|Named for||Devi Kanya Kumari|
|• Type||Town Panchayat|
|• Body||Kanyakumari Town Panchayat|
|• District Collector||Arvind IAS|
|• Member of Parliament||Vijay Vasanth|
|• Member of Legislative Assembly||Thalavai Sundaram|
|• Total||25.89 km2 (10.00 sq mi)|
|Elevation||30 m (100 ft)|
|• Density||665/km2 (1,720/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
|Telephone code||91-4652 & 91-4651|
|Vehicle registration||TN 74 & TN 75|
Kanyakumari (US: //); lit. "The Virgin Princess" (also known as Cape Comorin) is a town in Kanyakumari District in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. It is the southern tip of Indian subcontinent. The southernmost town in mainland India, it is sometimes referred to as 'The Land's End'.
A popular tourist destination in India, it is famous for its unique ocean sunrise, sunset and moonrise, the 41-metre (133 ft) Thiruvalluvar Statue and Vivekananda Rock Memorial off the coast, and as a pilgrimage centre. Lying at the tip of peninsular India, Kanyakumari is bordered on the west, south and east by the Laccadive Sea. It has a coastal line of 71.5 km stretched on the three sides.
On the shores of the town is a temple dedicated to Goddess Kanyakumari (the virgin Goddess), after which the town is named. Kanyakumari has been a city since the Sangam period and has been referred to in old Malayalam literature and in the accounts of Marco Polo and Ptolemy.
The place derives its name from the goddess Kanya Kumari, considered to be the sister of Krishna, a goddess is believed to remove the rigidity from the mind, to whom women pray for marriage. In 1656, the Dutch East India company conquered Portuguese Ceylon from the Portuguese East Indies, and the name eventually corrupted to "Comorin" and was called Cape Comorin during British rule in India. The city was later renamed Kanyakumari by the Government of India and the Government of Madras.
According to a Hindu legend, Kanya Devi, an avatar of Parvati, was to marry Shiva, who failed to show up on his wedding day. Rice and other grains meant for the wedding feast remained uncooked and unused. As the legend goes, the uncooked grains turned into stones as time went by. Some believe that the small stones on the shore today, which look like rice, are indeed grains from the wedding that was never solemnised. Kanya Devi is now considered a virgin goddess who blesses pilgrims and tourists who flock the town. Her temple located in Kanyakumari is a Shakti Peetha or a holy shrine. According to another Hindu legend, Lord Hanuman dropped a piece of earth as he was carrying a mountain with his life-saving herb, Mrita Sanjivani, from the Himalayas to Lanka (Sri Lanka) during the Rama-Ravana war. This chunk of earth is called Marunthuvazh Malai, literally "hills where medicine lives". This is said to be the reason for the abundance of unique native medicinal plants in the area. Marunthuvazh Malai is located near Kottaram about 7 km (4 mi) from Kanyakumari town on the Kanyakumari-Nagercoil highway. The sage Agasthya, who was an expert in medicinal herbs, is believed to have lived around this site in ancient days. It is believed to be the reason so many medicinal herbs are found on the hills near Kanyakumari. A nearby village is named Agastheeswaram after the sage. Today, there is a small ashram on the middle of the Maruthuvazh Malai hill, which tourists visit (after a short trek from the base of the hill), both to visit the Ashram and also to take a glimpse of the sea near Kanyakumari a few kilometres away, and the greenery below.
As of the census of India 2001, Kanyakumari had a population of 19,739, comprising 9,884 males and 9,855 females, making the sex ratio (number of females per thousand males) of the town to 997. A total of 2,403 people were under six years of age and the child sex ratio (number of females per thousand males under six years of age) stood at 1,024. The town had an average literacy of 88.62%, higher than the national average of 59.5%. There were a total of 4,236 households in the town. As of 2001, Kanyakumari had a total of 5,929 main workers: 11 cultivators, 78 agricultural labourers, 66 in household industries and 5,774 other workers. There were a total of 119 marginal workers: 4 marginal cultivators, 3 marginal agricultural labourers, 11 marginal workers in household industries and 101 other marginal workers.
Kanyakumari is located at  and has an average elevation of 30 metres. The peninsular tip of Kanyakumari is bordered on three sides by the Laccadive Sea. It is located at the confluence of the Western Coastal Plains and Eastern Coastal Plains..
