Kanya Kumari
   Kanya Kumari (Virgin maiden) is a town of approximately 200,000 people at the tip of India at the meeting place of the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal. The local goddess Kanya Kumari is considered by some to be a form of DURGA.
   The story goes that the god of Suchindram, a nearby town, was going to marry the goddess. The gods did not like this—if she married she would lose her powers to fight demonic forces. They asked the RISHI NARADA to solve the prob-lem. When Suchindram was on the way to the ceremony, Narada made the call of a rooster. Thinking that he had departed too late for the ceremony Suchindram returned home and left the goddess in her virgin state. Because of this she was able to kill the demon Bana and protect her land.
   The seashore temple of Kanya Kumari is one of the most visited PILGRIMAGE sites in India today. Offshore, a newer temple to memorialize Swami VIVEKANANDA has also been created. The town has been a pilgrimage site since very ancient times, since it is mentioned in the aranyaka parvan of the MAHABHARATA, which took its current form by the second century C.E. (with some sections going back to perhaps the fifth century B.C.E.).
   Further reading: Francis X. Clooney, Divine Mother, Blessed Mother: Hindu Goddess and the Virgin Mary (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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