Kanyakumari Tourism Information
Kanyakumari occupies unique place among the tourist centres of India. It is the land’s end of India, where water of the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the bay of Bengal meet. It is one of important pilgrim centres of India. A fine beach landscape with sands of different colours is another interesting aspect of kanyakumari. It is famous for its beautiful view of sunrise, sunset and moonrise over the waters. Palm leaf articles of Kanniyakumari are very famous.
From the light house one can see the panoramic view of the landscape of Kanyakumari. The Government museum set up recently has the districts ecological details and representative sculptural arts and crafts of Tamil Nadu.
An important pilgrimage and spiritual centre, Kaniyakumari is land's end of the Indian Peninsula surrounded by three seas, the Ariban Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal. It was once known as Cape Comorin. Ruled by the Pandyas later it became part of Kerala until the reorganization of states in 1956, now a district of Tamil Nadu. The centre takes its name after the temple of the Goddess Kumari (Goddess Virgin). On full moon days, the experience of witnessing the moonrise and the sunset at the same time is amazing.
A memorial dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, the spiritual leader of the 19-century dominates the view. Kaniyakumari has about 69k of beach sands of different colors, due to the mineral contents. The tourist facilities are located within almost one km of the main temple.
The Kumari Amman Temple
The Kumari Amman temple is dedicated to the Virgin Goddess Kanyakumari, who eternally protects the country. Legend has it that the goddess Parvathy is one of her incarnation as Devi Kanya did penance to obtain the hand of lord Siva. The temple is a symbol of unity and sanctity. The Diamond nose-ring of this deity is famous for its sparkling splendour which is supposed to be visible even from the sea.
Over looking the shoreline, the temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, who as Devi Kanya did penance to secure Lord Shiva's hand in marriage. When she was unsuccessful, she vowed to remain a Kenya (Virgin). The deity is also revered as the protector of India's shores, standing with a rosary in her hand-bestowing benediction. The exceptionally brilliant diamond nose ring of this deity is supposed to shine out to sea; hence, the east door of the temple remains closed. Temple phone: 04652-246223. Timings: 04.23 to 12.30 and 16.00 to 20.15 Cameras not allowed.
Chitra Purnima, usually in 2-week of April on a full moon day has celebrations at the temple. In May/June, there is a Car Festival. The Navaratri Festival in October/November celebrates the Goddess victory over demons, and the pilgrims congregate here to offer their tanks for the protection se brought for them.
In memorial of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, a Mandapam has been erected near the temple. The memorial had been built on the spot where the urn containing his ahes was kept for public viewing before immersion. Architecture of the building allows the rays of the sun to fall on the spot where the urn was kept on 2nd October, his birthday.
This memorial for the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi is built on the spot where the urn containing his ashes was kept for the public to pay their respects before immersion at the confluence of three seas. On Gandhiji's birthday on 2 October, the sun's rays fall exactly on the spot where the urn was kept. The architectural design of this memorial is inspired by the temples of Orissia. Timing: 07.00 to 19.00 daily.
There are two rocks projecting out of the ocean, south-east of kumara Amman Temple. These rocks provide an ideal vantage point for visitors desiring to view the land’s end of India. It was on one of these rocks that Swami Vivekananda sat in long and deep meditation.
On the rocks stands “Vivekananda Rock Memorial” built in 1970 a blend of all the architectural styles of India. A statue of Swami Vivekananda has been installed in the memorial. One can also see Sri Padaparai, the foot prints of the Virgin Goddess. Ferry services are available to this memorial on this rock, form 7.00am to 11.00am and 2.00pm to 5.00pm. The Government of Tamil Nadu has installed a statue of the great Tamil savant Tiruvalluvar, the author of the famous Thiru-Kural on the other rock.
Vivekananda Memorial is about 500m from the main land, accessible by a ferry service, this is where Swami Vivekananda mediated in 1892. Built in 1970, it stands on one of two rocks, jutting out from the sea. The rock memorial houses a statue of Vivekananda. There is a huge meditation blending different architectural styles from all over India The greatest of India's social reformer and a great spiritual leader, Vivekananda believed in the equality of all religions. His eloquence at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago won all around admiration and respect when he preached for universal goodwill and tolerance. He perceived religion to be a powerful instrument of social reform and individual development. On his return from Chicago, he laid the foundation of Ramakrishna Mission in Chennai, which since when has expanded across the world.
Pilgrims also come to see Sri Padaparai, with the footprints of the Goddess who did her penance here on this nearby rock. On this rock, a gigantic 40m high statue of Tiruvalluvar stands. The great poet-saint, Tiruvalluvar composed 133 chapters Tirukkural, his immortal work enlightening people towards the right path of living.
