At the ultimate edge of India, Kanyakumari witnesses the breathtaking beauty of the confluence of three major water bodies, the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, and the Bay of Bengal. The incredible blend of natural beauty, spiritual significance, and historical consequence make Kanyakumari an ever-attractive destination to tourists of all tastes across the world. With the Inclusion of scenic beaches, dazzling sunrise and sunset events, Vivekananda Rock, breath-taking watchtower view, museums, churches, temples, Kanyakumari offers a lot; let’s explore the complete list of best things to do in Kanyakumari and plan an exciting trip to the Indian peninsula.
Best Things to do in Kanyakumari
Experiencing the beach-side beauty, visiting historical Vivekananda Rock and Thiruvalluvar Statue in the middle of sea, watching sunrise and sunset, gasping the beauty of ocean confluence from the top, local shopping, tasting delicious dishes, you have endless things to do in Kanyakumari.
This time I prefer to start listing from the first morning!
Start the Day with an Elegant Sunrise Show
The Indian peninsula is enveloped in the endless ocean from three sides; east, west, and south. With the rhythm of speedy waves thudding the rocks, when the morning sky fills with dazzling colors and the first sun appears from the edge of the endless water, a magical sight spawns all over the Kanyakumari Beach; the rapper of sweet breeze perfectly blends with the situation, offering you an unforgettable sunrise view at the coast of Kanyakumari.
In some specific seasons, the sunrise point of Kanyakumari remains overcrowded, but never mind, the elegant sight of sunrise in Kanyakumari is always very special; you’ll just be speechless and blinkless when the reel remains on!
Notably, Kanyakumari is the only beach in India from where you can watch both sunrise and sunset! all other beaches in India offer you either sunrise view from the edge of Bay of Bengal or sunset at the Arabian sea.
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Have a morning Walk along the Beach
The elegant morning of Kanyakumari is unignorable. So, after sunrise don’t get back to your hotel room; rather, enjoy the clarity of the beautiful first sun staying around Kanyakumari beach.
Leaving the sunrise point start walking across the seaside paved path towards the church end (left side if you are facing towards the Vivekananda Rock). There are some sitting accommodations on the pavement, you may take a rest there in case you are tired of walking.
You’ll be landing on the sandy beach just after crossing the rocky seaside pavement. It’s a picturesque place having plenty of floating boats here and there, flying seagulls, resting fishing boats at the backdrop, and endless waves at the front. The special appearance of Vivekananda Rock Memorial in the middle of the sea makes the canvas more precious.
Just beside the sandy part, a 2 km long narrow rock path enters the sea. Must be a crazy traveler to walk through that mid-sea path to reach the ultimate edge, tasting the morning blow of windy Kanyakumari.
Indeed, experiencing the morning charm is one of the best things to do in Kanyakumari; enjoy this as much as possible!
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Take a bath at Kanyakumari Beach
Ocean at Kanyakumari is absolutely rough, wild waves thud the shore from almost every direction. In addition, most part of the Kanyakumari beach is covered by heavy boulders. So, taking bath here and there is absolutely not safe in Kanyakumari.
Near the sunrise viewpoint, a little area is assigned for bathing purposes (only during low tide). Big waves are relatively restricted at that portion due to having stony barriers. You can fairly take your sea bath in the wavy pool, but don’t try to swim away. However, this little area remains a bit overcrowded most of the time because all the interested tourists gather here for taking bath.
After watching the sunrise and having a little tour along the seaside, you can join the bathing party.
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Visit Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Situating at about 500 meters away from the mainland, in the middle of the sea, Vivekananda Rock Memorial is one of the iconic monuments in Kanyakumari; also, this is the most popular tourist attraction in the Coastal city.
Back in 1800s, the great Indian saint Swami Vivekananda swam across the rough sea of Kanyakumari to reach this ever-peaceful mid-sea rock island and meditated for three days and nights until attaining enlightenment. Later, Vivekananda Rock Memorial was built in 1970 to commemorate the great Hindu saint, though several controversies happened prior to this construction.
