Kanyakumari
Cape Comorin
Town
Kanniyakumari
Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanyakumari
Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanyakumari
Nickname(s): 
Kumari, Thiruvenisangam
Kanyakumari is located in Tamil Nadu
Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu
Kanyakumari is located in India
Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari (India)
Coordinates: 8°05′18″N 77°32′19″E / 8.088300°N 77.538500°E / 8.088300; 77.538500
CountryIndia
StateTamil Nadu
DistrictKanyakumari
Named forDevi Kanya Kumari
Government
 • TypeTown panchayat
 • BodyKanyakumari Town Panchayat
 • District CollectorP. N. Sridhar, IAS
 • Member of ParliamentVijay Vasanth
 • Member of Legislative AssemblyThalavai Sundaram
 • District Panchayath ChairmanS.Merliant Dhas
Area
 • Total25.89 km2 (10.00 sq mi)
Elevation
60 m (200 ft)
Population
 (2012)
 • Total29,761
 • Density665/km2 (1,720/sq mi)
Languages
 • OfficialTamil
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
PIN
629 702
Telephone code91-4652 & 91-4651
Vehicle registrationTN 74 & TN 75
Websitewww.kanniyakumari.nic.in

Kanyakumari (UK: /kənˈjʌkʊmær/; lit.'The Virgin (or Kanya) Princess' referring to Devi Kanya Kumari), officially Kanniyakumari, also known as Cape Comorin, is a city in Kanyakumari district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is the southernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent and the southernmost city in mainland India, and thus referred to as "The Land's End". The city is situated 90 kilometres (56 mi) south of Thiruvananthapuram city, and about 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of Nagercoil, the headquarters of Kanyakumari district.

Kanyakumari is a popular tourist destination and pilgrimage centre in India. Notable tourist spots include its unique sunrise and sunset points, the 41-metre (133 ft) Thiruvalluvar Statue, and Vivekananda Rock Memorial off the coast.[1] Lying at the tip of peninsular India, the town is bordered on the west, south, and east by the Laccadive Sea.[2] It has a coastline of 71.5 kilometres (44.4 mi) stretched along these three sides.[3]

On the shores of the city is a temple dedicated to the goddess Kanya Kumari (the virgin goddess), after which the town is named.[4] Kanyakumari has been a town since the Sangam period and was referred to in old Malayalam literature and in the accounts of Ptolemy and Marco Polo.[4][5][6]

History

Main article: Kanya Kumari Temple

Etymology

The place derives its name from the goddess Kanya Kumari, considered to be the sister of Krishna. The goddess is believed to remove the rigidity from the mind, and women pray for marriage at her temple. In 1656, the Dutch East India Company conquered Portuguese Ceylon from the Portuguese East Indies, and the name eventually corrupted to "Comorin" and was called "Cape Comorin" during British rule in India. In 2016, the town and its district were renamed to "Kanniyakumari" by the Government of India and the Government of Madras.[7][8]

Legend

According to a Hindu legend, Kanya Devi, an avatar of Parvati, was to marry Shiva, who failed to show up on his wedding day. Rice and other grains meant for the wedding feast remained uncooked and unused.[9] The uncooked grains turned into stones as time went by. Some believe that the small stones on the shore today, which look like rice, are indeed grains from the wedding that was never solemnised. Kanya Devi is now considered a virgin goddess who blesses pilgrims and tourists who flock to the town. Her temple in Kanyakumari is a Shakti Peetha: a holy shrine in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism.[10][11][12][13]

According to another Hindu legend, Hanuman dropped a piece of earth near Kanyakumari as he was carrying a mountain with his life-saving herb, Mrita Sanjivani, from the Himalayas to Lanka (Sri Lanka) during the Ramayana War. The fallen earth formed an area called Marunthuvazh Malai, literally "hills where medicine lives". This legend explains the abundance of unique native medicinal plants in the area.[14][15] Marunthuvazh Malai is located near Kottaram, about 7 km (4 mi) from Kanyakumari town on the Kanyakumari–Nagercoil highway. The sage Agasthya, who was an expert in medicinal herbs, is believed to have lived around this site in ancient days.[by whom?] There is an ashram on the middle of the hillside; tourists trek up to visit the ashram and to glimpse the sea near Kanyakumari town, a few kilometres away.[9]

