A Day in a City: Kanyakumari

Early morning start from Trivandrum – 3 AM to 5:30 AM.

Since we were staying in Trivandrum we had to start as early as 3 in the morning. The main idea is to reach Sunrise point in Kanyakumari by 5:30 AM. The sunrise time depends on which season you are in. It’s always better to check the sunrise timings before to plan better. The distance is just above 100 kms, but the roads are congested and not a great experience to drive on them.

Sunrise point Kanyakumari – 5:30 AM to 6:30 AM

Once we reach Kanyakumari it’s easy to identify Sunrise point. Everyone were walking towards the point. We snaked through the already crowded place and found a spot to sit. Slowly from around 5:45 AM we could see the dark sky slowly becoming blue and then giving rise to orange hue. The view of the Vivekananda memorial and Thiruvalluvar statue is breathtaking. Unfortunately for us it was a monsoon season and the sky was covered with clouds. Still we could see the rays of the Sun sneaking through the gaps from the Sky. It was a worthwhile view to watch. Imagine what would have been if there were no cloud cover.

Visit to goddess Kumari temple – 6:30 AM to 7:30 AM

This is a temple of goddess Parvati. The name of the town Kanyakumari is derived from this temple diety. Legend has it that Lord Shiva didn’t keep his promise of marrying her on one particular date. So she has taken a vow to stay at this place permanently and also never marry anyone.

Breakfast – 7:30 AM to 8:30 AM

We had a simple yet elegant south indian breakfast at Hotel Saravana close to the temple complex.

Visit to Padmanabhapuram Palace, Thuckalay – 8 AM to 11:30 PM

Padmanabhapuram palace was the royal palace of Travancore kingdom. The palace was constructed at 1601 AD by Venad rulers. However the same palace was used by the founders of Travancore dynasty from the start of the 18th century where it was rebuilt on 1750 to its present structure. However the rulers of Travancore have dedicated their kingdom to their family deity Lord Padmanabha. Since then it is called Padmanabhapuram or the City of Lord Padmanabha. From 1795 the capital of Travancore was shifted from Padmanabhapuram to the present day Thiruvananthapuram. Since then this palace has lost its sheen.

Back to Kanyakumari – 12 noon

Padmanabhapuram Palace is located between Trivandrum and Kanyakumari; 60 kms from Trivandrum and 40 kms from Kanykumari.

Lunch – 12 noon to 1 PM

Have a good south indian meals in Hotel Saravana. The choice of hotels were not many. But this hotel is quite next to the Amman temple, Sunrise point, Ferry point etc.

Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar Statue – 1 PM to 5 PM

The rock memorial is named after Swami Vivekananda as he is said to have attained enlightenment on the rock before his famous visit to Chicago. In his honour a rock memorial was built in 1970 with the help of Ramakrishna Mission. As per local legends, it is on this rock that goddess kumari performed austerity. The memorial has 2 structures; Vivekanand Mandapam, where huge statue of Vivekananda was erected and Sripada Mandapa where you can see the footprints of goddess Kumari.

Thiruvalluvar is a 10th century Tamil poet famous for his writings called Tirukkural, an ancient work on morality and secular ethics. It is surprising that his work is still relevant in the present day world.

Mahatma Gandhi Mandapam – 5 PM to 5:30 PM

Gandhi Memorial is built on the place where ashes of Gandhi was kept before scattering the Triveni Sangam (the meeting point of 3 seas). The life story of Gandhi right from his education in London, movement in South Africa, his arrival in India and then the Independence movement. Every event is beautifully represented with real life pictures. It is said that on Oct 2nd (Gandhi’s birth anniversary) the sun rays will directly fall on the place where ashes were kept.

Sunset point Kanyakumari –  5:30 PM to 6:30 PM

Final and important point is the sunset point. Kanyakumari being at the tip of the Indian peninsula has the privilege of viewing Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal at one place. It also has a unique feature where we can witness the sunrise from the ocean and sunset to the same ocean.

Back to Trivandrum – 6:30 PM to 9 PM

Once done with the visit we are back to Trivandrum in the same old rugged road which took us close to 2.5-3 hours to drive just 100 kms on the so called National Highway.

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