place of miracles from early times. The annual festival is celebrated during the month of November – December lasting for 10 days.

Places to visit in Kanyakumari - Suchindrum Temple

    Suchindrum Temple   
          Suchindrum is a small village about 12 km. from Kanyakumari and about seven kilometres from Nagercoil.  This holy place is located on the bank of the river Pazhayar, adjoining fertile fields and coconut groves and the temple is dedicated to Sri Sthanumalayan.  The word denotes Siva, Vishnu and Brahma as.  Sthanu represents Siva, Mal represents Vishnu while Ayan represents Brahma i.e. Siva, Vishnu and Brahma in “One Form”.   
            Suchindrum means the place where Indra attained ‘Suchi’ i.e., purification.  The Sthalapurana has it that Indra suffered a curse from sage Gowthama, when he stealthily cast amorous glances at Ahalya the wife of Gowthama.  Not able to suffer the mortification brought about by the curse.  Indra had to seek immediate redemption.  He came to ‘Gnana Aranya’ as this place was then called and offered worship to Lord Shiva.  Relieving Indra of his curse, Lord Shiva granted him of his wish that the place where he attained purification should henceforth be called ‘Suchindrum’. 
Another story goes to say that the Trimurthys i.e. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, cajoled by their divine consorts came down to the earth to test the chastity of Anusuya, wife of sage Athri at Gnana Aranya.  The Gods for this misadventure had to suffer a surse form the Rishipatni and to undergo the purification process, before they could be restored to their former glory. 
            It is said that Thanumalaya Swamy temple is the only shrine dedicated to the Trinity in India.  The present structure of the temple is the work of a number of persons spread over a number of centuries.  It is a complex of many beautiful structures constructed at various times and is one of the best specimens and a store house of the Dravidian style of art and architecture.