Kanyakumari also known as Kanniyakumari, formerly known as Cape Comorin, is a town in Kanyakumari District in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. The name comes from the Devi Kanya Kumari Temple in the region. It is the southernmost tip of peninsular India. Kanyakumari town is the southern tip of the Cardamom Hills, an extension of the Western Ghats range. The nearest town is Nagercoil, the administrative headquarters of Kanyakumari District, 22 km (14 mi) away. Kanyakumari has been a town since Sangam period and is a popular tourist destination.
This area is very beautiful. Since the early 1970s, tourism has been an industry in the town. Because of this it is one of the few small towns in South India where one can hear many of the different languages of India spoken in the street.
Of late, the promotion of tourism has increased, with increasing emphasis on attractions outside the town, such as the surrounding landscapes, as well as the historical and religious sites found around the district. Ultimately a total of 1.9 million tourists (domestic and foreign) visited Kanyakumari in 2007.
Though there are several places of tourist-interest in the town and district, Kanyakumari is especially popular in India for its spectacular and unique sunrise and sunset, thanks to its being nearly surrounded by waters. On balmy, full-moon evenings (locally called Chitra Pournami), one can also see the moon-rise and sunset at the same time.
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. Kanyakumari is directly connected by rail with almost all metropolitan cities in India. The nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, 90 km (56 mi) from Kanyakumari Town and 70 km (43 mi) from Nagercoil. Kanyakumari is 744 km (462 mi) from Chennai.
Kanya Kumari is notable for pilgrimage and tourism. The place takes its name from the goddess Devi Kanya Kumari, considered to be a sister of Krishna. Women pray to her for marriage. The goddess is believed to be the one who removes the rigidity of our mind. The temple here is a Shakti Peetha, one of the holiest shrines of the Mother goddess. Also nearby are eleven sacred theertham.
The place was called Kanyashram of the Baalaambika, the deity of the temple. The sea ablution for Pitr Tarpan is done here. This is one of the rare temples in India where Devi (Mother Goddess) is worshipped as a child. The rites and rituals are done in the Kerala Namboothiri method, so there are slight differences in the way of worship compared to the temples of the nearby region. The deity is the goddess of Sanasa, so people from all over India who desire to devote their life as Sanyasin come here and take the deeksha. Swami Vivekananda came to this temple as directed by his Guru Shri Ramakrishna Prarama Hamsa, being a Sanyasin. The temple is very old and is mentioned in ancient Sanskrit literature.
The beach sands are multi-coloured and likened to a mythological story.
There is a shrine for Kalabhairava in the temple. It is said that the backbone area of Sati Devi’s corpse fell here.
The place is famous for Agastyar mala where Sage Agastya lived. He is the founder of Siddha vydya, so there is innumerable medicinal plants available here. He is also considered as the founder of Varma Kalai, a form of martial arts.
Another pilgrimage is Nagaraja Temple, Nagercoil nearby.
At the Thanumalayan Temple in Suchindram, the three main gods of Hindu mythology – Śiva, Brahmā and Viṣṇu – are in one form called Sthanumalayan.