Kanyakumari is the southern tip of Tamil Nadu, very close to the Kerala border. It’s most known as the spot where three seas meet: Arabic, Bengal and Indian. It’s best to see it during sunset or sunrise. Unfortunately I missed both!
I did a day trip to Kanyakumari taking the train early in the morning at 3am with a local girl I met while in Virdhunagar. We could only get unreserved tickets since we were purchasing it the day of travel, which meant I was riding with the locals in overcrowded compartments hoping for a seat…. on the ground! It was actually quite the experience.
We arrived by 8am and headed to the main attraction which is the temple (what else would it be in India?). This temple is also very old and men are required to take off their shirts as respect to the goddess. The statue of the goddess is most famous for her shimmering nose ring which illuminates the temple. The whole temple does not use electricity, instead it is lit using traditional oil lamps which gives it the real feel as if it were still the 1600’s.
The other main attraction in Kanyakumari are the islands that are dedicated to 2 great men of India : Vivekanada Swami and Thiruvalluval, a Tamil poet. It’s a mission and a half waiting in line amidst the crowd to board the ferry which takes you to the island, but definetly worth it. Vivekanada Mandapam is very peaceful and temple-like. There is also a meditation room in which I almost fell asleep in. The statue of Thiruvalluvar is enormous and I’m sure it’s a quite the site during sunset.
Kanyakumari has a lot of other sites but are a ride away. Due to my tiredness I was pleased with just being able to go there and soak in some ocean air. It’s a pity that swimming in these oceans is forbidden.
The ride back in the unreserved train of the womens only compartment was a riot! There was pushing and shoving, people falling and women yelling. Luckily we got some seats on the top berth this time instead of one the floor. Getting out of the train was the real battle as old women (in their 60’s) were pushing the door and not letting me get out of the train. I had to jump out the other way on to the tracks before the train began to move. It was a scary yet unique experience which I don’t think I would encounter in any place in the world.