Kanyakumari

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Kanyakumari
கன்னியாகுமரி
കന്യാകുമാരി, कन्याकुमारी
—  town  —
Thiruvalluvar Statue seen at night
Kanyakumari is located in Tamil Nadu
Kanyakumari
Coordinates: 8°04′41″N 77°32′28″E / 8.078°N 77.541°E / 8.078; 77.541Coordinates: 8°04′41″N 77°32′28″E / 8.078°N 77.541°E / 8.078; 77.541
CountryIndia
StateTamil Nadu
DistrictKanyakumari
Established
Government
 • District CollectorThiru. S. Nagarajan
Area
 • Total25.89 km2 (10.00 sq mi)
Elevation300 m (1,000 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Total29,761
 • Density665/km2 (1,720/sq mi)
Languages
 • OfficialTamil
Time zoneIST (UTC+5:30)
PIN629 xxx
Telephone code914652
Vehicle registrationTN 74 & TN 75
Websitewww.kanyakumari.tn.nic.in
 
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Kanyakumari
கன்னியாகுமரி
കന്യാകുമാരി, कन्याकुमारी
—  town  —
Thiruvalluvar Statue seen at night
Kanyakumari is located in Tamil Nadu
Kanyakumari
Coordinates: 8°04′41″N 77°32′28″E / 8.078°N 77.541°E / 8.078; 77.541Coordinates: 8°04′41″N 77°32′28″E / 8.078°N 77.541°E / 8.078; 77.541
CountryIndia
StateTamil Nadu
DistrictKanyakumari
Established
Government
 • District CollectorThiru. S. Nagarajan
Area
 • Total25.89 km2 (10.00 sq mi)
Elevation300 m (1,000 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Total29,761
 • Density665/km2 (1,720/sq mi)
Languages
 • OfficialTamil
Time zoneIST (UTC+5:30)
PIN629 xxx
Telephone code914652
Vehicle registrationTN 74 & TN 75
Websitewww.kanyakumari.tn.nic.in

Kanyakumari About this sound pronunciation (Tamil: கன்னியாகுமரி, Malayalam: കന്യാകുമാരി, Sanskrit: कन्याकुमारी) is a town in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. It was also referred to as Cape Comorin earlier. Located at the southernmost tip of India, it is the geographical end of the mainland. The district in Tamil Nadu where the town is located is called Kanyakumari District. The closest major cities are Nagercoil, the administrative headquarters of Kanyakumari District, (22 km (14 mi)) and Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala (88 km (55 mi)). The town is a popular tourist place in India.

Cape Comorin was the southern limit of Tamilakam (the ancient Tamil country).[1][2]

Contents

Recorded history

Kanyakumari takes its name from the Hindu Goddess Kanyakumari (also called Kumari Amman).The Kanniyakumari amman temple is situated in the town, on the seashore, where there is the confluence of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal[3] and the Indian Ocean.1931 Travancore census records the rule of Villavarayar kings for 800 years, and the stone engravings at Bhagavathi Amman Temple asserts it was built by Bharathar kings as a sign of reverence to the sea goddess.[4] In his work on ancient India, Ptolemy had identified Kanyakumari (Cape of Comorin) along with the Gulf of Mannar as a center for pearl fishery. He also identifies Korkai, a place to the east of Kanyakumari as an emporium of pearl trade.

Muttam beach

Ancient history

Ptolemy's geography shows the commercial relations between western India and Alexandria, the chief eastern emporium of the Roman Empire. The tract called the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, contains sailing directions for merchants from the Red Sea to the Indus and Malabar, and even indicates that the coast from Barygaza (Baroch) had a general southward direction down to and far beyond Cape Komari (Comorin).

Kanyakumari district District consists of those parts known as locally Nanjil Nadu and Idai Nadu. The names of the villages of the district such as Azhagiapaandipuram, Bhoothapandy, Cholapuram and Kulasekaram reveal that these places were governed by several rulers at difficult periods of time.It is learnt that Nanjilnadu was under the rule of Pandiyas till the early 10th century and then under Cheras.

The Kalkulam and Vilavancode taluks were under the rule of cheras. When the power of Chola declined due to the rise of Hoysalas and western Chalukyas, the venad (Travancore) Chief tains (the decondants of central Chera's family) took advantage of the situation and gradually established their hold on considerable areas in Nanjilnadu. Veera Kerala varma one such chief tain and style himself as "Nanjil Kuravan". The annexation commenced by Veera Kerala Varma was to a large extent continued by his successors and completed by 1115 A.D.

