Kanyakumari district is the smallest district in Tamil Nadu, Kanyakumari or "The Virgin Princess" was earlier known as Cape Comorin. Even though it is the smallest in terms of area (1672/Sq.Km), the density of population is the highest 1119/Sq.Km in Tamil Nadu next to Chennai. In literacy it stands first. It is the only place in the entire world where one can witness both the rising and setting of the sun. It is the only place in India where one can enjoy the unique spectacle of Sunset and Moonrise simultaneously on full moon days.
It has a coastal line of 71.5 kms stretched on the three sides. This small district is famous on its vast green stretches of paddy fields, coconut groves, Rubber garden and luxurious forests and the rare earth of the western sea shore and stretched valley mountain of the Western Ghats. The town is not only popular for its unique phenomenon but also its temples and the Vivekananda Rock Memorial among other iconic monuments.
The District lies at the southernmost tip of the Indian peninsula, where Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal confluence. But, this is not a miracle, the miracle lies in the beauty that the water of three seas does not mix, you can clearly distinguish between the turquoise blue, deep blue and sea green waters of the three seas. To enjoy the best view of sunset and sunrise, you can visit the Triveni Sangam point and the famous View tower.
Waterfalls in Kanyakumari that you should not miss out on include the Thirparappu falls, the Courtallam Falls, and the Olakaruvi falls.
Places To Visit In Kanyakumari
1. Thirparappu Falls
Located at a distance of about 55 kilometres from Kanyakumari, the cascading waters of the Tirparappu Falls make up for an enchanting sight. This waterfall is a manmade one and falls from a height of 50 feet.
2. Kanyakumari Beach
Located in the southernmost part of India, Kanyakumari beach with its beautiful hue-changing beaches, the confluence of three water bodies: Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea. Miraculously, here you can see that the water of three seas does not mix, you can distinguish between the turquoise blue, deep blue, and sea green waters of the three seas, though the colors keep changing with the season and the day's weather.
3. Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a well-known tourist monument placed in Vavathurai, Kanyakumari, India. The memorial stands on one of the two rocks, about 500 metres away from India's southern most tip. It was constructed in honour of Swami Vivekananda who is said to have attained enlightenment on this rock.
4. Thanumalayan Temple - Sthanumalayan Kovil
Situated in Suchindram, Thanumalay temple is also known as Sthanumalayan Kovil is the sacred shrine dedicated to Trimuthis (Bramha, Vishnu and Shiva). The beautiful temple was renovated in the 17th century, and its inscriptions date back to the 9th century.
5. Thiruvalluvar Statue
Dedicated to the accomplished philosopher and poet Thiruvalluvar, this beautiful statue finds itself on a small island near Kanyakumari. Thiruvalluvar was the author of a legendary work in the world of Literature, Tirukkural, the classic Tamil text. In his devotion, the work for the statue started in 1990 and continued till 1999, during the year in which the figure finally got completed.
6. Kumari Amman Temple
Kumari Amman Temple is one place in Kanyakumari with a lot of cultural significance in Kanyakumari. This magnificent temple is situated on the coast surmounting the beach and thousands of vacationers come here creating very big queues. A word of caution: unless you are a Hindu you will not be permitted to enter Kumari Amman Temple even for sightseeing.
7. Padmanabhapuram Palace
Padmanabhapuram Palace is one of the most exquisite palaces of India that symbolize the rich and diverse cultural heritage of India that has been around for many centuries aptly.
8. Lord Subramanya Temple
Lord Subramanya Temple is one of the most interesting temples to visit when in India. The never ending pillars and countless towers give it a magnificent look.
9. Wax Museum
The Wax Museum is definitely is one of its kind Museum that stands above the rest in terms of creativity. It is situated in Kanyakumari region in the city of Baywatch.
10. Vattakottai Fort
Vattakottai Fort, which translates to the 'Circular Fort' is a seaside fort near Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India. The fort is largely made of granite blocks and today, a part of the fort even extends into the sea. The Fort is now a protected site under the Indian Archaeological Department and a major renovation of the fort was undertaken recently by the Department.
