Top 12 Things to do in and around Kanyakumari.
Kanyakumari or Cape Comorin is the southernmost tip of the India. It is situated at the confluence to three seas viz. the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. It is a Popular tourist destination of Southern India. The Kanyakumari is known for its unique ocean sunrise, sunset and moonrise. Famous places of Kanyakumari are Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar Statue, a great Tamil Poet and philosopher.
How to Reach Kanyakumari:
Trivandrum International Airport, Kerala is the nearest airport. It is about 90 KM from Kanyakumari and take around 3 hours to reach there.
Nagercoil Junction (Station code: NCJ) (20 Km) is nearest main Railway Station. The other one is Kanyakumari Station (Station code: CAPE), which is about 5 KM from the Kanyakumari beach.
Best time to visit Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram :
Best time to visit the coastal places of the Southern India is December and January. At this time, the temperature in Northern India is chilled and harsh but comfortable in Southern India. You can also visit in the months of November and February.
In summers, you can visit the hill stations of Southern India which I will cover in different post.
Top 12 Tourist places in and around Kanyakumari:
The Kanyakumari is far from the Northern or Eastern or Western India. So every tourist wants to visit maximum places in one go with in their limited time schedule. I suggest to prepare at least 7 days program, so that you can find 5-6 clear days to visit top tourist places.
You can visit most of the tourist places of Kanyakumari in one & a half day with one or two nights but it purely depend upon from where are you coming from. So, plan your itinerary, accordingly.
Day 1: From Home to Kanyakumari:
From Indira Gandhi International Airport (T-3), there are 3 Air India flights daily at 05.15 Hrs, 12.30 Hrs and 13.10 Hrs. So, it’s better to choose 05.15 AM flight to reach Trivandrum International Airport at 08.30 AM. However, you can also choose any private Airlines flight, as per your convenience. Generally, Taxi took 3 hours to reach the Kanyakumari from there.
If you want to visit first to Kovalam beach or Thiruvananthapuram and nearby places then move to Kanyakumari as your last destination, it’s upto you.
I usually prefer to visit farthest place first and places nearest to Airport at last. The reason is to catch my return flight without any delay or facing inconvenience due to traffic/ landslide/ road blockage or for any other reason etc. But, it’s up to you to decide what is better option for you.
Check-in your Hotel at Kanyakumari; take lunch and rest for 3-4 hours. After evening tea, take your camera and move from the Hotel for your first activity.
Choose Best Beach Hotel for stay at Kanyakumari.
1. Sunset and Sunrise at Kanyakumari Beach:
Witness Sunset from View Tower located at Kanyakumari Beach, which may be a very good memory, if you are the lucky one. Reach View Tower at least half an hour before sunset or sunrise to find a suitable place in crowd, else you will miss the beautiful scenes there. Similarly, you have to reach the tower in the morning to see the rising sun from the sea/water, if lucky.
Day 2: Kanyakumari:
2. Vivekananda Rock Memorial:
Swami Vivekananda visited Kanyakumari in 1892. In 1970, a memorial was built in his honour and name as Vivekananda Rock Memorial. It is said that he attained enlightenment on the same rock where the Goddess Kanyakumari carried out part of her penance by standing on one foot to marry the Shiva.
The memorial 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’s foot on the rock.
A 15-20 minute ferry from Kanyakumari beach will take you the Memorial. The ferry services starts from 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. or 5.30 p.m., depending upon the time of the year.
Remember, during peak season, there is a long queue for normal ferry ride ticket, so buy a premium ticket at a cost of around 160 rupees per person to save 2-3 hours of your valuable time.
3. Visit to the Thiruvalluvar Statue
Visit 133 feet tall stone sculpture of the Tamil poet and philosopher Valluvar. It denotes the 133 chapters of the Tirukkural, an ancient Tamil work on secular ethics and morality. The Sculpture is located atop a smaller neighboring rock, just off the coast of Kanyakumari. Ferries to Vivekananda Rock Memorial stop at the Thiruvalluvar statue afterwards, if the tide and local authorities permits.
4. Pay a visit to Arulmigu Bhagavathy Amman Temple
Pay a visit to Arulmigu Bhagavathy Amman Temple, dedicated to Goddess Kanyakumari, who is worshiped as a great protector after destroying mighty demon king Banasura. Kanyakumari Temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths. Devotees can visit the temple from 4.30 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Photography is prohibited.
5. Mahatma Gandhi Memorial
The Mahatma Gandhi visited Kanyakumari twice in the year 1925 and 1937. After his demise in 1948, out of 12, one ashes urn was brought to Kanyakumari for immersion in the sea. A memorial was later constructed at the location where the ashes were kept for public viewing, near Kumari Amman Temple. At noon on October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, the sun’s rays fall through a hole in the temple’s roof and onto the place where the ashes kept in an urn.
6. Our Lady of Ransom church
A beautiful statue of Mother Mary got from Italy and clad in a sari and a little Cross on the altar. The Our Lady of Ransom church is constructed by the model of ancient Gothic Art and culture. Length of the new Church is 153 feet, breadth 53 feet and height of the main tower is 153 feet. This entire dimension depicts the beads of the Holy Rosary. There are 12 towers in the church which depict 12 disciples of Jesus Christ.