For about four centuries, the Venad was ruled by powerful kings who were consistently making incursions into the pandian territories. As a result Vijayanagar kings are proceeded against Venad. In 1609 Kanyakumari fell in to the hands of Viswanatha Nayak of Madurai. Consequent on this, there was no series threat to Nanjilnadu, till 1634. During the regime of Ravi Varma and Marthanda Varma, Venad was disturbed due to the internal strife.

Sanda Sahib of Arcot took advantage of this situation and attacked Nanjilnadu. Although Marthanda Varma could succeed in the famous battle at Colachel defeating the Dutch armouries who helped the local faudatories, he could not cope with the threat from Sanda sahib and made him to with draw the battle field. After Marthanda varma, Venad had weak rulers. Therefore there was frequent interference by the British whose control was completely established over Venad and continued till 1947. From 1947 to 1956, it was under the personal rule of Maharaja of Travancore. During the period between 1956–1961, the administrative system has fallen in line with that of other districts in Tamil nadu.[5]

Legends

There are multiple legends revolving around this place.

According to Hindu legend, Kanya Devi, an Avatar of Parvati, was to marry Siva, but as he failed to show up on his wedding day, the rice and other grains meant for the wedding feast remained uncooked and remain unused thereafter. As the legend goes, the uncooked grains turned into stones as time went by. Some believe that the small stones which look like rice on the shore today, are indeed grains of the wedding that was never solemnized. Kanya Devi is now considered a virgin goddess who blesses pilgrims and tourists who flock the town.

According to another Hindu legend, Lord 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 Rama-Ravana war. This chunk of earth is called Marunthuvazh Malai, which is literally translated to "hills where medicine lives".This is said to be the reason for the abundance of unique native medicinal plants in the area. Marunthuvazh Malai is located near Kottaram about 7 km (4 mi) from Kanyakumari town on the Kanyakumari-Nagercoil highway.

The sage Agasthya, who was himself an expert in medicinal herbs, is believed to have lived around this site in ancient days. The reason why, some believe, so many medicinal herbs are to be found on these hills near Kanyakumari. There is even a village by the name Agastheeswaram close to the town, named after the sage. Today, there is a small Ashram on the middle of the Maruthuvazh Malai 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 Kanyakumari a few kilometres away, and the greenery below.

The 133 feet (41 m) tall Thiruvalluvar Statue

Modern history

Gandhi Memorial Kanyakumari

Kanyakumari has been a great centre for art and religion for centuries. It was also an area of great trade and commerce. It was ruled by the Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Nayaks. The architectural beauty of the temples in the area are the works of these rulers. Later Kanyakumari became part of the Venad kingdom with its capital at Padmanabhapuram. The king of Venad, Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, established Travancore by extending his domain further north up to Azhva, during his reign from 1729 to 1758. By this, the present Kanyakumari District came to be known as Southern Travancore. In 1741, Maharaja Marthanda Varma defeated the Dutch East India Company at the famous Battle of Colachel.

Kanyakumari was under the rule of the Pandyan Kings till the downfall of Pandyas, and later by kings of Travancore under the overall suzerainty of the British until 1947, when India became independent. Travancore joined the independent Indian Union in 1947. The reign of the Travancore royals came to an end.

Under Travancore rule, the town, and the modern administrative district that bears its name, Kanyakumari District, progressed both socially and economically. Still a significant part of population study and speak Malayalam as their mother-tongue. The culture followed by Kanyakumari people is mixed and has more influence from Travancore.

In 1949, Kanyakumari became part of the reconstituted Travancore-Cochin State. Around this time, a popular agitation for the amalgamation of Kanyakumari District with Tamil Nadu by the Tamil-speaking people of the district intensified, under the leadership of Marshal Nesamony

Kumari Thanthai Marshal Nesamony was instrumental in the merger of Kanyakumari district with Tamil Nadu in 1956 during the linguistic reorganisation of states. Kanyakumari was integrated with Tamil Nadu (then known as Madras State) as per the language-based reorganisation of States.