Demographics

Religion in Kanyakumari town (2011)
Religion Percent(%)
Christian
61.16%
Hindu
32.97%
Muslim
5.47%
Other
0.39%

As per the 2011 Census, Kanyakumari town consisted of 61.16% Christians, 32.97% Hindus, and 5.47% Muslims.[16] It had a population of 19,739, comprising 9,884 males and 9,855 females, making the sex ratio (number of females per thousand males) of the town 997. A total of 2,403 people were under six years of age and the child sex ratio (number of females per thousand males under six years of age) stood at 1,024. The town had an average literacy of 88.62%, higher than the national average of 59.5%. There were a total of 4,236 households in the town.

As of 2001, Kanyakumari had a total of 5,929 main workers: 11 cultivators, 78 agricultural labourers, 66 in household industries, and 5,774 other workers. There were a total of 119 marginal workers: 4 marginal cultivators, 3 marginal agricultural labourers, 11 marginal workers in household industries, and 101 other marginal workers.[17]

Geography

Panoramic full view of the Thiruvalluvar Statue and the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, on the Laccadive Sea

Kanyakumari is located at 8°05′N 77°34′E / 8.08°N 77.57°E / 8.08; 77.57 [18] and has an average elevation of 30 metres. The peninsular tip of Kanyakumari is bordered on three sides by the Laccadive Sea. It is located at the confluence of the Western Coastal Plains and Eastern Coastal Plains. The nearest city is Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala (85 km (53 mi) away), and the nearest town is Nagercoil, the administrative headquarters of Kanyakumari district (22 km (14 mi) away).[citation needed]

Kanyakumari is at the southern tip and is the southernmost point of the contiguous Indian Subcontinent. As such, it is part of the common Hindustani phrase used to describe the length of India: "Kashmir se Kanyakumari"; before the partition, the phrase in undivided India was "Khyber se Kanyakumari".[19] However, the southernmost point of Republic of India is at Indira Point on Great Nicobar Island, at 6°45’10″N and 93°49’36″E.

Climate

Climate data for Kanyakumari (1981–2010, extremes 1961–2012)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 34.4
(93.9)
34.8
(94.6)
36.0
(96.8)
36.8
(98.2)
38.2
(100.8)
36.2
(97.2)
35.3
(95.5)
35.9
(96.6)
35.5
(95.9)
35.2
(95.4)
35.6
(96.1)
33.7
(92.7)
38.2
(100.8)
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 31.1
(88.0)
31.8
(89.2)
32.4
(90.3)
32.8
(91.0)
32.4
(90.3)
30.6
(87.1)
30.4
(86.7)
30.5
(86.9)
30.6
(87.1)
30.5
(86.9)
30.3
(86.5)
30.5
(86.9)
31.2
(88.1)
Daily mean °C (°F) 27.3
(81.1)
27.9
(82.2)
28.9
(84.0)
29.6
(85.3)
29.4
(84.9)
27.6
(81.7)
27.3
(81.1)
27.3
(81.1)
27.5
(81.5)
27.4
(81.3)
27.3
(81.1)
27.2
(81.0)
27.9
(82.2)
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 23.6
(74.5)
24.0
(75.2)
25.3
(77.5)
26.3
(79.3)
26.3
(79.3)
24.7
(76.5)
24.3
(75.7)
24.2
(75.6)
24.4
(75.9)
24.4
(75.9)
24.2
(75.6)
23.9
(75.0)
24.6
(76.3)
Record low °C (°F) 19.8
(67.6)
18.8
(65.8)
21.4
(70.5)
20.9
(69.6)
21.3
(70.3)
19.3
(66.7)
19.0
(66.2)
21.3
(70.3)
21.0
(69.8)
20.2
(68.4)
20.1
(68.2)
19.0
(66.2)
18.8
(65.8)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 14.1
(0.56)
7.0
(0.28)
17.9
(0.70)
61.9
(2.44)
58.7
(2.31)
87.7
(3.45)
43.9
(1.73)
31.8
(1.25)
44.1
(1.74)
121.5
(4.78)
176.7
(6.96)
50.2
(1.98)
715.5
(28.17)
Average rainy days 0.9 1.0 1.4 2.8 3.1 6.3 3.8 2.5 3.5 7.3 8.7 3.0 44.2
Average relative humidity (%) (at 17:30 IST) 66 68 70 74 77 79 79 79 80 80 75 68 75
Source: India Meteorological Department[20][21]

