Kanyakumari is one of the most important tourist destinations in Tamil Nadu. It is famous for its moonrise and sunset. Best time to visit Kanyakumari is in the month of Chitthirai (April - May). We can see the moonrise and sunset in the same hour of full moon days during these months. This sunset and moonrise takes place when the sun and moon are face to face in a straight line along the horizon.
Kanyakumari is located at the tip of the Indian peninsula and its shows our antiquity of pre Himalayan days. Actually, kanyakumari is the residual part of the lost Lemuria, which extends up to the continents of Africa and Australia.
Kanyakumari was ruled by the Pandyas and later it parts were in Kerala. After the reorganisation of the states, Tamil speaking areas were seceded and the districts formed in 1956. Kanyakumari has rich sandy seashore with atomic minerals. The length of seashore is about 68km. Sands of beach are of different hues due to the mineral content. This is the meeting place of Tamil and Malayalam. Three sides of seas surround Kanyakumari. It enjoys a temperate climate. It is a major pilgrim centre.
Kanyakumari General Information
Kanyakumari is located at 8.08° North and 77.57° east. It has the meeting point of three bodies of water the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. Kanyakumari is the terminating point of the Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats. It is bounded by the Tirunelveli district on the north and the east.
The name of this place has been christened after the virgin goddess – Kanyakumari Amman. Mythological stories depict that Goddess parvati under the disguise of Devi Kanniya did a penance in one of the rocks in this area to reach the hand of Lord Shiva. This place is also a popular pilgrimage. The tourists who visit this southern most tip of India would certainly enjoy the exuberant scenes of the sunsets, the sunrises especially on full moon days. The nature of the sand in the beaches of Kanyakumari is unique as it is multicolored.
Lakhs of tourist, round the year are lured by the serene beauty of this place and the spectacles of sunrise and sunset. Though sunrise can be viewed throughout the year, sunset is visible only from October 15 to March 15 from this southernmost tip. But one can view both sunrise and sunset throughout the year from atop a hill called Murugan Kundram which offers a panoramic view of Kanyakumari. The sunset and moonrise can be seen almost simultaneously on full moon days from the same spot. It is a unique spectacle.
Amidst the sea there are two rocks known as ‘twin rocks’ both contributing to the rich Indian heritage with the monuments of swamy Vivekananda and Saint Thiruvalluvar.
Kanyakumari and its surroundings are believed to be part of the land which was created by Parasurama, incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Folktales and mythological stories speak volumes about Kanyamymari.
SOME STATISTICAL STUDY OF THE KANYAKUMARI
The total area of the land is 1,685 square kilometers. The population was 16,76,034 during the census taken in the year 2001. Every year the land receives 1,188.6 meters of rainfall. The maximum temperature goes to 35ºC and falls to a minimum of 21ºC. There are air, road and rail facilities for travelers and tourists to come and travel back. The nearest airport is about 87 kilometers away from Kanyakumari, located in Trivandrum (Kerala State). There are two railway junctions, one is the Kanyakumari Junction and the other is the Nagarcoil Junction. There are three bus terminus namely, (i) Central and Express Bus Stand (ii) Anna Bus Stand and (iii) Christopher Bus Stand.
Kanyakumari Amman Temple
Kanyakumari Amman temple is about at the end of Beach Road on the oceanfront; entry to the temple is through the northern gate. Located at the tip of the Indian peninsula, the small temple of Kumari Amman in Kanyakumari has been a spiritual magnet for centuries. It is believed that as the confluence of the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, the theerthams and bathing ghats of Kanyakumari are among the most sacred in the country. The passageway along the outer wall is unexceptional but the rolling sea, Vivekananda Rock Memorial and the Thiruvalluvar statue command attention. Astrologers, shopkeepers and hawkers peddle their wares on the way to the northern entrance. The temple is reached by a dark passageway with a gaggle of pushy priests who intercept visitors for money, though darshan is free. Standing in the sanctum sanctorum is the black idol of Kanyakumari, bedecked in bridal finery and a beautiful garland, her nose-ring glinting in the lamplight. She holds a double row of prayer beads in her hand. According to folklore, the brilliance of her diamond nose-ring acted like beacon for passing ships. Drawn by it, some vessels unwittingly crashed against the rocky shoreline, prompting the closure of the sea-facing eastern door! The main festivals are held in Vaikasi (May-June) and Navaratri (Sept-Oct).
Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Vivekananda Rock Memorial was built in the year of 1970. This memorial is dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, the greatest social reformer and saint that India has ever produced. The Swami Vivekananda had meditated on this rock where the memorial stands today at the end of 1892 before his departure to Chicago to participate in the World Religious conference in 1893. A Meditation hall is also attached with this memorial.
Nagercoil is about 19km from Kanyakumari. The Nagaraja temple is located here. Nagaraja (the Serpent God) is the presiding deity; the images of Lord Siva and Anantha Krishna are also enshrined here. The Images of the Jain Teerthankaras and Mahavira or found on the pillars of this temple. The Nagaraja is installed on the ground where it was originally found and the sand scooped out is given us prasadam to the devotees. The entrance of this temple has the Chinese architecture of Buddhist vihara.
Suchindram is about 13km from Kanyakumari. The Thanumalayan Temple is the repository of art treasures. The musical pillars and a huge 18feet high statue of Hanuman are the proof of Artistic skill of the time. Inscriptions of 9th century AD are found in this temple. The unique temple is dedicated to the Tirumurthys: Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma.
Kalakkadu and Mndanthurai
These wild life sanctuaries are situated in an extensive preserve: later declared as project Tiger reserve. Kalakkadu is situated in an area of 223 sq.km in Thirunelveli district. The flora ranges from tropical wet evergreen to tropical dry deciduous and thorn forest at down hills. Lion tailed macaque, Nilgiri Langur, bonnet macaque and common langur etc.