Top 10 Tourist Attractions In Kanyakumari That You Should Not Miss!
Kanyakumari was known as Cape Comorin during the colonial rule in India and used to be an important point as many ships went around this Cape. It was basically a small coastal town, and happens to be the southernmost tip of India. The town lies near the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the waters of all the three seas- Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea- also happen to converge here. The place has deep spiritual significance and is considered to be the abode of Goddess Parvati, or Kanyakumari, who is believed to have done penance so that she could marry Lord Shiva. The town is a popular pilgrimage destination who come here to take a dip at the confluence of the three seas and offer their prayers to the Goddess. Here are some other things to do in Kanyakumari and places to visit when you are here:
Top 10 Things to Do in Kanyakumari:
- Visit the Vivekananda Rock Memorial
- Visit the Statue of Thiruvalluvar
- Take a Dip at the Triveni Sangam
- Spend Some Time Watching the Sunrise and the Sunset
- Pay your Respects at the Feet of Goddess Kanyakumari
- Visit the Gandhi Memorial
- Go Shopping
- Visit the Padmanabhapuram Palace
- Take a Stroll of the Thovalai Flower Market
- Go to Muppandal Wind Farm
1. Visit the Vivekananda Rock Memorial
The Vivekananda Rock Memorial has been set up as a commemoration to the Swami’s visit in Kanyakumari in 1892, after he had traversed much of the entire subcontinent on foot. It is said that it was here that his transformation was complete, after he spent three days in solemn meditation in a large offshore rock, the same that is believed to have been the one where the Goddess Kanya performed her penance. It was here that he gained enlightenment and became a true sage. It is that the rock was blessed by the touch of her foot. The memorial was constructed in 1970 in honor of the great saint and it has a life size bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda and there is a hall that has extensive information about his life and teachings. There is also a meditation area here and many pilgrims come here to practice meditation is peace and quiet. One can also see the carving of the foot of Goddess Kanya, where it is believed she performed her penance standing on one foot. The only way to reach the rock is to take a ferry ride from the Kanyakumari Beach, which takes about 15 minutes. The ferry operates between 8 am and 4:30 pm or 7 am and 5:30, in winters and summers respectively. During peak times, one might have to wait for about two hours as well to get a ride on the beach but that can be avoided by buying a premium ticket for INR 169. You are sure to feel sense of energy and tranquility at the same time when you enter the memorial.
2. Visit the Statue of Thiruvalluvar
The immense statue of the Tamil poet and phisopher Thiruvalluvar stands on another rock surface, just off the coast of Kanyakumari. The foundation of the statue was laid in 1979 and it took the next twenty years to complete the statue, finally in 1999. While the statue is clearly visible from afar, it is quite a sight to see the statue up close and personal and the ferries traveling to Vivekananda Rock also stop at statue, if the tides permit. It is also possible to go up the steps and go inside the base of the statue and then up to its feet for a wonderful view of the surroundings. However, all of this can only be done if the statue is not closed for regular maintenance.
3. Take a Dip at the Triveni Sangam
The exact point of convergence where the three oceans meet is considered very sacred. It is believed that taking a bath in the holy waters here will wash away all sins and will release one from the cycle of birth and death, thus providing ultimate liberation from worldly life. Even if you do not believe in the ritual yourself, it is quite an experience to come here and witness other doing the same and you tend to feel a certain spiritual connection to this place. In case the tides are in sync and the weather is fine, you will also be able to see the three shades of blue in the water all at once, and yet with a clear demarcation between them, identifying the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. It is remarkable how the waters meet but do not merge and retain their own colors.
4. Spend Some Time Watching the Sunrise and the Sunset
While sunrise and sunsets at the sea are always special, there is something special about the sunrise and sunsets at the beach of Kanyakumari. One of the best sights is the sun rising by the statue of Thiruvallavur and it is indeed a majestic sight. The sunsets are also special, but the best ones are when the full moon rises, and the sun can be seen setting on one side and the moon rising on the other at the same time. The next morning, one can see the sun rising and the moon setting simultaneously again. If you want to view the sunsets from the beach, then you have to visit between the October to March, which is the best time. The beach gets really crowded around this time, especially around Chaitra Purnima, the very auspicious full moon in April. If you are visiting at any other time, the best way to view the sunrise and the sunset is from a hill atop Murugan Kundram. You will see many other pleasant sights along the way and it will be a very rewarding experience.