Vivekanandapuram, 1km north of the town, spread over an area of over 40 hectares has an imposing statue of Swami Vivekananda as the wandering monk and an informative photo exhibition detailing the journey across India made by him. Further north is a beach offering a splendid view of the sun emerging from the ocean. Contact Phone: 04652-246250.
It is a spiritually oriented service mission which came into being as a logical sequel to the completion of Rock Memorial to give a practical shape to Swami Vivekananda’s message of service. Vivekanandapuram is the headquarters of Vivekananda Kendra. It is spread over 100 acres and is a spiritual retreat for those who love nature.
Situated on the Beach Road, it exhibits bronzes, tribal articles, and woodcarvings, zoological and botanical specimens. The Samythoppu Temple Car exhibited here is another attraction. Timing: 09.30 to 17.00, closed n Friday.
This 1000 year old temple is said to be built by Raja Raja Cholan. In the sanctum sanctorum is a 1.4metre high Sivalingam. This temple is located very near to the Railway Station.
Sunrise and Sunset
Everyday people gather here to watch the sunrise and sunset. But to watch the sunset and the moonrise on full moon day is an experience that lives in one’s memory for life.
Kanyakumari Tour Information
Vattakottai is about 6km, northeast, an 18-century fort and the silent music creted by the waves, offers a calm retreat away from the fast-paced city life.
It is a natural spring, which is 12km from Tiruchendur.
It is worth seeing for its long tailed monkeys.
It is located near Nagercoil and is a picnic spot. Baghavathi Amman Koil at Kanniyakumari, Adikesava Perumal Koil at Mandaikadu is also worth seeing places and pilgrimage centres for Hindus.
Kanyakumari Trip Information
Circular Fort (Vattakottai)
This eighteenth century fort overlooking the sea is worth visiting. It is located at a distance of 6km from Kanniyakumari. It is also a fine picnic spot. Here the sea is calm and suitable for bathing.
The Thanu-malayan temple here is a repository of art treasures belonging to many kingdoms. The presiding deities are Siva, Vishnu and Brahma. Inscriptions said to be of the 9th century AD are found in this temple. Suchindrum is 13km from Kanniyakumari by road, on the way to Thiruvananthapuram. Here too we have musical pillars and the corridor is second only to Rameswaram in magnificence. Two chief attractions are the gigantic Hanuman 25feet high and Vainayaki(Female Vinayaka) relief carving.
Suchindrum is about 13km, the Sthanumalayam Temple in Suchindram represents a unique pantheon in Hinduism. The temple is the abode of the holy trinity - Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh. The temple has a massive ornate seven-storied gopuram andits corridors are second only to Rameswaram in sheer magnificence. Leading to the entrance is a long mandapam with musical pillars and with sculptures of Shiva, Parvati, Ganesh, and Subramanya on the front. Its chef attractions are an excellent statue of Hanuman, about 8m high and the statue of Vinayaki, the female form of Ganesh (vinayak) as bas-relief. The main temple has a lingam dating from 9-century.
The temple was originally founded during the reign of Pandyas and expanded by the Tirumalai Nayak in the 17-century. The rulers of Travancore used this temple as a sanctuary and hence it has a valuable collection of art from different periods of Tamil Nadu history.
The Nagaraja temple situated here is unique in much respect. Though Nagaraja (Serpent God) is the presiding deity, the images of Lord Siva and Ananthakrishna (Vishnu) are also enshrined. The Nagaraja is installed on the ground where it was originally found and the sand is scooped out and given as prasadam to the devotees. The images of the Jain Theerthankaras, Mahaviraand parswanathar are found in the pillars of the temple. The entrance to the temple is reminiscent of the Chinese architecture of Budha Vihara. Nagercoil is 9km from kanniyakumari on the way Padmanabhapuram.
The temple dedicated to Ngaraja (serpent God), after which the town is named, is full of imagers of snakes. Though the presiding deity is the Nagaraja, there are sanctums for Lord Shiva and Vishnu (Ananthakrishna) as well as images of Jain tirthankars, Mahaveer and Parswanatha engraved on the pillars. The entrance to the temple is reminiscent of the architecture of a Buddhist monastery. Nagercoil, the district headquarter, 19km from Kaniyakumari on way to Padmanabhapuram is an important railway junction and a bus terminal.
This place is located north-west of Nagercoil. It has 5000 years old temple. King Kulasekara and Thirumalai naicker have contributed towards its repair. In this place there is no separate sanctum for Devi. Thiruvazmarban as the God is called, is 9feet tall and is made of a special element and as such no abhishekams are performed. The ceiling of the Indra Kalyana Vimana Mandapa exhibits fine paintings of Dasavathara.
