Kanyakumari, also known as Cape Comorin is mainly a pilgrim center due to the presence of the temple dedicated to Goddess Kanyakumari. Apart from its importance as a pilgrim spot the scenic beaches are the major attraction of the tourists. Every day at the twilights the beaches are crowded, as the area is famous for watching Sunrise and sunset. Kanyakumari is the only place in India where one can watch the sunset and moon rise simultaneously on a full moon evening. The unique feature of Kanyakumari is that one can easily discern the three different colors of the three oceans. The temple dedicated to Goddess Kanyakumari is worth full to visit. The Vivekananda Rock situated on the exact middle of the Sea houses a memorial of the famous Indian Philosopher, Vivekananda of 18th Century.
A Visual Feast
Kanyakumari beach has a breathtaking sight with multi-colored sand lapped by the outreaching ocean waves. You may not find the golden sand to laze around while you sunbathe, but the beauty of colorful sands all over has their own aesthetic appeal. The seashore is rough and rocky with manmade embankment that adds to the beauty of the beach. A lighthouse stands high on the shore from where one can have a splurge of panoramic view of the area.
The merging three oceans make the seawater rough enough with the hurtling waves breaking on the shore make the sight worth cherishing. You can buy a host of colorful shells on the Kanyakumari beach for a wonderful keepsake.
History Of Popularity
From the time immemorial Kanyakumari is counted as one of the famous South Indian Pilgrim Centers. However, the importance as a tourist destination has attained by Kanyakumari is only within 20-30 years. Most of the visitors are staying here at least for one night with an aim of watching the sunset and sunrise.
The rich history and the cultural heritage of Kanyakumari is one of mixed culture and profound heritage. The city of Kanyakumari have been around for thousands of years as it has been the city of culture, history, arts, economy and the hub of civilization for centuries. In Kanyakumari, you can find instances of many religions like Islam, Christianity, or Hinduism easily. Its mixed heritage of the city has called out for many people for pilgrimage that has been going on for centuries.
Vivekananda Rock memorial
This memorial to Swami Vivekananda was built in 1970. Vivekananda was a social reformer and saint of modern India. He is supposed to have meditated on the rock where the memorial stands. Ferry service is available. Visiting time is from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Gandhi memorial and Guganathaswamy temple are two other tourist spots in the area. Kumari Amman temple is a famous place of worship where Parvathi is worshiped as virgin goddess who did penance to wed Lord Shiva. There is a nice picnic spot some 6 km away, Vattakottai (Circular Fort). It is an 18th century fort overlooking the sea. Nagercoil where the Nagaraja temple is situated is 19 km from Kanyakumari. Nagaraja is the serpent god, the presiding deity. Sand from the spot is given as prasadam. The entrance has a Chinese style. Suchindram (13 km) has a unique temple dedicated to the trimurthies – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The musical pillars and the 18-foot high Hanuman statue are artistic attractions. There are also inscriptions dating back to the 9th century AD. Udayagiri Fort, 34 km away from Kanyakumari, was built by King Marthanda Varma (1729-58) AD. This fort had a foundry for making guns. The Raja’s general, De Lennoy’s tomb is also situated in the fort. De Lennoy was a European taken prisoner by Marthanda Varma Raja when he defeated the Dutch at Colachel. De Lennoy turned out to be, in course of time, the Raja’s trusted general. Thiruparappu waterfalls (60 km) has a temple of the finest architecture and paintings. Muttam (32 km) is a good beach and lighthouse. Tiruchendur (91 km) has a temple overlooking the Bay of Bengal. It is one of the abodes of Lord Subramanya. There is a steady stream of devotees. Kalakkadu and Mundanthurai are two wildlife sanctuaries which can be visited from Kanyakumari.
The city of Trivandrum is situated at a distance of 90 km from Kanyakumari, in the neighboring state, Kerala. The Padmanabhaswamy temple in Trivandrum is famous for its marvelous architectural excellence and its age-old history. The Puthanmalika or the Horse Palace is an 18th century wooden palace situated nearby the temple is known for its structure and the possessions of royal kings. The Chalai market is also an attraction. The Napier Museum, of Indo-Sarasenic style is worth full to visit.
The Padmanabhapurm palace situated on the way to Trivandrum is the second largest wooden Palace in Asia. The palace holds an aura of excellent constructional skill. The belongings of Royal family tell the stories of prosperity, valor and the genius of the founder king of Travancore dynasty, Maharaja Marthanda Verma. Situated at the abode of hills, the area itself is enough to capture the minds of visitors. Though the Palace is in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, it is the property of Kerala Government. Monday is holiday here.
The Suchindram Temple, located at 6 km away from Kanyakumari is dedicated to Lord Siva. The exquisite architecture of the temple is amazing. The Wooden chariot is yet another attraction. Here the idols of Navagraha are carved on the inner roof of a Mandapa instead in all the other temples the same is on the separate shrine. In Suchindram Temple non-Hindus are also allowed to enter inside the temple.
