, is a town in Kanyakumari District the state of Tamil Nadu in India. It lies at the southernmost tip of mainland India (the southern extremity of India as a whole being Indira Point on Great Nicobar Island. Cape Comorin is the southern tip of the Cardamom Hills, an extension of the Western Ghats range along the west coast of India. The nearest major city is Nagercoil, the administrative headquarters of Kanyakumari District, 22 km (14 mi) away. Kanyakumari was one of the important towns of the ancient Tamilakam (Sangam period) and is a popular tourist destination. Kanyakumari has been named after the Goddess Amman, who is the popular deity of the area. It is said that the Goddess Parvati in one of her incarnations did penance on one of the rocks of this land's end to obtain the hand of Lord Shiva. The district was once known as "The Granary of Travancore". It was in Travancore for a long time and then merged with Tamil Nadu in 1956 under the State Linguistic Reorganization Act.
Kanyakumari is also known as Cape Comorin. The Cape festival is celebrated on a large scale for three days at Kanyakumari. The festival is marked by a series of cultural programs. At the southern most tip of India, where the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal meet, lies Kanyakumari. Kanyakumari is also famous for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets, especially on full moon days.
The city of Kanyakumari is surrounded by beautiful beaches and is one of the known pilgrimages of India. A dip in the ocean here is considered holy, but the sea is rough here and not fit for bathing. This is the only place in India, where the sunset and moonrise can be viewed simultaneously on a full moon day.
The sea is fairly rough, so it is entertaining to watch it beat itself against the rocks and then subside, before it gathers itself up for another attack. The one of the main attractions of the city is the temple of Goddess Bhagavathi.In its early form the temple seems to have been built by the first Pandyas.
Kanya Kumari is notable for pilgrimage and tourism. The place takes its name from the goddess Devi Kanya Kumari, considered to be a sister of Krishna. Women pray to her for marriage. The goddess is believed to be the one who removes the rigidity of our mind. The temple here is a Shakti Peetha, one of the holiest shrines of the Mother goddess. Also nearby are eleven sacred theertham
.There are three Prakaras in the temple. The image of the Goddess in the sanctum is marvelous in its serenity and beneficence. Other famous tourist spots of Kankyakumari are the Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial and the temple at Suchindram.This temple 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.
Places to see in Kanyakumari
Vivekananda Rock Memorial :
Built in 1970, this memorial is dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, the greatest social reformer and saint that India has produced. Swami Vivekananda had meditated on the rock where the memorial stands today at the end of 1892 before his departure for Chicago to participate in the World Religious Conference in 1893. A meditation hall is also attached with the memorial. Timings : 8 am to 4 pm
Gandhi Memorial :
On Gandhiji's birthday ( October-2nd ) the Sun rays fall on the spot where his ashes were placed before immersion.
Guganathaswamy Temple :
This 1000 year old temple is said to have been built by Raja Raja Chola. It is near the railway station.
Excursions in Kanyakumari
Padmanabhapuram (45 Kms )Kanyakumari :
The capital of Travancore until 1333, Padmanabhapuram is known for its fort which encloses, among other buildings, a palace and a temple. The palace has some important art relics while the Ramaswamy temple has exquisitely carved panels depicting scenes from the Ramayana.
Kalakkadu and Mundanthurai :
Both these two Wild Life Sanctuaries are situated in an extensive preserve; later declared as a " Project Tiger Reserve ". Kalakkadu is situated in an area of 223 sq. km. in Tirunelveli District. The flora ranges from tropical wet evergreen to tropical dry decidious and thorn forest at down hills. Lion tailed macaque, Nigiri langur, Bonnet macaque and common langur, Nilgiri Tahr, sambar, Sloth bear, gour, elephant, tiger, flying squirrel and panther wild dog are some of the wildlife seen in this sanctuary. there is nothing to differentiate Mundanthurai sanctuary from that of Kalakkadu except the presence of the elephant and gaur.
Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Nagercoil (19kms) :
The Nagaraja temple is situated here. Though Nagaraja ( Serpent God ) is the presiding deity, the images of Lord Siva and Ananthakrishna are also enshrined here. The images of the Jain Theerthangaras and Mahavira are found on the pillars of the temple. The Nagaraja is installed on the ground where it was originally found and the sand scooped out is given as prasadam to the devotees. The entrance to the temple is reminiscent of the Chinese architecture of a Buddhist Vihar.
Udhayagiri Fort ( 34 kms.) :
Built during the regime of King Marthanda Varma ( 1729-1758 ) this fort also had foundry for casting guns. De Lennoy's Tomb is in this fort. He was one of the 24 European prisoners taken by King Marthanda Varma in 1741 when when he defeated the Dutch at Colachel. He joined King Marthanda Varma and became a trusted General. He trained soldiers in the European method of fighting.