Amazing Places to Visit in Kanyakumari: We began a journey from the end of India. Yes from Kanyakumari, the southern tip of the subcontinent that showcases the merge of Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, and the Arabian Sea. We stayed a whole day, from the sunrise to sunset, in Kanyakumari before we set off for our 30 days road trip – #outonroads4hornbill. You may not find an Indian who doesn’t wish to visit Kanyakumari, at least for once, before he die. I had been to this place several times, but this time it was different, or may be I explored the place in a different way.
Kanyakumari, the southernmost city of Indian peninsula, has the unique prominence of being a coastal city where you can spectate the sunrise and sunset from the beaches there. We decided to spend a whole day to explore various attractions in and around Kanyakumari. However, we stayed overnight in a friend’s (Vijilesh‘s) home at Eraniel. Started off from Kochi by 12:00 noon, we took almost 9 hours and 30 minutes to cover a distance of 280 kilometers, to reach his home.
We were late, but I did not wish to loose a chance for taking a refreshing dip in the pellucid waters of a stream that giggled and jiggled behind his house. The bath and the late night dinner dragged us to a deep sleep, but only after a quick check on google to note next day’s sunrise time – 6:13 am. Neither the slumber nor the crisp of air could hold us on bed after 4:00 am next day. We were quick to be out on the roads for hunting down the major attractions to explore in and around Kanyakumari.
What are the most amazing places to visit in Kanyakumari?
Kanyakumari was lively even before sunrise. People from all around the world assembled at the sunrise view point much before the time that we arrived the spot. We were almost 15 minutes prior to the event, and the place was vast enough to accommodate another 300 people to witness the rebirth of our glowing star. A few women, old and middle-aged, had already began their worship while most of us peeped the lord of light through the camera lens. As the population was waiting for the rising sun, a few fishermen were returning from the sea with their catch.
Soon the master of heat glanced the world over the vastness of water to spread several rays of hope and buoyancy. Our the lazy eyes and idle feet sprung into motion; people clicked the moments to preserve them in their cameras while the fishermen were still busy carrying their catch to the market.
In a few minutes, like all others, we too lost our interest in the raging star. We all rushed towards the boat jetty where from we wanted to sail across the blue ocean to reach the firm rock that beholds Vivekananda Memorial. However, the boat service would start only after 8:00 in the morning. To avoid the crowd, we decided to stroll a few minutes on the street and pay a visit to the famous Kanyakumari Devi Temple. Photography was restricted within the temple premises, but we took this place as the second among the most amazing places to visit in Kanyakumari.
As we reached the boat jetty, after visiting Devi temple and a quick breakfast (around 9:10 am), the population was considerably feeble in comparison to the morning crowd. Five minutes boat journey over the blue waters of Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean, or Arabian Sea (I don not know which one exactly), took us to the most celebrated Vivekananda Rocks. Once again the restrictions on photography and videography stopped us from shooting the interiors, but we walked around and captured the exteriors of Vivekananda Memorial and Sree Padham Temple. The story of Sree Padham Temple took us to the epic age when Kanyakumari Devi stood there on the rocks to do her tapsya for gaining the hand of Lord Shiva. Our 60 minutes expedition on the rock defined Vivekananda Rock as our third spot among the major places to visit in Kanyakumari.
The waves that hit the rock were strong, but not enough to move that massive stone by even a bit. A distant view of the pristine beaches and the tiny wind wheels with the emerald green waters and tender blue sky in the backdrop filled our mind with joy.
Boat ride costs Rs. 34 per head
Entry fee to Vivekananda Memorial is Rs. 20 per head
Well, we couldn’t avoid Thiruvalluvar Statue from our list of fantastic places to visit in Kanyakumari, but the absence of boat rides to the statue forced us to satisfy our wish by capturing the views from Vivekananda Rock. The statue that stood 133-feet tall on a rock that was not far from Vivekananda Rock proclaimed the noble works of the Tamil poet and philosopher Tiruvalluvar. The height of the statue denotes 133 chapters of the Tirukkural that was authored by Poet Thiruvalluvar. Though we missed the chance, we wouldn’t recommend you to to miss this place during your visit to Kanyakumari. And, this is our fourth major attraction in Kanyakumari.
