Surrounded by Majestic Hills and the plains bordered by colourful sea-shores, fringed with coconut trees and paddy fields, here and there are few elevated patches of red cliffs with undulating valleys and plains between the mountainous terrain and the sea - coast, so closely interwoven with Temples and Churches and other edifices lies the district, 'Kanniyakumari'. With an area of 1672 sq.km. it occupies 1.29% of the total extent of Tamil Nadu. It ranks first in literacy among other districts in Tamil Nadu.
This area is very beautiful. Since the early 1970s, tourism has been an industry in the town. Because of this it is one of the few small towns in South India where one can hear many of the different languages of India spoken in the street.
Of late, the promotion of tourism has increased, with increasing emphasis on attractions outside the town, such as the surrounding landscapes, as well as the historical and religious sites found around the district. Ultimately a total of 1.9 million tourists (domestic and foreign) visited Kanyakumari in 2007.
Though there are several places of tourist-interest in the town and district, Kanyakumari is especially popular in India for its spectacular and unique sunrise and sunset, thanks to its being nearly surrounded by waters. On balmy, full-moon evenings (locally called Chitra Pournami), one can also see the moon-rise and sunset at the same time.
Kanya Kumari is notable for pilgrimage and tourism. The place takes its name from the goddess Devi Kanya Kumari, considered to be a sister of Krishna. Women pray to her for marriage. The goddess is believed to be the one who removes the rigidity of our mind. The temple here is a Shakti Peetha, one of the holiest shrines of the Mother goddess. Also nearby are eleven sacred theertham.
The place was called Kanyashram of the Baalaambika, the deity of the temple. The sea ablution for Pitr Tarpan is done here. This is one of the rare temples in India where Devi (Mother Goddess) is worshipped as a child. The rites and rituals are done in the Kerala Namboothiri method, so there are slight differences in the way of worship compared to the temples of the nearby region. The deity is the goddess of Sanasa, so people from all over India who desire to devote their life as Sanyasin come here and take the deeksha. Swami Vivekananda came to this temple as directed by his Guru Shri Ramakrishna Prarama Hamsa, being a Sanyasin. The temple is very old and is mentioned in ancient Sanskrit literature.
The beach sands are multi-coloured and likened to a mythological story.
There is a shrine for Kalabhairava in the temple. It is said that the backbone area of Sati Devi’s corpse fell here.
The place is famous for Agastyar mala where Sage Agastya lived. He is the founder of Siddha vydya, so there are innumerable medicinal plants available here. He is also considered as the founder of Varma Kalai, a form of martial arts.
Another pilgrimage is Nagaraja Temple, Nagercoil nearby.
At the Thanumalayan Temple in Suchindram, the three main gods of Hindu mythology – Śiva, Brahmā and Viṣṇu – are in one form called Sthanumalayan.