Built during the regime of kind marthada Varma of the 18th century (1729 to 1759Ad) this fort was popularly known as a foundary for casting guns. De Lennoy, a European’s tomb is seen in a cemetery here.
The Dutch were defeated by King Marthanda Varma in July 1741 at Colachel seashore in Kanyakumari District. He trained the soldiers in European method of fighting in the Fort Complex. The Fort is located 34km from kanyakumar, 14km from Nagercoil and 54km from Thiruvananthapuram.
It is an ancient seat of the Travancore rulers, situated on the Kanniyakumari – Thiruvananthapuram road at a distance of 45km from Kanniykumari. There is a palace inside the fort which convers an area of 6acres. On display in the palace are many objects including armoury of the royal family.
Here a clock made 4 centuries ago and a cot made of herbal wood for Maharaja to sleep on can be seen. In the Neelakanta Swamy temple a fierce Nataraja the only one of its kind is an attraction. In the Ramasamy temple adjoining the palace, scenes from the Ramayana have been carved in 45panels. The palace is open to the public from 9.00 am to 5.00pm.
The capital of Travancore until 1798AD, Padmanabhupuram is located 45km away and is known for the fort, which encloses a palace. On display inside the place are some art relics including the armoury of the royal family. Adjoining the place is the Ramaswamy Temple having beautiful wood carved panels depicting scenes from The Ramayana that are a feast for the eye.
The dam site is a very good picnic spot and it is 75km from Kanniyakumari. Boating facility and dormitory type accommodation are available. Direct bus service from Kanniyakumari is there.
Government Fruit Farm
Government fruit farm is 2km from kanniyakumari on the way to Suchindrum. All kinds of plants, rare species, etc., can be seen. Tourists are permitted to look around the Fruit farm.
This picturesque spot is 60km from kanniyakumari. An ancient mahadevan temple is located here.
The temple here is one of the finest specimens of temple architecture. This temple surrounded by Kothayar, Paraliar and Tamiraparani on three sides lends enchantment. The Otraikal Mandapam of single stone 3 feet thick is a marvel. Oordhva Thandava, Venugopala, Rati Manmada, Lakshmana and inderjit are some excellent products of art. The paintings on the walls of the temple are worth seeing. This place is located at an altitude of 6o metres.
Thirunandikarai is a rock cut temple. Once 12 years the lingam I anointed with ghee on Sivarathri day. The sanctum is circular with a conical dome roofed with copper plates typical of Kerala Art.
Muttam is about 32km from Kanniyakumari. It has a fine beach and a light house. It is an excellent picnic spot.
Thirucharanathumalai is about 55km from Kanyakumari. Here the Jain sculptures are worth seeing. It is also a fine picnic spot.
Thiruparappu Falls is about 60km from Kanyakumari, an ancient temple is located, in front of which flows the river Kodayur. Combined with the sparkling waterfall, the site is a refreshing change away from town and a popular picnic spot. People throng in large numbers to bath in the waterfalls.
Other places of interest include fine beaches like Sanguthurai (10km from Kanyakumari), Shothavilar (10km), Muttam (40km) and Thengaipattam(54km). Mukkudal, a natural dam near Kanyakumari is ideal for picnic. The St. Xavier Church, at Kottar, 15km from Kanyakumari near Nagercoil dates back from 15-century and incorporates the chapel of our Lady. It attracts a large crowd during the ten day festival from every 24 November to 3 December.
Udhayagiri Fort, about 34km from Kaniyakumari is where King Marthanda Varma prisoned De Lennoy, one of the 24 soldiers. He defeated Dutch at Colachel in 1741. A gun foundry inside the fort is of great interest. 60km, the temple at Thiruvattar is worth a visit for its fine architecture and paintings. The Mathoor Hanging Bridge, 60km, at a height of 35m is a place of tourist interest.
Kanyakumari can also be a convenient base for excursions to Tiruchendur (91 km), WLS of Kalakaddu and Mundanthurai and the well-known health resort at Courtallam (135km).
Air: The nearest airport is at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, only 87km from Kaniyakumari. Thiruvananthapuram is well connected by both rail and bus route to Kanyakumari.
Rail: The train station is about one km north of the main temple. It is connected to Chennai , Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. Railway station enquiry Phone: 04652-246247.
Bus: The bus station is about 500m west of main temple. SET buses connect it to Madurai (242km), Chennai (689km), Thiruvananthapuram (87km) and Rameswaram (295km). Bus terminal enquiry: 04652-246019.
Local town buses, auto rickshaws, and tourist taxi are available for tourist places within the town and around. Half-hourly Ferry Service to Vivekananda Rock Memorial is available.
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