11. Courtallam Falls
Set in the midst of a Panchayat town in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, the Courtallam falls are renowned in the state for its enormity as well as ferocity. At an elevation of 160 metres (520 feet), the cascade towers above its green surroundings and magnificent hillside.
12. Sanguthurai Beach
Sanguthurai Beach is one of the calmest yet cleanest beaches that you should go to, during your visit to Kanyakumari. Sanguthurai Beach is located in the southernmost part of India, and you can feel the fierce power of the Indian Ocean there.
13. Chitharal Jain Monuments
Chitharal Jain monuments and temples are an effigy to the diversity of the culture and the religions existing in harmony in India. Sitharal Jain Monuments are one of these culturally rich monuments.
14. Gandhi Mandapam
Gandhi Mandapam is built near the famous Anna University. Gandhi Mandapam is one of the greatest monuments that you can look at when you go to India. The Gandhi Mandapam was erected to honor the world famous Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi.
15. Mathur Aqueduct
Also known as the Mathoor Hanging Trough, the Mathoor Aqueduct is amongst the longest and tallest trough bridges that can be found all across the continent. This trough bridge gets its name from Mathoor, which is a small village located near the aqueduct.
16. Our Lady of Ransom Church
Our Lady of Ransom Church is a famous Catholic Church built in dedication to Mother Mary. A brilliant example of Gothic architecture, the church was built during the 15th century and looks breathtakingly beautiful against the blue lashing waves of the ocean behind it.
17. Sothavilai Beach
The Sothavilai Beach is one of the most famous beaches that can be found in the entire district of Kanyakumari. The beach stretches to over 4 kilometres, which makes it one of the longest natural beaches in the entire state, and the views that this attraction offers cannot be put into words.
18. Sunset Point
Watching the sunset at the southernmost tip of India is a sight to behold. Kanyakumari is at the confluence of the Indian ocean, Arabian sea and the Bay of Bengal. It's the only place in India where you can see both the sunrise and sunset at the same spot.
19. Tsunami Monument
A one of its kind structure, the Tsunami Monument is a unique monument that is located near the southern shore of Kanyakumari. It was built in the memory of all those thousands of people who died in the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that shook the entire nation on 26 December in 2004.
20. Triveni Sangam
Located at the southernmost point of the Indian mainland, Kanyakumari is bordered by the Arabian sea, the Indian Ocean and the Western ghats. One of the most serene destinations in India, Kanyakumari is a must-visit place in India. Also known as Cape Comorin, this place caters to tourists as a pilgrimage sight and a fantastic beach resort.
21. View Tower
Undoubtedly one of the places that offer the best scenic views and sceneries of the clear blue seas and the never-ending sky that meets it at infinity.
22. St Xavier Church
Built by St Francis Xavier in the 1600s, the St. Xavier Church is a famous historical structure of great religious importance that is located in Kottar of Nagercoil. The church enjoys great fame and respect, on account of the fact that miracles have been observed to happen here since times immemorial.
23. Adikesava Perumal Temple
The Adikesavaperumal Temple is situated in Thiruvattar, Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu. One of the 108 divya desams devoted to Vishnu, this temple is also referred to as the Srirangam of Chera Kingdom. Surrounded by rivers Kothai, Pahrali and Thamirabarani on three sides, Vishnu rests in this temple in a reclining position on this sacred land.
24. Mandaikadu Bhagavathi Temple
Mandaikadu Bhagavathi Temple, previously Mondaicaud Bhagavathi Temple, is a renowned temple near Colachel in Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu. Built in Kerala's traditional temple architectural-style, it lies near the seashore. A unique feature of this temple is its' presiding deity - an ant hill with five heads, standing at a tall 15 feet. The local belief is that the ant hill grows gradually. It is also referred to as 'Women's Sabarimala'.
