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Cape Comorin
Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanyakumari.jpg
Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanniyakumari
Cape Comorin, Kumari, Thiruvenisangam
India Tamil Nadu location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Kanniyakumari, Tamil Nadu
India location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Kanniyakumari (India)
Coordinates: 8°05′18″N77°32′19″E / 8.088300°N 77.538500°E / 8.088300; 77.538500 Coordinates: 8°05′18″N77°32′19″E / 8.088300°N 77.538500°E / 8.088300; 77.538500
State Tamil Nadu
District Kanniyakumari
Named for Devi Kanya Kumari
  TypeTown Panchayat
  BodyKanniyakumari Town Panchayat
   District Collector M. Arvind IAS
  Member of Parliament Vijay Vasanth
  Member of Legislative Assembly Thalavai Sundaram
  Total25.89 km2 (10.00 sq mi)
60 m (200 ft)
  Density665/km2 (1,720/sq mi)
  Official Tamil
Time zone UTC+5:30 (IST)
629 702
Telephone code91-4652 & 91-4651
Vehicle registration TN 74 & TN 75
Website www.kanniyakumari.nic.in

Kanniyakumari ( US: /kənˈjʌkʊmɑːr/ ; lit.'The Virgin Princess', referring to Devi Kanya Kumari), also known as Cape Comorin, is a city in Kanniyakumari district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent and the southernmost city in mainland India, 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 Kanniyakumari district.


Kanniyakumari 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 coastal line of 71.5 kilometres (44.4 mi) stretched on the three sides. [3]

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



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. The city was later renamed Kanniyakumari by the Government of India and the Government of Madras.[ citation needed ]


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. [7] 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 located in Kanniyakumari is a Shakti Peetha or a holy shrine in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism. According to another Hindu legend, Hanuman dropped a piece of earth as he was carrying a mountain with his life-saving herb, Mrita Sanjivani, from the Himalayas to Lanka (Sri Lanka) during the Ramayana War. This chunk of earth is called Marunthuvazh Malai, literally "hills where medicine lives". This is said to be the reason for the abundance of unique native medicinal plants in the area. [8] Marunthuvazh Malai is located near Kottaram about 7 km (4 mi) from Kanniyakumari town on the Kanniyakumari-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? ] It is also believed to be the reason so many medicinal herbs are found on the hills near Kanniyakumari. [9] There is an ashram on the middle of the hill, which tourists visit (after a short trek from the base of the hill), both to visit the Ashram and also to take a glimpse of the sea near Kanniyakumari a few kilometres away. [7]


As per the Census of 2011, Kanniyakumari town had 61.16% Christians, 32.97% Hindus and 5.47% Muslims. [10]

Religion Data - Census 2011 - Kanyakumari town

As of the census of India 2001, Kanniyakumari 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, Kanniyakumari 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. [11]


Kanyakumari - panoramic view.png
Panoramic full view of the Thiruvalluvar Statue and the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, on the Laccadive Sea.

Kanniyakumari is located at 8°05′N77°34′E / 8.08°N 77.57°E / 8.08; 77.57 . [12] and has an average elevation of 30 metres. The peninsular tip of Kanniyakumari is bordered on three sides by the Laccadive Sea. It is located at the confluence of the Western Coastal Plains and Eastern Coastal Plains.[ citation needed ]

Kanniyakumari is at the southern tip and is the southernmost point of the contiguous Indian Subcontinent. It thus finds itself being a part of the common Hindustani phrase used to describe the length of India "Kashmir se Kanniyakumari"; before the partition, the phrase in undivided India was "Khyber se Kanniyakumari". [13] 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. The nearest city is Thiruvananthapuram 85 km (53 mi) and the airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala and the nearest town is Nagercoil, the administrative headquarters of Kanniyakumari District, 22 km (14 mi) away.[ citation needed ]


