Kanyakumari is a celebrated and well known district in India. It is one of the top places on foreign tourists’ list and associates with the country every time it comes to appraise the size and culture of this vast and ancient land of multiple religions and customs. Almost everyone visiting the district is drawn to the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanyakumari Beach, and a number of other memorials here. There are dozens of other attractions in this beautiful place, which aren’t so well known. This guide lists the 10 attractions accessible within the district that most tourists usually don’t know about. A visit to these destinations will leave you enthralled while realising that Kanyakumari has more to offer than just a few famous attractions.
1. Visit Guganathaswamy Temple
It is a thousand-year old temple in Kanyakumari, built at the peak of the Chola Dynasty’s reign under Raja Raja Chola. You don’t have to be a historian to appreciate and cherish the classic sophistication of the Chola dynasty’s architectural prowess. There is no other feeling like touching the stones and inscriptions from the 11th century. There are very few such temples in India which have been preserved so well.
2. Keeriparai – Retreat into Nature
Kanyakumari has several natural attractions – from its marvellous and vast beaches to the splendid and lush hinterlands. But not many people engage in a natural trek across Keeriparai. But there are a few handful foreign visitors who love to explore the thick foliage of the region. Keeriparai is a natural habitat, with an unsurpassed nature-trek that gives you access to a world of flora and fauna. You may never know what you may come across on a trek – wild elephants, Indian Bison, leopards, rock pythons and other animals, and a world of medicinal herbs.
3. Kalikesam – Forests and Waterfalls
Kanyakumari has a number of waterfalls. You cannot visit all of them as many are located within a 60-km radius, forcing you to spend more of your time travelling. Kalikesam is located within the district and closer to the railway station. This place is the perfect tourist hub, where you can find wonderful falls, a wildlife sanctuary, forests and even a temple. The best part is that not many tourists trudge this rare trail, which is another nature retreat.
The Kali Amman Temple is close to the Kalikesam falls and the falls are surrounded by lush green forests and acres and acres of rubber plantations all around. There is even more to the place, as the temple is located along the shores of a river. The water from the falls turns into a stream which is believed to have several medicinal benefits.
4. Mathur Hanging Trough
Have you visited one of the highest and longest aqueducts in South Asia? The Mathur Hanging Trough is right here in Kanyakumari. The aqueduct is built over the Parazhiyar or Pahrali River. It is not just the water body that you can enjoy from the centre of the structure, there is a marvellous view of the lush-green rolling hills to be cherished too, all emanating in the background as if drawn with the brush of an artist.
Kanyakumari isn’t just about lots of temples and beaches. Even though you can find them everywhere, there are some exceptions and unique places that give you an entirely different experience. So if you wish to make another retreat from the ordinary, go to the beautiful, lighthouse-studded, tiny village of Muttom. It has almost everything that will give you the perfect feel of a beach-side vacation – sunrise and sunset, a sandy beach, a rocky beach, hills and spectacular top-of-the-world views, a Portuguese church, a light house and the calm and undisturbed spirit of village life.
6. Sanguthurai Beach
Kanyakumari has several beaches and many of them offering awe-inspiring experiences and views. Sanguthurai isn’t as popular as others, but it delivers the perfect combination of a peaceful beach with spots where you can witness the furious tumults of the Indian Ocean. Pure white sand and the opportunity to get a glimpse of the Vivekananda Rock in the distance and take a dip in the waters are unique to the Sanguthurai beach.
7. Udayagiri Fort
If you want to take leave from the beaches, temples and the lush greeneries of Kanyakumari, the district has a magnificent 500-year old, 90-acre fort – the Udayagiri Fort. Located on a 260-feet hill, the fort houses the tombs of a Dutch Admiral and his family within a chapel. The government has provided protection to the fort by conserving it as a place of historical importance.
8. Wadge Bank – Marine Environment
There is even more diversity in Kanyakumari in terms of the kind of attractions. If you are intrigued to explore the marine life of the place, you should find yourself at Wadge Bank. This is a shallow part of the seas where you can explore underwater life without all the disturbance of the currents and tides. Most interestingly, this is where most of the fish in the region come for breeding. It is worth noting that there are only 20 other wadge banks in the world.
9. Wax Museum
You expect Madam Tussauds Wax Museum to be in London. It doesn’t have any franchise in India. But Kanyakumari has a Madam Tussauds of its own, where you can find several world-renowned personalities. It is part of the Baywatch Amusement Park and easy to find.
10. View Tower & Telescope House
If you visit Kanyakumari, make sure that you find a spot from where you can enjoy the spectacular view of the entire beach-side and the vast coastline along the Indian Ocean. So make sure to get to the View Tower & Telescope House. From here you can get a panoramic view of the entire landscape and the seascape, for several miles. You will want to spend the entire day here exploring the horizon as far as you can see – from the Vivekananda Rock Memorial to the Thiruvalluvar Statue to the vast hinterland.