Kanyakumari-A Confluence of nature, culture and architecture
Updated: Jul 17, 2021
This tourist hub is accorded with some clean and beautiful beaches that have multi-colored sand, three mighty oceans and hundreds of temples.
Here you will find at least a score of temples dedicated to every deity from the Hindu pantheon. The Bhagwathy temples, the Ayyappa temples, Narasimha temples, the list is simply endless. Every corner of every street here boasts of a centuries old fascinating temple. The notable fact about all these places of worship is –the visiting hours are strictly followed. The afternoon time is strictly kept for the Gods to enjoy their siesta; also even though these temples are a treat for shutterbugs what with their beautiful architecture and carvings, photography is prohibited in their premises. However if you happen to visit these shrines in the lazy hours of the afternoon you can get away with some really good pictures. In my short stay of two days I visited the 1000 year old Guganathaswamy temple located near railway station, and the Kumari Amman Temple near the sea shore, apart from the famous Bhagwathi temple at the confluence of three oceans.
The true essence of going to Kanyakumari lies in the confluence of three mighty oceans-the ravishing Arabian Sea to the west, the profound Indian Ocean to the south and the fascinating Bay of Bengal to the east. For a first couple of moments I couldn’t grasp the profundity of the spectacle I was watching-three different shades of oceanic water mingled under the watchful eyes of the huge statue of Saint Thiruvalluvar. Then gradually the reality began to dawn upon me that I was standing at place that had been a source of inspiration to a great scholar and thinkerSwami Vivekananda who, for the first time explained the true essence of Indian culture to the western world. Thus, this geographical location has now come to preserve the legacy of the past.
So here I was a few meters into the frivolous sea getting ready to land on one of the two rocks known as ‘twin rocks’ with the monument of Swami Vivekananda on one of them and a mammoth figure of Saint Thiruvalluvar on the other one. I found the entire construction over here a marvel of architectural splendor. On any given day one has to wait for a long time in queue to board a mid-sized diesel boat that takes you to these rocks. The ticket is nominal but the views from these places are spectacular. As the sun rises the rock surface also heats up and this can even scald the sole of your feet since you are required to deposit your footwear before you take the tour of the place. It is also recommended that if you are not carrying a cap then you may as well buy a handmade hat for just 10 INR in the local bazaars. Along with the three seas the wind from different directions also seems to converge at this point bringing with it splashes of sea water.
Absorbing the magical ambience to the minutest details I then came away from the shoreline to walk around rest of the place. Baywatch amusement park with a number of joyrides which brings the 'beach side fun’ was next on my list in Kanyakumari. This place is located on the way to Kovalam but not far away from where I was stationed. My reason for visiting the water park was not to indulge in any water sports but to see Asia’s only wax museum located here. Life-size wax mannequins of film-stars, politicians and sports person are kept here for people to admire and click pictures with. Whilst on my way to this water park I came across the ‘sunset-point’. This particular spot was being developed as a tourist attraction but due to some reasons the work has been stalled and the natural beauty remains intact. A further down the road I saw what are known as the ‘Uppalams’ or the salt lakes.
Government Fruit Farm is just 2 kms away from Kanyakumari on the way to Nagercoil. This horticultural garden has a surprising variety of fruits such as berries, peaches and pomegranates apart from hundreds of plants and trees. The visiting hours are between 9 and 11 in the mornings and 1 to 3 in the evenings. I gorged on fruits as well as bought jams, fruit pulp and fruit juice at the farm outlets situated here.
My final destination was the Vattakotai Fort and Beach, located about 6km from the Kanyakumari beach. An old lady assigned with collecting the toll tax of 20 INR told us that not many people come this way. On reaching the fort built by Travancore king Marthanda Varma in eighteenth century, I felt as if I have come to a private beach with literally no soul in sight. An ideal place to relax in the evening, this fort offers spectacular view of the Bay of Bengal and the Western Ghat Mountains.
Being at Kanyakumari was really a divine experience and it was a befitting way to bring my Kerala trip to an end. However there are many interesting places nearby which I couldn’t cover in my short stay of two days. But with a promise to return someday I started to pack my bags, but not before watching a memorable sunset.