Vivekananda Rock by twilight
In a conflict between the heart and the head, follow your heart. – Swami Vivekananda
Eight years back, when I visited Kanyakumari, I did not get to actually visit the Vivekanda Rock. Back then, I had to settle for the view from ashore. It brought back memories from my childhood visit - the grandeur mandap, the towering pillars, the roaring waves, the serene & the cool rock - were all etched in my memory.
So this time around, when the chance presented itself, I was more than eager to get out there. But, I was a bit taken aback, on how things had taken a turn. From the confusing ticketing queues (one for the ferry and one for the entry at the rock, makes one wonder why someone would take a ferry and avoid entering the rock) to the huge crowds this place draws, the experience is no longer pristine. It was really sad that sitting in silence or meditation was no longer allowed on the grand hall and the so called meditation hall, set up down below makes one claustrophobic.
Don’t get me wrong, the rock and the mandap is still an awe inspiring structure. Actually the design of the mandapa incorporates different styles of temple architecture from all over India. You definitely should visit if you are around in Kanyakumari. But at the same time, the experience is no longer as serene as it used to be. For now. given a choice, I’ll settle for the view from ashore and hold on to my memories :)