Kanniyakumari Where Beauty, History And Serenity Meet

This coastal city is home to India's finest beaches, fascinating history, and exquisite heritage crafts
Padmanabhapuram Palace.
Padmanabhapuram Palace.

Kanniyakumari is a city of many tales. Originally named after the goddess Devi Kanniyakumari, Lord Krishna's sister, it evolved through India's many passages of history.  

When the Dutch East India Company conquered Portuguese Ceylon, it was renamed Comorin, and during the British era, this Portuguese name evolved to Cape Comorin. After Independence, the Indian government went back to the original, Kanniyakumari.  

Kanniyakumari is a glorious destination for every kind of traveller. From forts that unravel stories of its historical past and temples where divinity echoes to stunning beaches, the city in India's southernmost tip has them all. 

Witness Grand Wonders  

In Kanniyakumari, you can witness architectural wonders like the Mathoor Hanging Bridge, considered Asia's tallest and longest trough bridge. Under the 7 ft tall and 7 ft 6 inches wide engineering marvel, the Mathoor river runs through. Built to transport water for irrigation, the bridge has transcended its functional roots to become a sight to behold.  

Another wonder worth the visit is the 41 metres tall Thiruvalluvar Statue overlooking the ocean. It was created by the well-known Indian architect, V. Ganapathi Sthapathi as a tribute to Tamil Nadu's famed poet, Thiruvalluvar, and was inaugurated on 1st January, 2000 by Tamil Nadu&rsquos then Chief Minister Dr M. Karunanidhi. 

Thiruvalluvar was most known for his celebrated work, Tirukkural&ndasha collection of couplets on diverse subjects like love, politics, ethics, and economics spread across three books. The 95 feet tall and 7000 tonne statue is known to represent the second and third books&ndashbased on wealth and love, while the 38 feet pedestal represents the first&ndashvirtue.   

A Historical Tour  

Kanniyakumari's history is made up of fascinating stories that come to life at many centuries-old sites. One of them is Vattakottai Fort&ndasha magnificent structure built in the 18th century when the kingdom of Travancore ruled over the region. Spread across 3.5 acres of land and perched at a significant height, the stone structure presents a breathtaking view of the azure sea. 

Tamil Nadu&rsquos shared history with Kerala, under the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore, finds a beautiful retelling in Padmanabhapuram Palace. Even though the complex is located in Tamil Nadu, it is owned and operated by the Government of Kerala. Spread over 6.5 acres of land, it is considered one of Asia's largest wooden palaces. The interior and exterior feature intricate designs, complete with woodwork and sculptures reminiscent of Kerala&rsquos unique architectural style. 

Equally impressive and steeped in history is the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, built in honour of India's greatest spiritual leader and philosopher, Swami Vivekananda. It is believed that the rock on which the memorial stands is where Vivekananda attained enlightenment and where Devi Kanniyakumari prayed to lord Shiva. Here, you can witness the confluence of distinct architectural styles and the magical convergence of the three oceans&ndashthe Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.  

The Gandhi Memorial Mandapam is yet another site rich in history and beauty. Set against the deep-blue ocean, the memorial exudes a tranquil aura. Gandhi's bond with Kanniyakumari was special&ndashhe visited the city twice in 1925 and 1937 when he embarked on a nationwide journey spreading messages of freedom.  

In 1948, when Gandhi passed away, 12 urns with his ashes were transported to different parts of the country to be immersed. Of them, one was brought to Kanniyakumari. The spot where the urn was kept before immersion is where the memorial has been built. 

Take In Nature&rsquos Magic 

The coast of Kanniyakumari is home to some of India's serene beaches, where you can enjoy blissful moments or experience adventurous water sports. At Sanguthurai beach, you can witness an awe-inspiring view of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar Statue. The sculpture of 'Sangu' or conch, believed to belong to the time of the Chola dynasty, adds to the beautiful views here. The beach is ideal for trying out different water sporting activities&ndashparasailing is the most popular choice among visitors. There&rsquos also a play area for kids and many cottages around where you can unwind.  

Kanniyakumari beach is another popular spot that offers unforgettable sunset and sunrise views over the convergence of three oceans&ndashthe Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. This beach is also another fantastic vantage point to view the Thiruvalluvar statue. The best time to visit this beach for a unique experience is during the months of April to May when &ldquoChithra Paurnami&rdquo occurs&ndashon this day you can see the sun and moon face each other on the same horizon.   

If you want to visit an off-beat and less crowded beach, head to Sothavilai beach. It remains relatively unexplored, and therefore, is the perfect place to relax. The shore is 4 km long and is considered to be one of the longest beaches in the state. Since the water here is shallow, it is just the right place to go swimming. If you want to simply lay back and enjoy an easy day, there are many cottages around where you can do so.  

If you find beauty in gushing waterfalls, then the Thiruparappu Waterfalls, situated 55 km from Kanniyakumari, would surely enchant you. Descending from 50 ft above, the River Kodayar lends a stunning visual. It is located 13 km from the enormous Pechiparai Dam amidst lush greenery and near a popular temple flanked by several tourists and devotees. 

How to reach The nearest airport and railway station is located in Trivandrum and Nagercoil respectively. From there, many buses and taxis ply to Kanniyakumari. If you are travelling by road, many buses run from major cities like Pondicherry, Coimbatore, Madurai and Chennai. 

Best time to visit The best time to visit is from November to March. 

Nearby attractions Do ensure to visit Suchindram Shree Thanumalayan Swamy Temple, Chitharal Jain Rock Cut Temple, Chittar Dam, and Vattakottai Beach.  

Find more information on https://www.tamilnadutourism.tn.gov.in

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