Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India, the meeting point of three oceans-the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean is as fascinating as it sounds. Often jewelled by mesmerising sunrises and sunsets, visiting Kanyakumari is visually enchanting and spiritually stimulating.
Also a famous Hindu pilgrim centre, Kanyakumari is named after the goddess Kanya Kumari who according to legend, could not marry Lord Shiva and hence remained single all her life. Kanyakumari is popular amongst tourists, devotees, photographers and nature lovers alike.
How to reach
Kanyakumari is a small city in Tamil Nadu easily accessible by Trivandrum international airport. Kanyakumari is about 100 kilometres away from the airport and takes about three hours to reach. There are also trains and buses available.
I travelled to Kanyakumari from Poovar island, Kerala where I stayed the previous day and spent only one night at. One can also take a day trip to Kanyakumari provided one starts early.
(Poovar to Kanyakumari is 70 km, and it usually takes a little over 2 hours, but it took us 4 hours as we had to get the interstate permit which is required by all the vehicles entering Tamil Nadu.
Tip: Sort your permit beforehand if possible or leave early.
Where to stay
Kanyakumari has a handful of really decent hotels that offer great views. We stayed in Annai resort and spa, which is a beautiful property overlooking the vast Indian ocean and close to all the significant sightseeing places. The room cost Rs 7,000 for one night. The other option is Sparsa Resort which was equally good but wasn’t available when we visited.
Since it was evening already, we stepped out to explore the nearby market which had a few shops and eateries. We ate our lunch, bought some condiments and handcrafted items from the market.
Things to do
Watching Sunrise or Sunset
Kanyakumari sunsets and sunrises are amongst the best in India. And, it stood true to its words. After the market, we headed to the promenade in front of the hotel to watch the sunset. The sky looked like a hand-drawn painting bursting into all shades of pinks, yellows and orange.
We then spent time swimming in the pool and spent some quality time at the property.
Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Next day after having a delicious breakfast, we headed to Vivekananda Rock Memorial. Vivekananda Rock Memorial is located on a small island off Kanyakumari and can be reached after a short 10-min ferry ride, which is quite thrilling. The memorial was built in 1970 in honour of Swami Vivekananda, who is said to have attained enlightenment on the rock.
Tip: Reach early to avoid the long queues.
It consists of a pavilion with a life-size bronze statue of the Swami, a hall with information about his life, and a meditation area. There’s also a carving of the goddess’ foot on the rock.
This place has endless views of the ocean in its backdrop that looks surreal and has a very calm and peaceful vibe.
Timings: The service operates from 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. (or 7 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. depending on the time of year).
Tickets: Ferry tickets cost Rs 50 for to and fro with an additional Rs 20 for the temple visit.
Another famous spot is Thiruvalluvar statue which is located next to Vivekanand memorial on a separate rock. This monument was built in honour of Thiruvalluvar, who was an eminent Tamil poet cum philosopher.
Ferries to Vivekananda Rock Memorial stop at the Thiruvalluvar statue afterwards if the tide permits. It is possible to go inside the base of the statue and climb the stairs up to its feet for a superb view. But during our visit, it was shut for periodic maintenance.
After that, we visited Kanyakumari temple, which is 3,000 years old and is one of the 51 Shakti peethas of Mata Sati. The temple visit was great and peaceful. This temple does require all males to be bare-bodied when entering the temple premises. Also, there is an entry fee Rs. 20/- per head. No shoes and bags are allowed in the temple.
And before ending our journey, we paid a visit to Triveni Sangam: The remarkable spot, right next to the temple where the oceans, the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean merge. The feeling of standing at this place was humbling and surprising. Many devotees were taking a dip in the holy water, some people were just sitting and observing the sight and some were doing mediation.
On a good weather day, one can witness myriad shades of blue here.
All the main attractions are very close to each other and can easily be covered in 5-6 hrs.
After Triveni Sangam, we headed to the Trivandrum airport, which was 100 km away and took us 3 hours to reach the airport.
Best time to Visit
Though the climate remains mild throughout the year, still the best time is from October to march. During these months the skies are much clearer and winds are cooler.
And that’s how we made full use of one day in Kanyakumari. Check out the video to see this visually enchanting experience.