Kanyakumari, known by the name of Cape Comorin during British Rule, is a beautiful coastal town in the state of Tamil Nadu. This southernmost town of the Indian subcontinent has exactly the kind of geography that a travel enthusiast will love to explore. The surrounding mountains, long coastline lined with paddy fields and coconut trees, and lofty red cliffs, bestow on Kanyakumari unparalleled scenic beauty; for the kind that photographers pine for.
Along with its serenity, Kanyakumari is also known for its less crowded beaches where tourists get to witness mesmerizing sunrise and sunset. It is perfect for those who love spending a tranquil time at seashores, looking at the waves hitting the cliffs, and splashing water over the rocks. Amidst all this natural beauty, there are numerous places to visit in Kanyakumari, the most preeminent ones among which are temples that astound with their mystical aura.
The exemplary architectural styles that were widespread during the historic era are gracefully depicted in temples of Kanyakumari. Not to forget, the murals, statues of deities and wall carvings in these temples illustrate the artistic skills that sculptors and carvers of the ancient times possessed.
While on your Kanyakumari sightseeing tour, you should definitely visit the temples; you will have the pleasure of viewing the artistic forms and experience inner peace and calmness.
Here are the 10 famous temples of Kanyakumari that should form a part of your itinerary: –
1. Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Vivekananda Rock Memorial is built on one of the adjoining rocks protruding out of the Lakshadweep Sea. Built on a small island, away from the town of Kanyakumari, this Vivekananda temple is a very peaceful place. It is divided into three sections namely Shripada Mandapam, Vivekananda Mandapam, and Dhyana Mandapam. Its spectacular architecture and calm atmosphere are aspects that invite a lot of tourists to this place every year. What’s more, the ferry ride that you’ll take to reach here is an experience in itself!
2. Thanumalayan Temple
Thanumalayan temple was built to worship the Trimurti-Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. This temple in Kanyakumari was renovated in the 17th century but still has engravings that date back to the 9th century. On your way to this temple to worship the Trimurti, you will really enjoy the musical notes that reverberate from the four pillars carved out of one rock – just strike them with your thumb. The two other major attractions of this temple are the gigantic statues of Anjaneya and Nandi.
3. Kumari Amman Temple
Kumari Amman Temple i.e. Kanyakumari ka Mandir has great religious significance. This temple in Kanyakumari was built to worship Devi Kanyakumari who is the reincarnation of goddess Parvati and is, therefore, thronged with worshippers all the time. Also known as Bhagavathy Amman Temple, this place is believed to be built by Lord Parshuram 3000 years ago. This Kanyakumari temple stands on the coast, rising above the sea level while affording a beautiful view of foamy water touching the temple walls.
4. Adikesava Perumal Temple
Adikesava Perumal Temple in Kanyakumari is one of the 108 Divya Desams devoted to Lord Balaji i.e. God Vishnu. This Kanyakumari temple is secluded from the city and surrounded by three rivers namely Kothai, Pahrali, Thamirabarani. With its peaceful setting, away from the town, this temple is the ideal place for people looking for a composed atmosphere to worship. Such is the peace that surrounds this temple that you can clearly hear the sound of the rivers flowing nearby.
5. Kanyakumari Tirupati Temple
Also, known as Sri Venkateshwara Temple, Kanyakumari Tirupati temple is a specimen of architectural excellence that is prevalent in Kanyakumari. The temple is well-maintained and imparts an amazing sight of the sea. If tranquility is what you seek, this Tirupati temple in Kanyakumari is the best place for you. Immerse yourself in the peace here while enjoying the splendid sights of glittering seawater.
6. Nagaraja Temple
The Nagaraja Temple, as the name suggests, is devoted to the king of serpents, ‘the 5 Headed Nagaraja’. This Kanyakumari temple is famous because it is said that a lot of snakes are found around this temple. These snakes are there to protect the temple and their presence has never caused even a single causality. Situated in Nagercoil, this place is surrounded by luscious greenery and coconut trees, thereby making the time spent here even more delightful.
7. Mandaikadu Bhagavathi Temple
Mandaikadu Bhagvathi temple is another mandir in the Kanyakumari district that is dedicated to Goddess Parvathy. It is located near Colachel that’s adjacent to the seashore and is the major centre of worship for the people of both Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In fact, this temple attracts a lot of tourists owing to its Kerala-style architecture and an exceptionally beautiful idol of Goddess Parvathy. Another attraction of this temple is the ant-hill with five heads standing at the height of 15 feet. This temple is quite a key attraction because of its architectural excellence, finely sculpted idols, and an exceptional sight of the sea from within the temple itself.
8. Thirunanthikarai Cave Temple
An exemplary Shiva temple in Kanyakumari, the Thirunanthikarai Cave Temple stands out for its ancient South Indian architecture. Enclosed by a pleasant environment and scenic beauty, this temple attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. Said to have been built in the 7th century and was taken over by Raja Raja Chola I, the king of the Chola Dynasty, in the 9th century for renovation. After that, he declared the Shivalinga to be sacred and embellished the interiors of the temple by installing beautifully carved structures. Thirunanthkarai Cave Temple takes the fourth position among 12 Sivalayam temples in Kanyakumari and has murals on the walls depicting the scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata.
9. Thiruchendur Temple
Bordering the Bay of Bengal, Thiruchendur Temple is 75 Km north-east of Kanyakumari. Dedicated to Lord Murugan, warrior deity, and the second son of Lord Shiva, this temple is said to be the site where Lord Murugan defeated the demon Soorapadama. It is perched on the Chandana hill where Lord Murugan prayed to Lord Shiva and comes second among the six abodes of Lord Murugan in Tamil Nadu. Inside the temple, there is a cave where granite carving of the childhood of Lord Murugan is placed, which is, perhaps, one of the major attractions of this temple.
10. Guganathaswamy Temple
This 1000-year-old temple was built by King Raja Raja Chola I (again). The architectural style of Cholas in which the temple is built attracts several tourists to this place. This temple in Kanyakumari is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is home to 16 inscriptions which date back to 11th century A.D. The temple is visited by a lot by the devotees of Lord Shiva and people who take interest in observing the centuries-old inscriptions.
For years, Kanyakumari has been recognized as a famous tourist destination for the natural beauty dwelling here and the architectural forms that are spellbinding. So, when you buy a Kanyakumari tour package, make sure to check that the places around it are covered. While on your Kanyakumari tour, Rameshwaram is one place that you should not miss as there you will get to see the magnanimous Ramanathaswamy temple.
Who says a religious holiday can’t be fulfilling?!