The rock memorial is beautifully constructed by incorporating the finest temple architecture. The area is equipped with a large meditation hall, viewing terrace, and green gardens. The open terrace of the rock memorial offers a 360° magical view of the southernmost edge of India.
You can avail the ferry service from the jetty near Vavaturai Beach; book the ticket any time between 8 AM to 4 PM. Both normal and special ticketing options are available; For saving time as well as avoiding the long queue, you may go for the special ticketing option.
- Ticket Price for ferry service: INR 50 (regular); INR 200 (Special – to skip the queue)
Visit Thiruvalluvar Statue
In 1999, a gigantic statue was constructed just beside the Vivekananda memorial rock to honor the great Tamil poet and philosopher Thiruvalluvar, and was opened for the public in 2000. The statue is 133 feet high and 7000 tons heavy, placed on a three-tower construction; the pedestal depicts 38 virtues of Thiruvalluvar’s messages. Significantly, 3 fingers of the statue point towards the sky, representing the three stanzas of his literary creation, Thirukkural (Aram, Porul, and Inbam).
Similar to the Vivekananda Rock memorial, you can avail the ferry services from the same jetty for reaching Thiruvalluvar Statue.
Attending both Vivekananda Rock and Thiruvalluvar Statue together is one of the top listed things to do in Kanyakumari, that almost every tourist does; thus both places remain little crowded most of the time. Notably, Vivekanada Rock also offers a very sightful view of the Thiruvalluvar Statue as you can have the complete vision from a closer perspective that exposes the full architectural details.
- Ticket Price for ferry service: INR 50 (regular); INR 200 (Special – to skip the queue)
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Visit Bhagavathy Amman Temple
Situating 1.3 km away from Kanyakumari Railway station, a 3000 years old sacred temple of Devi Kanyakumari (the Virgin Goddess) is known as Bhagavathy Amman Temple. According to Hindu mythology, this temple is considered as one of the 108 Shaktipeethas, where the body part of the Goddess Sati fell down while distressed Lord Shiva was carrying Sati’s corpse; thus this temple holds great religious importance as well as mythological significance.
The legendary Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda also visited Bhagavathy Amman Temple when he traveled through Kanyakumari, seeking bless from the holy goddess.
Whether you are a devotee or not, visiting this historical temple is one of the most definite things to do in Kanyakumari, especially because the name of the place was derived from the name of goddess Kanyakumari; in addition, the typical architectures and significance of the goddess idol are worth experiencing!
- Timings: 6:00 AM to 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
Explore Padmanabhapuram Palace
A little away from the Kanyakumari seaside (approx. 10 km from the city center), Padmanabhapuram Palace witnesses the architectural beauty of the 16th century.
The marvelous palace of Travancore Kingdom is well-decorated with artistic interior and exterior that include ancient murals, carved columns, beautiful wall sculptures, uniquely painted ceilings, designer lamps, artistically carved walls, Belgian mirrors, open-air shower, exotic paintings of Lord Krishna, amazing musical bows, and more.
Indeed, this is among must-visit places in Kanyakumari that many travelers skip, unfortunately.
- Timings: 9 AM to 1 Pm; 2 PM to 4:30 PM (Monday closed)
- Entry fee: INR 25 (extra charges for camera up to INR 1200)
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Feel the purity at Our Lady Of The Ransom Church
Featured with grothic style architecture, Our Lady Of The Ransom Church is one of the most artistic as well as peaceful places to visit in Kanyakumari. On a pristine morning, the pure white church stands tall amidst pure blue sky at the backdrop, producing a beautiful sight and ever peaceful ambiance.
The interior of the church is well-decorated with exquisite carvings of the 12 Disciples of Christ, wooden carvings, imported bells, huge statues of St. Francis Xavier and St. Thomas, and the statue of Mother Mary. Built in the 15th century this white marvel is dedicated to mother Mary by the local Christian community.
