The Southern most Land tip of
Kanyakumari (also spelt as Kanniyakumari) district is bounded by
Tirunelveli district in the north and northeast, by Kerala state in the
northwest and confluence of Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean in the west and
south. The coastline is almost regular except for some points of land
projecting into the sea at Cape Comorin. Kanyakumari is the district
headquarters of the district of the same name.
Kannyakumari has been named after the Goddess Kannyakumari Amman who is the
popular deity of the area. Legend has it that the Goddess Parvati in one of
her incarnations as Devi Kanniya did penance on one of the rocks of this
land's end to obtain the hand of Lord Shiva.
The History of Kanyakumari
Kanniyakumari district, once known as "The Granary of Travancore"
lies at the southwestern part of Indian peninsula. It was in Travancore for
a long time and then merged with Tamil Nadu in 1956 under the State
Linguistic Reorganisation Act.
Unique Travel Attractions of Kanyakumari
The Kanyakumari beach is a beautiful sight with multi-coloured sand. The
beach here does not really offer one the opportunity to sunbathe on soft
golden sands, or to frolic in the waves either. The seashore is rocky and
dangerous, and there is a manmade wall running along it. People are warned
to stay off the rocks, and when if someone ventures out of bounds, he or she
is quickly and severely reprimanded by a watchful policeman. There is a
lighthouse from where one can get a panoramic view.
The sea is fairly rough, so it is entertaining to
watch it beat itself against the rocks and then subside, before it gathers
itself up for another attack. With long stretches of sands of many hues, the
beach offers a welcome change. A variety of shells are on sale on the
Temple Of Goddess Bhagavathi :
Few temples in India are more picturesquely located than that of Goddess
Bhagavathi in Kannyakumari. It stands near where three oceans meet: the
Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
In its early form the temple seems to have been built by the first Pandyas.
The Nayaks expanded it later. There are three Prakaras. The image of the
Goddess in the sanctum is marvellous in its serenity and beneficence. She
carries a necklace in Her right hand. The eastern gate, facing the Bay of
Bengal is opened only five times a year.
Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial
On the evening of December 25, 1892, Swami Vivekananda who had come to
Kannyakumari on pilgrimage swam to the rock and spent the whole night there
in deep meditation. He then resolved to decide himself to the service of the
Motherland and to spread the message of Vedanta. Next year he attended the
Parliament of Religions in Chicago, an event of seminal importance in the
modern history of Hinduism. To commemorate his visit to the rock a superb
memorial has been erected. It attracts thousands of visitors.
Temple At Suchindram
Tradition connects the Kannyakumari temple with that in Suchindram (13-km
from Kanyakumari). This is a fine, large fane, with a beautiful tank. It is
one of the few temples in the country where the Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and
Isvara, are worshipped. The Linga, named "Sthanumalaya", is in
three parts; the top represents Lord Shiva, the middle Lord Vishnu, and the
base Lord Brahma. "Sthanu" is a name of Shiva, "Mal" of
Vishnu, and "Ayan" of Brahma.
Not far from the Kumari Amman Temple is the Gandhi Mandapam, constructed at
the spot where the urn containing the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi was kept for
public view before a portion of its contents was immersed in the three seas.
It resembles an Oriyan temple and was designed so that on Gandhiji's
birthday (2nd October), the sun's rays fall on the place where his ashes
Travel Attractions of Kanyakumari
Thengapattinam, situated on the west coast, is a place of historical
importance. It is 35-km from Nagercoil and 54-km from Kannyakumari. As
coconut trees are abundant in this place, the place might have derived this
This village had, in ancient times, trade relations with foreign countries
like Arabia. There was direct Cargo boat service between Thengapattinam and
other foreign maritime towns.
The capital of Travancore until 1333, Padmanabhapuram is known for its fort
which encloses, among other buildings, a palace and a temple. The palace has
some important art relics while the Ramaswami temple has exquisitely carved
panels depicting scenes from the Ramayana. Padmanabhapuram is 45km from
Kalakkadu and Mundanthurai
Kalakadu wildlife sanctuary is situated in an area of 223-sq-km in the
Tirunelveli district, including the foothills of the Western Ghats and the
adjoining area. 47km from Tirunelveli, the Kalakadu wildlife sanctuary is
very popular with botanists and ornithologists as it has a great variety of
fauna and bird life.
Situated 42-km from Tirunelveli, the Mundanthurai wildlife sanctuary boasts
of dry deciduous to tropical wet evergreen forest patches of pure reeds. The
sanctuary covers an area of 567-sq-kms. There is nothing to differentiate
this sanctuary from that of Kalakadu, except the absence of Elephant and the
The temple of Swami Nelliappar and Sri Kanthimathi Ambal in Tirunelveli
(83-km from Kanyakumari) dates back at least to the seventh century.
Sambandar has sung it, and Ninrasir Neumaran, the Pandya, is said to have
commissioned the making of musical pillars in a Mandapa in this temple.
Originally, there were two temples side by side, dedicated to Lord
Nelliappar and Goddess Kanthimathi. They were linked by a Mandapa, the "chain"
Mandapa, built in 1647. The oldest inscription belongs to the middle of the
Sankaranainarkoil has three shrines dedicated to Lord Sankaralinga, to
Goddess Gomathi Amman and, between these two, to Lord Sankaranarayana, a
combination of Shiva and Vishnu. The temple was built in the eleventh
century and was expanded later. The Gopura is of nine storeys and is 38m
high. The temple is famous for the miracles the Goddess performs in curing
Nagaraja Temple at Nagercoil
19-km from Kannyakumari is Nagercoil, which contains the celebrated
Nagaraja temple. The sanctum is a simple thatched shed, with mud walls. It
enshrines the King of Serpents. Tradition states that a King of Kalakkad was
cured of leprosy when he performed penance in the temple. He then rebuilt it
in the Kerala style. He might have been Bhuthalavira Sri Vira Udaya
Marthandavarma, who ruled Venad, with Kalakkad as his capital, from 1516 to
1535. It is believed that snakebite is not fatal within a kilometre of the
temple. The fane has some Jain sculptures.
Festive Moods of Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari, also known as Cape Comorin is located at the southern most tip
of India, where the Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea meet. A
dip in the ocean here is considered holy, but the sea is rough here and not
fit for bathing. This is the only place in India, where the sunset and
moonrise can be viewed simultaneously on a full moon day.
The Vivekananda memorial set amidst the sea is a place known to give mental
emancipation. The Cape festival is celebrated on a large scale for three
days at Kanyakumari. The festival is marked by a series of cultural
Festivals in Kanyakumari
Several festivals are celebrated in Kanyakumari. The Chaitra Purnima
Festival (the April full-moon day, celebrated in the first week of May),
Navratri (last week of October), and the Holy Annual Festival of the Roman
Catholic Church (fourth week of December) are the notable festivals
celebrated in Kanyakumari.
Shopping in Kanyakumari
Souvenirs and handicraft articles made from seashells and palm leaf
articles are the main items to buy at Kannyakumari. Trinkets and packets of
coloured sea sand for children can also be bought here. There are several
shops selling these articles.