Vivekananda Rock Memorial - Kanyakumari

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Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a monument and it is a popular tourist attraction in Vavathurai, Kanyakumari, India. The memorial stands on one of two rocks located about 500 meters east off mainland of Vavathurai, India's southernmost tip. It was built in 1970 by the Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee in honour of the visit of the Hindu spiritual teacher Swami Vivekananda to Shripada Parai during the month of December 1892.[1] It is claimed that he swam to this rock and meditated. It is said that he attained enlightenment on the rock, and henceforth became a reformer and philosopher.

According to legend, it was on this rock that Goddess Kumari performed austerity.

A meditation hall (Dhyana Mandapam) is also attached to the memorial for visitors to meditate. The design of the mandapa incorporates different styles of temple architecture from all over India. It houses a statue of Vivekananda. The merger of three seas - Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean can be seen from these rocks.

The memorial consists of two main structures, the Vivekananda Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam.

This monument was hit by the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 26 December 2004

The Living Memorial

The second phase of the Memorial for Swami Vivekananda was not an afterthought in Shri Eknath Ranade's mind. The establishment of Vivekananda Kendra—the Living Memorial alongside the stone structure of the Rock Memorial—was mentioned as early as 1964.

After the groundwork of about nine years, Vivekananda Kendra was officially founded on 7 January 1972 (the 108th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda by the Hindu calendar). On that day, as the sun rose, a saffron flag with Om inscribed on it was unfurled in the serene atmosphere on the Vivekananda Rock Memorial to herald the founding of the Vivekananda Kendra: a spiritually oriented service mission of non-monastic order.

The tradition of penance was to be continued by young men and women coming as Karyakartas of Vivekananda Kendra to spread the immortal message of Swami Vivekananda: A hundred thousand men and women, fired with the zeal of holiness, fortified with eternal faith in the Lord, and nerved to lion's courage by their sympathy for the poor and the fallen and the downtrodden, will go over the length and breadth of the land, preaching the gospel of salvation, the gospel of help, the gospel of social raising up, the gospel of equality.

Since then, everyday, at sunrise the saffron flag with Om is hoisted on the Rock Memorial and lowered at sunset.

The twin objectives of Vivekananda Kendra are man-making and nation-building. With great foresight, Shri Eknath Ranade decided that Vivekananda Kendra was to be a cadre-based organisation. Young men and women whose hearts long to serve the nation would be provided the opportunity and the right platform to serve God in man.

They would be properly trained and would be posted to different parts of the country. After their training of five years, they would be called as Jeevanvratis—those who have taken the vow of service for life. These Jeevanvratis would work without any salary. However, their wellbeing—Yogakshema—would be taken care of by society. For that purpose, Eknathji devised a patron scheme, where patrons would donate regularly for their Yogakshema. The Jeevanvratis would be the backbone of the organisation.

Vivekananda Mandapam

This Mandapam erected in honour of Vivekananda consists of

Dhyana Mandapam - The meditation Hall with six adjacent rooms
Sabha Mandapam - The Assembly Hall including Pralima Mandapam (statue section) two rooms, a corridor and an open prakaram(outer courtyard) round the Sabha Mandapam
Mukha Mandapam
Front Entrance - The steps with two rooms and a corridor below the steps.Prajakta

Shripada Mandapam

This square hall consists of the following structures.

T Garbha Graham - The sanctum sanctorum
Inner Prakaram
Outer Prakaram
Outer Platform
Both the Mandapams are so designed that the vision of Vivekananda in the statue would be seen direct towards the Shripadam.

There is also Sri Padaparai (Padam-feet; Parai - rock) Mandapam which is a shrine erected at the spot where the footprint of the Virgin Goddess is seen on the rock.