Christianity arrived in South India around AD 52 through St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ. However, European missionaries, who arrived in the 16th century, propagated Christianity in the area. St. Francis Xavier (April 7, 1506 – December 2, 1552) was the pioneer in preaching Christianity in the present day Kanyakumari district. Islam is believed to have entered the southern part of India through Kanyakumari during the early part of the eighth century AD through traders and missionaries who came through sea-routes. Islam, Christianity and Jainism have also contributed to the architectural wealth and literary heritage of the region.

padmanabhapuram palace

Geography

Kanniyakumari is located at 8°05′N 77°34′E / 8.08°N 77.57°E / 8.08; 77.57[6] or 8°4′41″N and 77°32′28″E. It has an average elevation of 0 metre. It lies at the meeting point of three bodies of water: the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Mannar and the Indian Ocean.[7] It is the confluence of the Western Coastal Plains and Eastern Coastal Plains. On the north and the east, it is bounded by Tirunelveli District, while on the west and northwest it is bounded by Kerala state.

It is located at the southernmost tip of mainland India. However, it is not the southernmost tip of India because Indira Point at 6°45’10″N and 93°49’36″E on Great Nicobar Island is the southernmost point of the Republic of India.

It is suggested that there once existed a continent called Kumari Kandam to the south of Kanyakumari, often compared with Lemuria.

Climate data for Kanyakumari
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)30.9
(87.6)
31.6
(88.9)
32.2
(90.0)
32.7
(90.9)
32.4
(90.3)
30.6
(87.1)
30.3
(86.5)
30.4
(86.7)
30.5
(86.9)
30.4
(86.7)
30.2
(86.4)
30.3
(86.5)
31.04
(87.88)
Average low °C (°F)23.4
(74.1)
23.8
(74.8)
25.1
(77.2)
26.1
(79.0)
26.1
(79.0)
24.6
(76.3)
24
(75)
24
(75)
24.3
(75.7)
24.3
(75.7)
24
(75)
23.8
(74.8)
24.46
(76.02)
Rainfall mm (inches)13.6
(0.535)
13.2
(0.52)
27.3
(1.075)
62.1
(2.445)
54.2
(2.134)
84.1
(3.311)
47.4
(1.866)
39
(1.54)
45
(1.77)
126.6
(4.984)
166.5
(6.555)
55.3
(2.177)
734.3
(28.909)
Avg. precipitation days1.41.72.64.14.211.396.55.510.111.25.372.9
Source: World Weather Information Service,[8]
Light House, Kanyakumari

Town

As of 2001 India census,[9] Kanyakumari town had a native population of 19,678.

Kanyakumari is the southernmost town of the Indian mainland. The land mass in and around the town is hilly and uneven, with many commercial buildings and hotels at the upper crest of the land mass, with the sea visible below. The old areas of the town, where the local population lives, are on the lower side. Many of the locals carry out fishing, fish processing and other maritime professions.

Tourism is one of the main activities of the town. In addition, many locals are employed in shellcraft and other tourism-related businesses.

The town has a literacy rate of 98.6%. Of its population, 40% or more have college degrees.

Tourism

The Gandhi Mandapam
Kanyakumari Sangam

Since the early 1970s, tourism has been an important activity in the town. Because of this it is one of the few small towns in South India where one can see many of the different languages of India spoken in the street.

Of late, the promotion of tourism has increased, with attractions that do not include the town, such as the surrounding landscapes, as well as the historical and religious sites found around the district, being emphasised to a greater degree. Ultimately a total of 1.9 million tourists (domestic and foreign) visited Kanyakumari in 2007.[10]

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. The confluence of three ocean bodies – the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea – makes the sunrise and sunset even more special. On balmy, full-moon evenings, (locally called Chitra Pournami) one can also see the moon-rise and sunset at the same time.

Kanyakumari Muttom beach

Tourist sites

View of the Kanyakumari temple.
View of the sea from Vattakottai Fort, near Kanyakumari town.

The Kumari Amman or the Kanyakumari Temple, located on the shore, is a Shakti Peetha 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, situated overlooking the shore, attract tourists from all over the world. The sparkling diamond nose-ring of the deity is said to be visible even from the sea.

