We recently spent a couple of days at Kanyakumari whichis the southernmost tip of India where the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet. The town takes its name from the Hindu goddess Kanyakumari and there is a temple dedicated to her on the seashore. Pilgrims flock to this place for a blessing from the goddess. It is considered highly auspicious to see the sunrise and/or the sunset from the shore at Kanyakumari. Due to its position it is even possible on some special occasions to see both sunset and moonrise over the ocean at the same time.
Kanyakumari has a long history, mentioned by the Roman historian Ptolemy as a centre for pearl fishing. The two main businesses now are tourism and fishing.
The fishermen go out in small wooden boats, indeed many locals were killed when these small boats and their homes were hit by the Tsunami in 2004.
You are often able to see the fishermen mending their nets during the heat of the day.
Two of the main tourist attractions are on small rocky islands just off shore.
One houses the 41 meter (133 feet) tall statue of the Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar.
It is possible to climb up inside the base of the statue. Standing at the feet and looking up along the towering body is an awesome sight.
The second island is home to the Vivekananda Rock Memorial with a meditation hall dedicated to swami Vivekananda who is said to have meditated on the island for three days.
To spend time in the hall (whether meditating or not) imparts a wonderfully calm feeling.
From the island you can look back at the mainland where the foothills of the western ghat mountains begin to rise. In the foreground you can see Our Lady of Ransom church
On the mainland is the Gandhi Memorial Building. After the Mahatmas cremation some of his ashes were kept in an urn here before being scattered at the confluence of the three seas.
The building is ingeniously constructed, and on Gandhi’s birthday, 2nd October, the first rays of the rising sun illuminate the exact spot where his ashes were kept.
It is possible for us to arrange visits to Kanyakumari for those who come on one of our tours of south India.