The main activities of Kanyakumari are the sunset and sunrise watching. The beach is also ideal for swimming. Apart from this one can visit the temple in the early hours of the day. Yet another attraction of Kanyakumari is the memorial of an Indian philosopher Viveknanda, which is situated on a rock in the middle of the sea. The boat trip into the rock itself is an attraction.
The Kanyakumari Temple is dedicated to Devi Kanya Kumari. The temple is open daily, early morning at 4.30 to 11.45 am and 5.30 to 8.30 pm. Non- Hindus are also allowed to enter in the temple. But men should not wear shirts and everyone their shoes.
The Gandhi Memorial situated nearby the beach resembles an Orissian temple. It was here where Gandhi’s ashes kept until they immersed in the sea. This magnificent building was built in such a way that on Gandhi’s birthday (02nd October) the sunrays fall on the place where the pot of ashes kept, through the hole on the roof.
The Vivekananda Rock, situated at a distance of 400 meters off the seashore, is another point of attraction. This is the memorial of Vivekananda, the Hindu philosopher of India. The building reflects architectural styles from all over India. The ferry to the island is there in every half an hour till 5 pm. A popular visit for the followers of Vivekanand and people of Bengal, there are quite a Bengali hotels and restaurants.
The Sangam is the confluence of the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. There is a kind of lagoon here formed by a series of rocks, which is also being used a bathing ghat by people. You can enjoy the warm and soothing waves breaking onto your body and get rejuvenated under the bright sun and blue sky.
Fairs And Festivals
The car festival is conducted in May / June in connection with the Kumari Amman temple. The idol of Devi is carried on this chariot during festival procession.
The Navaratri Festival is celebrated in September / October which lasts for nine nights. This festival is to commemorate the victory of Devi (Goddess) over the demons.
Tradition And Dress Code
As Kanyakumari is a pilgrim center the dressing should be in such a way by giving more priority to public esteem. Nudity is strictly prohibited in the beaches. Even two-piece dressing is also to be avoided. Tropical clothing is recommended here.
On the shores of Kanyakumari beach and in the premises of the temple there are abundant handicraft shops with many seashell products. Traditional saris and other dress materials are available in some shops. Here one can get the different colored sea sand.
In the nationalized banks like State Bank of India foreign exchange is possible. STD, ISD, FAX, Internet facilities are also available.
During the boat transfer to Vivekananda Rock it should be very careful, as the waves are heavy. It may cause the tossing of the boat.
Do’s And Don’ts
Nobody is allowed to enter in the temples by consuming intoxicating materials like liquor, smoking and the like.
Best Time to Visit and Weather
Weather and best time to visit
Temperature: Ranges from 20 to 35 deg C.
Rainfall : Average 102 cms
Visiting season: Round the year.
Languages: Tamil, Malayalam, English.
Kanyakumari enjoys a pleasant climate and can be visited throughout the year. However, the most enjoyable season to visit this place is between October and March. During summers, the temperature can elevate to a high of 34.8 C while it can dip to a low of 20.4 C during winters.
Kanyakumari is situated at the southernmost tip of Indian sub-continent. It is at the confluence of the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Kanyakumari is in the southern district of Tamil Nadu state in South India.
How to Reach
The nearest airport is the Trivandrum International Airport, which is 90 km west to Kanyakumari. Kanyakumari is the terminal point of Southern Railway. The trains are operating from here till Jammu & Kashmir, the northern most parts of India (Himasagar Express). Kanyakumari Express offers journey till Mumbai. There is a daily train departs to Chennai named Nellai Kumari Express. It is directly connected with Bangalore, Mumbai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, and Chennai by regular flights.
Kanyakumari is well connected by rail to major parts of the country. Kanyakumari is connected to Thiruvananthapuram, Delhi, and Mumbai by broad-gauge railway network. Superfast trains connect the southern most railhead of India with northern cities like Jammu and Delhi. Tirunelvelli, situated around 80 kms away from Kanyakumari is the other nearest railway junction and can be reached by road via Nagarkoil (19 km). The National Highway-47 is ending at Kanyakumari that stretches through Trivandrum.
Kanyakumari is connected by road to Trivandrum (86 km), Nagarkoil (19 km), Tirunelvelli (91 km), Tiruchendur (89 km), Tuticorin (129 km), Rameshwaram (300 km), Courtallam (130 km), Madurai (242 km), Thekkady (358 km), Kodaikanal (362 km), Palani (370 km), Ootacamund (576 km), Cochin (309 km), and Coimbatore (478 km).
Kanyakumari offers good accommodation facilities. Near to the beach there is good accommodation available. Apart from the private hotels the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation has also a hotel here. A Youth hostel is there in Kanyakumari. Hotel Singaar International.