You can enter the church anytime throughout the day; there is no entry fee as usual.
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Explore Vattakottai Fort
Only 7 km away from Kanyakumari city center, Vattakottai Fort is a historically significant destination, offering splendid views of the Bay of Bengal on one side and lush green Western Ghat Mountain on the other side.
This 3.5-acre spread fort was constructed in 18th century under the supervision of King Marthanda Verma of the Travancore dynasty, equipping a secret canal to connect Padmanabhapuram Palace; the prime aim was to save the palace from enemy attacks. Presently Vattakottai Fort is preserved by the Archaeological Department of India.
On a fine morning during your Kanyakumari trip, you may plan a short visit to this amazing place to witness the defense intelligence of the 18th century as well as explore the undefined natural beauty of the surroundings.
- Timing: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
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Visit Gandhi Mandapam/ Gandhi Memorial
This is another historical place at Kanyakumari where the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi’s were kept before imbuing into the ocean; hence Gandhi Memorial holds special respect to the nation as well as the whole world.
Gandhi Mandapam was constructed in 1956 to respect one of the great leaders of the nation; definitely, it’s one of the worthy places to visit in Kanyakumari to provide respect to the Father of Nation.
Timings: 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
Visit Thanumalayan Temple
A bit away from Kanyakumari city center (13.5 km), Thanumalayam Temple is an ancient temple as well as a highly prominent religious place that is dedicated to the Trimurthis – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; this temple was architected in the 9th century.
Among several wondering things inside, air-striking melodious tunes and single granite-made 18 feet tall pillars are something extraordinary in this temple! The frontal part of the temple is also wonderfully architected by the premium artisans of the 9th century.
The temple situates close to NH 22; if you have the plan to visit Kerala by road after the Kanyakumari trip, you may prefer stopping there on the way. For your note, photography is strictly prohibited inside the temple unless you got prior permission from the higher authority.
- Timings: 4:30 AM to 11:30 AM; 5 PM to 8:30 PM
- Entry fee: None
Experience Bird’s-eye View from the Watch Tower
On a clear day, the amazing color of the confluence (Triveni Sangam) is most clearly visible from the top of the view tower. At the confluence of the three oceans, the perfect mixing Blue (Arabian Sea), Green (Bay of Bengal), and red (Indian Ocean) offers an absolutely breathtaking view, especially just before the sunset when the sun sparkles from the west.
Besides, the watchtower offers a splendid panoramic view of the widespread landscape of the whole Kanyakumari beach and corresponding rock memorials. Indeed, hiking to the top of the view tower is one of the definite things to do in Kanyakumari, though many tourists skip this particular event. I suggest, don’t miss this undefined beauty under any circumstances; if possible, also watch both sunrise and sunset from this point.
- Timings: 5:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
- Entry Fee: INR 5.
On the return trip from the watchtower, you can visit the roadside aquarium house that consists of a versatile collection of marine fishes.
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Watch Sunset from Kanyakumari Sunset point
At the end of the day, there is nothing more beautiful than sitting calmly at the shore of Kanyakumari, and watching the sun slowly meets the endless ocean!
I was a lucky fellow to achieve the lifetime experience to enjoy the ultimate Kunyakumarian sunset view, even after a short thunderstorm! Indeed, amidst colorful sky and the confluence of three oceans, Kanyakumari presents the best sunset in the Indian scenario, which is simply unignorable.
I personally suggest watching the sunset from the top of the watchtower to experience the ultimate beauty and color changes of the ocean.
More things to do in Kanyakumari
If you have more time in hand you have little more things to do in Kanyakumari. Let’s see what else!
Visit Kanyakumari Wax Museum
This is the first historical wax museum in India having a wide collection of wax figures of several national and international figures. The museum situates near the Kanyakumari railway station; on a fine afternoon, you can have a short trip to Kanyakumari Wax Museum.
