The Ultimate Droplet of India
|State||: Tamil Nadu|
|Type of Tourism||: Heritage Tourism|
|Area||: 25.89 sq. km (10 sq. mile)|
|Population||: 19,678 (As per Indian census- 2001)|
|Altitude||: 0.300 meters|
|Languages spoken||: Tamil, Malayalam, English.|
|Telephone Code||: India (04652), International (+91)|
|Pin Code||: 629702|
|Best Tourist Season||: October to March|
|Clothing recommended||: Light Cotton, Light Tropical|
|What to buy||: Sea Shells, Conches, Personalized Conch with your name inscribed on it, Pearls, Star Fish shells, Colorful Sand Packets, Straw Hats, Hair Clips and Hair Bands made of coconut shells, Sea Shell Artifacts, Kaleidoscopes, Traditional Saris and Dress Materials.|
|Food Specialties||: Idly, Sambar, Masala Dosa, Dosai, Medu Vada, South Indian Rotis, Other South Indian Food items.|
|Local transportation||: City Buses, Vivekanandapuram Buses, Auto Rickshaws (Tuk - Tuk), Rented Taxis or Bikes.|
Kanyakumari is the vicinity where the three great marinades – the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal grapple one another. It is the geographical end of the Indian mainland and the southernmost point of the great Indian Peninsula. Also reckoned as ‘Cape Comorin’, Kanyakumari is the realm of Self Awakening and the axis of art, culture, civilization and trade. Appropriately titled as ‘Alexandria of the East’, Kanyakumari is one of the exiguous places across the world where the artistry of both sunrise and sunset can be beheld at the same oceanfront.
Nagercoil, situated just 20 kilometers from the Kanyakumari town, is the headquarters of Kanyakumari district. Pinpointed for having the topmost literacy rate, Kanyakumari is honored to be the premier educated district of Tamil Nadu. Kanyakumari has been accurately identified by Ptolemy as the cardinal cynosure of pearl fishery.
The alliance with the legendary philosopher and the foremost dignitary of India - Swami Vivekananda has made this town popular in every corner of the world. Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Vivekananda Kendra, The temple of Kumari Amman, The Gandhi Memorial, the enormous statue of Thiruvalluvar – a great Tamil Poet, etc are some of the prominent attractions of Kanyakumari. The terrestrial uniqueness, the religious, historical and cultural heritage and endowment of natural comeliness of Kanyakumari draw swarms tourists from pole to pole.
Named after the Kumari Amman Temple (The temple of Virgin Goddess), Kanyakumari has an interesting mythological background. As the Hindu allegory records, the Kanya Devi or Kumari Amman - the incarnation of Goddess Parvati accomplished a severe penance to please Lord Shiva and win him as her husband. Lord Shiva granted her the boon and started for the place where she was dwelling. He was supposed to reach the wedding arena before the dawn. But a certain intrigue carried out by other deities hoaxed him.
Actually the Goddess Kanya was designed to kill a demon named Banasur. But there was a condition behind that. The prerequisite suggested that Kanya can only destroy Banasur if she retains her virginity. So it was essential to abort the marriage. Lord Shiva had arrived at the place called Suchindram and it was not day break yet, when the sage Narada made the bogus sound of a rooster. Disappointed Lord Shiva, perceiving that he had missed the auspicious hour stayed at the very place. Dismayed Kumari Devi vowed to squander rest of her life as a virgin at Kanyakumari. Later she triumphantly killed the demon Banasur. The food that had been cooked for the wedding was withered. It is believed that the food has transformed into the polychrome sand today.
Conforming to another parable, Lord Hanuman, on his way to ‘Shri Lanka’ when Ram – Ravan battle was going on, dropped a portion of Sanjivani Mountain at this place. That fragment of earth came to be known as ‘Marunthuvazh Malai’, which means, ‘the hill where medicines grow’. This ‘Marunthuvazh Malai’ is situated 7 kilometers from Kanyakumari. It is also believed that the sage Agasthy used to reside here because of the abundance of medicinal herbs. There is a small village near Kanyakumari called Agastheeswaram, named after Sage Agasthy.
History of Kanyakumari
The history of Kanyakumari is blooming with the records of various kings of different dynasties who commanded it through centuries. Cholas, Cheras, Pandyas and Nayakas are the successive rulers of Kanyakumari. In 1609 Kanyakumari belonged to Nayaka Dominion and the King Viswanatha Nayak of Madurai administered the reigns. Afterwards Kanyakumari fell into the hands of Venad kings and Padmanabhapuram furnished as the state capital. Later, ‘Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma’ - the well known Venad king extended the boundaries of his kingdom till Azhva and established a new state named ‘Travancore’. He administered from 1729 AD to 1758 AD. During this period of time Kanyakumari was known as Southern Travancore.
The outstanding ‘Battle of Colachel’, when the King Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma overthrew the Dutch East India Company is a milestone in the history of Kanyakumari. Travancore Kings ruled Kanyakumari till 1947 AD. This was the golden period for both social and economic progress of the state. After the independence of India, in 1949 Kanyakumari was combined with Travancore-Cochin State. Tamil speaking people were not very happy with this merger and under the leadership of Marshal Nesamony they undertook a rebellion in support of integrating Kanyakumari with Tamil Nadu.
The mutiny was a success and as a result Kanyakumari was united with Tamil Nadu state in 1956. ‘Indian States Reorganization Act’ which followed linguistic recognition of states of India had acted in favor with them. 1st November 1956 was the auspicious day when the formation of Kanyakumari district took place. The new district consisted of four Taluks: Agasteeswarem, Thovalai, Kalkulam and Vilavancode.