Two golden chariots dedicated to Our lady of Ransom and St. Joseph have been constructed during 1798 AD and 1833 AD respectively. The Golden car procession on the main street around the church is convened during the annual festival of Our Lady of Ransom.
7. Shops and Stalls- Souvenir selection:
Buy some souvenir from Kanyakumari in the form of Shells, painted shells, handicrafts made from shells. The products decorated with shells be purchased from regular shops or vendor near the Amman Temple as well as stalls at Kanyakumari beach. You can even get a customized shell with your name engraved on it.
Purchase some fresh and quality dry fruits and Spices but check twice before purchasing them.
Day 3: From Kanyakumari to Kovalam:
Watch Sunrise from View Tower or view point or Kanyakumari beach in the morning before moving towards the Kovalam.
8. POOVAR ISLAND:
On the way, you can visit Poovar Island which is a must visit place for backwater cruise. Here, you can either go direct to various cruise providers or book online from www.poovarbackwatercruise.com. Check rates from their website before online booking. Reach at scheduled time and take a 2 hour ride in backwater which will be a great memory for you. The backwater cruise takes you to Golden Sand beach which is one of the cleanest beaches of Kerala. The waves are very strong here and you may feel the power of sea but you will love it.
Tourists, who are not the residents of the coastal places, may choose to stay in Kovalam near beaches rather than staying at Thiruvananthapuram and visiting Kovalam beach for 4-5 hours. Because, you cannot live or feel the life in Thiruvananthapuram which you can feel at Kovalam beaches. So, my suggestion is to stay in Hotels located at beaches in Kovalam, Kerala.
Choose Best Beach Hotel for stay at Kovalam Beach.
Kovalam is, situated on the shores of Arabian Sea, at a distance of 14 km from Trivandrum International Airport. It is 63 km from Kochi and 83 km from Kanyakumari. Kovalam is not only a famous Beaches destinations in Kerala but also in India. Foreign tourists mostly visit and prefer to stay in Kovalam near beaches.
Kovalam fulfills it’s literal meaning ‘A grove of coconut trees’ is filled with endless sight of coconut trees offering magnificent views while approaching the beach. It is said that Kovalam gained popularity in the 1970s when hippies arrived here who changed this fishing village into a tourist destination with their wild parties.
9. Visit Beach at Kovalam:
There are three beaches in Kovalam. The most popular beach is the Light House Beach. It got its name due to the old Vizhinjam Lighthouse located on top of the Kurumkal hillock. Samudra Beach is on northern side which is a nice place to hang out and the middle one is called Eve’s Beach which is famous among European Tourists and ideal for a quiet evening.
It is ideal for relaxing and spending time leisurely. However, tourists can indulge into various activities like sun bathing, swimming, herbal body massage or Ayurvedic massage and cultural programs etc. Apart from this, you can take water sports like kayaking, surfing, fishing and water skiing etc.
Day 4:Visit to Thiruvananthapuram City:
Spare a whole day for a visit to Thiruvananthapuram City for its major attractions i.e. Padmanabhaswamy temple, the Kanakakunnu Palace, Natural history museum, Napier Museum, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) Space Museum, Veli Beach Park (must visit), Trivandrum Zoo, Magic planet theme park. Spend evening by walking leisurely at Kovalam Beach, if staying there.
Day 5: Kovalam to Ponmudi Hill Station:
11. Ponmudi Hills:
Ponmudi, the Golden peak (1100 m above sea level), is a cute picturesque hill station. It is located at a distance of 53 km from the Thiruvananthapuram and 66 Km from Kovalam beach. The normal temperature ranges between 18 to 25 °C. It is a part of the Western Ghats mountain range that runs parallel to the Arabian Sea. It is surrounded by scenic hills, spice plantations, tea estates, natural springs and winding streams.
The valley offers vista of the hills and access to the Kallar River. Sightseeing in and around Ponmudi includes Ponmudi Waterfalls, Deer Park, River Kallar, Meenmutty Falls and Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary.
Ponmudi is a popular trekking and best weekend getaway from Trivandrum city. It serves as a base for several trekking and hiking trails. The famous short trekking trail starts from Kallar River Bridge just before Ponmudi which continues along the banks of Kallar River upstream till Meenmutty Waterfalls.
It is a bird watcher’s paradise because it hosts around 283 species of birds, many of which are endangered and threatened. Birds endemic to this region include the painted bush quail, Malabar grey hornbill, Wayanad laughing thrush, broad-tailed grass bird and Nilgiri pipit. The grasslands of Ponmudi are the breeding grounds of the broad-tailed grass bird, a threatened species.
Day 6: Kovalam to Neyyar Dam:
12. Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary & Dam:
The Neyyar Dam is located at a distance of about 29 Kms from Trivandrum and 31 Km from Kovalam beach. It was built over the Neyyar River located within the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, the foothills of Western Ghats.
Neyyar is truly a nature lover’s paradise. The Sanctuary has unique flora and fauna of wild boars and elephants to the vast range of medicinal herbs. The crocodile farm, Lion safari park (I remember the names of two Lionesses which we saw there were Sindhu and Bindu), Elephant Park and deer park are some of the main attraction of the Neyyar Sanctuary. These parks are located at different parts of the hills. The best way to visit these parks to hire a boat and enjoying the boating in the reservoir of the Neyyar Dam and see the parks.
Day 7: Return to your Sweet Home.
Check out and start your return journey, according to your plan.