Sea continued rough, but we returned safe to the mainland and walked past the Kanyakumari Devi temple to reach the Kalmandapam. This ancient rock-made architecture served travelers an inn during the olden days and still standing firm on the sands of Kanyakumari. Not far from Kalmanadapam is Gandi Mandap or Mahatma Gandhi Memorial. We strolled through the sands and walked into Gandhi Mandap on our bare feet. As we stood before the place where the ashes (remains) of Mahatma Gandhi were kept before immersion, the stories of that great freedom fighter rolled through my mind. We regarded Mahatma Gandhi memorial as the 5th among our top places to visit in Kanyakumari and packed our cameras to relax and take our lunch from a nearby vegetarian restaurant.
An ordinary south Indian Meal with white rice, sambar, pulisseri, and many varieties of vegetable curries (dry as well as with gravy), were served with my favorite payasam – ada pradhaman. An early scrumptious meal and the warm weather surely pushed us to the verge of dormancy, but we were well aware about the time that we had in Kanyakumari. We spent the next six hours like machines to cover 4 more destinations, quick and brisk.
We drove faster than our usual 60 kilometers speed to reach Vattakottai before 12:30 pm. The fort that was built under the supervision of Captain Eustachius De Lannoy (an ex-Dutch naval officer) is just 8 kilometers from Kanyakumari. It was not the fort that charmed us, but the spectacular view of the sea and its shores from the top of the fort that helped us to confirm this spot as the sixth in our list of amazing places to visit in Kanyakumari. The soft green grasses within the tall walls of the fort compelled us to take a nap on them, yet we controlled our floating mind. A refreshing breeze that caressed us sung the songs of great warriors from the kingdom of Travancore.
The warriors of Travancore kingdom reminded us of our next destination near Kanyakumari – Padhmanabhapuram Palace. We covered the next 33 kilometers from Vattakottai in less than an hour to reach Padhmanabhapuram Palace that was open for public to visit and experience the architectural amusements of 15th and 16th centuries. As lonely planet says about his place, a forest’s worth of intricately carved rosewood ceilings and polished-teak beams, is a fantastic illustration of Kerala’s traditional architecture. Though the oldest structure of this heritage attraction dates to 1550 AD, the palace eventually expanded into a grandiose cluster with magnificent courtyards, long corridors, wood grooved roof, and several palaces. It took almost an hour or even more for us to cover the entire palace and its surroundings.
We were well aware about the time for sunset (5:57 pm); once again thanks to google. In spite of our stiff schedule, we decided to explore Suchindram Temple on our way back to Kanyakumari. Just 11 kilometers before Kanyakumari, Suchindram is a place that you must never miss out during your visit to the southern tip of India. The temple is an architectural marvel that depicts the impeccable artistry on stone. One of the major attractions here is the musical pillars which were carved out from granite blocks. The huge pond on one side of the temple and the mandap in its center got my attention. A walk around the pond took me about 15 minutes to get a glimpse of the houses and shops associated to the temple.
A visit to Kanyakumari is complete only if you experience the place from sunrise through sunset. We were left with the sunset in Kanyakumari, and those 11 kilometers from Suchindram Temple to the sunset point in Kanyakumari beach appeared too much for us to cover in 30 minutes. The sun was glowing its glory and the wind was proclaiming the day’s end. We parked our car nearby the viewpoint, grabbed our cameras, and rushed towards the edge. A sight that would take away all our egos, the burning aggressive sun was now a feeble red dot that diminishes in the vastness of ocean.
This was our first day from our 30 days road trip to Northeast India. You can use our experience in Kanyakumari to identify top attractions or places to visit in Kanyakumari in 1 day. If you find it difficult to cover all these places in 1 day, you can also include Mathoor Bridge on the way to Trivandrum and make your trip to 2 days.
Author: E Jey
Just a passionate traveler who loves scribbling his expeditions @ www.jauntmonkey.com, www.outonroads.com, and www.blogthatall.com