- Timings: 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM
- Entry Fee: INR 50
Visit Bharatmata Temple
The prime attraction of Bharatmata Temple is the wonderful depiction of Epic, Ramayana (ground floor), and beautiful statues Bharat Mata, Devi Kanyakumari, and Swami Vivekananda (1st floor). You may spend a fine evening experiencing this architectural wonder of Kanyakumari.
- Timings: 9 AM to 1 PM; 5 PM to 8 PM
- Entry fee: Rs 30
Go for seaside shopping
If you are willing to catch lovely gifts for your dear ones or even for your own, visit beachside stalls. You’ll get a nice collection of gift items made of seashells, idols of swami Vivekananda and Rock Memorial, and many other handcrafted products. For your note, they demand high prices, so don’t forget to bargain.
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Other Places to Visit near Kanyakumari
With the beautiful decoration by ‘mother nature’ employing rows of coconut trees and sparkling golden sand, Chothavilai Beach is an absolute hidden gem near Kanyakumari. It’s a 4 km long beach with the calmest waves of crystal clear Arabian Sea, offering you the perfect ambiance to take the safest sea bath. Indeed, the amazing serenity of this splendid beach makes it a genuine run away from the maddening crowd.
Being the host of unignorable natural beauty and witnessing tons of historical significance, Kanyakumari is always been a tourism hotspot, and remains crowded almost every season. So, if you are willing to experience the seaside serenity alongside, Chothavilai Beach is one of the best places to visit near Kanyakumari.
Situating 23 km away from Kanyakumari, Sanguthurai Beach is one of the most serene offbeat destinations near Kanyakumari. With a clean and calm ambiance, rows of coconut trees at the backdrop, ancient conch-shaped structures on the beachfront, Sanguthurai Beach silently sparkles behind the popular coastal destinations of South India. The dazzling color effect during sunset is one of the mind-blowing events at Sanguthurai Beach.
During your visit to Kanyakumari, you can fairly plan a one-day trip to Sanguthurai Beach to spend some peaceful hours with your friends and family, or you can plan an overnight trip to Sanguthurai Beach.
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Descending from an altitude of 50 feet, Thirparappu Waterfalls is an artificial modification over nature creation; indeed, it’s a worthy place to visit near Kanyakumari though mostly untouched by the Kanyakumari tourists. The multilayer water cascade of the falls meets a delighting water pool at the bottom, where you can enjoy a refreshing shower. In addition, the lush green ambiance around the place makes it perfectly photogenic.
You can visit Thirparappu Waterfalls upon a 55 km long road trip from Kanyakumari. Also, you may choose to stay at nearby hotels to enjoy the trip completely, including the pool bath, boating, and nightlife at Thirparappu.
Note: Weekends remain overcrowded by the local tourists; so, avoid a weekend trip to Thirparappu Waterfalls; especially if you are an away tourist.
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How to reach Kanyakumari
The southern-most coastal city of India is well connected to the rest of India by railway, roads, and airways. So, you can reach there without any hassle.
Nearest Airport to Kanyakumari
Trivandrum International Airport (90 km) is the nearest airport to Kanyakumari. Smooth drive through traffic-free road takes around 2.5 hours to reach Kanyakumari from the airport.
Another nearby airport is situated at Madurai (224 km), though it’s a domestic airport.
Nearest railway station to Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari railway station (Also known as Cape Comorin railway station – CAPE) is an intra-city rail terminus; being a grade C station, limited number of trains stop/ arrive here.
Apart from this, Nagercoil Jn (NCJ – 14 km) is the nearest Grade B station and Kollam Jn (QLN – 137 km) is the nearest Grade C railway terminus.
If you can avail a train that stops at CAPE, that would be definitely the finest option.
