At the southernmost tip of India, the confluence of the Arabian
Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal is the location of Kanniyakumari,
an important pilgrimage site and one of the most popular tourist
spots in the country.
Kanniyakumari was once referred to as the "Alexandria of
the East". It has been a great centre for pilgrimage, commerce
and trade. St.Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ, arrived
in this area in 52 AD. Kanniyakumari was under the control of
the Chola, Chera, Pandya and Nayak dynasties who built several
temples. Islam, Christianity and Jainism have also enriched the
architectural wealth and heritage of the city. The Kumari Amman
temple here is dedicated to Parvati as Devi - Kanya, the virgin
goddess who eternally protects the country at its southern tip.
Swami Vivekananda meditated here and the Vivekananda Rock Memorial,
built in 1970 is dedicated to him. From the lighthouse one can
see the panoramic view of the landscape of Kanniyakumari.
Kanniyakumari or Cape Comorin is at its pinnacle during Chitra
Pournami (full moon day in April) when the sun and moon are face
to face at the same horizon. Other full moon days are also special
when you can see the sunset and the moonrise almost simultaneously.
A fine beach landscape with multi hued sands is another interesting
aspect of Kanniyakumari. Palm leaf articles of Kanniyakumari are
Sights to Visit
Picturesquely situated overlooking the shore, this temple and
the nearby Ghat attract tourists from all over the world. Dedicated
to the virgin goddess Kanniyakumari (Parvati) who stands guard
over the country, the temple is built at the spot where the goddess
is believed to have waited for her consort Lord Shiva to come
and claim her hand in marriage. When she was unsuccessful, she
vowed to remain a virgin (Kanya).
The Diamond nose-ring of this deity is famous for its sparkling
splendour, which is supposed to be visible even from the sea.
It is believed to have (mis) guided many a ship to the treacherous
rocks near the shore. Due to the grave threat of the reflected
light from the nose-stud to the unsuspecting ships the door on
the side facing the sea was closed for ensuring the safety of
A grand memorial to philosopher Swami Vivekananda, it is on one
of the twin rocks jutting out from the sea about 200 m offshore.
There is a Dhyana Mandapam where Swami Vivekananda's meditation
transformed him into one of the most charismatic spiritual leaders
of this century. Built in 1970, the unique structure is a blend
of various architectural styles of India. Close to the Vivekananda
Rock is another rock called Sripada Parai meaning the rock that
has been blessed by the touch of the feet of the goddess. Poompuhar
Shipping Corporation operates frequent ferry services from the
shore to the rock memorial at regular intervals.
Located near the tourist office at Beach Road, the museum contains
bronzes, coins, tribal objects, woodcarvings,zoological and botanical
specimens. The "Temple Car" from Samythoppu and Wales
Bones from Manavalakurichy in Kanniyakumari District add charm
to the museum.
This 1000-year-old temple is believed to have been built by Raja
Cholan. Vattakottai (Circular Fort) The 18th century fort overlooking
the sea was built by the Dutch and is located 6 km from Kanniyakumari.
Here, the sea is calm and suitable for a swim.
Suchindram (13 km)
Suchindram's Thanumalayan temple is dedicated to a deity who
is the representation of the combined forces of Shiva, Vishnu
and Brahma. Inscriptions said to be of the 9th century AD can
be found in this temple. The temple is also famous for its 18-foot
high statue of the monkey god Hanuman with its musical pillars,
Vainayaki (Female Vinayaka) relief carving and a repository of
art treasures belonging to many kingdoms.
Nagercoil (19 km)
Named after the temple dedicated to Nagaraja - the King of Snakes
- Nagercoil, the images of the Jain Tirthankaras, Mahavira and
Parsavanathar are found on the pillars of the temple. There are
frequent buses from Nagercoil to any other part of the state and
to Thiruvananthapuram in neighbouring Kerala.
Padmanabhapuram (45 km)
The former capital of Travancore, Padmanabhapuram is known for
its fort, which encloses among other buildings a palace and a
temple. The wooden palace covers an area of 6 acres and has many
antiquities, including the armoury of the royal family. The Ramaswamy
temple has exquisitely carved panels depicting scenes from the
Ramayana. Tiruchendur is the site of a beautiful temple dedicated
to Lord Subramanya.
