Kanyakumari, the town which marks the end of the geographical mainland of the Indian peninsula is indeed exotic. Also known as Cape Comorin, the place is filled with truly wonderful tourist spots and has a history and cultural heritage that are profound. The place derives its name from the Hindu Goddess Kanyakumari, also called Kumari Amman.
According to a Hindu legend, Kanya Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, was to marry Lord Shiva who couldn’t show up on his wedding day. The rice and other grains meant for the wedding feast thus remained uncooked and turned into stones over time. It is believed that the rice like stones found on the shore today are the same.
It is also widely believed that Lord Hanuman dropped a piece of earth here when he was carrying a mountain of life saving herbs from the Himalayas to Lanka during the Ram-Ravana war. This piece of earth is now known as Marunthauvazh Malai which means “hills where medicine loves” and is also supposed to have been home to Sage Agasthya, a specialist in medicinal herbs.
Tourism in Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari has been a seat of art, culture and religion for ages. Ruled by various dynasties, the place has been a flourishing centre of trade and commerce. Swami Vivekananda, the great India spiritual leader spent many days at the place.
Let’s discover some prominent tourist destinations in and around Kanyakumari
The Kumari Amman Temple
The Kumari Amman or the Kanyakumari Temple, sitting on the shore, is a Shakti Peetha. The temple is dedicated to a manifestation of Goddess Parvati, the virgin goddess who did penance to obtain Lord Shiva’s hand in marriage. The temple attracts lakhs of devotees every year. The sparkling diamond nose-ring of the deity is said to be visible even from the sea.
The Padmanabhapuram Palace
The Padmanabhapuram Palace is the 17th century palace of the Travancore kings which is made entirely of wood. The Padmanabhapuram Palace draws hundreds of visitors every day continuously. Spread in an area of 4 km and situated at the foothills of the Veli Hills, the palace offers some stunning views.
Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Built on a rock where Swami Vivekananda sat in long meditation, the Vivekananda Rock Memorial stands gloriously amidst the sea and can be accessed through a ferry service. Built in 1970, the memorial stands on top of two rocks that are situated approximately 500 meters off the island. It is said that Swami Vivekananda attained enlightenment on the rock, and henceforth became a reformer and philosopher.
The Thiruvallauvar Statue is sheer magnificence. The statue is a 133 feet (40.5 m) tall replica of the Tamil poet and saint Thiruvallauvar and weighs about 7000 tons. It was constructed atop a small island near the shore of Kanyakumari where two seas and an ocean meet: the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean. Thiruvalluvar Statue was sculpted by Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati and was designed to be a beacon of art for the whole humanity.
Literally meaning the “Circular Fort”, the Vattakottai Fort is a seaside fort of the 18th century. It is a coastal defense-fortification in the erstwhile Travancore kingdom. Vattakottai Fort is about 7 km from Kanyakumari and has a beautiful view of the serene sea. The small river by the side of the fort, and the green vegetation all around add to the charm of the fort. Vattakottai Fort is also famous for the black sand beaches that are situated across its coast.
By Air: Nearest Airport is Trivandrum International Airport which is 87 km away from Kanyakumari.
By Rail: The Kanyakumari Junction is barely a kilometer away from the central bus stand. The major railway station near Kanyakumari is Trivandrum Central, which is connected to all parts of India by rail.
By Road: Kerala and Tamil Nadu Road Transport Corporation buses link Kanyakumari with many cities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Deluxe and super deluxe bus services are available from Kanyakumari to Bangalore, Chennai and Trivandrum.