If you stay within 300-400 km away from Kanyakumari and love road trips, just start your car (or rent a car) and proceed; the Indian Peninsula is connected to the rest of India by NH 44, NH 66, and Kovalam Road. Many tourists plan Kerala-Kanyakumari or Madurai-Rameswaram-Kanyakumari trip, and generally prefer road routes.
Best time to visit Kanyakumari
Avoid summer and monsoon seasons for planning a trip to Kanyakumari; October-March is the best time to visit there.
Where to stay at Kanyakumari
There are plenty of hotels and resorts in Kanyakumari and that is of all budget. Also, religious guest houses are available there, but you should book those only if you are visiting Kanyakumari for religious purpose, because many restrictions of those guesthouses may ruin your enjoyment.
We understand, among hundreds of hotels in Kanyakumari, it often becomes difficult to choose the right one. Our team is thoroughly reviewing to snatch out the best hotels in this location, which may be much helpful to you. Our complete list of best hotels and resorts in Kanyakumari is upcoming shortly.
Foods in Kanyakumari
Restaurants around the beach road of Kanyakumari offer all types of foods including Tamil, Kerala, Bengali, northern, Chinese, and continental, but be careful in choosing the right restaurant. South Indian people mostly prefer coconut oil as the frying element which smells odd to the north Indians and foreigners. So, if you are not a south Indian tourist, I suggest choosing a reputed restaurant and request them not to add coconut oil to your chosen food item. I am highlighting this issue because on our Kanyakumari we suffered from the same issue.
Kanyakumari hosts a lot of Bengali visitors for the sake of Swami Vivekananda Memorial; so, in case you are a Bengali, better, you choose a pure Bengali restaurant that offers delicious Loochi-Aloor Dum, Fish Kari & Rice Thali, Chicken kasha/Kari, etc., prepared in pure Bengali style (search in beach road gully).
Unlike several beachfront destinations I visited so far, Kanyakumarian restaurants don’t offer any special seafood dishes, which you may get in Goa or Kerala. Tiger prawns, Crabs, etc. are available at very high prices. So, I personally suggest considering general Indian or Chinese dishes for your fooding in Kanyakumari holidays, and of course, choose a reputed restaurant.
Things to do in Kanyakumari: the Summery
|Place to reach||Kanyakumari|
|Nearest Airport||Trivandrum International Airport (90 km)|
|Nearest Railway stations||Kanyakumari railway station (CAPE) |
Nagercoil Jn (14 km)
|Things to do in Kanyakumari || Watching elegant sunrise & picturesque sunset|
Enjoying the beach beauty
Visiting Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Visiting Thiruvalluvar Statue
Experiencing the view from the watchtower
Exploring Padmanabhapuram Palace
Visiting Wax Museum & Aquarium House
Exploring Vattakottai Fort
|Nearby places to visit|| Chothavilai Beach |
|Temples/church|| Bhagavathy Amman Temple|
Our Lady Of The Ransom Church
|Best time to visit||October – March|
*October remains a little crowded by Bengali people (festival holidays)
So, this is all about my personal travel experience to Indian Peninsula. I admit, there are few more things to do in Kanyakumari, but on your short trip neither you can cover all of those, nor you’ll enjoy. In the above description, I introduced the most optimum list of best things to do in Kanyakumari that you must enjoy heartily. So, plan your best Kanyakumari tour accordingly.
If you have any further queries, feel free to ask me in the comment box below, I’ll be more than happy to help you out. If you find the information helpful, social sharing will be highly appreciated.
Happy travel! ●
Dr. Suvankar Das is a scientific advisor by profession, associated with a CRO organization. He pursued his doctoral degree in Chemistry in 2015. Later, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher & scientist in a couple of institutes/companies.
Besides his scientific journey, Dr. Das is also a passionate traveler and travel blogger. He loves to share all his travel experiences with other travelers so that everyone can enjoy hassle-free holidays with their own tour plans.
He believes, the most beautiful thing in this world is the WORLD itself. so there is no way to live like a clock; rather live it like a compass!