State : Tamilnadu
Surrounded by Majestic Hills and the plains bordered by colourful
sea-shores, fringed with coconut trees and paddy fields, here and
there are few elevated patches of red cliffs with undulating valleys
and plains between the mountainous terrain and the sea - coast,
so closely interwoven with Temples and Churches and other edifices
lies the district, 'Kanniyakumari'. ( The district name is spelled
as ' Kanniyakumari ' in official records which is in tune with the
spoken name of the district in Tamil language) . With an area of
1672 sq.km. it occupies 1.29% of the total extent of Tamil Nadu.
Described as the southernmost end of Tamil Nadu, the land end of
India or the point where theland's three seas meet, enchanting Kanniyakumari
or Cape Comorin is one of the most popular tourist spots in the
state and indeed, in the country. Part of the fascination is of
course due to the fact that it is the very tip of the Indian peninsula
and the confluence of the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the
Kanniyakumari was once referred to as the Alexandria of the east.
This place has been a great center for art, culture, civilization,
and pilgrimage for years. It was also a famous center for commerce
and trade. During the early part of the eighth century AD Islam
entered the southern part of India through the sea route with traders
and missionaries. Through St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles
of Christ, Christianity arrived in this area in AD 52. Islam, Christianity
and Jainism have greatly contributed to the architectural wealth
and literary heritage of this place. Kanniyakumari was also under
the control of the Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Nayaks
who were great rulers of south India. The architectural beauty of
the temples is the work of these rulers.
During the British Raj, Kanniyakumari was bestowed the dry title
of Cape Comorin, necessitated perhaps by the Englishmen's inability
to pronounce local names. Legend has it that Kanya Devi, an avatar
of Goddess Parvati, was to wed Lord Shiva, the destroyer in the
Hindu trinity. But he did not turn up at the auspicious time and
the wedding never took place. The rice and cereals meant for the
marriage remained uncooked. Even today, one can buy stones there
that look exactly like rice and cereals. Local folks believe that
they are the leftovers of the legendary marriage that could not
be solemnized. As for the princess Kanya Devi, she became a virgin
goddess blessing pilgrims and tourists alike.
Place to See
Mahatma Gandhi Memorial
The place has been associated with great men like Swami Vivekananda
and Mahatma Gandhi in whose names memorials have been here. They
are very beautiful and add to the attraction of this place. The
beautiful Gandhi Memorial completed in 1956, is situated as a memorial
to the Father of the Nation.
Kumari Amman Temple
The Temple is situated on the shores very near to the ghats. Its
beautiful location as well as the sacred name associated with the
temple brings large number of tourists to the temple premises. The
temple is dedicated to Devi Kanya, one of the many forms of Parvati
, wife of Lord Shiva. Devi Kanya with her penance and devotion for
the Lord was able to win his heart and marriage was arranged between
the two. Unfortunately, on the particular date Lord Shiva due to
some unavoidable circumstances could not turn up at the venue and
the marriage could not be held. It was hereafter that the Devi came
to be known as Kanniyakumari. Non Hindus are not allowed in to the
inner sanctum where the Deity of the goddess is placed.
Temple Of Goddess Bhagavathi
Located in the picturesque confluence of the Indian Ocean, the
Bay of Bengal and the Arabian sea, the Bhagavathi Temple was built
by the Pandyas. It was expanded in the hands of the nayakas in
the later years. The temple consists of three prakaras and the
particular place where the image of the goddess is kept in the
sanctorum is serene and complete silence maintained. The goddess
is seen caring a necklace in her right hand. The eastern gate
of the temple was open only five times a year.
Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial
The Rock Memorial stands testimony to the incident of Swami Vivekananda
who in 1892 came to the place on a pilgrimage tour. Charmed by
the beauty, he swam to the rock on the tip of the land and spent
the whole night in meditation. Having liked the place to his heart
and acquiring eternal knowledge, he decided to spread the knowledge
of vedanta. To commemorate his visit to the place, the rock Memorial
has erected on the particular spot of meditation.
The Temple at Suchindram
One of the finest temples,the temple at Suchindram lies 13 kms
from Kanniyakumari, A beautiful tank is on the outer side of the
temple. It is among the fewest temples in India where the trinity
of the Hindu religion, Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva are worshipped
together. The Linga by the name of Sthanumalaya is seen in three
parts. The Top represents Lord Shiva, the center Lord Vishnu and
the base is to lord Brahma.
On the foot of the Velimalai hills in Kalkulam Taluk, 34 kms far
lies the nature abundant place of Kumarakovil. The Lord Muruga
Temple is constructed above the hillock about 200 feet high amidst
a lush green field of paddy, coconut and palm plantations. Admired
for its beauty the temple also contains the image of Goddess Valli,
wife of Lord Subramanya by his side. There is a lake to the right
side of the temple suitable for boating and swimming.
How to Reach
Air : The nearest Airport is Thiruvananthapuram
Train : Kanniyakumari is connected with Tirunelveli,
Chennai, Thiruvanathapuram and Coimbatore by broad gauge. Tirunelveli
(83 kms.) is connected to Chennai, Madurai, etc.
Road : Kanniyakumari is well connected by a well
developed network of road transport..