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Kanyakumari (also known as Cape Comorin) 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 is the work of these rulers.  Located at the southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula, it is the geographical end of the Indian mainland. It lies at the meeting point of three bodies of water: the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Mannar and the Indian Ocean. Kanyakumari is especially popular in India for its spectacular and unique sunrise and sunset. 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. On two rocky islets just off the shore, southeast of the Kumari Amman temple, are the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and the gigantic, 133 foot tall statue of Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar. 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, October 2nd, the first rays of the sun fall on the exact place where his ashes were kept.



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