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Saturday, July 11, 2009

India Travel - Kanyakumari - Southern tip of India

- Total area of Kanyakumari: 1,685 square kilometers.
- Annual rainfall: 1,188.6 meters of rainfall.
- Maximum temperature goes to 35ºC and falls to a minimum of 21ºC.
- The nearest airport is about 87 kilometers away from Kanyakumari, located in Trivandrum (Kerala State).
- There are two railway junctions, Kanyakumari Junction and; Nagarcoil Junction.
- Bus terminus - 3; (i) Central and Express Bus Stand (ii) Anna Bus Stand and (iii) Christopher Bus Stand.

India, the sub-continental country is known for its richness in culture and tradition. For visualizing the geographic neighbors of India, the Northern side is bordered by the wide range of the huge snow clad Himalayas, the west by the Arabian Sea, and the East is covered by the Bay of Bengal. It is the southern side that is very unique as both these seas mingle with the Indian Ocean. The Land that is located in the tip of the country, where the three seas get united is none other than Cape Comerin or Kanyakumari.

Map of Kanyakumari on Google Maps:

View Larger Map

The name of this place has been christened after the virgin goddess – Kanyakumari Amman. As per mythology, Goddess Parvati under the disguise of Devi Kanniya did a penance in one of the rocks in this area to get the hand of Lord Shiva. Hence this place is also a popular pilgrimage. Kanyakumari and its surroundings are believed to be part of the land which was created by Parasurama, incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Folktales and mythological stories speak volumes about Kanyamymari.
In historical times, Kanyakumari was once referred to as the "ALEXANDRIA OF THE EAST". This place was a great centre for art, culture, civilization and pilgrimage for many years, in addition, it was also a famous centre for commerce and trade.
If you talk about modern Kanyakumari, some of the distinctive monuments are located on the sea; there are two rocks known as ‘twin rocks’. Each of them are distinctive and landmarks, both symbolizing the rich past of Indian heritage, having the monuments of swamy Vivekananda and Saint Thiruvalluvar.

Major tourist attractions:

Kumari Amman - The temple is located on the shore and is devoted to a manifestation of Parvati. The temple is located at a picturesque point, and commands a breathtaking views of the surrounding natural beauty. The diamond nose ring of the deity can even be witnessed from the sea. The timings of visits to the temple are from 4.30 AM to 12.15 PM & 4.PM to 8.15 PM. Annual Festivals are the Car festival (May / June) and Navaratri (Nine Days) Festival (September / October). The temple can be very crowded at certain points.

Mahatma Gandhi Memorial - The monument was built on the spot where there is an urn that contained the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi before they were immersed into the river. The architecture of the temple is designed in a way so that the first rays of the sun fall exactly on the place where the ashes of this great personality were kept. Visting Hours are from 7 AM To 7 PM. Entrance is free for tourists.

Udaigiri Fort - The fort was built by King Marthanda Verma and has a factory where guns are manufactured. The splendid Padmanabhapuram Palace is a huge mansion of the Travancore Kings, recognized for its captivating artistic appeal.

Thiruvalluvar Statue - The pedestal of the statue is of 38 feet height and the statue located on the pedestal is 95 feet tall with a grand total height of 133 feet for the entire sculpture. The 3 tier pedestal known as Atharapeedam is surrounded by an artistic Mandapa known as Alankara Mandapam with 38 feet height. Surrounding the Alankara Mandapa stand 10 elephant statues, signifying 8 directions; the remaining 2 directions are with earth and space down. Visting Hours - 8 AM To 4 PM.

Vivekananda Rock Memorial - Essentially a sacred monument, built by the Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee to commemorate the visit of Swamy Vivekananda to “Shripada Parai” during 24th, 25th and 26th December 1892 for deep meditation and enlightenment. Visting Hours - 7 AM To 4 PM.

Suchindrum - Suchindrum is a small village about 12 km. from Kanyakumari and about seven kilometres from Nagercoil. This holy place is located on the bank of the river Pazhayar, adjoining to fertile fields and coconut groves; the temple is dedicated to Sri Sthanumalayan. This word denotes Siva, Vishnu and Brahmma - Sthanu represents Siva, Mal represents Vishnu while Ayan represents Brhamma i.e. Siva, Vishnu and Brhamma in “One Form”.

