Free enamel pin when you buy any two Atlas Obscura products. Shop now.

Kanyakumari, India

Thiruvalluvar Statue

A towering work of stone and philosophy that was constructed using ancient Hindu science. 

Off the coast of Kanyakumari, India, the stoic visage of poet and religious figure Tiruvalluvar stares out across the bay from the Thiruvalluvar Statue, a towering symbol of peace built using principles of Vastu science. 

The Vastu shastra is an ancient set of Hindu architectural rules that help govern and direct the laws of nature in regards to human dwellings, and it was these principles that allowed the completion of the Thiruvalluvar statue.  The 133-foot statue (corresponding to the 133 chapters in the Thirukkural) was designed with a slight bend where the figure juts out his hip and the sculptors and architects could not seem to find a way to add this feature to the massive statue. However after building a full-size wooden prototype, the builders recognized a Vashtu “energy line” running down the center of the statue which they represented as an empty cavity running down the center allowing them to balance the statue. With this problem solved, the statue was finished in 2000 and continues to draw crowds from all over the world who want to see the giant work of stone and philosophy.