Boasts about mountainous terrain, palm-fringed beaches, coconut-lined paddy fields, and iconic monuments, Kanyakumari is a small coastal town in Tamil Nadu. Earlier it was known as 'Cape Comorin' or 'The Land's End'. It is a perfect blend of natural bounties and architectural marvels. Home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls and ancient temples, Kanyakumari is a paradise for nature lovers, history buffs, and peace seekers. The region enjoys salubrious weather from October and March, which is the peak season of Kanyakumari. It is easily accessible from the major cities and towns of the country by all modes of transport. Here is the Kanyakumari travel guide, which provides detailed information about the best time to visit, things to do, places to visit, and how to reach Kanyakumari.
Kanyakumari is the southernmost point of peninsular India and the meeting point of three oceans-the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Besides its importance as a Hindu pilgrim center, it is famous for its beautiful views of sunrise and sunset over the waters. The multicolored sand is a unique feature of the beach here.
Kanyakumari was once referred to as the Alexandria of the east. This place has been a great center for art, culture, civilization, and pilgrimage for years. It was also a famous center for commerce and trade. During the early part of the eighth century AD Islam entered the southern part of India through the sea route with traders and missionaries. Through St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ, Christianity arrived in this area in AD 52. Islam, Christianity and Jainism have greatly contributed to the architectural wealth and literary heritage of this place. Kanyakumari was also under the control of the Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Nayaks who were great rulers of south India. The architectural beauty of the temples is the work of these rulers.
During the British Raj, Kanyakumari was bestowed the dry title of Cape Comorin, necessitated perhaps by the Englishmen's inability to pronounce local names.
Legend has it that Kanya Devi, an avatar of Goddess Parvati, was to wed Lord Shiva, the destroyer in the Hindu trinity. But he did not turn up at the auspicious time and the wedding never took place. The rice and cereals meant for the marriage remained uncooked. Even today, one can buy stones there that look exactly like rice and cereals. Local folks believe that they are the leftovers of the legendary marriage that could not be solemnized. As for the princess Kanya Devi, she became a virgin goddess blessing pilgrims and tourists alike.
Tourist Attractions in Kanyakumari
The southernmost tip of Indian mainland, apart from the stunning views has lots to explore. Following are the some of the popular tourist attractions in Kanyakumari.
Vivekananda Rock Memorial – An iconic monument, the Vivekananda Rock Memorial consists of two main structures. An exciting ferry ride takes the visitors to the small rock island.
Thiruvalluvar Statue – The beautiful statue is dedicated to the successful poet and philosopher Thiruvalluvar. Perched upon a 38-foot pedestal, the statue is an important landmark in the coastal town.
Gandhi Mandapam – Built to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, Gandhi Mandapam is the place where his ashes were kept before immersing them in the water. It is interesting to note that the monument is meticulously designed so that the sun rays on every 2nd October falls exactly on the same place where the ashes were kept.
Kanyakumari Temple – Fondly known as the Bhagvaty Amman Temple, the shrine is one of the 108 Shakti Peeths of the Hindu Goddess.
Kanyakumari Beach – An ideal place to spend quality time with family and friends, the Kanyakumari Beach offers amazing views of the sunrise, sunset, Vivekananda Memorial, the lighthouse and confluence of the Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.
Thirparappu Falls – Presenting a sight to behold, the waterfall is a manmade one and descends from a height of 50 feet. It is an ideal place for swimming and boating.
Suchindrum – Suchindrum is a town with bountiful of temples featuring distinctive Dravidian architecture and massive gopurams.
Kumari Amman Temple – The temple is a must visit if you are looking for many cultural heritage of the Indian people.
Padmanabhapuram Palace – Constructed in 1601 AD, the old granite fortress had served as the residing place of the Travancore Rulers.
Wax Museum – Get clicked with your favorite celebrities and prominent personalities at the Wax Museum.
Thanumalayan Temple – The sacred shrine is the only place where the three prominent Hindu Gods i.e., Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are worshipped as a single deity.
Courtallam Falls – Collection of small waterfalls which end up forming a huge cascade collectively.
Vattakottai Fort - Carved out of granite and stone, the fort is situated at a scenic location.
Lord Subramanya Temple – The temples houses countless towers and never-ending pillars.
Places Around Kanyakumari
Vattakottai (literally, circular fort) is an 18th-century fort overlooking the sea, located six km from Kanyakumari.
The Udayagiri Fort (34 km), built by King Marthanda Varma (AD 1729-1758), has a foundry for casting guns. The king's trusted European general De Lennoy's grave is located within this fort.
Situated 13 km from Kanyakumari, Suchindram bears the imprint of various kingdoms. The Thanumalayan temple here is a repository of art treasures belonging to those kingdoms. The temple is famous for its musical columns and its impressive six?m-tall statue of the monkey god, Hanuman. The main deity in the form of a shivling represents Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma, the trinity of the Hindu pantheon. Ancient inscriptions dating back to the ninth century are found in this place.
The Nagaraja Temple at Nagarkoil (20 km) is a magnificent temple with Nagaraja as the main deity. There are also shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and Vishnu. The entrance to this temple is reminiscent of the Chinese architecture of a Buddhist Vihar. Nagercoil is 19 kms from Kanyakumari on the way to Padmanabhapuram.
Padmanabhapuram Palace (45 km) is a large mansion of the Travancore Kings. It is known for its fascinating natural splendor.
Tiruchendur (85 km) is the site of a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Subramanya. The temple located here on the shore of the Bay of Bengal is one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya. The location of the temple draws a perennial stream of devotees. The temple overlooking the singing sea is an inspiring sight.
The Courtallam Fall (137 km) is perched at a height of 167 m. Its water is believed to contain medicinal properties.