I am a marketing professional holding a postgraduate degree in management. I live in Chennai and have traveled extensively in Tamil Nadu.
Kanyakumari Town—called Cape Comorin by the Dutch in the early days—is at the southern tip of peninsular India. It is home to the only beach in India where one can see both the sunrise and sunset, as from a specific point, one can view the sea on both the eastern and western sides.
If you find yourself in this part of the country, here are 10 places you shouldn't miss.
Best Places to Visit in and Around Kanyakumari
- Swami Vivekananda Memorial
- Thiruvalluvar Statue
- Thirparappu Waterfalls
- Padmanabha Palace
- Suchindram Temple
- Gandhi Memorial Mandapam
- Muttom Beach
- Chitharal Jain Monuments
- Mathur Aqueduct
1. Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Swami Vivekananda was a Hindu monk and philosopher who lived in the 19th century. His lectures were well received across the world.
A memorial was built for him on a rocky island off the Kanyakumari coast in 1970, where it is believed that he attained enlightenment. One needs to take a short boat trip to reach this memorial. A meditation hall known as Dhyana Mandapam is the major attraction here.
2. Thiruvalluvar Statue
The Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar was the author of Tirukkural, which is considered one of the finest works on ethical and moral values. The couplets found within were written over two millennia ago, but they hold as true today as they did back then; the quality of the content was far ahead of its time.
A stone statue of the poet was erected in 2000 on a rocky island off Kanyakumari. There are 133 chapters in Tirukkural, and the height of the statue is 133 feet to match.
3. Thirparappu Waterfalls
Thirparappu Town is at a distance of 54 kilometres from Kanyakumari on the way to Trivandrum. Nature lovers should never skip this place. The 50-foot Thirparappu Falls are on the Kodayar River. It is safe to take a bath in the falls when the flow is moderate. One should also visit the Pechiparai Dam near Thirparappu.
4. Padmanabha Palace
Padmanabha Palace was built in the 17th century. The Padmanabhapuram Town was the seat of power for the Travancore Kingdom until the capital city was moved to Trivandrum later in the 18th century. The palace has stood the test of time and remains a fine example of Kerala architecture.
Though the palace complex is well within the state of Tamil Nadu, it is managed by the state of Kerala because of its cultural roots. This is a heritage attraction that one should not miss on their trip to Kanyakumari.
5. Suchindram Temple
Suchindram is a quaint little town between Kanyakumari and Nagercoil. It is known for its Suchindram Temple, otherwise known as Sthanumalayan Temple. The temple gives equal importance to the two main sects of Hinduism—Shaivaites and Vaishnavaites.
6. Gandhi Memorial Mandapam
Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, or Gandhi Mandapam, was built on the shores of Kanyakumari to honour Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi visited Kanyakumari twice in the 20th century. After his demise in 1948, they kept one urn containing his ashes in Kanyakumari for 12 days before scattering them at sea.
The memorial was later built on the same spot where the ashes were kept. What's more, on his birthday (October 2nd) each year, a special opening in the ceiling of the Mandapam allows the sun's rays to fall on the exact spot where his ashes were kept.
7. Muttom Beach
Muttom Beach is 31 kilometres from Kanyakumari. The beach offers the best sunset one can see in Tamil Nadu. Muttom Beach is also unique because of its large natural rocks not seen elsewhere in the state. This is just the beach for those who seek serenity and solitude.
8. Chitharal Jain Monuments
Chitharal, a town 45 kilometres from Kanyakumari, is known for its hillock cave containing rock-cut Jain monuments. This unique site is somewhere that both students of ancient history and anyone who appreciates heritage will enjoy.
Jainism had a major influence in Tamil Nadu in the earlier days. It is believed that the Chitharal Jain monuments were created over a long period from the 1st century BC to the 9th century AD.
9. Mathur Aqueduct
Mathur Aqueduct, located 60 kilometres from Kanyakumari, was constructed in 1965 by then-Chief-Minister Kamarajar as a drought-relief measure. It carries water from one hill to another for irrigation. It is a major tourist attraction for nature lovers, and it provides a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding greenery and mountains.
Nagercoil is the capital city of Kanyakumari District, at a distance of 20 kilometres from Kanyakumari Town. It is a larger town compared to Kanyakumari and an important trading center for the neighboring villages. The architecture in Nagercoil combines Dravidian, Kerala and English Gothic Revival Styles. This is the only town in Tamil Nadu that feels like a Kerala town in culture, architecture and geography.
There may be fewer Keralites living in Nagercoil, but the Nagercoil-Tamil dialect still has some influences from the neighboring Malayalam language. The residences are built in typical Kerala style, with a tiled roof, spacious gardens and interior courtyards.
Nagercoil is also an important shopping center. It is well known for cashew nuts, chips and baked goods. Agriculture thrives in the villages west of Nagercoil due to the region's copious rainfall. A drive from Nagercoil towards Trivandrum greets one with amazing greenery, including paddy fields and coconut groves.
Travel and Accommodation in Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari is well connected by road and rail to other parts of India. Thoothukudi and Thiruvanathapuram airports are the closest ones to Kanyakumari. It can be visited any time of the year, but the summer months from April to June are best avoided.
Hotel Temple Citi, Sparsa Resorts, Anantya Resorts, and TTDC Hotel are some stay options worth considering.
© 2019 Mohan Babu
Please leave your valuable comments.
Mohan Babu (author) from Chennai, India on May 12, 2020:
Thank you, Umesh. Yes, it is a serene place,
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on May 07, 2020:
I had been there. It is a serene place.
Mohan Babu (author) from Chennai, India on February 09, 2020:
Thank you so much. I am glad you liked the article.
Readmikenow on February 09, 2020:
This is an excellent article. You provided good information and some great pictures. I really enjoyed reading your article.
Mohan Babu (author) from Chennai, India on February 08, 2020:
Thank you Singh. I go there more often since many of our relatives live there.
MG Singh emge from Singapore on February 08, 2020:
Interesting account of a lovely place. I went there 10 years back and havechappy memories
Mohan Babu (author) from Chennai, India on January 01, 2020:
Liz, thank you for your encouraging comments.
Liz Westwood from UK on January 01, 2020:
This is a very well-illustrated and well-organised article. You have showcased this area very well.
Mohan Babu (author) from Chennai, India on December 30, 2019:
Thank you. I am sure you would enjoy a visit to this place.
Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on December 30, 2019:
I sure would love to visit some if these places. You make them come alive.