Climate data for Kanyakumari (1981–2010, extremes 1961–2012)
Record high °C (°F)34.4
Average high °C (°F)31.1
Average low °C (°F)23.6
Record low °C (°F)19.8
Average rainfall mm (inches)14.1
Average rainy days0.
Average relative humidity (%) (at 17:30 IST)66687074777979798080756875
Source: India Meteorological Department [14] [15]

Notable landmarks

Thiruvalluvar Statue

Thiruvalluvar Statue Tiruvalluvar statue LIC.jpg
Thiruvalluvar Statue

The Thiruvalluvar Statue 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. [16] The combined height of the statue and pedestal is 133 ft (40.5 m), denoting the 133 chapters in the Thirukkural. It has a total weight of 7000 tons. 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. Its opening ceremony was on 1 January 2000. The monument was hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26 December 2004. [17] 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. [18] [19]

Vivekananda Rock Memorial

Vivekananda Rock Memorial Entrance view Vivekananda rock temple.JPG
Vivekananda Rock Memorial

The Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a popular tourist monument in Vavathurai, Kanniyakumari, India. The memorial stands on one of two rocks located about 500 kilometres (310 mi) 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. [20] The rocks are surrounded by the Laccadive Sea. The memorial consists of two main structures, the Vivekananda Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam.

Gandhi Memorial Mandapam

Gandhi Memorial Mandapam, Kanniyakumari Gandhi Memorial Kanyakumari.jpg
Gandhi Memorial Mandapam, Kanniyakumari

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 in a way that on Gandhi's birthday, 2 October, the first rays of the sun fall on the exact place where his ashes were kept. [20]

Tsunami Memorial Park

Tsunami Memorial, Kanniyakumari Tsunami Memorial Kanyakumari.JPG
Tsunami Memorial, Kanniyakumari

Near Kanniyakumari'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.

Bhagavathy Amman Temple

Bhagavathy Amman Temple A view of Kumariamman temple and Indian ocean.JPG
Bhagavathy Amman Temple

Bhagavathy Amman Temple is a 3000-year-old temple dedicated to Goddess Kumari Amman located at Kanniyakumari. Kumari Amman is one of the forms of Devi, popularly known as "Kumari Bhagavathy Amman". Kumari Bhagavathy Amman temple is the first Durga temple created by Lord Parasurama and one of the 108 Shakthi Peethas. This temple is situated at the shore of the Laccadive Sea. The Kumari temple has been mentioned in Ramayana, Mahabharata and Purananooru. [21] [22]

Kamarajar Mani Mantapa Monument

Kamarajar Mani Mantapa Monument was raised and dedicated to a freedom fighter and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, President of Indian National Congress, Mr Kamarajar. He is also popularly known as Black Gandhi among the masses. Like the Gandhi Mantapa, this place is where Kamarajar's ashes were kept for the public to pay homage before immersion into the sea. [23] [ better source needed ]


The ferries transporting tourists from the mainland to the islands can be seen with one returning to the mainland and the other one about to stop at the Tiruvalluvar statue after carrying over tourists from Vivekananda Rock. Kanyakumari as seen from Tiruvalluvar Statue.JPG
The ferries transporting tourists from the mainland to the islands can be seen with one returning to the mainland and the other one about to stop at the Tiruvalluvar statue after carrying over tourists from Vivekananda Rock.

The state-owned Poompuhar Shipping Corporation runs ferry services between the town and the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar statue, situated on rocky islets off the coast. The operation of the ferry service began in 1984. Two ferries were used to ferry the tourists until June 2013, after which a new ferry was added to the service on the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Swamy Vivekananda. [24] Kanniyakumari and nearby Nagercoil are directly connected by rail with almost all metropolitan cities in India. [25] The nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, 90 km (56 mi) from Kanniyakumari Town and 70 km (43 mi) from Nagercoil. [26] Kanniyakumari is 744 km (462 mi) from Chennai. [27]

See also

Related Research Articles

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