Kanyakumari pronunciation (help·info) (Tamil: கன்னியாகுமரி) is a town in Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu state, India. Located at the southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula, it is also know by its former name Cape Comorin. The closest major cities are Nagercoil, the administrative headquarters of Kanyakumari district, (22 km) and Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala (85 km).
The town(KanyaKumari) is a popular tourist place in India.
2 Geographical Location
3 The Town
6 Tourist Sites within the Town
7 Tourist Information
10 External links
Kanyakumari takes its name from the Kumari Amman or Kanyakumari Temple, situated in the town, on the sea-shore, the very confluence of the three water-bodies - Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. In his work on ancient India, Ptolemy had identified Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin) along with the Gulf of Mannar as a centre for pearl fishery. He also identifies Korkai, a place to the east of Kanyakumari as an emporium of pearl trade,also Travancore Census 1931 says that Paravars ruled that Coast and built the temple for their reverence to Sea Goddess.
There are multiple myths revolving around this place:
According to hindu legend, Kanya Devi, an avatar of Parvati, was to marry Shiva, but as he failed to show up on his wedding day, the rice and other grains meant for the wedding feast remained uncooked and remain unused thereafter. As the legend goes, the uncooked grains turned into stones as time went by. Some believe that the small stones which look like rice on the shore today, are indeed grains of the wedding that was never solemnized. Kanya Devi is now considered a virgin goddess who blesses pilgrims and tourists who flock the town.
According to another hindu legend, Lord Hanuman dropped a piece of earth as he was carrying a mountain with his life-saving herb, Mrita Sanjivani from the Himalayas to Lanka (Sri Lanka) during the Rama-Ravana war. This chunk of earth is called Marunthuvazh Malai, which is literally translated to "hills where medicine is found".This is said to be the reason for the abundance of unique native medicinal plants in the area. Marunthuvazh Malai is located near Kottaram about 7 km from Kanyakumari town on the Kanyakumari-Nagercoil highway.
The sage Agasthya, who was himself an expert in medicinal herbs, is believed to have lived around this site in ancient days. The reason why, some believe, so many medicinal herbs are to be found on these hills near Kanyakumari. There is even a village by the name Agastheeswaram close to the town, named after the sage. Today, there is a small Ashram on the middle of the Maruthuvazh Malai hill, which tourists visit (after a short trek from the base of the hill), both to visit the Ashram and also to take a glimpse of the sea near Kanyakumari a few kilometres away, and the greenery below.
The 133 ft tall Thiruvalluvar StatueKanyakumari has been a great centre for art and religion for centuries. It was also an area of great trade and commerce. It was ruled by the Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Nayaks. The architectural beauty of the temples in the area are the works of these rulers. Later Kanyakumari became part of the Venad kingdom with its capital at Padmanabhapuram. The king of Venad, Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, established Travancore by extending his domain further north up to Azhva, during his reign from 1729 to 1758. By this, the present Kanyakumari District came to be known as Southern Travancore. In 1741, Maharaja Marthanda Varma defeated the Dutch East India Company at the famous Battle of Colachel.
Kanyakumari was under the rule of the Paravar Kings till the downfall of Pandyas,and later by kings of Travancore under the overall suzerainty of the British until 1947, when India became independent. Travancore joined the independent Indian Union in 1947. The reign of the Travancore royals came to an end.
Under the Travancore state, the town, and the modern administrative district that bears its name, Kanyakumari District, gained both socially and economically.
In 1949, Kanyakumari became part of the reconstituted Travancore-Cochin State. Around this time, a popular agitation for the amalgamation of Kanyakumari District with Tamil Nadu by the Tamil-speaking majority of the district intensified, under the leadership of Kavimani Desigavinayagam Pillai Eventually, in 1956, Kanyakumari was integrated with Tamil Nadu (then known as Madras State) as per the language-based reorganisation of States.
Christianity arrived in South India around AD 52 through St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ. However, European missionaries, who arrived in the 16th century, propagated Christianity in the area. St. Francis Xavier (April 7, 1506 – December 2, 1552) was the pioneer in preaching Christianity in the present day Kanyakumari district. Islam is believed to have entered the southern part of India through Kanyakumari during the early part of the eighth century AD through traders and missionaries who came through sea-routes. Islam, Christianity and Jainism have also contributed to the architectural wealth and literary heritage of the region.
Vivekananda Rock memorial has a special meditation room which is absolutely quiet. One could meditate there. People also wet their feet on the shores of the ocean before entering the temple as the waters considered sacred. Bathing is banned in many part of the beach(though you may find some people bathing) due to a number of tourists dying each year due to the powerful ocean waves. For bathing in the sea, consider Vattakotta (Meaning: Round fort) beach, situated about 6 km from Kanyakumari. Naked bathing or bathing with bikinis are a taboo not only in Kanyakumari but also in nearly all beaches in India. Beaches in Goa and Pondicherry, are a bit different, as a majority of people visiting there are foreigners.
