Kanyakumari is one of the most exotic tourist destinations to go to in India. Once called Cape Comorin, it is also the southernmost part of the Indian mainland.
About 86 km south east of Thiruvananthapuram, Kanyakumari is the point of confluence of the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. Kanyakumari is home to another unique geographical phenomenon that allows you to witness the sunrise and sunset on the same beach.
The city gets its name from the Hindu goddess Kanyakumari who was also known as Kumari Amman. The temple dedicated to Goddess Kanyakumari is located at southernmost tip of the city.
Various myths and legends have been associated with the city. Kanya Devi, a reincarnation of Goddess Parvati was to marry Lord Shiva but he failed to show up for the wedding. The uncooked rice and other food items lay there and eventually turned into stones. Some people believe that that the stones on shore that resemble rice were actual grains of rice meant for the wedding feast. Kanya Devi is worshipped as a virgin goddess.
Kanyakumari has temples and churches, statues and beaches to entice the tourist. The location of the city played major part in the evolution of its culture. People from many countries visited the port town and its evidence is seen in its food, architecture and art forms.
Kanyakumari is also associated with Indian Renaissance as Swami Vivekananda spent time meditating here.
In and Around
Kanyakumari Temple is also referred to as Bhagvaty Amman Temple and is one of the 108 Shakti Peetha in Hindu mythology. The temple is one of the major Hindu temples across India and is mentioned in almost all the ancient Hindu scriptures. The temple is frequented by thousands of pilgrims each year and the temple’s architecture is also unique.
Vivekananda Rock Memorial
One of the iconic monuments in Kanyakumari, the Vivekananda Rock Memorial is located 100 meters from the shore and is one of the major tourist attractions in Kanyakumari. The small rock island can be reached by a ferry and consists of two main structures. The Vivekananda Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam are the two main complexes of the memorial and is frequented by thousands of tourists.
The old granite fortress was the residence of the Travancore Rulers and was constructed around 1601 AD. The fort complex contains several important buildings like the King’s council Chamber, Thai Kottaram or the Mother’s palace and the Natakasala or the house of performances etc. The fort also has a small museum that contains various artifacts from the older times and various weapons like swords and daggers, paintings, Chinese jars and a plethora of wooden furniture.
Our Lady of Ransom Church
A pristine and exquisite example of Gothic architecture, Our Lady of Ransom Church is dedicated to Mother Mary. It was built in the 15th century and forms a scenic picture against the backdrop of the blue ocean. There is a gold cross on the central tower of the church.
The 2004 Tsunami hit several coastal towns of India and caused unprecedented damage to life and property. The Tsunami Monument is a way of honoring and commemorating the memories of those who lost their lives in the devastating calamity.
Kamarajar Manimandapam is a monument dedicated to Sri Kamarajar, in the district of Kanyakumari. Popularly known as the ‘Black Gandhi’, he was the erstwhile Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, who served the state for a long period.
Mathoor Hanging Bridge
The Mathoor Hanging Trough is the tallest as well as the longest trough bridge in Asia, having a height of 115 feet and a length of one kilometre. Constructed in 1966, this bridge has become a place of tourist importance and hundreds of tourists visit this place. This is situated in Mathoor, hamlet of Aruvikkarai revenue village in Thiruvattar Panchayat Union.
St. Xavier’s Cathedral
St. Xavier’s Cathedral, built during the 16th century, is a revered place in Kottar. This Roman Catholic Church is dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, a professor from Paris, who was endearingly known as Valiya Pandaram. It is believed that during his stay in Kottar, he stopped the Padagas invasion on the Venad kingdom with just his Holy Cross. Quite pleased with this act, the king Unni Kerala Varma allotted him a huge area to build a church.
Mahatma Gandhi Memorial
Mahatma Gandhi Memorial in Kanyakumari is a popular tourist hotspot constructed in the year 1956. It was built in the memory of preeminent Indian leader, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who is popularly known as the Father of the Nation. After his assassination in 1948, his ashes were immersed in Triveni Sangam (confluence of the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal) in Kanyakumari. However, before the process of immersion, the urn containing his ashes was kept here for the public to pay their homage.
The massive 133 feet tall statue is of the Saint Poet Thiruvalluvar, who was considered to be one of the greatest Tamil poets in India. Thiruvalluvar Statue is one of the biggest in Asia and was unveiled on the 1st of January 2000. The pedestal of the statue is artistically designed and is decorated with 10 elephants that signify the various directions.
Kanyakumari Beach is one of the most pristine beaches in the waterfront town of Kanyakumari. It is located at the confluence of the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. Beauty oozes here in the form of soft golden sand that is overlapped by shimmering waters of the endless sea.
Thengapattinam Beach is a popular tourist attraction near Paimkulam village in Vilancode taluk. Located around 35 kilometres away from Nagercoil, this beautiful beach is dotted with coconut and palm trees.