Notable landmarks

Thiruvalluvar Statue

Thiruvalluvar Statue

The Thiruvalluvar Statue is a 7,000-ton stone statue of poet and philosopher Valluvar. It has a height of 29 metres (95 feet) and stands upon an 11.5-metre (38 ft) rock that represents the 38 chapters of virtue in the Thirukkural. The statue standing on the rock represents wealth and pleasures, signifying that wealth and love be earned and enjoyed on the foundation of solid virtue.[22] The combined height of the statue and pedestal is 133 ft (40.5 m), denoting the 133 chapters in the Thirukkural.

The statue is reminiscent of a dancing pose of Nataraja. It was sculpted by the Indian sculptor V. Ganapati Sthapati, who also created the Iraivan Temple, and its opening ceremony was on 1 January 2000. The monument was hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26 December 2004,[23] but stood unaffected. The statue is designed to survive earthquakes of high magnitude.[citation needed] During maintenance work, as well as during rough sea, entry is restricted for tourists.[24][25]

Vivekananda Rock Memorial

Vivekananda Rock Memorial

The Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a popular tourist monument in Vavathurai, Kanyakumari, India. The memorial stands on one of two rocks in the Laccadive Sea, located about 500 metres (1,600 ft) east of the mainland of Vavathurai. It was built in 1970 in honour of Swami Vivekananda who is said to have attained enlightenment on the rock.[citation needed] According to local legends, it was on this rock that Goddess Kumari performed austerity. A meditation hall (Dhyana Mandapam) is also attached to the memorial for visitors to meditate. The design of the mandapa incorporates different styles of temple architecture from all over India. It houses a statue of Vivekananda.[26] The memorial consists of two main structures: the Vivekananda Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam.

Bhagavathy Amman Temple

Bhagavathy Amman Temple, Kanyakumari

Bhagavathy Amman Temple is a 3,000-year-old temple dedicated to Goddess Kumari Amman located at Kanyakumari on the shore of the Laccadive Sea. Kumari Amman is one of the forms of Devi, popularly known as "Kumari Bhagavathy Amman". The temple is the first Durga temple created by Lord Parasurama and one of the 108 Shakthi Peethas. It is mentioned in the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Purananuru.[27][28]

Gandhi Memorial Mandapam

Gandhi Memorial Mandapam, Kanyakumari

The Gandhi Memorial Mandapam has been built on the spot where the urn containing the Mahatma's ashes was kept for public viewing before immersion. Resembling central Indian Hindu temples in form, the memorial was designed such that on Gandhi's birthday, 2 October, the first rays of the sun fall on the exact place where his ashes were kept.[26]

Kamarajar Mani Mantapa Monument

Kamarajar Mani Mantapa Monument was raised and dedicated to K. Kamarajar, a freedom fighter, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, and President of Indian National Congress. He is also popularly known as "Black Gandhi" among the masses. Like the Gandhi Memorial Mandapam, this monument is where Kamarajar's ashes were kept for the public to pay homage before immersion into the sea.[29][better source needed]

Tsunami Memorial Park

Tsunami Memorial, Kanyakumari

Near Kanyakumari's southern shore stands a monument to the memory of those who died in the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, an underwater megathrust earthquake that claimed around 280,000 lives[citation needed] in many countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Thailand, Maldives, and Indonesia.

Localities

Tourism

Ferries transport tourists from the mainland to Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Tiruvalluvar Statue (where this photo was taken).

