Travelling to the "Land's End" to witness the confluence of the three seas is an experience in itself. However, there is so much more to the place than what meets the eye. Know more about the routes and the places to visit on a trip from Chennai to Kanyakumari.
How To Get To Kanyakumari From Chennai
Route 1: NH32 - NH38 and Chennai - Villupuram - Trichy - Kanyakumari Rd - NH44 in Kanyakumari (10 hr 49 min; 708 km)
Route 2: Chennai - Kanchipuram - NH48 - Krishnagiri - Kozhinijippatty Toll Plaza - Dindigul - Madurai - Tirunelveli - Kanyakumari (12 hr 42 mins; 829 km)
If you take the former, there are chances that you'll reach your destination sooner, but the journey wouldn't be as vivid and enticing as the latter. Places that can be covered if you take Route 1 are - Villupuram, Trichy, Theni, Koyambedu among others.
Strangely enough, if data on toll plazas on the website of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is anything to go by, Route 1 featured a lot of toll plazas than Route 2.
There was something about Route 2 which was very inviting, the places on the route were not only more in number, but also included a lot many places I'd always wanted to visit.
With me and my fellow travel mates, the funda has always been quite simple, the more places one covers, the more places get struck off ones bucket list, all boiling down to just one thing - a life well spent.
So, we took Route 2 instead, which was more welcoming than its counterpart, we encountered close to 10 toll plazas (Click here, for details). The places that this route covered were Sriperumbedur, Kanchipuram, Madurai, Krishnagiri, Tirunelveli, Dindigul, Vellore, etc.
PC : Ssriram mt
Mode of Travel: Car
Travel Companions: 4 people in toto
Day 1: We started from Chennai at 5:00 AM in the morning, eyes gleaming with hope and excitement, we set out on our journey. We covered Sriperumbedur on this route, since it was too early in the day, we decided we would visit this place on our return journey. The roads were a dream to ride on, it is roads like these that make the journey even more special and less tiresome. After almost 2 hours, we reached the reverential Kanchipuram, the city of 1000 temples, the whiff of incense sticks roused our senses. We had our plans clearly etched out, but in vain, couldn't stop gushing about the architectural marvels these temples were. We first headed to the Kamakshi Amman Temple, which had goddess Paravti in the guise of Kamakshi as the main diety. The ornate pillars were spectacular looking.
PC : Ssriram mt
After this, we went to the Pancha Bootha Sthala of Lord Shiva known as the Ekambareshwara or Ekambaranathar Temple. The temple derives its name from Ek Amra Natha, meaning Lord of the mango tree. There is a 3500-year-old mango tree, with 4 branches representing the 4 vedas.
No visit to Kanchipuram is complete without shopping for silk sarees, a treasured possession of women world over. Kanchipuram is well known for its handwoven sarees, which are made using mulberry silk coupled with zari, making them gain a special place in the wardrobes of women all around the globe.
After all the shopping , we headed to Krishnagiri, hunger pangs started to hit and we were looking for hotels and that is when we chanced upon Sarvana Bhawan. Ghee-dripping dosas, piping-hot kesaribath and other delectable South Indian dishes were available at affordable rates, we just couldn't have asked for more. Other places nearby to grab a quick-bite are Adyar Anand Bhawan, Sri Murugan Food Court, Mc Donalds and Sri Krishna Inn.
PC : KARTY JazZ
Once the hunger calls were attended to, we hit off to Madurai, which was our final destination for the day. It was evening by the time we reached. Madurai has been a centre for education and pilgrimage for eons together. The main attraction of the place, which makes it a must visit, is the Madurai Meenakshi Temple. The 1000 pillar mandapam is a sheer architectural grandiose at its best.
We had dinner at Sree Sabarees (try this place for the authentic taste of South India) and headed to our hotel room, and called it a day.
PC : Docku
Day 2: We were now preparing for our final destination - Kanyakumari and didn't want to waste much time on the road. To avoid any diversions and distractions, we decided to have breakfast at the Murugan Idli Shop, given its huge popularity, this place totally lived up to our expectations.
In a couple of hours, we had reached Kanyakumari, a place of immense spiritual importance for Hindus. It gets its name from the goddess Devi Kanya, who was an incarnation of goddess Parvati. The moment we set our feet on this land, we hurriedly searched for hotels providing a good view of the sea. Finally, we came across hotels on the East Car Street, which were ocean facing. Don't get lured by hotels claiming to be "sea facing", not all of them are (Vivekananda Kendra provides a decent stay and easy access to the beach). Nevertheless, if you want a good view of the sea and prefer watching the sunset/sunrise from the comforts of your balcony, you should choose hotels in the East Car Street (Click to check hotels in Kanyakumari) After which, we loitered around on the streets and bought tiny trinkets and memorabilia for friends back home.
PC : Aneesh_An
We then headed to the Kumari Amman Temple to seek Devi's blessings, legend has it that the Devi single-handedly overpowered the demon and secured people their freedom.
After this, we went to the Gandhi Memorial, it was built in 1956, to honour Gandhiji. Soon after the independence, his body was cremated and the ashes were immersed in the sea. The ashes, were stored in the memorial before immersion. The memorial has been constructed in such a way that at 12 noon every day, the sun's rays fall on the place where his ashes were stored.
Vivekananda Memorial - In just about a few hundred metres offshore are situated twin rocks. Swami Vivekananda is said to have meditated on this rock in the year 1892, before he set out to Chicago to participate in the World Religious Conference. We took a ferry ride to reach the place.
Another place of attraction was the Thiruvalluvar Statue, which is a towering statue that is 133-feet standing tall on a 38-ft rock! 38 represents the 38 chapters of 'Kural' (Virtue) written by Saint Thiruvalluvar and 133 refers to 133 chapters of the Thirukkural. The statue is a marvel of the 21st century and was inaugurated on 1st of January, 2000.
After visiting these major points of interest, we rushed to catch the sunset. The view of the setting sun can't be traded for anything in the world.
Day 3 : Final leg: The next morning, we hurried out of our rooms to catch the last piece of pure bliss this place had to offer, i.e., the sunrise. As we watched the sun rise, we could feel our hearts sink. The mere thought of heading back home was saddening.