List of places that you can visit in and around Kanyakumari
Ideal for a 3 day trip to the southern tip of India
Kanyakumari has been a popular town in the Southern part of India since the Sangam period of Tamil history. Formerly known as Cape Comorin, the place gets its name from Devi Kanyakumari temple in the district. Well connected via road and rail, the place is a great tourist getaway with plenty of places to visit for a short vacation. It is one of the great seats of art and religion in Tamil Nadu and is incorrectly said to lie at the confluence of three water bodies (Triveni Sangamam). The best time to visit Kanyakumari is between October to February, also the peak tourist season. If you prefer the glistening green of monsoon, travel between June and September. Travel from March to May if you prefer surfing and the sun. Read on for the best places to visit in Kanyakumari.
VIVEKANANDA ROCK MEMORIAL
The Vivekananda Rock Memorial is probably the best landmark of Kanyakumari and for good reason. You cannot help but think of the long swim that Swami Vivekananda had to undertake to reach the place. Easy to see why he chose this place for his 3-day meditation. The rock looms large with the roaring ocean as a background as you alight from the ferry (for lack of a better word). The memorial has three places to visit – a room with the foot print of goddess Kanyakumari, a main hall and one small meditation room. The view from the adjoining Thiruvalluvar statue is great. Once you get over the awe-inspiring sight, check out the meditation room where the acoustics ensure every sound reverberates, within the room and within your head. Walk out and you will see the ocean fade into the horizon, absolute bliss.
The ferry which takes you from the Vivekananda Rock Memorial will also take to the Thiruvalluvar Statue. You realize that the statue is larger than the memorial but it lacks the grandeur of the latter. Thiruvalluvar – a great Tamil philosopher and poet – whose epic on virtuous living, still inspires people. Deserving of a 95 feet statue wouldn’t you say? Astounding views of the statue can be seen from the Vivekananda Memorial Rock. As the statue and pedestal are lit up during the night, the rock looks surreal against the backdrop of the night sea.
In the southern most beach of the peninsula, the waters of the bay, the sea and the ocean merge at one single point. At least it looks that way from vantage points which is behind the temple. People bathe there too calling it the Triveni Sangamam. Not everyone buys into this though. The best part of the beach is seeing the sun set over the skyline. Whatever be the reason that drives you to the beach, stay for the sunset. The ocean, the cool wind and hordes of people (or not, depending on the month of the visit). There is a sunset point close to the Kamarajar Mani Mandapam but the beach beats it hands-down.
Padmanabhapuram palace is a well-preserved place with a huge dining hall, a ministerial hall, bedrooms and a 6.5-acre backyard you could get lost in. The wood carvings are exquisite and can be compared to the stone carvings in Hampi or Lepakshi. It showcases intricate, incredible woodwork, artisan skills and designs, all of which are handmade. The Padmanabhapuram Palace is a beautiful piece of history that speaks a lot about the royal heritage in ancient Kerala. It used to be a part of Kerala and it still belongs to the Government of Kerala. Wear comfy shoes and be prepared to walk around, a lot. The guides in the palace are worth the money you pay them as they regale you with stories of the Palace’s history. They stay with you as you leave the Palace, even if you are wondering how many of them were actually true.
The Tirparappu Falls and the nearby Boat House offers an alternate water body experience to the sheer vastness of the ocean in Kanyakumari. The surroundings are clean, there is boating available and the strength of the falls waxes and wanes depending on when you visit. There are plenty of safety measures in place ensuring that the falls is kid-friendly.
Some more places to visit in your Kanyakumari trip.
A 1700 -year old temple which is still in use and is famous for its musical pillars. The place has an aura steeped in mysticism and religion. Its architectural grandeur is sure to stun you while the priests are more than happy to regale you with mythical tales.
Mathur Aqueduct and Hanging Bridge
For an unmatched view of the greenery surrounding Kanyakumari, travel for a couple of hours to the Mathur Hanging Bridge and Mathur Aqueduct. Take a walk along the aqueduct, you will be unable forget it for a long time.
Near the Triveni Sangamam, is a good photo point – A big hall in memory of the Father of our Nation. His ashes were placed here before they were washed away in the Triveni Sangamam. There are plenty of balconies to catch panoramic views of the surround waters and take snaps.
A visit to Our Lady of Ransom Church, Sunset View Point, Sothavilai Beach and the Jain Temple would be a good way to round off any trip to Kanyakumari.