Want to view a truly magnificent sunrise or sunset? Then, head to Kanyakumari, a tiny coastal town located at the southernmost tip of India, where three oceans meet. Refresh your body, mind and soul.
By Sudha S
Coastal towns are always fascinating — that vast expanse of sea, the magical meeting of land and water, the serenity that surrounds you... Kanyakumari, however, is even more special. Situated at the southernmost tip of the Indian sub-continent, it was formerly Cape Comorin. The scenic beauty of Kanyakumari is so enchanting that it is now a favourite pilgrimage spot and tourist destination for many. What's more, this is one place where visitors can experience the confluence of three mighty bodies of water — the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
Why is this little town spiritually and geographically significant? Here is a travelogue from a writer who visited Kanyakumari with a group of friends.
Though it was a bit tiring after the long train journey from Chennai, I wanted to visit the temple dedicated to Goddess Kanyakumari first. My friends agreed. Legend has it that Kanya Devi, an avatar of Goddess Parvati, was all set to marry Lord Shiva, but he failed to arrive on the day of the wedding. Rice and other grains that were stocked up for the wedding feast are said to have turned into stones and pebbles with the passage of time. Kanya Devi still remains a virgin goddess and the city gets its name from the deity.
Kanyakumari is a much-favoured destination for tourists due to its rich and varied cultural heritage. There are structures dedicated to Islam, Christianity and Hinduism here. We decided to stay overnight at a hotel close to the sea, to enjoy the enchanting beauty of the sunrise and the sunset.
After some refreshments at the restaurant, we got the keys to our room. I was particular about a room with a window facing the sea and we were lucky to get one. The next morning, we woke up before dawn and got ready for a truly wonderful experience! We had our cameras ready to roll as we headed to the beach for a beautiful view of the rising sun. The sky turned orange and we could see a few sail boats with fishermen. As the sails propelled the boats through the gentle waves, we could see the sun rising slowly on the horizon. The shimmering waters reflected the rays of the sun and it was an unforgettable experience!
1. Gandhi memorial
After a quick breakfast, we headed straight to the Gandhi Memorial. Its architecture is distinctive and resembles that of an Orissa temple. Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes were kept here before being immersed into the sea.
2. Vivekananda rock memorial
My eyes were set on the Vivekananda Rock Memorial the moment we reached Kanyakumari. Boat rides to this rock are scheduled every 30 minutes and we boarded one of them. India’s southernmost tip was a sight to behold as we rode through the waves to the rock memorial that was about 400 metres away from the mainland.
The confluence of the seas comes alive under the bright sun and reflecting waves. Be cautious while you get on and off the boat as the waves tend to toss the boat about. Wear life jackets that are available with the boat service provider. The lagoon, formed by a series of rocks, lends a quaint look to the memorial. Swami Vivekananda is said to have meditated on the rock where the memorial built in 1970, now stands.
3. Tiruvalluvar statue
The majestic 133 feet Tiruvalluvar statue commemorates the poet’s greatest work, Tirukkural. Steps leading to the poet’s feet, the pedestal and the height of the statue represent the different chapters of the Kural. The pedestal is surrounded by an artistic alankara mandapam and the elephant statues signify the different directions. The visiting times to this memorial are restricted, so plan your trip accordingly.
4. View Tower and telescope house
To get a panoramic view of the entire town of Kanyakumari, we went atop the View Tower. The strong winds, lilting waves and the flocks of birds that flew past are still fresh in my mind and have created memories I will cherish for a lifetime. I was constantly clicking photographs to capture the scenic beauty of the landscape. Through the telescope, we got to see more enchanting landmarks up close.
Fairs and festivals
Pilgrims throng the Kumari Amman temple car festival in May-June every year when the Devi’s idol is taken out in a procession on a chariot. Navaratri is a very big celebration here and September-October is the right time to visit and enjoy the festivities. The deity is decorated differently during each of the nine days of the festival which commemorates the victory of the goddess over the demons.
On the shores of Kanyakumari beach and in the temple premises are several handicraft shops that stock seashell products. Traditional saris and other dress materials are available too. A specialty around here is the coloured sand, available in small packets, that can treasured back home or even, given as gifts for loved ones.
Places to visit around Kanyakumari
If you plan a longer trip, do visit nearby places like Tirunelveli (80 kilometres), Tiruchendur (90 kilometres) and even, the Courtallam falls. Don’t miss the waterfalls if you happen to be there during the months of June-July — an awe-inspiring sight!
By air: If you are travelling by air, the nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram, about 90 kilometres west of Kanyakumari. You can hire a taxi from here to reach the city.
By rail: Kanyakumari is connected by rail to all the major cities.
By road: There is a well-connected road network to Kanyakumari. NH 47, which stretches through Thiruvananthapuram ends here.
Kanyakumari offers good accommodation for every kind of budget, especially beach-facing properties with excellent sea view suites. The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation also has excellent boarding and lodging facilities at competitive rates. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and travel to Kanyakumari for an unforgettable, uplifting experience!
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