Top Kanyakumari Tourist Places For You To Visit

6

Going to Kanyakumari was a long-standing dream. Probably since the time I first heard the term Kashmir to Kanyakumari for India. I lived in Kashmir as a child but Kanyakumari was always a far-off place. I wanted to visit the southern tip of India where you can see the sunrise and sunset at the same time. And I wanted to see the Sun going down and Moon coming up on a full moon night. And of course, visit the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and all other Kanyakumari Tourist Places.

Vivekananda Rock Memorial - Must see Kanyakumari Tourist Places
Vivekananda Rock Memorial

After planning it many times, I finally visited it from Goa on a South Kerala trip with a clear intent to do Kanyakumari. It still played hard. A hurricane in the Indian Ocean brought in incessant rains in Trivandrum where we were staying. Everyone advised against visiting the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. We decided to take a chance.

We reached the town and rushed to the boat jetty only to be told boating is not happening due to weather conditions. I stood at the shore and longingly looked at the giant rocks. One with two temples on it and the other with a giant statue of Thiruvalluvar on it. They appeared too close for any danger in going to them. That was the traveler in me speaking and not the rationalist and certainly not the specialist. I clicked whatever pictures I could with an umbrella in one hand and camera in another.

Landscape view of Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Thiruvalluvar Statue from Triveni Sangam
Landscape view of Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Thiruvalluvar Statue from Triveni Sangam

Just then our guide came running and said that magical word – Boating has started, please go there as soon as possible and we all ran.

Kanyakumari Tourist Places to explore

Located at the southern edge of mainland India, it has always been an important pilgrimage place as well as a popular tourist destination. This is despite the fact that its weather is hot & humid and rains make it unpredictable.

Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial

Vivekananda Rock Memorial front view
Vivekananda Rock Memorial front view

Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a rock standing in the middle of the sea where the Indian Peninsula ends. It is the most popular tourist attraction. 10 minutes of the boat ride in the Indian Ocean and we stepped foot on the holy rock standing steady where the three oceans meet. This is where the footmark of goddess Kanyakumari is worshiped in one temple and the visit of Swami Vivekananda is celebrated on the other. The temples are small but beautiful.

Vivekananda Rock Memorial, the prime of Kanyakumari Tourist Places
Vivekananda Rock Memorial, the prime of Kanyakumari Tourist Places

Sunrise & Sunset

Kanyakumari has a lot of myths, legends, and history associated with it. However, it is sheer nature that stands out. It is one of the two places on earth where you can see both sunrise and sunset. When the powerful waves hit the rocks – it is like a desperate lover’s passion on display. When you see the oceans merging, it is like witnessing the infinity right in front of your eyes. It is the closest you can get to standing at the end of the land.

Sunset scene by Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Thiruvalluvar Statue
Sunset scene by Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Thiruvalluvar Statue image – Shutterstock

It is the view from the Vivekananda rock that is worth taking the trouble to go there. When you look at the landmass you see the skyline of the city against the backdrop of hills and clouds from the sea. When you look at the ocean, you try and find the two seas and one ocean meeting and merging here.

Here, It is an experience to stand on the edge and feel the earth at your back, water in front and sky all over.

Sundial & Uttarayan calculation compass

A compass on the rock surface tells the directions and you know where to look for Triveni.

Sun Rise Calendar
Sun Rise Calendar

There is a Sundial etched on another part of rock and can be seen from the top-story of Vivekananda temple. Due to rain, we could not spend much time here but it said something about Uttarayan calculation.

Vivekananda Mandapam & Kendra

A temple in grey and red dedicated to Swami Vivekananda is called Vivekananda Mandapam. It was built in 1970 to commemorate the enlightenment of Swami Vivekananda here. He visited Kanyakumari in 1892 before his famous Chicago trip. The architecture of Vivekananda mandapam has elements from Ramakrishna Math in Belur. The entrance has a hint of Chola style and the windows have a Buddhist motif of chaityas. A saffron flag with Om on it flutters on top. Inside the Mandapam is a life-size bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda in his typical standing posture. You need to take a flight of steps to reach the temple.

Vivekananda Statue inside the memorial
Vivekananda Statue inside the memorial image – Shutterstock

Do you know the Vivekananda Rock Memorial was publicly funded by citizens of India?

