Located at the southern most tip of the Indian Peninsula where the Arabian
Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet, is Kanyakumari, the
place famous for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Here out in the
sea, about 400m from the shore, on the minor rock adjoining the Vivekananda
rock memorial lies a Statue of Saint Thiruvalluvar, the author who gave
us quintessential words of wisdom through his philosophical work 'Thirukkural',
a treatise in Tamil on the Indian way of life. The statue, standing amid
the dancing blue waves, creates a lasting impression as it rises high
over the rock.
The foundation stone for the statue was laid in 1979
by the former Prime Minister, Morarji Desai. But the installation was
finalised and the actual work of sculpting the statue began only in 1990
when Chief Minister Mr. Karunanidhi allocated funds for its erection in
the 1990-91 budget. Five hundred sculptors were engaged for this work
under the able guidance of Dr. Ganapathi Sthapati and the work was completed
in 1999. The statue was inaugurated on 1st January 2000 by Dr. M.Karunanidhi,
the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The rocks for the sculpture came from
Sirudhamoor, Pattumalikuppam and Ambhasamudram Hills.
The monument, installed at a cost of Rs. 6.14 crores
is 133 feet high including the pedestal, signifying the 133 chapters of
the 'Thirukkural'. The pedestal is 38 ft high representing the 38 chapters
in the first part of the Kural (the Book of Aram (virtue) and the 95 ft
statue represents the total chapters in the second and third parts of
the Kural, Wealth and Love. Thus the statue symbolises the themes of wealth
and love based on virtue. The right hand of Thiruvalluvar with three fingers
pointing skywards, also signifies the three cantos of 'Thirukkural' -
'Aram, Porul and Inbam.'
The pedestal is surrounded by an artistic mandapam known
as 'alankara mandapam'. Surrounding this mandapam stand statues of ten
elephants signifying 8 directions with earth and space down. 140 steps
are constructed inside the mandapam to enable the visitors to climb upto
the foot of the statue. There were plans to inscribe select couplets from
'Thirukkural' on the outer periphery of the pedestal.