Mathur Hanging Bridge - This bridge constructed in 1966, is the tallest as well as the longest trough bridge in Asia, having a height of 115 feet and a length of one kilometre.

St. Xavier Church - The church records show that the church was built in the year 1600 A.D. In the year 1865, the Church was enlarged and the shrine of our lady was also renovated and vaulted over. In 1930, the church was raised to the status of a Cathedral.

Padmanabhapuram Palace - It is one of the four municipalities in the district; 55 Km. south of Trivandrum, about two km. east of Thuckalay and 35 km. from Kanyakumari on the Trivandrum-Cape Comerin road. This town is surrounded by a fort with an area of 187 acres. The ancient capital of Travancore might be constructed before AD 1601. The palace with an area of seven acres, is situated in the very centre on the Padmanabhapuram Fort, amidst hills, dales and rivers. The palace which is situated in Kanyakumari District is under the control of a Curator of the Archaeological Department of Kerala Government.

Tirparappu Water Falls - The Kodayar makes its descend at Tirparappu and the water fall at this place, about 13km. from Pechiparai dam. The river bed is rocky and about 300 feet in length. The water falls from a height of nearly 50 feet and the water flows for about seven months in a year.

Muttom Beach - The famous beach at Muttom is located about 16 kms from Nagercoil and 32 kms from Kanyakumari. Muttom is famous for its beautiful landscaping and high rocks dipping into the sea at the beach-side. The sun set view point at Muttom is one of the most Panoramic view points in the district. Another attraction of Muttom is the century old light-house built by the British.

Vattakottai (Circular Fort) - A granite fort six kilometres north-east of Kanyakumari cape, forms the terminal of a line of ramparts known as the South Tranvancore lines built by Marthanda Varma to serve as defence for Nanjil Nadu. It is rectangular in shape and covers an area of about three and a half acres.

Peer Mohamed Dargah, Thuckalay (35 kms) - This dargah is named after Peer Mohamed Oliyullah, the great philosopher Mohamed Appa, who wrote many books on philosophy.

Sunrise and Sunset - Sunrise can be seen in Kanniyakumari through out the year at Bay of Bengal. Sunset can be seen from View Tower through out the year except the months of June, July and August.

Places to stay:
Hotel Parvathi Residency, Kanyakumari (link)
Hotel Singaar International (link)
Indienhermitage (link)
Hotel SeaView (link)
Hotel Cape Residency
Saagar Hotel
Melody Park Hotel.
Ashok Hotel

Reaching there

By Air: The nearest airport from Kanyakumari is situated at Trivandrum about 80 kms away.

By Rail: Kanyakumari is well connected by rail to major parts of the country.

By Road: Extensive road network connects Kanyakumari to other parts of the country.

External articles / blogs:

1. (link): Has a few photos also

The oldest and the most ancient landmark in this town is the temple of Goddess Kumari who prayed to Lord Shiva to be accepted as wife by him. The name of this place has taken after the name of the Goddess. During the British Raj, it was also known as ‘Cape Comorin’, is probably a British spoilt version of ‘Kumari’, which mean virgin. The town is so small that an enthusiastic tourist may actually walk the entire length and breadth of the town and not shed a drop of sweat. Anyway, buses are available and the fares are rock bottom. The auto rickshaws fares are also very reasonable. In short, travelling in and around Kanyakumari is not expensive.

2. Indian Weatherman (link): Lots of photos
In 1609 AD Viswanatha Nayak of Madurai captured Kanyakumari. Afterwards there was no real threat to Venad Kings. Kanyakumari thus became an integral part of the Venad Empire with the capital at Padmanabhapuram. King Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma(1729-1758) of Venad dynasty formed Travancore ( Modern Kerala) by extending his domain further north up to Aluva. Kanyakumari thus came to be known as Southern Travancore. In 1741, King Marthanda Varma another great king from the same dynasty overcame the Dutch East India Company forces at the fiercely fought "Battle of Colachel."