The state-owned Poompuhar Shipping Corporation runs ferry services between the town and the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar Statue, both situated on rocky islets off the coast. The operation of the ferry service began in 1984. Two ferries were used until June 2013, after which a third ferry was added to the service on the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Swamy Vivekananda.[30]

Transport

Rail

The Kanyakumari railway station and nearby Nagercoil railway station offer direct connection by rail to almost all metropolitan cities in India.[31]

Air

The nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, 90 km (56 mi) from Kanyakumari town and 70 km (43 mi) from Nagercoil.[32] Kanyakumari is 744 km (462 mi) from Chennai.[33]

Kanyakumari has heliports for VVIP visitors at the Tri Sea Hotel on Beach Road.

References

  1. ^ "India Getaways: 16 Reasons Why You Should be Holidaying in Tamil Nadu | Nat Geo Traveller India".
  2. ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. p. 21. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 October 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  3. ^ Kanniyakumari
  4. ^ a b "The eternal charm of Kanyakumari, that is situated at the tip of peninsular India..." The Hindu Images. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  5. ^ Kanakasabhai, V (1997). The Malayalees Eighteen Hundred Years Ago. Asian Educational Services. p. 10. ISBN 8120601505.
  6. ^ Abraham, Shinu (2003). "Chera, Chola, Pandya: using archaeological evidence to identify the Tamil kingdoms of early historic South India". Asian Perspectives. 42 (2): 207–223. doi:10.1353/asi.2003.0031. hdl:10125/17189. S2CID 153420843.
  7. ^ Kolappan, B. (13 May 2016). "It is now officially Kanniyakumari". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  8. ^ "Kanniyakumari District, Government of TamilNadu | Land of Cash Crops | India". kanniyakumari.nic.in. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  9. ^ a b "Legends of Kanya Kumari". Amritapuri. 8 February 2000. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  10. ^ "Shaktipeeth". Zee News. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  11. ^ Sharma, Divyanshi, ed. (3 October 2019). "Navratri 2019: Know the origin and existence of the 51 Shaktipeethas". Zee News. Archived from the original on 28 December 2021. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  12. ^ Shankar, Ravi (26 September 2021). "Motherlodes of Power: The story of India's 'Shakti Peethas'". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 26 September 2021. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  13. ^ Upadhyay, Lipi (23 September 2017). "Navratri for travellers: Visit these 51 Shakti-peeths and learn about their significance". India Today. Archived from the original on 28 December 2021. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  14. ^ "Natural products used by the Kanikkars of Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu, India". ResearchGate.
  15. ^ "Medicinal plants of sacred groves in Kanyakumari district Southern Western Ghats". ResearchGate.
  16. ^ "Population By Religious Community - Tamil Nadu". Office of The Registrar General and Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2011., Town code: 803939, Area Name: Kanyakumari (TP); Table C-1 Tamil Nadu (XLS)
  17. ^ "Primary census abstract 2001". Directorate of Census Operations – Tamil Nadu. 2001. Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  18. ^ Falling Rain Genomics, Inc – Kanyakumari
  19. ^ Rajghatta, Chidanand (27 June 2017). "Attock to Cuttack, PM Narendra Modi causes a stir". The Economic Times. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  20. ^ "Station: Kanyakumari Climatological Table 1981–2010" (PDF). Climatological Normals 1981–2010. India Meteorological Department. January 2015. pp. 383–384. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  21. ^ "Extremes of Temperature & Rainfall for Indian Stations (Up to 2012)" (PDF). India Meteorological Department. December 2016. p. M195. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  22. ^ "Kanyakumari", District Court, Kanyakumari.
  23. ^ "Details About the Statue of Thiruvalluvar". National Informatics Centre. Archived from the original on 18 June 2018. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  24. ^ "Entry to Thiruvalluvar statue suspended for 6 months for maintenance work", The Times of India, 17 April 2017.
  25. ^ "Our District", District Court, Kanyakumari.
  26. ^ a b Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 179.
  27. ^ "History of Kumari Amman Temple". 10 January 2016.
  28. ^ "Kumari Amman Temple, Kanyakumari - Hello Prabhu". www.helloprabhu.com. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
  29. ^ "Places to Visit in Kanyakumari". TripAdvisor. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  30. ^ "Third ferry service launched in Kanyakumari". The Hindu. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  31. ^ "Kanyakumari railway station needs better infrastructure". The Hindu. 18 February 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  32. ^ "Kanyakumari". Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  33. ^ "Kanyakumari District". Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2012.