Udayagiri Fort (34 km)
Built by King Marthanda Varma (1729-1758AD), this fort has a foundry
for casting guns. The king's trusted European general De Lennoy's
tomb is located within this fort. Pechipparai Dam (56 km) Like
most dam sites this one too is a popular picnic spot where facilities
for boating have also been provided.
Thirparappu Water Falls (60 km)
A picturesque spot with an ancient Mahadevar Temple. Thiruvattar
(60 km) The temple here is one of the finest specimens of temple
art and architecture. The paintings on the walls of the temple
are worth seeing.
The magnificent 133-foot height statue denoting the chapters
in Thirukkural has been opened for Tourist's visit in the midst
of sea on 1.1.2000 in Kanniyakumari.
The temple located here on the shore of the Bay of Bengal is one
of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya and draws a perennial stream
Courtallam Falls (137 km)
Perched at a height of 167 m the water here is believed to contain
Olakkay Aruvi Water falls (33 km)
Olakkay Aruvi water falls in the Western Ghatts, 14 km from Nagercoil
and 33 km from Kanyakumari attract many holiday seekers and trekkers.
The beautiful waterfalls are an important picnic spot. A small
temple connected with the sage Agasthiar near the falls attracts
a large number of religious people on full moon day of the month
of Chithirai (April - May) and they worship the altar, after a
bath in the falls. The church of Manapadu is worth a visit.
Kumarakovil (34 km)
Kumarakovil at the foot of the Velimalai hills in Kalkulam Taluk,
about 15 km North - West of Nagercoil is the site of a temple
dedicated to Lord Subramaniya. Goddess Valli, the spouse of Lord
Subramaniya, is also enshrined in the temple. There is a vast
lake on the right of the temple where boating facilities are available.
The Lord Muruga Temple built on a hillock 200 feet high in lush
green fields of paddy, plantain and coconut trees is noted for
Mondaikadu Bagavathy Amman Temple (41 km)
The 7th century B.C. temple dedicated to Bagavathy Amman Mondaikadu
is situated on the seacoast, north - east of Colachel Port. The
Amman is in the form of an anthill about 12 feet high and with
five heads and is believed to be growing gradually. The annual
festival Mondaikadu Kodai is celebrated in March for 10 days and
is the main attraction. The temple, though small, attracts a large
number of people from all over the district besides a regular
flow of pilgrims from Kollam in Kerala state, about 160 km from
Mondaikadu. . Department of Tourism, Tamil Nadu organises a photographic
exhibition during the festival.
Thengapattinam Beach (54 km)
Thengapattinam, situated on the west coast is a place of historical
importance. 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.
A 1200-year-old mosque was built by some Arab mechants who came
here and found the place suitable for their trade. There is an
abundance of coconut trees at the Thengapattinam beach, which
is an excellent picnic spot with backwater facilities. It is well
connected with Nagercoil and Thiruvananthapuram by regular bus
Chithra Pournami Festival: April/May, Navarathri - September/October
Annual Holy Festival of R.C. Church - December.
How to get There
Air: The nearest Airport is Thiruvananthapuram
Rail: Kanyakumari is on the Thiruvananthapuram
- Kanyakumari section of the southern railway. The daily Nellai
Kumari Express links Kanniyakumari to ~Chennai~. ~Thiruvananthapuram~
and ~Mumbai~ are also connected by direct trains. The Himsagar
Express runs across the length of the entire country form ~Jammu~
Tawi to Kanniyakumari covering the distance in 74 hours.
Road: Kanniyakumari is well connected
by road to Chennai (703 km), Madurai (242 km), and other major
towns in South India. Local buses go to Nagercoil, Padmanabhapuram,
Thiruvananthapuram and Kovalam among other places.
Souvenirs and handicraft articles made from seashells and palm
leaf articles are the main items to buy at Kanniyakumari. Trinklets
and packets of coloured sea sand for children can also be bought
here. There are several shops selling these articles with varying
prices and a good bargaining power will get the best deal.
Climate: Max. Min. Summer 34.80ºC
21.60ºC: Winter: 33.8ºC 22.4ºC
Clothing: Tropical Season: Throughout
Languages:Tamil, Malayalam and English