Kanyakumari is the END point of India. It is situated at the extreme south of India. Kanyakumari occupies a unique place among the tourist centers of India. This is the only place in India where one can enjoy the unique experience of watching the sunset and moonrise simultaneously on a full moon evening. The beach is full of sands of different colors. It is another interesting aspect of Kanyakumari.
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. The architectural beauty of the temples is the beautiful work of different rulers.
The shore temple in this famous Pilgrim center is dedicated to the virgin goddess Devi Kanyakumari, who eternally protects the country.The temple is a symbol of unity and sanctity. If you visit there you can see the footprints of the virgin goddess.From the lighthouse, one can see the panoramic view of the landscape of Kanyakumari.The Guganathaswamy temple is a 1000-year-old temple.
What to see in Kanyakumari?
The beautiful Gandhi Memorial completed in 1956, is situated as a memorial to the Father of the Nation. This striking memorial has been built on the spot where the urn containing Mahatma’s ashes was kept for public viewing before immersion. Mahatma Gandhi visited Kanyakumari twice in 1925 and 1937.
Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial:
This grand memorial to the great Indian Saint Swami Vivekananda is on one of the twin rocks jutting out from the sea about 200 meters offshore. There is a Dhyana Mandapam (Meditation Room) where one can sit in a serene atmosphere and meditate. Swami Vivekananda meditated here in the year 1892. Ferry services are available to reach the memorial. The ferry service charges rupees 20 per person.
The rock consists of two main structures Vivekananda Mandapam and Shripada Mandapam.
Vivekananda Mandapam: – This Mandapam consists of
- Dhyana Mandapam, i.e., Meditation Hall with six adjacent rooms
- Sabha Mandapam or the Assembly Hall including Pratima Mandapam, two rooms, a corridor and an open Prakaram round the Sabha Mandapam.
- Mukha Mandapam (Portion) and
- the Front Entrance steps with two rooms and a corridor below the steps.
Shripada Mandapam: – This square hall consists of
- Garbha Graham i.e., (Sanctum Sanctorum).
- The Inner Prakaram
- The Outer Prakaram and
- The Outer Platform all around.
Both the Mandapams are so designed that the vision of Swamiji in the statue would be seen direct towards the Shripadam.
Kumari Amman Temple:
Few temples in India are more picturesquely located than that of Goddess Bhagavathi in Kanyakumari. It stands near where three oceans meet: the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
The image of the Goddess in the sanctum is marvelous.
Picturesquely situated overlooking the shore, this temple and the nearby Ghat attract tourist from all over the world. According to a legend, Devi did penance here to secure Lord Siva’s hand in marriage. When she was unsuccessful, she vowed to stay a virgin (Kanya).The Diamond nose-ring of this deity is famous for its sparkling splendor which is supposed to be visible even from the sea.
Vattakottai, a granite fort six kilometers north-east of Kanyakumari cape, forms the terminal of a line of ramparts known as the South Travancore lines. It is rectangular in shape and covers an area of about three and a half acres. The fort is enclosed by walls 25 to 26 feet high, including the parapet, 29 feet thick at the front, 18 feet at the corners and 6 feet at the rear. The small river by the side of the fort and the green vegetation all around add to the scenery of the fort and has now become a holiday resort and picnic center.
Next, to Vattakottai, you can see the traces of a lighthouse in Leepuram. This is a picnic spot, the sea is calm and suitable for bathing.
Suchindrum is a small village about 12 km. from Kanyakumari and about seven kilometers from Nagercoil. This holy place is located on the bank of the river Pazhayar, adjoining fertile fields and coconut groves and the temple is dedicated to Sri Sthanumalayan. The word denotes Siva, Vishnu, and Brahma as. Sthanu represents Siva, Mal represents Vishnu while Ayan represents Brahmma i.e. Siva, Vishnu, and Brahma in “One Form”.
Suchindrum means the place where Indra attained ‘Suchi’ i.e., purification. The Sthalapurana has it that Indra suffered a curse from sage Gowthama when he stealthily cast amorous glances at Ahalya the wife of Gowthama. Not able to suffer the mortification brought about by the curse. Indra had to seek immediate redemption. He came to ‘Gnana Aranya’ as this place was then called and offered worship to Lord Shiva. Relieving Indra of his curse, Lord Shiva granted him of his wish that the place where he attained purification should henceforth be called ‘Suchindrum
The Thanumalayan Temple here is a repository of art treasures. Musical pillars and huge 18 foot Hanuman Statue are the proof of the artistic skill of the time. This unique temple is dedicated to the Trimurthys Vishnu, Siva, and Brahmma. Two chief attractions are the gigantic Hanuman and Vainayaki (Female Vinayaka) relief carving. It is a complex of many beautiful structures constructed at various times and is one of the best specimens and a storehouse of the Dravidian style of art and architecture.
