Kanyakumari

From Academic Kids

Kanyakumari is a town and a cape at the southernmost tip of the Indian peninsula. It is located in the state of Tamil Nadu. During British rule, it was known as Cape Comorin. The closest major city is Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala.

The Kanyakumari district is one of the worst affected districts in the recent Tsunami on 26th Dec 2004.

Contents

Geography

Kanyakumari lies at the meeting point of three bodies of water: the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. It is situated in 8 4' 20 N., 77 35' 35 E., and is the terminating point of the Western Ghats.

History

Kanyakumari was once referred to as the Alexandria of the east. This place has been a great center for art, culture, civilization, and pilgrimage for years. It was also a famous center for commerce and trade. During the early part of the eighth century AD Islam entered the southern part of India through the sea route with traders and missionaries. Through St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ, Christianity arrived in this area in AD 52. Islam, Christianity and Jainism have greatly contributed to the architectural wealth and literary heritage of this place. Kanyakumari was also under the control of the Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Nayaks who were great rulers of south India. The architectural beauty of the temples is the work of these rulers. During the British Raj, Kanyakumari was bestowed the dry title of Cape Comorin, necessitated perhaps by the Englishmen's inability to pronounce local names. Legend has it that Kanya Devi, an avatar of Goddess Parvati, was to wed Lord Shiva, the destroyer in the Hindu trinity. But he did not turn up at the auspicious time and the wedding never took place. The rice and cereals meant for the marriage remained uncooked. Even today, one can buy stones there that look exactly like rice and cereals. Local folks believe that they are the leftovers of the legendary marriage that could not be solemnized. As for the princess Kanya Devi, she became a virgin goddess blessing pilgrims and tourists alike.

Best time to visit

Due to its proximity to the sea, Kanyakumari enjoys a pleasant climate and can be visited throughout the year. However, the best season to visit this place would be between October and March. During summers, the temperature can rise to a high of 35 °C while it can dip to a low of 20 °C during winters.

Sites to visit

The Kumari Amman or the Kanyakumari Temple, located on the shore, is dedicated to a manifestation of Parvati, the virgin goddess who did penance to obtain Lord Shiva's hand in marriage. The temple and the adjoining ghat, picturesquely situated overlooking the shore, attract tourist from all over the world. The diamond nose-ring of the deity is famous for its sparkling splendor said to be visible even from the sea. Two rocks reach out of the ocean, southeast of the Kumari Amman temple. One of these is Sri Padaparai, where the footprints of the virgin goddess are said to be imprinted on this rock, Swami Vivekananda is said to have sat in deep meditation and here also stands the famous Vivekananda Rock Memorial built in 1970. There is a dhyana mandapam where one can sit in a serene atmosphere and meditate. Ferry services are available to reach the memorial. The striking Gandhi Memorial 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 so designed that on Mahatma Gandhi's birthday (October 2), the first rays of the sun fall on the exact place where the ashes of the father of the nation were kept. Here comes India's one of the best places, a visit worthy place.

Places near by

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Swamithoppe pathi
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Padmanabhapuram Palace
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Thiruchendur Temple

Vattakottai (literally, circular fort) is an 18th-century fort overlooking the sea, located six km from Kanyakumari. The Udayagiri Fort (34 km), built by King Marthanda Varma (AD 1729-1758), has a foundry for casting guns. The king's trusted European general De Lennoy's grave is located within this fort.The Swamithoppe Ayya Vaikundar Temple situated 10 Kms north-west of Kanyakumari is one of the famouse temples in Tamilnadu.Though structurely not so massive it is well known for it's non-idolatory system of worship. Situated 13 km from Kanyakumari, Suchindram bears the imprint of various kingdoms. The Thanumalayan temple here is a repository of art treasures belonging to those kingdoms. The temple is famous for its musical columns and its impressive 6 m -tall statue of the monkey god, Hanuman. The main deity in the form of a shivling represents Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma, the trinity of the Hindu pantheon. Ancient inscriptions dating back to the ninth century are found in this place. The Nagaraja Temple at Nagarkoil (20 km) is a magnificent temple with Nagaraja as the main deity. There are also shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and Vishnu. The entrance to this temple is reminiscent of the Chinese architecture of a Buddhist Vihar. Nagercoil is 19 km from Kanyakumari on the way to Padmanabhapuram. Padmanabhapuram Palace (45 km) is a large mansion of the Travancore Kings. It is known for its fascinating natural splendor. Tiruchendur (85 km) is the site of a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Subramanya. The temple located here on the shore of the Bay of Bengal is one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya. The location of the temple draws a perennial stream of devotees. The temple overlooking the singing sea is an inspiring sight. The Courtallam Fall (137 km) is perched at a height of 167 m. Its water is believed to contain medicinal properties.

Fairs & festivals

The Chaitra Purnima Festival (the April full-moon day, celebrated in the first week of May), Navratri (last week of October), and the Holy Annual Festival of the Roman Catholic Church (fourth week of December) are the notable festivals celebrated in Kanyakumari.The day of rise ofAyya Vaikundar which is celebrated in the first week of March as Ayya vaikunda Avataram was also a major festival of the district which attracts a huge crowd even from other states towards swamithoppe the epi-center of the religion Ayyavazhi.This day was a local holiday for the District.