Meditation Hall

Below Vivekananda temple is a meditation hall. A dark room with only an Om visual and Om sound. You can sit and meditate here in silence. I tried to sit and feel what Swami Vivekananda would have felt sitting and meditating for 3 days continuously at the same place. 3 minutes were obviously not enough.

A bookstore outside sells the books by the Vivekananda Kendra. Due to incessant rains, I did not pick up any books. Finally came home and downloaded the book – India’s contribution to world thought and culture.

It is said that Swami Vivekananda swam to this rock. He had a vision of Goddess. He must have been alone on this rock when he meditated. Now the rock is full of all kind of people – travelers, tourists, devotees, and staff.

Sripada Mandapa

Bang opposite the Vivekananda Mandapa is the Sripada Mandapa or the hall that houses the footprint of the Devi on a rock. This is supposed to be her blessing. The rock is now inside a temple-like structure on a square platform. There is small squarish shikra on top of the Garbha Griha. A pillared corridor runs all around it. It is a small but very peaceful temple.

Landscape view of the town

Kanyakumari town landscape view with the long Sea Pier
The town’s landscape view with the long Sea Pier

One of the advantages of cloudy skies is to get a spectacular view of the city from the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. Take a look at the buildings/monuments and the clouds & Hills.

Read More50 Cities in India named after Devi

Giant statue of Thiruvalluvar

Here you cannot miss the giant statue of Thiruvalluvar. Thiruvalluvar is an ancient poet and philosopher of Tamil Nadu, who is said to have lived in the town. This statue was installed at the dawn of the 21st century on Jan 1st, 2000. That makes it a modern Indian marvel.

Giant statue of poet Thiruvalluvar
Giant statue of poet Thiruvalluvar

The literature on this statue says that it stands on 38 feet platform to mark the 38 chapters of virtue in his work Thirukurral. The stone statue is 133 feet high with face alone some 20 feet high. It seems it has been handcrafted under the supervision of Stapathi or a sculptor and is based on the principles of Vaastu Shastra.

Pity is that there is no in situ documentation or guide service that explains this when you are there. I wish Thiruvalluvar’s poetry and literature was available close to this giant statue.

Aesthetics

Aesthetically, I found the height of the Thiruvalluvar statue its most overpowering characteristic. It stands tall in the middle of the ocean. Towering the other rock with two temples and overlooking the city. You can see the stones assembled to stitch the statue together. I wondered if we have lost the art of concealing the joints like in our ancient temples? Have we lost the art of having monolithic statues – and think of a complete monolithic temple we carved at Ellora? I wanted to know why is he facing the city and not the ocean. If you know the answer, please share.

Read MoreMonolithic statues of Bahubali in Karnataka

The ferry does not stop at this island. You just pass by it, but you can see the Thiruvalluvar statue clearly from the Vivekananda Rock Memorial.

After soaking in literally and figuratively we came back to land, had our food and proceeded to see other things like the small stone structures on the rocky beach, with waves that go very high when they strike the rocks.

Kanyakumari Devi Temple

Back on the shore, we headed to the Devi temple. I stood impatiently in the queue for a good 20 minutes. It was dark inside the temple, lit only with oil lamps – giving a bit mystical and surreal feeling. The idol was beautiful with the oil lamps on the door frame making it glow. Strangely, I found the depiction of the goddess very North Indian. I know the legend is pan-Indian but I have rarely seen the dressing style of deities in South India in the North Indian style. This is a point to be explored further.

Kanyakumari Devi Temple landscape view
Devi Temple landscape view

Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham

A small temple here is dedicated to Adi Shankaracharya right on the edge of the land. This commemorates his visit to teach the Advaita philosophy. Such temples can be found almost in all corners of the country where he visited.

Read MoreAdi Shankaracharya – Hinduism’s greatest thinker

Gandhi Memorial Mandapam

Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Mandapam
Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Mandapam

Gandhi Mandapam is a modern building where a part of Gandhiji’s ashes is kept. The dome above the ashes is designed in such a way that hole above the ashes never lets any rainwater in. However, the sun rays hit the ashes on 2nd October every year at the time of Gandhiji’s birth – so we were told. I assume the design is inspired by temples like Sun Temple at Modhera where sun rays fall on deities feet on given days.

Gandhi Mandapam foyer
Gandhi Mandapam foyer
Gandhi portrait
Gandhi portrait

Read MorePorbandar – the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi

Kamaraj Memorial

Besides Gandhi memorial is Kamaraj memorial, which is just a huge hall with a lot of pictures of Kamaraj.

