The southernmost tip of the Indian peninsula, Kanyakumari is one of the best tourist places in the entire Tamil Nadu state. When people say they would like to start travelling from Kashmir (the northern-most tip of the country) and drive down to Kanyakumari, it is a milestone achieved!
The southernmost tip of the Indian peninsula, Kanyakumari aka “Evergreen town of India” was known as Cape Comorin during British rule and is popular for watching sunrise and sunset over the ocean. The ancient town of temples has equally mesmerizing beaches. The district witnesses the beautiful confluence of the three large surrounding oceans i.e., the Indian Ocean, the Arabian sea and the Bay of Bengal.
Here we talk about Kanyakumari being one of the most popular destinations of India in terms of tourism perspective with many places of interest for which, one would surely like to witness once in a lifetime. So, let’s get started right away….
The Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Undeniably one of the most popular places to see in Kanyakumari, this rock is considered to be holy as well as an architectural wonder. The rock memorial was built in the year 1970 to commemorate Swami Vivekananda, who is said to have attained enlightenment on the rock, and is a well-known tourist place in Kanyakumari.
Vivekananda Rock Memorial is one of the two rocks located slightly away from the mainland. The construction of this monument took almost over six years and on 2nd September 1970, it was finally inaugurated by the then President of India V.V. Giri. The Vivekananda rock is famous for its unique mandapams, the ‘Shripada Mandapam‘, the ‘Dhyana Mandapam‘ and the ‘Vivekananda Mandapam‘.
The footprint of goddess Kanyakumari (Parvati) is commemorated in a separate temple here. You will just need to take a ferry ride through 500 metres of ocean to reach the memorial.
Situated 400 m away from the seashore of Kanyakumari, the statue just stands adjacent to the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. The 41 metres tall imposing statue stands in the memory of the Tamil literary poet and philosopher, Thiruvalluvar.
The creator of this marvellous statue was Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati and is erected on a 38 foot pedestal which represents the 38 chapters of his literary work – Thirukural. It signifies that wealth and love should be earned and enjoyed on the foundation of solid virtue. The place holds great historical and architectural significance and is considered as one of the wonderful tourist spots in Kanyakumari.
Bhagavathy Amman Temple (Kanyakumari Temple)
Kanyakumari also has beautiful temples with Shri Kanyakumari Bhagavathy Amman temple being the most famous one. The place itself gets its name from Devi Kanyakumari or the Virgin Goddess, who was considered the reincarnation of goddess Parvati and this particular 3000 years old temple is known to be one of the 108 shaktipiths in India and was built on her remembrance.
Here we can note the excellence of the Dravidian architecture and an exquisite idol of Goddess Kanya Kumari with a prominent diamond nose pin and alluring features, and is thronged with worshippers all the time.
The Kanyakumari Beach
It is one of the important beaches of south India, witnessing the confluence of three large water bodies, i.e. Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. You can also easily spot the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and the Thiruvalluvar statues from here.
It is most certainly a gorgeous place with a picturesque scenery to crave for! The golden sand drenched in multiple hues of the setting offers a spectacular view of sunrise and sunset, and is one of the finest and cleanest beach of South India.
Mahatma Gandhi Memorial
Kanyakumari is also known for this Gandhi Memorial which is dedicated to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi built quite close to the shore, in the year 1956. The site has become a popular tourist hotspot these days.
It is believed that after Gandhi’s demise, his ashes were kept in 12 different urns all over the country so that the countrymen can pay homage to the great leader. Out of these 12 urns, one urn was kept at this memorial before immersing it into the sea. The memorial showcases some of the rarest of rare pictures of the Mahatma with many prominent personalities from the West. As a reminder of Gandhi’s protest for Swaraj, the memorial also has a charkha inscribed on one of the domes.
Suchindram Shree Thanumalayan Temple
Located at Nagercoil, the Suchindram Shree Thanumalayan Temple is a unique one that is famous for being the shrine to the holy trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Two tall structures, the statue of Lord Hanuman measuring 22 feet and the statue of Nandi measuring 13 feet in height and 21 feet in length welcome the visitors at the entrance.
The intricately designed gopurams, the 22-feet-tall statue of Lord Anjaneya and the musical pillars built out of a single granite are some of the noteworthy aspects of the temple. The ancient Suchindram Temple is said to be built in 17th Century. The inscriptions of the temple even dates back to 9th Century.
This notable palace is located 10kms from the city centre and is a charming beauty of the 16th century. Iravi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal who ruled Venad between 1592 and 1609, constructed the palace around 1601 CE. The Palace was the oldest seat of power of Travancore, the erstwhile princely kingdom of Kerala.
The palace complex, spread around an area of 6.5 acres, consists of a number of function specific independent structure. It is an ideal example of Taccusastra, another word for the science of ancient carpentry. The palace is made all of wood. It contains only wooden furnitures and dark pillars. It has everything ranging from Brazilian mirrors, beautifully carved columns to furniture designed with Chinese carvings too.
Mathur Aqueduct or Mathoor Hanging Bridge, is an aqueduct in southern India, in the Kalkulam taluk, out of 60 km from Kanyakumari. Measuring a kilometre in length and 115 feet in height above the Pahrali River, it is believed to be the longest and highest aqueduct of South Asia.
It was built back in the year 1966 under the brain work of the late chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Thiru K. Kamaraj. Supported by 28 pillars, it facilitates the agricultural development of the area as the aqueduct carries water from one end of the bridge to the other.
The bridge gives a unique experience of being in the centre of such an awe-inspiring surrounding and provides a picturesque view of the hills and the water flowing underneath it.
The Thirparappu Waterfalls is located around 55kms from Kanyakumari, and is worth a visit. The waterfall is manmade, but the cascading waters continue to attract tourists to the spot. One can experience bathing under this mesmerizing fall falling from the height of 50 feet and can also opt for boating in the river.
You can consider yourself lucky enough if you see elephants bathing and enjoying in the river there. There is also a Shiva Temple nearby. Don’t forget to pay a visit to it.