Sunset Point and Southern Sights in Kanya Kumari, India
Kanya Kumari is a small town in the southernmost of the 28 Indian states, Tamil Nadu. I was working so didn’t see much, but here’s a few of the places to hit, plus a decent hotel.
The lay of the land in Kanya Kumari
Clicking and enlarging the map below, the touristy part of Kanya Kumari is on the far right side. As you move west, there’s not much except for a fairly polluted beach area (Indians consider pretty much any public space to be appropriate to throw trash) that eventually gets you to “Sunset Point” as shown on the far left below.
Tourist spots at Cape Comorin
If you click on the map above and zoom in, you’ll see two tourist attractions that are highly recommended. Not by me, of course, as I didn’t go in. But people say these are the things to see. A video farther down gives a perspective of where these places are in relation to one another.
1. Gandhi Memorial
2. Thiruvalluvar Statue and the Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Look out from Cape Comorin and you’ll see a bigger-than-life statue, and on another small island beside it, the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. Note that I zoomed when I took the photo — In reality, it looks a bit smaller and farther away, lying about 400m offshore. Pardon my crap photography skills.
According to Wikipedia, the statue is the Tamil poet and saint Tiruvalluvar, author of the Thirukkural. The statue and pedestal together have a height of 133 feet (40 m) and represent the 38 chapters of “virtue” in the Thirukkural. The statue standing on the pedestal represents “wealth” and “pleasures,” signifying that wealth and love are earned and enjoyed on the foundation of solid virtue.
Who knew, right? Should have swum out there.
Note that this area was badly hit by the 2004 tsunami. Here’s a video of the first wave hitting the statue.
This whole area is mostly visited by Indian tourists. Like these guys just chilling in this small structure. I saw only a handful of westerners in the area my whole time in South India.
And to give you a perspective on how far all these things are apart, a short video. Note that I managed to get a few sari-clad women at the end before one gave me a “shut off that video” look.
It was difficult to find a hotel with consistently decent reviews. I finally decided on the Sparsa hotel. It’s not in the touristy center, but is a few minutes drive down the beach. It was about $90/night when I stayed; not sure how much it is now. But the staff were amazingly nice, the room was as clean and comfortable as could be, and the view in the morning was great.
I wasn’t in my room much, so I can’t remember if they have cable TV. What I can remember is watching a lot of the Indian version of American Idol. Check it out!
And a quick view as you leave the hotel. Just a looooot of ocean!
And finally, if you drive along a little farther up the beach, you’ll arrive at Sunset Point. Guess what people go there to see. The sunset is OK. Nothing spectacular. What is spectacular is just hanging with a bunch of Indian travelers enjoying their country. When I took these photos, the thing that impressed me most were the saris. Women in the south, all women you’ll see, dress beautifully in traditional saris, written as சேலை in Tamil. If you prefer video, this is a super short look at Sunset Point.
And a few pics just to finish things up.
Thanks for reading!
I really want to get to Kanya Kumari and the southern parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala the next time I’m in India. Thanks for the post! 🙂
Yeah, it’s definitely worth the trip. I can’t say if it’s better or worse as a destination than the rest of India because I have yet to travel India — but it’s really chilled there and the people were so nice. I’ll definitely go back to do the Mumbai==> Goa ==> Tamil Nadu overland trip.