Kanyakumari is a town and a well known Hindu pilgrimage site in Tamil Nadu. It is also popularly known as Cape Camorin and located at the edge of Indian Peninsula. This place is at a distance of around 86 km from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. Kanyakumari is named after the Kanyakumari Temple dedicated to Kumari Amman. This temple is among the popular Kanyakumari tourist attractions. Being the point of intersection for the Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, Kanyakumari is an important place on the tourist map of India. Over the years, this town has also emerged as a prominent center for art, culture and religion. Swami Vivekananda, the spiritual leader, had spent several days at this place. The temples here are famous for their architectural beauty. They were the works of the Chera, Pandya and the Chola rulers. Presently, this town receives around 2 million visitors every year.
Top attractions in Kanyakumari
Tourism in Kanyakumari flourished during the 1970s. The main temple of Kanyakumari is also an important tourist site. Check out the main places of visit in Kanyakumari:
Kanyakumari Temple - A Shakti Peetha (place of worship where the pieces of Goddess Durga’s body fell during the Tandav), this temple is dedicated to Parvati, a virgin incarnation of Goddess Durga who wanted to marry Lord Shiva. Devi Kanya Kumari or Kumari Amman is the principal temple deity. According to legends, Shiva did not turn up on the wedding day as promised and the feast remained incomplete with grains turning to stones. The temple has the black stone image of the virgin deity with a diamond nose ring glittering in the dark chambers.
Our Lady of Ransom Church – An important attraction in the Kanyakumari town, this church is first of its kind here. In the 15th century it had a thatched roof, now it reflects Gothic style of architecture with the sea forming an excellent backdrop. On the central tower of this church is the gold cross.
Vivekananda Rock Memorial – A ferry service from the shore will take you the place where Swami Vivekananda sat on a long meditation. Built on the rock in 1970, amidst the sea, is the memorial that comprises a meditation hall. The Shripada Mandapam has a museum and a study hall as well. Few feet away from this rock, is the statue of Tamil poet Thiruvallur.
Mahatma Gandhi Memorial – This memorial in Kanyakumari is of immense cultural significance. Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi visited this town in 1925. This memorial was constructed in 1952 on the eve of Gandhiji’s birthday on October 2. Also known as the Gandhi Mandapam, there is a library here with a collection of history and philosophy texts. The central dome is 76 feet in height.
Government Museum of Kanyakumari – Located on the Gandhi Memorial Road, this museum was set up in 1991. It houses several paintings, sculptures and portals dating to the ancient period. Few notable items in this museum are the sculptures of Lord Vishnu and the statue of Nataraja. There is also a huge collection of gold and silver coins here. The Tranvancore gallery here is a storehouse of information and documents regarding the Travancore government.
Padmanabhapuram Palace – This palace is situated close to Thuckalay, a town in Kanyakumari. Built of granite, this palace is spread across 4 km. Situated at the foothills of the Veli Hills, it offers stunning views. Maintained by the Archeological Department of Kerala, it was the erstwhile residence of the Travancore ruler before the capital was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram. The exteriors reflect the Kerala style of architecture. The most interesting part of its interiors is the King’s Council hall that is dark, colored with mica and beautifully decorated.
Vattakottai Fort – It is among the prominent monuments here and a standing example of exemplary art. Constructed on the seaboard by Captain Lannoy, this fort acted as a shelter against the Dutch. Covering 6 acres, the Vattakottai Fort is made of stone. It also has high walls. It is being promoted as a picnic place with the surrounding region offering panoramic views.