Kanyakumari formally known as Cape Comorin, is a town in Kanyakumari District in Tamil Nadu. It lies at the southernmost tip of mainland India. Contrary to the popular belief that Kanyakumari lies at the meeting point of three bodies of water, it borders only one: the LaccadiveSea to the southwest, south, and to the southeast. It is the confluence of the Western Coastal Plains and Eastern Coastal Plains. The place is the southern tip of the Cardamom Hills, an extension of the Western Ghats range along the west coast of India. Kanyakumari, now a popular tourist destination, was one of the important towns of the ancient Tamilakam (Sangam period).
Kanyakumari has been a great centre for art and religion for centuries. It was also an area of great trade and commerce. It was ruled by the Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Nayaks. The architectural beauty of the temples is credited to these rulers. The place is considered a holy place for Hindus as there is the presence of two Shakti Peethas (The holiest shrine of Mother goddess) here, Bhagavathy temple and Shuchindram out of the 51 Shakti Peethas all over South Asia. This is a rare temple in India where the Goddess is worshipped as a child. The rites and rituals are done in Kerala Namboothiri tradition. The deity is the goddess of Sanyasa as per Hindu religion. So the people everywhere from India who desire devote their life as Sanyasin comes here and takes the deeksha.Swami Vivekananda came in this temple as directed by his Guru Shri Ramakrishna Prarama Hamsa, being a Sanyasin. The temple is very old and is mentioned in ancient Sanskrit literatures. The sands of sea is multi coloured.
In Ptolemy’s geography, he identified Kanyakumari (Cape of Comorin) along with the Gulf of Mannar as a center for pearl fishery and identified Korkai, a place to the east of Kanyakumari, as an emporium of pearl trade.
The sage Agasthya, also an expert in medicinal herbs, is believed to have lived around this site in ancient days. Some believe this is why so many medicinal herbs are to be found on the hills near Kanyakumari. Agastheeswaram, a village nearby Kanyakumari is names after the Sage. A small ashram on the middle of the Maruthuvazh Malai hill is frequented y tourists , after a short trek from the base of the hill, both to visit the Ashram and also to take a glimpse of the sea near Kanyakumari a few kilometres away, and for the serene greenery below.
Vivekananda Rock is located about a hundred meters from the shore and a regular ferry service exists between the mainland and the rock. The Rock has two Mandaps (halls); one belonging to Swami Vivekananda and the other belonging to a Holy Foot. The Holy Foot is a foot shaped carving found on the rock and is believed to be the footprint of Goddess Kumari who stood on this rock on one leg and performed the Tapasya (penance). The Rock memorial has a tall statue of Swami Vivekananda. Here you can see both sunrise and sunset and it is one of the main tourist attractions here. Golden Hues of the Horizon with a silhouette of the Rock Memorial are very impressive.
Vivekanandapuram is a peaceful area in Kanyakumari, is maintained by the Ramakrishna Mission. The place offers a spectacular view of the sunset or sunrise. The rock supports a huge statue of the saint Thiruvalluvar, Thiruvalluvar Statue, the greatest Tamil poet carved out of many rocks that were then joined together. The statue is about 133 feet long which corresponds to 133 chapters in the greatest epic written by the saint – Thirukkural. Tourists can climb up to the feet of the statue. The view from this point is quite breathtaking! It is a very entertaining and enlightening piece of work and inspires one to lead a very principled and moral life. The beauty of Kanyakumari is memorable for any tourist visiting the place and people find themselves attracted to it. Mahatma Gandhi too could not resist its charm, Gandhi Mandapam is dedicated to him.
Our Lady of Ransom Church, located on the shoreline of the Bay of Bengal, the 100-year-old Church of Our Lady of Ransom is dedicated to Mother Mary, the Padmanabhapuram Palace is the erstwhile palatial residence of the rulers of Travancore, the Kamarajar Mani Mantapa Monument was raised and dedicated to a freedom fighter and Former Chief minister of Tamil Nadu are some other must see places of Kanyakumari.