Daybreak at Kanyakumari

On two rocky islets just off the shore, southeast of the Kumari Amman temple, are the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, built in 1970, and the 133 feet (41 m) tall statue of Tamil saint–poet Thiruvalluvar, one of the biggest statues in Asia, completed in 2000 by sculptor V. Ganapati Sthapati. One of the rocks, called Sri Padhaparai, is said to bear the footprints of the virgin goddess. Swami Vivekananda is said to have meditated on this rock for three days. Also on this rock, there is a Dhyana mandapam, an area for meditation. Ferry services are available to reach the memorial.

The 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 designed in such a way that on Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, 2 October, the first rays of the sun fall on the exact place where his ashes were kept.

Tourist information

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.

Kanyakumari is directly connected by rail with almost all metropolitan cities in India.

Nearest Airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, 90 km (56 mi) away from Kanyakumari Town and 70 km (43 mi) from Nagercoil.[11] Kanyakumari is 744 km (462 mi) away from Chennai.[12] View towards India mainland Kanyakumari from the Vivekananda Rock

Tourist attractions

Mathur Aqueduct – one of the largest Aqueducts in Asia

While Kanyakumari town has tourist attractions of its own, the district has many more, from centuries-old historic and religious sites to scenic places. The district is also rich in flora and fauna. A unique feature of Kanyakumari district is that it has all kinds of natural eco-systems. Thus, one can see beaches, mountain valleys, evergreen forests in the deep interior, rubber and clove plantations on the highlands, etc. – all in a 50 km (31 mi) radius of Nagercoil, the administrative headquarters of Kanyakumari District. Nagercoil is 20 km (12 mi) from Kanyakumari town. (see Kanyakumari District for more on the district).

The tourist attractions around Kanyakumari include:

Baywatch Amusement Park, Kanyakumari
Map showing near-by areas and Pancha pathi
View of the Western Ghats at Keeriparai
Chothavilai Beach, near Nagercoil
An idol of Agastya muni at Shri Datta Temple Near Vattakottai Fort,Kanyakumari
Sunrise in Kanyakumari with Vivekananda rock and Thiruvalluvar Statue in the foreground
Thirparappu Temple
View of India mainland from Vivekananda Temple
Kanyakumari Harbour
Sunrise in Kanyakumari

References

  1. ^ Kanakasabhai, V (1997). The Tamils Eighteen Hundred Years Ago. Asian Educational Services. p. 10. ISBN 8120601505. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=VuvshP5_hg8C&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=Tamilakam&ots=doaJ5A3of1&sig=ySkrE4rnDTHyTXKWL0wGDpXxQzk#PPA10,M1. 
  2. ^ Abraham, Shinu (2003). "Chera, Chola, Pandya: using archaeological evidence to identify the Tamil kingdoms of early historic South India.". Asian Perspectives: the Journal of Archaeology for Asia and the Pacific 42. http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst;jsessionid=GfpTLJYcL1XJGP4Vv1mSvT1hvmCvCxGMhrrDBZ23l2vmKVN1JkYG!-2096127210?docId=5002047766. 
  3. ^ Kanyakumari.com
  4. ^ Chockalingam, K (1971). Census of India,1971:A general report. Office of Indian registrar general. p. 64. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=OMsXAAAAMAAJ&q=1931+travancore+census+villavarayan+paravar+King&dq=1931+travancore+census+villavarayan+paravar+King&source=bl&ots=6mzI7EtQMX&sig=uFkavGxIGTMASl_NVcKtBJuTnl8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7mNIUNmkKsXqrQect4DoDA&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAA. 
  5. ^ "Ancient History of Kanyakumari". http://www.nanjilonline.com/cityinfo/history.asp. Retrieved April 26, 2012. 
  6. ^ Falling Rain Genomics, Inc – Kanniyakumari
  7. ^ "Kanyakumari District Website – Location". http://www.kanyakumari.tn.nic.in/location.htm. Retrieved 2009-12-04. 
  8. ^ "Climatological Information for Kanyakumari". World Weather Information Service. http://worldweather.wmo.int/066/c01597.htm. 
  9. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. http://web.archive.org/web/20040616075334/http://www.censusindia.net/results/town.php?stad=A&state5=999. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  10. ^ http://www.hindu.com/2008/01/15/stories/2008011555560100.htm
  11. ^ "Kanyakumari". http://www.kanyakumari.org.in. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  12. ^ "Kanyakumari District". http://www.kanyakumari.tn.nic.in/near.htm. Retrieved 2012-02-22>. 

External links