Triveni Sangam or Tri-Sea Sangam – Holy Dip in Confluence

Right next to the Gandhi Mandapam is the Triveni Sangam or Tri-Sea Sangam or the confluence of three Seas. At this beach, while you face the south, the Bay of Bengal is on the left, the Arabian Sea on the right & the Indian Ocean straightforward. A dip in the Sangam of rivers & seas is considered a holy one that washes away one’s sins. Take care not to venture deeper into the rocky sea’s.

The sea at Kanyakumari is actually called Lakshadweep Sea.

Hinterland Landscape

Kanyakumari hinterland lush green landscape
Hinterland lush green landscape image – Shutterstock

On a sunny day post-monsoon, if you have time, explore the lush green paddy fields and hinterland landscapes lined with Coconut trees and backwaters.

Palm Fruit & Coconut Water

Beat the heat & humidity of the place with local fresh Palm fruits & Tender Coconut water. They are tasty, juicy & nutritious.

Palm fruit & Tender Coconuts
Palm fruit & Tender Coconuts

Places to visit near Kanyakumari – Day trips

You may do the following places visit on day trips or cover them en route to the destinations like Trivandrum. Do plan your trip accordingly.

Padmanabhapuram Palace & Fort

Padmanabhapuram Palace
Padmanabhapuram Palace

The biggest wooden structure in Asia, Padmanabhapuram Palace at Padmanabhapuram is located en route. It is a unique palace of the erstwhile Kings of Travancore who ruled from here between 1552-1790 CE. That includes the rule of its famous king Marthanda Varma of the dynasty.

Foyer Padmanabhapuram Palace - Kanyakumari Tourist Places
Foyer Padmanabhapuram Palace
Lord Krishna in woodwork at Padmanabhapuram Palace
Lord Krishna in woodwork at Padmanabhapuram Palace

Read MorePadmanabhapuram Palace of Travancore

Suchindram Temple or Thanumalayan Temple

If you travel from Trivandrum, Suchindram temple is en route. This temple is unique because here the chief deity is a combination of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva – all of them represented in one idol.

Suchindram Temple - Kanyakumari Tourist Places
Suchindram Temple – Must see Kanyakumari Tourist Places

The temple is also associated with the legend of Kanyakumari. It is said that Devi was waiting for Shiva on the rock in the sea dressed as a bride. There was a deadline for them to be married that day itself. Shiva went away for some work. Before he could reach the rock, he was at this temple. Narada, as usual, played a prank and made it appear as if the day has passed. So the Devi remains unmarried forever and came to be known as Kanyakumari.

Wooden Ratham or Chariot at Suchindram Temple
Wooden Ratham or Chariot at Suchindram Temple

She is still worshiped as a maiden waiting for Shiva dressed in bridal finery. Suchindram temple is a typical Chola-style temple with long corridors with carved pillars on both sides and painted ceilings. There were giant ornate chariots outside the temple that were getting soaked in the rain just like the devotees.

Suchindram Temple - Kanyakumari Tourist Places
Suchindram Temple or Thanumalayan Temple landscape image – Shutterstock

Other Kanyakumari Tourist Places on my bucket list

We could not visit the following tourist places due to the paucity of time. You may consider visiting them if you are planning a trip. Do gather more information before visiting them.

Vivekananda Kendra

Vivekananda Kendra - Kanyakumari Tourist Places to visit
Vivekananda Kendra image – Shutterstock

This is the hub of various activities by Vivekanand Kendra. Their latest project is Ramayana Darshanam Bharatmala Sadanam that will have a giant statue of Bharat Mata and Hanuman.

Museum of Wandering Monk

Walking distance from the shore is this small but important museum that celebrates the life of Swami Vivekananda. In a nutshell, it introduces the visitor to his works.

Thirparappu Waterfalls

It is a 300 feet long waterfalls about 50 feet deep. Thirparappu falls is 55 km away from the city. Next to these falls is an ancient Shiva temple called Mahadever Kovil with inscriptions dating back to the Pandya Era or about 9th CE.

Thirparappu Waterfalls - Kanyakumari Tourist Places
Thirparappu Waterfalls image – Shutterstock

This famous waterfall is on Kodayar River. The Kodayar river makes its descend at Thirparappu. This place is about 13 km from the downstream Pechiparai dam. It is a rain-fed seasonal waterfall. The waterfalls is attractive to visit for about 6 months of a year during and immediately past the monsoon season.