Situated about 14 km away from Nagercoil, the Udayagiri Fort is one of Kanyakumari’s popular historical edifices. Originally a mud-fort, it was used as a military barrack by Travancore rulers during the 17th century. In the initial days, the fort served as a prison for people who protested against Tipu Sultan – the ruler of Mysore. Later, it was rebuilt using massive blocks of granite by Maharaja Marthanda Varma of Travancore in the 18th century. The renovation of the fort was done under the supervision of Eustachius De Lannoy, chief of the Dutch East India Company. It was once known as Dillanai Kottai, meaning De Lannoy’s Fort, in the chief’s honour. Visitors can also see tombs of De Lannoy, his son and wife in the fort’s ruined chapel.
Nestled in the Western Ghats is a beautiful waterfall named the Olakaruvi Falls, also known as the Ullakarvi Falls. This waterfall comprises two smaller falls – the lower is a popular picnic spot and the higher is about 200 metres uphill.
It is around 35 kilometres away from Nagercoil. This waterfall originates from the Kodayar River or Kothai River and descends at Thirparappu from a height of around 50 feet.
The Maruthuva Malai also known as the Marunthu Vazhum Malai the abode of medicinal herbs, forms from part of the western ghats. According to tradition, the Maruthuva Malai is a fragment of the Sanjeevi Mountain, a piece of which fell down here, and it was carried by Hanuman from Mahendragiri to Srilanka for healing the fatal wounds of Lakshmana, the brother of Rama, the epic hero. It stretches for more than a km, reaching a height of 800 feet at the highest point. It is about 11km. from Nagercoil.
Chitharal is a small village situated at a distance of 7 Kms., from Marthandam and 45 Kms, from Kanyakumari. It is famous for the Rock-cut temple.
The famous beach at Muttom is located about 16 kms from Nagercoil and 32 kms from Kanyakumari. Muttom is famous for its beautiful landscaping and high rocks dipping into the sea at the beach-side. The sun set view point at Muttom is one of the most Panoramic view points in the district. Another attraction of Muttom is the century old light-house built by the British.
Sanguthurai is a beautiful beach resort and is very convenient for the local population of Nagercoil. It is only about 10 kms from the city.
This beach is about 10 Kms from Kanyakumari, is one of the best natural beaches of the district. The beach has shallow water and High sand dunes on the back ground.
This is a natural dam constructed by T. Chitirai Maharaja. If supplies water to Nagercoil Municipality and it is also proposed to get water from here for Suchindrum and Kanniyakumari. It is very picturesque spot and ideal for picnics by groups.
Baywatch Kanyakumari is a highly modernized water theme amusement park in Kanyakumari,Tamil Nadu which houses a number of joyrides. It is special in the sense that the standard of the park is at par with any internationally recognized amusement park.
Suchindrum is a small village about 12 km. from Kanyakumari and about seven kilometres 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 Brahma i.e. Siva, Vishnu and Brahma in “One Form”.
Shopping in Kanyakumari
You can buy trinkets made of sea shells and other souvenirs. It is not a shopping destination; however, you can buy saris and other textiles. Handloom garments are also worth a buy. Shopping in Kanyakumari can be a great experience as there are a great range of handicraft products, sea shell items, decorative pieces and dress materials to choose from.
Trekking at Marunthuvazh Malai
Trekking at Marunthuvazh Malai is a lovely way to explore nature. You will find a lot of herbs atop this place, and it’s believed to be a fragment of the hill that Lord Hanuman carried to Lanka. A beautiful trekking trail, this place is associated with the myth of ‘sanjivani’ medicine.
The ideal time to visit Kanyakumari is between the months of October to March.
How to Reach
Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is the nearest at a distance of about 90 km. The airport is well connected to all major airports in India and some international destinations like Singapore, Colombo and many Gulf nations. Taxis and private vehicles are available for hire from the airport to reach Kanyakumari from the airport.
Kanyakumari Junction is about 4 km away from the central bus stand. It is the biggest station in the Kanyakumari district and is connected to many Indian cities like Nagercoil, Chennai, Rameshwaram, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Jammu Tawi. Taxis and buses are available from the railway station to reach Kanyakumari.
There are regular bus services from cities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Kanyakumari is connected to other cities like Thiruvananthapuram, Bengaluru, Madurai, Nagercoil and Chennai. Taxis and auto-rickshaws are also available to reach Kanyakumari form the bus stand.
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
6/112B, Beach Road,
Near Sunset Point, Kanyakumari,
Tamil Nadu 629702
The Gopinivas Grand
East Car Street, Near Seashore,
Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu 629702
Sea Sun Residency
6/110, Kovolam Road, Near Four way,
Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu 629702
Where to Eat
Main Road, Kanyakumari
Sannathi Street, Kanyakumari
East Car Street, Kanyakumari