Explained: The significance of Kanyakumari's Vivekananda Rock where PM Modi will meditate

Opposition up in arms against PM Modi’s side sea meditation plans

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Vivekananda photo Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit at the ancestral house of Swami Vivekananda | PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Kanyakumari on May 30 to be on a three-day meditation at the Dhyan Mandapam in Vivekananda Rock in Kanyakumari. Situated adjacent to the sky-high monolithic statue of saint Thiruvalluvar, the Vivekananda Memorial is one of the popular tourist attractions in south India. 

Prime Minister Modi, who is known to take spiritual journeys at the end of election campaigns, visited Kedarnath and Pratapgarh at the end of in 2019 and 2014 campaigns respectively. While Kedarnath is a known religious spot, Pratapgarh is where a battle was fought between the Bijapur troops and Maratha forces under Chathrapathi Shivaji. Modi’s choice to opt for Kanyakumari's Vivekananda Rock is regarded as a silent campaign showcasing his Hindu nationalism.

Located in the southernmost tip of India, Kanyakumari is a picturesque tourist destination where the three oceans, the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, converge. The Vivekananda Memorial has its own historical significance. Located 500 meters off the Kanyakumari coast, it is a popular tourist hotbed - a memorial set up during the Congress regime in 1970, under the instigation of the Ramakrishna Mission. It is believed that Swami Vivekananda meditated for three days sitting on the rock, after extensive travel across the globe. It is believed that Vivekananda attained enlightenment here while meditating. It is also said that it was on this rock that Goddess Parvati, also known as Kanyakumari, prayed to lord Shiva. 

Incidentally, the Memorial looks similar to the Ramakrishna Temple, situated in Belur Mutt in West Bengal. Again Modi’s visit is believed to send positive signals to the voters in West Bengal, a part of which goes to poll in the last phase of the elections. 

It comprises Dhyan Mandapam or a meditation hall and the construction has an antique-style pattern. An architectural marvel with an aesthetic view, the memorial houses a life-sized bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda and two more structures called the Sripada Mandapam and Vivekananda Mandapam. The historical significance, Indian philosophy and the Hindu nationalistic belief attached to the Vivekananda Centre are said to be the major reasons for Modi and the BJP choosing the southern tip of India for his meditation mission this election season. 

Security is beefed up at the boat jetty in Kanyakumari, while the spot has been closed to tourists. The Prime Minister will arrive at the Thiruvananthapuram airport and proceed by helicopter to Kanyakumari. He will land at the helipad in Kanyakumari on May 30, evening and then proceed to the Dhyan mandapam at the Vivekananda memorial situated mid-sea. 

Meanwhile, Home Minister Amit Shah will visit Tamil Nadu's Pudukottai on May 30 to offer prayers at the Kottai Bhairavar temple. The temple located at Thirumayam in Pudukottai district is considered a powerful shrine and a favourite of the local politicians. Located on the outer wall of the Thirumayam Fort, Kottai Bhairavar is regarded as an aspect of Lord Shiva, a guardian deity, in this part of Tamil Nadu.

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