Tourists can buy a lot of interesting items ranging from, straw hats, conches, sea shells, cheap electronics etc., There are some small shops where one can get a customized conch with name or quotes inscribed. These items can serve as a memorable item of your trip. Electronics available at Kanyakumari are dead cheap but, since all of them are imported from china, the quality of them are always sub-par. It’s always good to avoid the electronics shops and the associated hagglers. Hair bands and clips made of coconut shells are worth the money and you may have to ask one for to the shop keeper if one is not available at the display. Star fish shells (for decorating your indoors), sea shells of various sizes, kaleidoscopes, colourful sand packets(not artificially colored), collected from different parts of the beach, used specially for decorating your indoor showcases, are also available. The cost of majority of these commodities range from Rs 20 (0.5 US$) to Rs 50 (1.1 US$), and never cross a 100.
Kanyakumari - Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar Statue at sunriseKanniyakumari is located at 8°05′N 77°34′E / 8.08°N 77.57°E / 8.08; 77.57. It has an average elevation of 0 metres (0 feet). It lies at the meeting point of the three bodies of water: the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Mannar and the Indian Ocean. It is situated at 8° 4′ 41″ N, 77° 32′ 28″ E, and is the terminating point of the Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats. On the north and the east, it is bounded by Tirunelveli District, while on the west and northwest it is bounded by Kerala state.
It is suggested that there once existed a continent called Kumari Kandam to the south of Kanyakumari, often compared with Lemuria.
As of 2001[update] India census, Kanyakumari town had a native population of 19,678.
Kanyakumari is the southernmost town of the Indian mainland. The land mass in and around the town are hilly and uneven, with many commercial buildings and hotels at the upper crest of the land mass with the sea visible below. The old areas of the town, where the natives live, are on the lower side. Many of the natives are into fishing activity and other maritime professions.
Tourism is one of the main activities of the town ; and many locals are employed in shell-craft and other tourism-related businesses.
The only district in India which has 99% of literate, where 98.5% of the women’s are literate. where more than 60% of people are professional degree holders.
Kanyakumari is the southern-most constituency of India. It is a new constituency formed after delimitation in 2009; it was earlier part of the Tiruchendur constituency. It consists of six assembly segments—Kanyakumari, Nagercoil, Colachel, Padmanabhapuram, Vilivankode and Killiyoor.
The Gandhi MandapamBeginning the early part of the 1970s, tourism has been an important activity in the town. Today, it is one small town in South India where one can see different languages of India spoken at different street corners, among the tourists and traders. Of late, Tourism is increasingly being promoted in the district also, apart from the town, with several beautiful natural landscapes, historic and religious places found around the district.
A total of 1.9 million tourists (domestic and foreign) visited Kanyakumari in 2007.
With tourism also picking up in neighbouring Kerala, the future prospects for the growth of tourism looks bright both in Kanyakumari town and the district.
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.
Tourist Sites within the Town
View of the sea from Vattakottai Fort, near Kanyakumari town.The Kumari Amman or the Kanyakumari Temple, located on the shore, is a Shakti Peetha dedicated to a manifestation of Parvati, the virgin goddess who did penance to obtain Lord Shiva's hand in marriage. The temple and the adjoining ghat, situated overlooking the shore, attract tourists from all over the world. The sparkling diamond nose-ring of the deity is said to be visible even from the sea.
On two rocky islets just off the shore, southeast of the Kumari Amman temple, are the Vivekanda Rock Memorial, built in 1970, and the gigantic 133 feet statue of Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar, one of the biggest statues in Asia. One of the rocks called Sri Padhaparai is said to bear the footprints of the virgin goddess. Swami Vivekananda is said to have seated on this rock in deep meditation. Also on this rock, there is a Dhyana mandapam, an area for meditation. Ferry services are available to reach the memorial.
The Gandhi Memorial has been built on the spot where the urn containing the Mahatma's ashes was kept for public viewing before immersion. Resembling central Indian Hindu temples in form, the memorial was designed in such a way that on Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, October 2, the first rays of the sun fall on the exact place where his ashes were kept.
From The Gandhi Memorial, The Tour de India is going to start from 2009 1 December and this race will continue till 1 January 2010.
The state-owned Poompuhar Shipping Corporation runs ferry services between the town and the Vivekanda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar statue, situated on rocky islets off the coast. Kanyakumari is directly connected by rail with almost all metropolitan cities in India. Nearest Airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, 90 km away from Kanyakumari Town and 70 km from Nagercoil. The only district in India which has 99% of literate, where 98.5% of the women’s are literate. where more than 60% of people are professional degree holders.
In this district, there is a Miraculous St. George's Church at a village called, Kirathoor, near to Kollencode, situated in Vilavancode Taluk of Kanyakumari.It is Kanyakuari's Edathuva. It is administered by the Malankara Catholic diocese of Marthandom. The procession held every year in the Church is significant. It is 90 kilometers from Kanyakumari.
