Kanyakumari, the tip of India 

13th Mar 2018
Photo of Kanyakumari, the tip of India  1/2 by Rapti B

From 'Touching the Tip and How!' first published on my blog 'From The Corner Table'

Ever get that feeling of wanting to kick yourself because you've been lazy and missed doing something important, like clicking the picture of a place that you really liked? And realising the goof up only when you are digging through files for a photograph to show off or post on social media!

It tends to happen to me a lot. Mostly because I invariably lose myself in the surroundings, get busy absorbing everything and forget that I have a phone camera and a digital camera that should be put to good use.

The most recent, in this case, being the missing photo of the Kanyakumari railway station - the last station in the southern part of peninsular India with the cool station code 'CAPE' and the pinkest station building I've seen. It's not like I don't have a photograph of this pink station. I do. But I wish I had a better one, along with photographs of the board announcing the station and some photos of the green interiors.

Photo of Kanyakumari, the tip of India  2/2 by Rapti B

Kanyakumari is a postage-stamp sized town in comparison to other towns that you may have travelled to. You can easily cover the touristy and non-touristy bits of the city in a day like I did.

Kanyakumari, an experience...

Hot humid air that carries the smell of sea and scorching sun are two characteristics I will always associate with the town. Those were the two things that shook me when I hopped off the train at Kanyakumari station.

Located in the heart of Kanyakumari, the railway station is just a kilometre away from the beach and probably a 10-15 minute auto rickshaw or cab ride to any hotel/paying guest that you may have booked yourself into.

Within Kanyakumari the town, the locals mention 11 places as 'must see' spots. But in my humble opinion, there are just a handful of things that you must see whilst in the town and coincidentally, these are the main tourist spots of the town. How do you manage to wrap up Kanyakumari in half a day?

Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Thiruvalluvar Statue

Operating from 8am to 4pm, managing a visit to these two rock marvels during the short time I was visiting was nothing short of a miracle. As I jogged into the hotel lobby at 2.30pm and proceeded to check in, the hotel team pointed out that if I wanted to make it to the memorial + statue the same day, I needed to be at the ferry point by 3pm! "They start telling people to leave from 3.30pm, madam, and they close everything at 4pm. And you need to set aside at least 20-30 minutes for the ferry ride," said the hotel staff, with an urgency in their tone as I was whisked to my room and a coffee sent my way within 5 minutes.

A popular tourist destination, the Vivekanda Rock Memorial was built in 1970 to honour Swami Vivekananda, a prominent youth icon of India who attained enlightenment on this particular rock... (read more on Touching the Tip and How!)

A few minutes here and you should be ready to walk back to the ferry for a quick ride to the massive Thiruvalluvar Statue. The stone sculpture of the Tamil poet/philosopher was unveiled only in 2000. While not much is known about the legendary poet, his work is considered among the finest works of Tamil and Indian literature. The statue, interestingly, is hollow from toe to scalp - take the stairs up to the base of the statue for a breathtaking view.

Devi Kanya Kumari Temple

The Devi Kanya Kumari temple is where the town gets its name from and should be on your must-visit list for its mythological importance if not religious. Photography is not allowed in the temple premises.

Said to have been established by Lord Parashuram, the statue of the deity inside the temple is stunning. (read more on Touching the Tip and How!)

Triveni Sangam

The Triveni Sangam, the meeting point of three seas - the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean - is a place that you might just miss if it hasn't been pointed out to you. As you walk out of the temple towards the sunset point, keep a watch for an open market to your left. Walk through the market and you will come to a stone mandapam. Walk through and you will come to a series of steps that lead into the water. This is the Triveni Sangam, as demarcated by the orange flag that flutters in the breeze.

The Sun and its shows

A sunrise or a sunset can very well be seen from any part of the world. But there is something unique and fascinating about watching the sun play peek-a-boo through the water before it bids adieu for the night and rises high and bright the next day. Sunset in Kanyakumari is best seen from the beach. Walking towards the water, the sand at your feet as you watch the sun sink into the sea is an ethereal feeling. This could very well be disrupted by the presence of the huge crowd of tourists that flow in and out of the town irrespective of the time of the year. "There has to be a way to avoid the crowds," I mulled, a little disgruntled having failed to find a space to enjoy on the beach to enjoy the sunset from. I finally hauled myself to the edge of the beach, near the road and settled myself on the wall surrounding the beach. (read more on Touching the Tip and How!)

As mentioned earlier,you can explore Kanyakumari in a day and then head back to wherever it is you came from. In case you feel the ardent desire to spend more than a day there, hire a cab and explore places that are an hour (or two) drive from the city. The team at Hotel Ocean Heritage where I spend the night had shared a list of 'Important Places of Interest In and Around Kanyakumari'. Hope it is of some help to you.

When in Kanyakumari, remember that... (read more on Touching the Tip and How!)

Photo of Trisea Sangam, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Rapti B
Photo of Trisea Sangam, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India by Rapti B