Nagercoil is the southernmost city in South India, situated close to the tip of the Indian peninsula in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The town is also the administrative headquarters of Kanyakumari district. It was a part of Kerala, the erstwhile Travancore state, till almost a decade after India’s Independence from Britain in 1947. In 1956, it was merged with Tamil Nadu. In its earlier days, the town and its surroundings were known as Nanjilnadu.
Nagercoil derived its name from a famous old Jain temple called Naga Raja Temple (temple of the serpent king) which still exists in the central part of the town. Originally a Jain temple, it is now an important temple for the local Hindus and is also a tourist attraction.
The images of the Jain Theerthangaras, Mahavira and Parsavanathar are found on the pillars of the temple. 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 (22 km from Nagercoil), once the seat of the Travancore kings, is India’s only palace made completely of wood (16th century).
It is situated at a distance of 45 Kms from Kanyakumari. There is a palace inside the fort which covers an area of 6 acres. On display in this palace are many antiquities, including the armory of the royal family. In the Ramaswamy temple adjoining the palace, scenes from the Ramayana have been carved in 45 panels.
The fort which was built with mud originally was dismantled and reconstructed with granite by Maharaja Marthanda Varma. The height of the walls varies from 15′ to 24′ according to the inclination of the ground.
Entrance Hall: – The entrance to the main edifice is controlled by another ornamental gateway with retainers for watch and ward. The gabled entrance has wooden ceiling profusely ornamented with lotus medallions. The most striking feature of the entrance is the clock-tower which is one of the oldest in India erected in 1832 A.D. and still continues to be in working order.
The first floor the Poomuham has a council chamber or Mantrasala which is meant for holding discussions with ministers and prominent citizens. The floor of this hall, which is polished with the admixture of coconut shell ashes, eggs fermented in molasses and lime reflects the figure like a mirror. Next to the Mantrasala is the Dancing Hall which was used exclusively for the members of the royal family.
Adjacent to the Council Chamber and to the south of dancing hall is the dining hall called “Uttupura”, with two floors (the ground and the first) each measuring roughly 78 by 6 meters and it would accommodate about 2000 people at a time. Feeding of about 2000 poor persons, it is said, was done here every day and so the king was called “Dharmaraja”.
Uppirika Malika: – The most attractive building in the whole palace is the ‘Uppirika Malika’ which consists of three storied. ‘Uppirika’ is the abbreviated term of ‘Muppirika’ which means the residence of the eldest member of the family. A wooden cot is erected on the topmost floor in the belief that “Lord Vishnu” the chief deity. The first floor contains a wooden cot made of 64 medicinal plants, on which Maharaja used to sleep. The medicinal cot was presented to Maharaja “Marthanda Varma” by the Dutch East India Company in 1750, as a mark of friendship.
The Navarathri Mandapa: – To the west of the Zuppirika Mandapa is the Navarathri Mandapa which is a spacious hall of exquisitely beautiful granite pillars with drooping pendants reminiscent of the Nayakar style of architecture. In the Navarathri Mandapa, performances of Bharatha Natya and musical recitals took place in the royal presence.
The dam site is a very good picnic spot and it is situated at a distance of 75 Kms from Kanyakumari.This dam in Kalkulam Taluk was built during the days of the Maharaja Sri Moolam Thirunal across the river Kodayar. The construction of the dam was designed on the pattern of the Periyar dam in the Madurai district. The length of the dam is 425.1 meters. It has a catchment area of 204.8 sq.km. There is a camp shed provided at the dam side for the visitors. The weather is very pleasant and hence attracts a large number of tourists. Boating facility is available here.
Tiruchendur is a small town in Tuticorin District, India, 45 km away from Tuticorin and 53 km from Tirunelveli. It is well-connected with Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari, and Tuticorin by road. There is a small stretch of a meter-gauge rail link between Tiruchendur and Tirunelveli.
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.This temple is located at distance of 91 Kms from Kanyakumari.
There are several literary works singing the glory of Tiruchendur. The Sangam works Puranaanooru and Akanaanooru speak of Tiruchendur as Senthil and Alaivaai respectively. Illango Adigal refers to Tiruchendur, Tiruchengode, and Swamimalai as abodes of Skanda in his work Silappadikaaram.
While the other five padaiveedu shrines are situated on hills or mounds, this is situated on the seashore, bounded on the north and the east by the sea.
Legend has it that Skanda vanquished the demon Soorapadman and his army, in his fortress Veeramahendram situated in the middle of the ocean here.
How to reach Kanyakumari?
By Air: The nearest airport from Kanyakumari is situated at Trivandrum about 80 km away. It is directly connected with Bangalore, Mumbai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, and Chennai by regular flights.
By Rail: 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 southernmost railhead of India with northern cities like Jammu and Delhi. Tirunelveli, situated around 80 km away from Kanyakumari is the other nearest railway junction and can be reached by road via Nagarkoil (19 km).
By Road : 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).