Rice is the staple food of the people, although for some people in the hilly areas, tapioca is the main food. Though there are some vegetarians among the populace, a majority of the people use agro, meat and fish products. Fish caught in the seas around the district during the night or early morning hours reach the markets in the interior towns and villages in the early morning. The food is spicy, and the people in the district tend to use more grated coconut in their curries and food-preparations, like neighbouring Kerala.
There are two major National Highways (NH) roads emanating from Kanyakumari town. One is the NH 7NH 47 that runs to Salem through Kerala, touching some important cities in Kerala like Trivandrum and Kochi and also in Tamil Nadu. The road stretching from Kanyakumari to Trivandrum is one of the busiest Highway stretches in India. that starts from the town and runs through Madurai and the other is the
The state-owned Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation is the major operator of bus services in the district, though licences are issued for specific routes to private operators.
Today, there are 3495.80 km of surfaced roads in the district.
The nearest airport is Trivandrum International Airport which is 70 km away from Nagercoil, the capital of Kanyakumari District.
Nagercoil is a major railway junction, connecting the eastern and western rail lines and connecting all the majore cities in India. The western line runs through the west coast (though Kerala) and the eastern line runs through the east into Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, towards Chennai. The rail link to Kanyakumari was established only in 1978, mainly because establishing a rail line through the district posed some challenges for the rail department and took a lot of efforts, especially the western line. The western line that runs to Trivandrum today runs through some huge artificial ground elevations and number of hill tunnels.
Kanyakumari District is connected through direct train services with all metropolitan cities in India, like New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata. These Express trains originate either from Kanyakumari or Nagercoil.
Passenger (local) train services and other express trains run between Trivandrum Central and either Nagercoil or Kanyakumari. The journey by train from Trivandrum Central to Nagercoil usually takes an hour and a half.
India's longest-running train, both in time and distance, The Himsagar Express runs between Kanyakumari town and Jammu Tawi. The train covers 3,751 km between Kanyakumari and Jammu Tawi, in 74 hours and 55 minutes.
There are two hydroelectric power stations at Kodayar, generating a combined 100 MW of power. Aralvoimozhy in Kanyakumari District is a major centre for generation of windmill power and the largest in the world, led by major corporations like Suzlon Energy and Micon.
Kanyakumari District accounts for more than 95% of the production of natural rubber in the state of Tamil Nadu. Rubber is cultivated mainly in the hilly areas (on the western ghats) in the interior, while paddy fields and other crops are mainly found on the plains, near the coast.
Major crops under cultivation:
The major river in the district is Tambaraparani River locally known as Kuzhithuraiar. This river has two major tributaries with the Pechiparai Dam and Perunchani Dam respectively built across them, Kodayar and Paralayar. There are many tributaries for the Kodayar River of which Chittar River I and Chittar II, with their dams, are the major ones. The origin of Tambaraparani River is in the Western Ghats and the river confluences with Arabian sea near Thengapattanam, about 56 km. west of Kanyakumari town.
Valliar, another small river and its tributary Thoovalar, originate from the Velimalai Hills, collect the drainage from P.P. Channel and its branches, ayacuts (irrigated area under a tank) and confluence with the Arabian Sea near Manavalakurichi.
The Pazhayar River, another small river, starts at Shorlacode, a place about 18 km north-west of Nagercoil. This is mainly a drainage river, mostly collecting the drainage of Thovalai, Ananthanar and N.P. Channels.
The forests in Kanyakumari District are about 75 million years old. Of the total district area of 1671.3 km², government forests occupy an area of 504.86 km² which comes to about 30.2% the total geographical area of the district. The forests of the district are administered through the Kanyakumari Forest Division, with headquarters at Nagercoil, the capital of Kanyakumari District.
There are 14 types of forests from luxuriant tropical wet evergreen to tropical thorn forests. This variety occurs in the district because of diverse locality factors. Rainfall varies from 103 cm to 310 cm elevation from sea level to 1829 m. The forest area is 30.2% of the total district geographical area which is next to Nilgiris district with 59% and Dharmapuri District with 38% in Tamil Nadu State. 52% of the district's forests are classified as dense forests, which is second only to Dharmapuri District with 58%.
The forests contain species such as Mesua ferrea, Bischofia Javanica, Vitex altissima to smaller trees of Dillini a species festooning climber, shrubs, valuable herbs, variety of orchids, two types of canes, many indigenous palms and cycas. The important timbers are teak, rosewood, vengai and aini. Various types of forest products like bamboos, reeds, canes, soft wood, tamarind, lemon grass, rubber, coconut, arecanut, terminalia chebula, cinnamon bark nelli, cardamom, mango and many medicinal plants are harvested in this district. The Maruthuvalmalai, a hill located among green paddy fields and coconut palms, is famous for valuable medicinal plants. This is the only district in Tamil Nadu where rubber and clove plantations have been raised in reserve forests in an area of 47.857 km² and 1.1 km² respectively. The district is rich in wildlife with at least 25 types of mammals, about 60 species of birds including 14 species of migratory birds and many species of fishes, reptiles and amphibians listed.
The following are the reserve forests in Kanyakumari Forest Division:
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