Monday, November 12, 2007
The statue of the Tamil saint Tiruvalluvar...... on an island just off the southern tip of India at Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu...............Thiruvalluvar (Tamil: திருவள்ளுவர்) is a celebrated Tamil poet who wrote the Thirukkural, a well known ethical work in Tamil literature. He is claimed by both the Tamils who practice Hinduism and the Tamils who practice Jainism as their own. Norman Custer considers Thiruvalluvar to be a Jain citing internal textual evidence from Thirukural.
Thiruvalluvar's period (based on the Thirukkural per se) is between the second century BCE and the eighth century CE. 
Both Thiruvalluvar's faith and identity are disputed. His disputed identity includes a low-caste Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, crypto-Christian, high-caste Hindu, Brahmin and half-Brahmin. 
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Kanyakumari has been a great centre for art and religion for centuries. It was also an area of great trade and commerce. It was ruled by the Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Nayaks. The architectural beauty of the temples is the work of these rulers. Later Kanyakumari became part of the Venad kingdom with its capital at Padmanabhapuram. The king of Venad, Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma established Travancore by extending his domain further north up to Aluva, during his reign from 1729 to 1758. By this, the present Kanyakumari District came to be known as Southern Travancore. King Marthanda Varma defeated the Dutch East India Company at the famous Battle of Colachel in 1741. Kanyakumari was under the rule of the Kings of Travancore under the overall suzerainty of the British till 1947. Travancore joined the independent Indian Union in 1947. Obviously, the royal reign came to an end. In 1949, Kanyakumari became part of the reconstituted Travancore-Cochin State. By this time, the popular agitation for the amalgamation of Kanyakumari District with Tamil Nadu by the Tamil majority under the leadership of Thiru M.A. Nesamani intensified. Eventually, in 1956, Kanyakumari was integrated with Tamil Nadu (then known as Madras State) as per the language-based reorganisation of States.
According to legend, Christianity arrived in South India around AD 52 through St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ. However, European missionaries, who arrived in the 16th century, propagated Christianity in the area. St. Francis Xavier (April 7, 1506 – December 2, 1552) was the pioneer in preaching Christianity in the present day Kanyakumari district. Islam is believed to have entered the southern part of India through Kanyakumari during the early part of the eighth century AD through the sea route with traders and missionaries. Islam, Christianity and Jainism have also contributed to the architectural wealth and literary heritage of the region.
It is very popular to watch the sunrise/sunset here. This is the only place in India where both sunrise and sunset can be seen. Because of the meeting point of three ocean bodies - the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea - the spectacular sunrise/sunset sight is considered to even more special. During Chitra Pournami one can see the spectacular view of sunset and moon rise at the same time.