3. Video of Kanyakumari (link)
4. Post on (link)
Nearest airport from Kanyakumari is Trivandrum in the neighbouring state of Kerala. It takes about two hours by train or bus to go Kanyakumari from Trivandrum. Kanyakumari is well connected by rail to all major cities in India like Chennai, Trivandrum, Bombay, New Delhi, Kolkata, and Bangalore. Buses are frequently available from Thiruvananthapuram, the closest major transport hub. Long distance buses are available from Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai etc.

5. Nice Events on (link)
Kanyakumari (also spelt as Kanniyakumari) order is contoured by Tirunelveli district in the northwestern and point, by Kerala denote in the northwest and confluence of Mount Sea and Soldier Ocean in the west and south. The coastline is nigh uniform eliminate for few points of come projects into the sea at Cape Comorin.

6. Post with great photos on (link)
The temple of Goddess Kumari is rather small by South Indian standards, but comes with the usual ingredients of Pujaris (Hindu Priests), Poojas, Kumkums, and Prasads (sweet offerings made to Gods). All men are supposed to enter the temple with bare torsos as it deemed to be a mark of respect to the Devi. You should be careful about the touts in the temple.

7. miyzone on blogspot with some photos (link)
8. Photo of waves striking the rocks at Kanyakumari (link)
9. Post with great photos at (link)
After lunch, we set out to see the Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial, by boat. There are regular ferry services from the jetty which is very close to the TTDC resort. We were lucky to get the last ferry, at 4.30 p.m. and were taken first to the Thrivallavur Statue, a famous Tamil poet of yester years. The statue is magnificent and stands tall on a rock near the Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial - the author of the philosophical work Tirukkural - a treatise on the Indian way of life.

10. Description of the Kanyakumari Temple (link)
he main entrance to the temple is through the northern gate though the deity is facing east. The eastern entrance is kept closed except on special occasions when the deity is taken out for ceremonial bath. Three corridors surround the sanctum. The outer corridor has no special shrines, but after a walk round it the devotees cross the 'Navarathiri mandapam' and a pathway leads to the second corridor encircling the shrine. There stands the flag mast or 'Kodisthambam'. From here you can have a clear view of the Goddess. A move further forward will take you in front of the sanctum.

11. Story on (link)
Swami Vivkeananda, also known as the wandering monk, travelled all over India. When he visited Kanyakumari in December 1892, he was drawn to the two rock islets which are the southernmost tip of India. He did not have money to hire a boat so he swam to the rocks. He meditated on the rock for three days and had a vision of one India. The main hall has a tall statue of Swami Vivekananda. The other hall is built around a foot shaped carving on the rock. According to folklore this is the foot print of goddess Kumari who stood on this rock on one foot in penance. There is also a meditation hall called Dhyana Mandapam.

12. Photos of sunrise at Kanyakumari (link)
13. Post on (link)
Though there are several places of tourist-interest in the town and district, Kanyakumari is especially popular in India for its spectacular and unique sunrise and sunset. The confluence of three ocean bodies - the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea - makes the sunrise and sunset even more special. On balmy, full-moon evenings, (locally called Chitra Pournami) one can also see the moon-rise and sunset at the same time - on either side of the horizon.

14. Photos of the rocks at Kanyakumari (link)
How to plan ? Max time required for seeing whole Kanyakumari is 1 full day . Reach Kanyakumari by morning 5am and then complete sunrise (mostly at 6am; depends on seasons) and then get into prebooked hotel and complete breakfast and then visit Kanyakumari Temple , just beside the sunrise view point ; and then go for a trip to vivekananda memorial hall ( trip will be close to 2-3hrs) ;complete lunch and then you have option either to visit Padhmanabhapuram palace or go to some beaches near kanyakumari, watch sunset

15. Photos of Udaygiri Fort (link)

Photo Galleries:

1. Photos (link)
2. Kanyakumari Photos (link)
3. Photos of Kanyakumari at (link)
4. MichaelJM's Kanyakumari Photos (link)
5. Great photos of Kanyakumari on (link)
6. Photos of Kanyakumari on (link)

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