Kanyakumari is located at the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent. The small temple dedicated to Kanyakumari, or the youthful form of the primeval energy Shakti (Mother Goddess) is located on the seashore, in the town known by the same name. Kanyakumari was referred to by the British as Cape Commorin.
Kanyakumari represents the site where the spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda spent days in meditation upon a rock off of the coast. A memorial built in his honor is accessible via ferry. There is also a recently built memorial to Tiruvalluvar, the author of the philosophical work Tirukkural - a treatise on the Indian way of life.
The Kanyakumari temple is an ancient one and has been mentioned in the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Sangam works Manimekalai and Puranaanooru. It is believed that the image of Kanyakumari was installed and worshipped by Parasurama, who is credited with reclaiming Kerala from the ocean, and building several shrines.
Places of interest
Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Built in 1970, this memorial is dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, the greatest social reformer and saint that India has produced. Swami Vivekananda had meditated on the rock where the memorial stands today at the end of 1892 before his departure for Chicago to participate in the World Religious Conference in 1893. A meditation hall is also attached with the memorial. Timings : 8 am to 4 pm
On Gandhiji's birthday ( October-2nd ) the Sun rays fall on the spot where his ashes were placed before immersion.
This 1000 year old temple is said to have been built by Raja Raja Chola. It is near the railway station.
The Nagaraja temple is situated here. Though Nagaraja ( Serpent God ) is the presiding deity, the images of Lord Siva and Ananthakrishna are also enshrined here. The images of the Jain Theerthangaras and Mahavira are found on the pillars of the temple. The Nagaraja is installed on the ground where it was originally found and the sand scooped out is given as prasadam to the devotees. The entrance to the temple is reminiscent of the Chinese architecture of a Buddhist Vihar.
Suchindram (13 kms.)
The Thanumalayan Temple here is a repository of art treasures. Musical pillars and a huge 18 foot high Hanuman Statue are the proof of artistic skill of the time. Inscriptions said to be of the 9th century AD are found in this temple. This unique temple is dedicated to the Trimurthys : Vishnu, Siva and Brahma.
Udhayagiri Fort ( 34 kms.)
Built during the regime of King Marthanda Varma ( 1729-1758 ) this fort also had foundry for casting guns. De Lennoy's Tomb is in this fort. He was one of the 24 European prisoners taken by King Marthanda Varma in 1741 when when he defeated the Dutch at Colachel. He joined King Marthanda Varma and became a trusted General. He trained soldiers in the European method of fighting.
Padmanabhapuram (45 Kms )
The capital of Travancore until 1333, Padmanabhapuram is known for its fort which encloses, among other buildings, a palace and a temple. The palace has some important art relics while the Ramaswamy temple has exquisitely carved panels depicting scenes from the Ramayana.
Kalakkadu and Mundanthurai
Both these two Wild Life Sanctuaries are situated in an extensive preserve; later declared as a " Project Tiger Reserve ". Kalakkadu is situated in an area of 223 sq. km. in Tirunelveli District. The flora ranges from tropical wet evergreen to tropical dry decidious and thorn forest at down hills. Lion tailed macaque, Nigiri langur, Bonnet macaque and common langur, Nilgiri Tahr, sambar, Sloth bear, gour, elephant, tiger, flying squirrel and panther wild dog are some of the wildlife seen in this sanctuary. there is nothing to differentiate Mundanthurai sanctuary from that of Kalakkadu except the presence of the elephant and gaur.
How to get there ?
The nearest Airport is Thiruvananthapuram (87kms.)
Kanniyakumari is connected with Tirunelveli, Chennai, Thiruvanathapuram and Coimbatore by broad gauge. Tirunelveli (83 kms.) is connected to Chennai, Madurai, etc.
Kanniyakumari is well connected by road.