Marunthuvazh Malai Hill

The southernmost part of the Western Ghats in this district. Also called Marunthu Vazhum Malai meaning abode of medicinal herbs. According to mythology, the Marunthuvazh Malai hill is a fragment that fell down while Hanuman carried a mountain called Dronagiri from the Himalayas to Sri Lanka. As Hanuman could not identify/locate the life-saving Sanjeevani Booti (a medicinal herb), he carried the whole mountain to Lanka to enable treating the unconscious Lakshmana, brother of Lord Rama.

Read MoreRamayana Temples in Sri Lanka

Stone steps lead to the top of Marunthuvazh Malai hill. The hill is about 800 feet in height and stretches over a kilometer.

Stone steps which lead to the top of Marunthuvazh Malai hill
Stone steps which lead to the top of Marunthuvazh Malai hill image – Shutterstock

Chitharal Jain Temple – Explore these Kanyakumari Tourist Places

On way to the Thirupparappu falls, there are rock-cut caves with Digambara Jain temples called Chitharal Malai Kovil. There are sculptures of Jain Tirthankaras carved. These caves were excavated in 9th CE under the King Mahendravarman-I. In my view, they are the southernmost Jain temples in India.

Chitharal Jain Temple monuments - Kanyakumari Tourist Places
Chitharal Jain Temple monuments image – Shutterstock

Pechiparai Dam

Little ahead of Thirupparappu falls, is the Pechiparai dam on Kodayar river. Built during the reign of Travancore Kings it is worth visiting.

Vattakottai Fort

Vattakottai literally means a circular fort. This small fort stands on the southern edge of India. What is interesting about this fort is that it was built during the reign of Martanda Varma, the famous Travancore King, but by a Dutch Naval officer.

Vattakottai Fort - Kanyakumari Tourist Places
Vattakottai Fort image – Shutterstock
  • Muttom Beach
  • Nagercoil Beach
  • Cape Comorin
  • Windmill Park
  • Mathu Aquaduct
  • Manakudy Bridge
  • Flamingos birds sighting

Personally, visiting the Vivekananda rock was like crossing a hurdle that had been standing in front of me for years. I am happy finally I visited a dream destination.

Travel Tips for Kanyakumari Tourist Places

  • You need 3-4 days to explore.
  • Be prepared for overcast skies & unexpected showers.
  • Sunny days are hot & humid.

Kanyakumari Tourist Places

Do share your memorable thoughts after visiting these Kanyakumari Tourist Places.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Anuradha,

    Thank you for the beautiful article. It brought back several sweet memories. I was born and raised in Nagercoil. I had been to Kanyakumari several times. Never paid any attention to the details as you had noticed. I am very glad that you enjoyed your visit.
    I went to Kanyakumari last year and stayed there for a week.
    The changes in that place is heart breaking for me.Our family used to visit Kanyakumari every summer holidays. My sister and I used to play in the beach, collect shells and conches. Now it is very crowded and commercialized as in any other place in the world.
    I am very blessed to be a part of that place.

    • Sarguna ji, The population of our planet has tripled in the last 30 years or so, increasing population density everywhere. So, almost every place has become crowded compared to our childhoods. Commercialization is a natural outcome. Kanyakumari still has the charm when you look at the ocean and the Vivekananda Rock.

  2. Great! The very nice article very deeply explored all the things. The way you wrote and describe each and everything I like it very much. India is a very beautiful place for travellers. here are so many different-different places to explore and learn something new. When we visit our map we learn a lot from new places. New culture, New Environment, New language etc.
    Kanyakumari is the very best place for the tour and travel. It’s looking so beautiful and attracts the tourist with the eye-catching beauty of this.
    The most famous places like Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial connected us to our history. Visiting These king of places we can easily memorize the history.
    Also, I most like Thirparappu Waterfalls it’s amazing. Every people attract to enjoy the waterfalls.
    Thanks for such a great article. Keep sharing good content.

  3. Wow! great..The pictures were amazing. It take to reality. It was a very good article all it explored in and around Kanyakumari. It is a very beautiful place to visit and each and every one should visit that place. Sun rise and sun set was amazing there. The Thiruvalluvar statue was really exciting. All the things was really wonderful. Thank you for the post

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here