25. Wind Farms
The Muppandal village in Kanyakumari is home to India's largest onshore windmill farms. Scattered across different regions in the city, the wind farms have not only changed the lives of the locals but have added to the visual delight. The lush green ghats surrounding the roads of Kanyakumari now contrast with stark white windmills.
The top sightseeing places in Kanyakumari are Thirparappu Falls, Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Thanumalayan Temple - Sthanumalayan Kovil, Thiruvalluvar Statue, Kumari Amman Temple, Padmanabhapuram Palace.
How to Reach Kanyakumari
Thiruvananthapuram is the nearest international airport, with direct flights from the Middle East, Singapore, Maldives and Sri Lanka. From there it takes about three hours by train or bus or taxi to reach Kanyakumari. Kanyakumari has its own railway station. It also houses one of the end points of the largest train route in India, Kanyakumari to Jammu. Buses are frequently available from Thiruvananthapuram, the closest major transport hub. Long distance buses are available from Chennai (Madras), Coimbatore, Madurai, Bangalore etc.
What is the best time to visit Kanyakumari?
The months from October until February are considered the best time to visit Kanyakumari, as the weather remains calm and pleasant. Although this coastal region is a bit humid, this is the best time to try out some adventurous water sports, going on sightseeing and outings, undertaking beach activities and savouring the spectacular sunset views. With the beginning of winters in November, Kanyakumari also hosts many festivals during this month, for instance the Cape Festival.
Food in Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari has authentic South Indian cuisine, with seafood and coconuts being an integral part of almost all dishes.
You must have banana chips, which are made of under ripe bananas; they are thinly sliced, fried in coconut oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.
Jackfruit is a favourite amongst locals and tourists since it can be had raw, ripe, cooked and as chips.
Appam is a popular dish in Kanyakumari. It is like a pancake made from fermented rice batter and coconut milk which is fried on one side and steamed on the other. This cooking method is why is has a thick and soft centre and crispy edges. You normally eat it with chutney, vegetable or meat stew.
Kothu, also known as minced parota, is a delicacy of Tamil Nadu that you must have. It is prepared by taking parota, egg, meat and salna which is a spicy sauce and adding them all to a hot cast iron griddle and mincing them with a spatula.
Aval, also called broken rice, is a popular dish in Kanyakumari though it is served sweet. Some water, coconut and jaggery are added to the rice to make sweet aval.
If you’re looking for something refreshing, have some pazham sarbath which is basically juice made of pineapple, grapes, apple, banana, pomegranate and more.
Palm fruit juice, or nungu sarbath, is another popular beverage for you to try out. It is made by adding palm fruits to sarbath and topping it off with some ice cubes.
Maravalli Kilangu or tapioca cassava with fish is one dish you would surely like. Tapiocas, which are widely cultivated in Kanyakumari, are peeled, cut, boiled in water with some salt and served with some fish curry for this dish.
For some dessert, you can have semiya payasam. It is made up of vermicelli, milk and dry fruits.
Shopping in Kanyakumari
The coastal town of Kanyakumari is renowned for its beautiful palm leaf drawings which are sold in a number of markets. What started out as a means of adding graphics of legends to manuscripts has become a popular art; you can find journals featuring palm-leaf drawings as well as manuscripts depicting scenes from legends and historical events.
You can visit a few antique stores to find unique items such as musical instruments, telephones, boxes, vases, jugs, trays, jewellery etc. Many such items sold in markets once belonged to the erstwhile royal families.
Shop for souvenirs made up of seashells such as bags, bowls, vases, wall hangings, cushion covers, hats and more. You can also find some jewellery made out of seashells like necklaces, earrings, bracelets, anklets, rings etc.
Kanyakumari is quite famous for its beautiful wooden handicrafts too. Many shops sell a wide variety of wooden statues, mats and toys, wooden utensils with intricate carvings, wooden lacquer ware etc.
Sri Kanya Handicrafts, Tamil Nadu Co-Optex Sales Emporium, Noor Shopping Centre, Nisha Stores, stalls on the beaches and other places are great for shopping.