How to reach

The nearest airport is at Trivandrum (80 km). It is directly connected with Bangalore, Bombay, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, and Madras by regular flights. Kanyakumari is connected to Trivandrum, Delhi, and Bombay by broad-gauge railway network. Tirunelvelli (80 km) is the other nearest railway junction and can be reached by road via Nagarkoil (19 km). Kanyakumari is connected by road to Trivandrum (86 km), Nagarkoil (19 km), Tirunelvelli (91 km), Tiruchendur (89 km), Tuticorin (129 km), Rameshwaram (300 km), Courtallam (130 km), Madurai (242 km), Thekkady (358 km), Kodaikanal (362 km), Palani (370 km), Ootacamund (576 km), Cochin (309 km), and Coimbatore (478 km).

General information on Kannyakumari District

General information Kanyakumari district's inception : 1-11-1956 (Separated from Travancore -Cochin and joined with Tamil Nadu) Area : 1,684 km² Forest areas: 446.5 km². Length of sea shore : 68 km Western sea shore : 62 km Eastern sea shore : 6 km Population: 10,00,340 (1991 census) Male: 8,03,830 Female: 7,96,510 District's Head Quarters: Nagercoil Population :1,591,174 (town area) (Male : 797,914 & Female : 793,260)

Revenue divisions : 2 (Nagercoil & Padmanabapuram) Revenue Taluks : 4 (a) Agastheeswaram (b) Kalkulam (c) Thovalai (d) Villavancode

Panchayat Unions : 9 (a) Agastheeswaram (b) Rajakkamangalam (c) Thovalai (d) Kurundhancode (e) Tuckalai (f ) Thiruvattar (g) Killiyoor (h) Munchirai (i ) Melpuram

Municipal Unions : 4 (a) Nagercoil (b) Padmanabapuram (c) Colachal (d) Kuzhithurai Revenue Firkas : 18 Revenue villages : 81 Sea port : 1 Colachal Nearest airport : Trivandrum Parlimentary constituency : 1 ( Nagercoil ) Assembly constituency : 7 ( Nagercoil, Kanyakumari, Thiruvattar, Colachel, Killiyoor, Vilavancode) Dams : Pechiparai, Perunchani, Chittar1, Chittar2 Watter supply dam : Mukkadal Electric power : Kothayar Post offices : 250 Bank branches : 135

Information on the coastland of the district

i. List of coastal villages 1. Arockiapuram 23. Peria Vilai 2. Chinna Muttom 24. Puthoor 3. Kanyakumari 25. Kottil padu 4. Vavathurai 26. Maramady 5. Puthugramam 27. Maramady 6. Siluvai Nagar 28. Simon Colony 7. Kovalam 29. Kodimunai 8. Kil Manakudy 30. Vaniakudy 9. Mel Manakudy 31. Kurumbanai 10. Annai Nagar 32. Helen Colony 11. Pallam 33. Enayam 12. Puthenthurai 34. En. Puthenthurai 13. Kesavan Puthenthurai 35. Ramanthurai 14. Pozhikarai 36. Mulloor Thurai 15. Peria Kadu 37. Poothurai 16. Rajakamangalam Thurai 38. Erayamanthurai 17. Azhikal 39. Thoothoor 18. Pillaithoppu 40. Thoothoor Chinna thurai 19. Muttom 41. Eraviputenthurai 20. James Nagar 42. Marthandam thurai 21. Kadiapattinam 43. Vallavilai 44. Neerody 45.Ambalappathi


Demography and fishing crafts: (SIFFS – February 2003)

Total population - 1,38,569 Total houses - 31595 No. of boats already Registered - 1379 No. of Kattumaram - 6053 Vallams - 1747 Fishing nets: Kachavalai - 2236 Chazhavalai - 2050 Disco Valai - 3080 Vazhuvalai - 1175 Echavalai - 628 Thathuvalai - 733 Kal Rall Valai - 659 Ilu Valai - 530 Otha Kundu Valai - 519 Vazha Valai - 301 Valachavilai - 5 Mananguvalai - 125 Vaval Valai - 75 Thirukavalai - 38 Paduka Meen Valai - 211 Thattumadi - 296 Karamadi - 280

Total - 12,365

Out board engines (Susuk) - 2105 Out board lambady - 744 NGOs in the network - 26

Significance

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The Tiruvalluvar statue

In 2000, the government of Tamil Nadu installed a large stone statue of the Tamil saint Tiruvalluvar on a second rock next to it. The Statue, which has been sculptured by a team headed by Mr. Ganapathi Sthapathi, is 133 ft (41 m) high signifying the 133 chapters of Thirukural.
Details about the Statue (http://www.nanjilonline.com/tourism/thiruvalluvar.asp)

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The Vivekananda memorial
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Sun Rise at Kanyakumari

Vivekananda Memorial at Kanyakumari is also one of the important touristic spot and attracts many Hindus. According to local Christians, the place which is now called Vivekananda rock was once actually a small rock with Cross on it for the worship of local Christian fishermen while they're in the sea. But, according to the Hindus whom built Vivekananda Memorial, it is the place where Swami Vivekananda meditated for some time before attending the World Parliament of Religions at Chicago in 1893. The place-issue once attracted severe communal and religious clashes. Today, a Vivekananda memorial stands on a rock half a kilometer into the sea, as well as a temple built around a rock bearing the footprint of Kanya Devi at the point where she performed her penance.

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The Gandhi Mandepam

Kanyakumari beach is also the place where the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were thrown into the sea. There is a memorial to him there, the Gandhi Mandepam.

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Ticket to Vivekananda Memorial, Kanyakumari, 1981

Twin Rocks of Kanyakumari Missing image
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Arial View

fr:Knykumr hi:कन्याकुमारी

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