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Kanyakumari City Guide

Kanyakumari was once referred to as the Alexandria of the east. This place has been a grevivekanand-rockat center for art, culture, civilization, and pilgrimage for years. It was also a famous center for commerce and trade. During the early part of the eighth century AD Islam entered the southern part of India through the sea route with traders and missionaries. Through St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ, Christianity arrived in this area in AD 52. Islam, Christianity and Jainism have greatly contributed to the architectural wealth and literary heritage of this place. Kanyakumari was also under the control of the Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Nayaks who were great rulers of south India. The architectural beauty of the temples is the work of these rulers.

During the British Raj, Kanyakumari was bestowed the dry title of Cape Comorin, necessitated perhaps by the Englishmen’s inability to pronounce local names.

Legend has it that Kanya Devi, an avatar of Goddess Parvati, was to wed Lord Shiva, the destroyer in the Hindu trinity. But he did not turn up at the auspicious time and the wedding never took place. The rice and cereals meant for the marriage remained uncooked. Even today, one can buy stones there that look exactly like rice and cereals. Local folks believe that they are the leftovers of the legendary marriage that could not be solemnized. As for the princess Kanya Devi, she became a virgin goddess blessing pilgrims and tourists alike.


Forts & Monuments Kanyakumari

Mahatma Gandhi Memorial:

The place has been associated with great men like Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi in whose names memorials have been here. They are very beautiful and add to the attraction of this place. The beautiful Gandhi Memorial completed in 1956, is situated as a memorial to the Father of the Nation.

An urn of Mahatma Gandhi was kept here for public to pay homage before immersion. Mahatma Gandhi visited Kanyakumari twice in 1925 and 1937. Mahatma Gandhi visited Kanyakumari in January 1937. In 1948 his ashes were immersed in the sea waters in Kanyakumari. In commemoration of this event a beautiful monument has been constructed here.

Its central shape is 79 feet high representing the age of the Mahatma at the time of the sun at Mid day on 2nd October would fall on the peedam through a hole in the roof. The memorial was transferred to the administrative control of the Public (Information and Public Relations) Department from Public Works Department of Government of Tamil Nadu in the year 1978.

Mathur Hanging Bridge

The Mathur Hanging Trough is the tallest as well as the longest trough bridge in Asia, having a height of 115 feet and a length of one kilometre. Constructed in 1966, this bridge has become a place of tourist importance and hundreds of tourists visit this place. This is situated in Mathur, hamlet of Aruvikkarai revenue village in Thiruvattar Panchayat Union.

The bridge has been constructed at Mathur across the river Parazhiyar at a cost of Rs. 12.90/- lakhs and the trough canal (Pattanamkal canal) on the bridge carries water for irrigation from one side of a hill to the other side of a hill. The trough has a height of seven feet with a width of seven feet six inches.


Muttom Beach:

The famous beach at Muttom is located about 16 kms from Nagercoil and 32 kms from Kanyakumari. Muttom is famous for its beautiful landscaping and high rocks dipping into the sea at the beach-side. The sun set view point at Muttom is one of the most Panoramic view points in the district. Another attraction of Muttom is the century old light-house built by the British. However so far this beautiful beach has always been unsafe for the tourists since the rocks on which tourists go to see the sea view are slippery and a number of fatal accidents have occurred over the past few years.

The district administration, decided to put protective stainless steel fencing across the entire dangerous areas and also to put up small open huts at the rock tops for the tourists to sit and watch the massive sea waves leisurely with protection from sun and rain. The fencing work and the small huts have already been completed to the delight of the tourists who mob the beach in hundreds during week ends.

Padmanabhapuram Palace:

The ancient historical town Padmanabhapuram is one of the four municipalities in the district is 55 Km. south of Trivandrum, about two km. east of Thuckalay and 35 km. from Kanyakumari on the Trivandrum-Cape Comerin road. This town is surrounded by a fort with an area of 187 acres. The ancient capital of Travancore might be constructed before AD 1601.

The palace with an area of seven acres, is situated in the very centre on the Padmanabhapuram Fort, amidst hills, dales and rivers. The palace which is situated in Kanniyakumari District is under the control of a Curator of the Archaeological Department of Kerala Government.


St.Xavier an outstanding and dedicated priest visited the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu from Goa, he never missed the opportunity of visiting Kottar in Kanniyakumari district which was a celebrated commercial centre at that time. During his stay at Kottar, he used to worship St. Mary in the small temple. He was popularly known as “Valiya Pandaram” among the people of Kottar. While he was at Kottar, he averted the invasion of Padagas on the people of Venad which was appreciated by the king, who became closer to the Priest. In recognition of Xavier’s services, the king allotted a land to him for the purpose of constructing a catholic church at Kottar. There was already a church in 1544 in the same place, where the St. Xavier’s church stands now.

The church records show that the church was built in the year 1600 A.D. In the year 1865, the Church was enlarged and the shrine of our lady was also renovated and vaulted over. In 1930, the church was raised to the status of a Cathedral.

In 1942, in commemoration of the fourth centenary of the arrival of St.Xavier in India, a beautiful tower to the saint, a grotto to Out Blessed Mother and a small shrine to St.Ignatius who sent him to India were constructed in the Cathedral premises. In 1955, the church was further extended and the chapel of Our Lady was incorporated into the enlarged church.

The Church of St. Xavier enjoys a great fame as a place of miracles from early times. The annual festival is celebrated during the month of November – December lasting for 10 days.

Udayagiri Fort:

The fort was rebuilt in the reign of Marthandavarma, the Venad King, during 1741-44. Under the supervision of De Lannoy, the Belgian General, who served as the Chief of the Travancore army; East India Company’s troops were stationed there till the middle of the 19th century. Foundry for the manufacture of guns, mortars and cannon balls were also established within the fort under the supervision of the General.

In the early days, the fort was of strategic importance. Prisoners captured in the campaign against Tippu were confined in this fort for sometime. It is further said that a brass gun 16 ft. long bored as a 22 ponder, found in the fort could not be removed even for a few yards by a large number of people, even with the help of 16 elephants.

Vivekananda Rock Memorial:

Vivekananda Rock Memorial is another place in Kanyakumari which attracts large number of tourists. As its name implies, it is essentially a sacred monument, built by the Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee to commemorate the visit of Swamy Vivekananda to – Shripada Parai – during 24th, 25th and 26th December 1892 for deep meditation and enlightenment.

From very ancient times, the rock has been regarded as sacred place. In Puranic tradition, it has been known as – Sripada Parai: meaning the rock, that has been blessed by the touch of Shripada feet of the Goddess.On the rock, is a projection similar in form to a human fort and a little brownish in complexion, which has traditionally, been revered as a symbol of Shripadam. According to legend, it was on this rock that Goddess Kanyakumari did Tapas.

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