Kanyakumari (also spelt as Kanniyakumari) district is bounded by Tirunelveli district in the north and northeast, by Kerala state in the northwest and confluence of Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean in the west and south. The coastline is almost regular except for some points of land projecting into the sea at Cape Comorin. Kanyakumari is the district headquarters of the district of the same name.
At the southern most land tip of India, where the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet, lies Kannyakumari, an important pilgrim centre.Kannyakumari has been named after the Goddess Kannyakumari Amman who is the popular deity of the area.
Legends say that the wedding of Kanya Devi, an avatar of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva was to be held here. But he did not arrived at the auspicious time and the wedding never took place. The food that was to be cooked was left uncooked. Here the stones resemble rice and cereals which can also be bought. According to the people residing here these stones are the leftovers of the legendary marriage that could not be solemnized. As for the princess Kanya Devi, she became a virgin goddess, blessing everyone who visits this temple.
Places of Interest
Temple Of Goddess Bhagavathi – Few temples in India are more picturesquely located than that of Goddess Bhagavathi in Kannyakumari. It stands near where three oceans meet: the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.In its early form the temple seems to have been built by the first Pandyas. The Nayaks expanded it later. There are three Prakaras. The image of the Goddess in the sanctum is marvellous in its serenity and beneficence. She carries a necklace in Her right hand. The eastern gate, facing the Bay of Bengal is opened only five times a year.
Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial – On the evening of December 25, 1892, Swami Vivekananda who had come to Kannyakumari on pilgrimage swam to the rock and spent the whole night there in deep meditation. He then resolved to decide himself to the service of the Motherland and to spread the message of Vedanta. Next year he attended the Parliament of Religions in Chicago, an event of seminal importance in the modern history of Hinduism. To commemorate his visit to the rock a superb memorial has been erected. It attracts thousands of visitors.
Kumari Amman Temple – Kumari Amman Temple is dedicated to Parvati as Devi Kanya, the Virgin Goddess who did penance to obtain the hand of Lord Shiva.
The Temple At Suchindram -Tradition connects the Kannyakumari temple with that in Suchindram (13-km from Kanyakumari). This is a fine, large fane, with a beautiful tank. It is one of the few temples in the country where the Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Isvara, are worshipped. The Linga, named “Sthanumalaya”, is in three parts; the top represents Lord Shiva, the middle Lord Vishnu, and the base Lord Brahma. “Sthanu” is a name of Shiva, “Mal” of Vishnu, and “Ayan” of Brahma.
Nagaraja Temple at Nagercoil – 19-km from Kannyakumari is Nagercoil, which contains the celebrated Nagaraja temple. The sanctum is a simple thatched shed, with mud walls. It enshrines the King of Serpents. Tradition states that a King of Kalakkad was cured of leprosy when he performed penance in the temple. He then rebuilt it in the Kerala style. He might have been Bhuthalavira Sri Vira Udaya Marthandavarma, who ruled Venad, with Kalakkad as his capital, from 1516 to 1535. It is believed that snakebite is not fatal within a kilometre of the temple. The fane has some Jain sculptures.
Tirunelveli – The temple of Swami Nelliappar and Sri Kanthimathi Ambal in Tirunelveli (83-km from Kanyakumari) dates back at least to the seventh century. Sambandar has sung it, and Ninrasir Neumaran, the Pandya, is said to have commissioned the making of musical pillars in a Mandapa in this temple. Originally, there were two temples side by side, dedicated to Lord Nelliappar and Goddess Kanthimathi. They were linked by a Mandapa, the “chain” Mandapa, built in 1647. The oldest inscription belongs to the middle of the tenth century.
Sankaranainarkoil – Sankaranainarkoil has three shrines dedicated to Lord Sankaralinga, to Goddess Gomathi Amman and, between these two, to Lord Sankaranarayana, a combination of Shiva and Vishnu. The temple was built in the eleventh century and was expanded later. The Gopura is of nine storeys and is 38m high. The temple is famous for the miracles the Goddess performs in curing illness.
Subramanya Temple in Tiruchendur – The temple of Lord Subramanya in Tiruchendur, also in the same district, is one of the “Arupadai Veedus”, or specially sanctified residences, of the Lord. It is situated by the sea. Traditionally, it commemorates the Lord’s victory over Surapadma, a demon. The Gopura, of nine storeys, is 42m high and was constructed in the 17th century. It was renovated in 1983.
Kumarakovil – Kumarakovil is at the foot of the Velimalai hills in Kalkulam Taluk (also spelt as Taluka), about 34-km from Kannyakumari. The Lord Muruga Temple is built on the hillock about 200 feet height in a lush green field of Paddy, Plantain and Coconut trees. The temple is noted for architectural beauty. Goddess Valli, the spouse of Lord Subramanya is also enshrined in the temple by the side of the Lord. In the right side of the temple there is one big lake, suitable for boating.
Getting there and Around
By Air : The nearest airport is at Thiruvananthapuram (80-km), which is well connected with national and International flights. From Thiruvananthapuram one can take a taxi or bus to Kanyakumari.
By Rail : Kanyakumari is well connected by train services with all the places in India. Superfast trains connect the southern most railhead of India with northern cities like Jammu and Delhi. Intercity trains are running from almost all the southern cities.
By Road : Kanyakumari is connected by regular bus services with Chennai, Pondicherry, Bangalore, Trichy, Madurai, Mandapam (Rameshwaram), Nagercoil, Tuticorin, Tiruchendur, Tiruvelveli, Trivandrum, etc. Town bus service, tourist taxis and auto rickshaws are available.
Varied accommodation options varying from luxurious to economic hotels, lodges, Devasthanam cottages are available for tourists in Kanyakumari