Legends, tradition, culture and religion blend to form a brilliant potpourri that is Kanyakumari. It is India‚s southernmost tip where the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea join the Indian Ocean. Sprawled out on the shore of this great ‚Triveni sangam‚ is the Kanyakumari town home to an array of beautiful temples, most importantly the iconic Kumari Amman temple, a colorful beach bazaar and the Vivekananda Rock Memorial standing sentinel over the sea. The memorial is built in honor of Swami Vivekananda who swam in this rough sea to the rock and meditated for days. The town gradually came up around the famous shore temple dedicated to the virgin goddess, Kanyakumari.>
What Kanyakumari does with its seashells is something to be witnessed at the local beach bazaar. The array of curios from looking mirrors framed with millions of tiny seashells, lampshades, wall hangings, junk jewelry, trinkets, bags with shell designs, to conchs in different shapes and hues, make the experience of flipping through souvenir shops very fascinating. If nothing else, at least pick up a few trinkets made of seashells ‚ they are one-off and a popular-buy here. The local bazaar on the outer fringes of the Kanyakumari beach is a hub to find shell-craft in addition to an assortment of artifacts made of bamboo, cane and teak, miniature paintings on palm leaves, textiles, fabrics and handicraft typical of Tamil Nadu. Palm leaf utility articles also make for a good buy. This local
bazaar is an eclectic mix of little kiosks to proper shops selling South Indian silk sarees, coconut-shell souvenirs, colorful Kathakali masks, patchwork and embroidered handbags, batik dress material, paintings, fresh coconut nectar, seashell jewelry, seashell artifacts and many other fascinating bric-a-brac.
And if you want it all under one roof, head to Tamil Nadu Co-optex Sales Emporium, Tamil Nadu Crafts or Poompuhar. These are well-known shopping centres in the town from where you can pick up fabrics, textiles and handicraft for yourself and your loved ones back home.
Within the Kumari Amman temple premise too there are handicraft shops selling attractive seashell souvenirs. At the memorial shop of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial you get to choose from many interesting books on the life and philosophy of Swami Vivekananda and other related mementos.
Restaurant - Traditional Chettinad cuisine is cooked to perfection in most kitchens in Kanyakumari, from fish dominant dishes to fermented coconut specialties - you can make your pick from a great assortment. If you take to snacking, enjoy the freshly fried banana chips ranging from pepper flavored to plain salted. Kanyakumari is not really the place for European or Oriental cuisine, sticking to regional delicacies here is a safer bet. Don‚t forget, South Indian cuisine (nullespecially in the Kerala-Tamil Nadu belt) is a bit of an acquired taste as it is cooked in coconut oil and with coconut. The spice content in most dishes is also normally high. If you do not have the palate for spicy food, make sure to mention your taste and preference to the waiter before you order. However,
you have a great array of local specialties to choose from.
Walk into any local restaurant in Kanyakumari, and you will find idli, dosa and kappa, in addition to the rice and curry served with vegetables or fish. Most in-site restaurants of the Kanyakumari hotels rustle up typical Tamil Nadu specialties including succulent seafood, bringing out the fiery and tangy taste of the cuisine.
Kanyakumari is a coastal town with an average elevation of 0 meters (null foot) at the meeting point of the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. It is at the termination point of the Eastern and Western Ghats, bounded by Kerala state to the west and northwest, and Tirunelveli District to the north and east.
Kanyakumari has tropical climate with no significant variation through the year. It mostly remains warm, but the period between October and March is pleasant and great for a holiday. April to June are the peak summer months with temperature soaring up to 35 degree Celsius. The head waves begin to ebb by end October, beginning November. And the following months till February stay cool with temperature hovering around 21 degree Celsius. Sometimes the Northeast monsoon brings gentle rainfall in October, November and December. It receives an approx. yearly rainfall of 1188.6mm. At other times, rainfall is common at any time of the year. So, when visiting the city, carry along ample light cotton clothes, and if possible, an umbrella. A layer of woolens to go with a shawl more than suffices in the winter.
This uniquely colored 16-foot (null.8 meters) memorial stands as a grim reminder of the lives claimed by the Asian Tsunami, on the southern shores of Kanyakumari. On 26 December 2004, the giant waves of the Indian Ocean smashed the coast of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and other South-east Asian countries killing thousands and rendering many homeless. Tsunami Memorial is indeed a very special monument in honor of the people who lost their lives under the havoc wrecked by the gigantic waves.
Surface - Frequent bus service is available to Kanyakumari from Trivandrum, the closest major transport hub. You can also take a coach from Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai to name a prominent few.
Train - Kanyakumari has a well connected and serviced railway network to all major cities in the country such as Chennai, Trivandrum, Kochi, Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Coimbatore among others. The longest train route in India begins from Kanyakumari to Jammu.
Air - Trivandrum in Kerala is the nearest international airport to Kanyakumari with direct flights from the Middle East, Singapore, Maldives and Sri Lanka among other important destinations. After de-boarding you can take the train, bus or taxi which takes about two hours to get you to Kanyakumari. A private taxi charges around Rs 9-10 per kilometer which would be close to INR 1000. Alternatively, arrive into Cochin (nullthe second nearest airport to Kanyakumari), Kozhikode, Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi or Kolkata, and then take the rail to Kanyakumari.
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