5. Pay your Respects at the Feet of Goddess Kanyakumari
The Kumari Amman Temple of the town, from where the region gets its name, is said to be 3000 years old and it is also known as the Arulmigu Bhagavathy Amman Temple. She is worshipped as the great protector who rid the planet of the ferocious demon Banasura. The temple is located just by the Triveni Sangam and pilgrims take a bath here and then enter the temple. There is a beautiful idol of the goddess inside the temple made entirely of black stone and she has a bejeweled ring on her nose which draws a lot of attention. The temple is very secular and anyone, belonging to any religion, can enter the temple. The festival of Navaratri is celebrated with great pomp within the temple and devotees come here from far and wide. The temple remains open from 4:30 am to 12 noon and again from 4 pm to 8 pm. Photography is strictly prohibited inside the temple and all bags must be kept outside. Men must also remove their shirts before they enter the inner sanctum of the temple, where the goddess resides.
6. Visit the Gandhi Memorial
The Mahatma visited the city of Kanyakumari quite a few times and it is from here that his ashes were scattered in the sea on 12th of February, 1948. His ashes were kept for public viewing and later, a memorial was constructed on the very spot. It is actually located quite close to the Kumari Amman temple. The designing of this memorial is quite unique and it is reminiscent of the temple architecture of Orissa. The memorial is constructed in such a manner that on the 2nd of October, the sun rays enters through an oculus on the roof and lights up the exact spot where the ashes of Gandhi were kept in the urn. There are a number of other artifacts, documents and photographs pertaining to the life of the Mahatma that are kept here.
7. Go Shopping
No visit to a new place is ever properly completed unless you have indulged in some shopping and you will find ample opportunities to shop here. You will find painted shells, handcrafted souvenirs made from shells and items made from jute and coir. They are sold almost everywhere in the town and you can catch sight of vendors who walk along the shore with huge shells. Some of them are really pretty and have very unique markings and make for great artifacts at home. The main market area here is Sannathi Street, that leads to the Kumari Amman Temple and here you can find many shops which have a stunning collection of woven handloom sarees. Do not forget to munch on local delicacies and seafood in between your shopping trips. It is one of the most exciting activities to do in Kanyakumari.
8. Visit the Padmanabhapuram Palace
The Padmanabhapuram Palace lies just about an hour northwest of Kanyakumari and would make for a wonderful daytrip. You will spend a day amidst heritage and royalty and this palace has a remarkable history of its own, and with countless stories surrounding it. It was once the palace of the kings who were rulers of the princely state of Travancore before their capital was shifted to Traivandrum, now in Kerala. The palace was built in the 1600s and it is nothing like the heavily ornamented palace you are used to seeing. Rather, it is a stunning piece of architecture made entirely of wood and it is the largest of its kind in Asia. The woodwork on the walls and the ceiling is so stunning and the palace is regularly maintained to keep the woodwork safe from moisture and termites. The complex around the palace sprawls over six acres, and is a fortified land. There is also a museum inside the palace which narrates the history of the kings who once ruled here. To reach the Padmanabhapuram Palace from Kanyakumari, you can take the NH66. Another point of interest along the way would be the Thanumalayan Temple where Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and worshipped as a trinity, which is very rare.
9. Take a Stroll of the Thovalai Flower Market
The South Indian women are known for their love of fresh flowers and one of the largest wholesale markets for fresh flowers happen to be in a small village about 30 minutes away from the main city of Kanyakumari. The market is full of fresh flowers of every kind, but especially jasmine. There are roses and marigolds and piles of them can be seen, ready to be taken by flower merchants, women of every age and priests of temples. The market opens at dawn and concluded by 10 am before the heat rises which can ruin the freshness of flowers.
10. Go to Muppandal Wind Farm
The Muppandal Wind Farm can be accessed by NH 944 and it happens to be one of the largest on shore wind farms in the entire world. It is India’s biggest source of wind energy and this will prove to be a very educative trip. You will see how the turbines produce wind energy and how renewable sources of energy are helping with solving electricity problems. The turbines stretch for miles and create a stunning backdrop and there are palm and coconut trees to keep the turbines company!
Your visit to Kanyakumari will leave you in awe of this place and you will gain new insight about the southernmost tip of the country.
Hi! I am Paridhi. When not downing endless cups of coffee and binge-ing on Masala Fries, I can be found deeply engrossed in contemporary novels. Delhiite by birth and nomad by passion. I travel and I know things. I write travel blogs by day and binge watch thriller and rom-com by night.