Kanyakumari is at the southern tip and is the southernmost point of the contiguous Indian Subcontinent. It thus finds itself being a part of the common Hindustani phrase used to describe the length of India "Kashmir se Kanyakumari"; before the partition, the phrase in undivided India was "Khyber se Kanyakumari". However, the southernmost point of Republic of India is at Indira Point on Great Nicobar Island, at 6°45’10″N and 93°49’36″E. The nearest city is Thiruvananthapuram (85 km) and the airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala and the nearest town is Nagercoil, the administrative headquarters of Kanyakumari District, 22 km (14 mi) away.
|Climate data for Kanyakumari (1981–2010, extremes 1961–2012)|
|Record high °C (°F)||34.4
|Average high °C (°F)||31.1
|Average low °C (°F)||23.6
|Record low °C (°F)||19.8
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||14.1
|Average rainy days||0.9||1.0||1.4||2.8||3.1||6.3||3.8||2.5||3.5||7.3||8.7||3.0||44.2|
|Average relative humidity (%) (at 17:30 IST)||66||68||70||74||77||79||79||79||80||80||75||68||75|
|Source: India Meteorological Department|
The Thiruvalluvar Statue has a height of 29 metres (95 feet) and stands upon a 11.5-metre (38 ft) rock that represents the 38 chapters of "virtue" in the Thirukkural. The statue standing on the rock represents "wealth" and "pleasures", signifying that wealth and love be earned and enjoyed on the foundation of solid virtue. The combined height of the statue and pedestal is 133 ft (40.5 m), denoting the 133 chapters in the Thirukkural. It has a total weight of 7000 tons. The statue, with its slight bend around the waist, is reminiscent of a dancing pose of the ancient Indian deities like Nataraja. It was sculpted by the Indian sculptor V. Ganapati Sthapati, who also created the Iraivan Temple. Its opening ceremony was on 1 January 2000. The monument was hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26 December 2004. but stood unaffected. The statue is designed to survive earthquakes of unexpected magnitudes, such as magnitude 6 on the Richter Scale occurring within 100 kilometres. This is far beyond that of any event recorded in the regional history. During maintenance work, as well as during rough sea, entry is restricted for tourists.
Vivekananda Rock Memorial
The Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a popular tourist monument in Vavathurai, Kanyakumari, India. The memorial stands on one of two rocks located about 500 metres (1,600 ft) east of the mainland of Vavathurai. It was built in 1970 in honour of Swami Vivekananda who is said to have attained enlightenment on the rock. According to local legends, it was on this rock that Goddess Kumari performed austerity. A meditation hall (Dhyana Mandapam) is also attached to the memorial for visitors to meditate. The design of the mandapa incorporates different styles of temple architecture from all over India. It houses a statue of Vivekananda. The rocks are surrounded by the Laccadive Sea. The memorial consists of two main structures, the Vivekananda Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam.
Gandhi Memorial Mandapam
The Gandhi Memorial Mandapam 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 a way that on Gandhi's birthday, 2 October, the first rays of the sun fall on the exact place where his ashes were kept.
Tsunami Memorial Park
Near Kanyakumari's southern shore stands a monument to the memory of those who died in the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, an underwater megathrust earthquake that claimed around 280 000 lives in many countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Thailand, Maldives and Indonesia. People from places near and far visit this monument to pay homage to all those who lost their lives.
Bhagavathy Amman Temple
Bhagavathy Amman Temple is a 3000-year-old temple dedicated to Goddess Kumari Amman located at Kanyakumari. Kumari Amman is one of the forms of Devi, popularly known as "Kumari Bhagavathy Amman". Kumari Bhagavathy Amman temple is the first Durga temple created by Lord Parasurama and one of the 108 Shakthi Peethas. This temple is situated at the shore of the Laccadive Sea. The Kumari temple has been mentioned in Ramayana, Mahabharata and Purananooru.[better source needed]
Kamarajar Mani Mantapa Monument
Kamarajar Mani Mantapa Monument was raised and dedicated to a freedom fighter and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, President of Indian National Congress, Mr Kamarajar. He is also popularly known as Black Gandhi among the masses. Like the Gandhi Mantapa, this place is where Kamarajar's ashes were kept for the public to pay homage before immersion into the sea.[better source needed]
The state-owned Poompuhar Shipping Corporation runs ferry services between the town and the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar statue, situated on rocky islets off the coast. The operation of the ferry service began in 1984. Two ferries were used to ferry the tourists until June 2013, after which a new ferry was added to the service on the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Swamy Vivekananda. Kanyakumari and nearby Nagercoil are directly connected by rail with almost all metropolitan cities in India. The nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, 90 km (56 mi) from Kanyakumari Town and 70 km (43 mi) from Nagercoil. Kanyakumari is 744 km (462 mi) from Chennai.
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