Kanyakumari ,formerly known as Cape Comorin, is a town in Kanyakumari District in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. Kanyakumari lies at the southernmost tip of mainland India (the southernmost tip of India as a whole being Indira Gandhi Point in Andaman and Nicobar Islands). The closest major cities are Nagercoil, the administrative headquarters of Kanyakumari District, (22 km (14 mi)) and Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala (88 km (55 mi)). The town is a popular tourist destination.Cape Comorin was the southern limit of Tamilakam (the ancient Tamil country).
Kanyakumari has been a great centre for art and religion for centuries. It was also an area of great trade and commerce. It was ruled by the Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Nayaks. The architectural beauty of the temples in the area are the works of these rulers. Later Kanyakumari became part of the Venad kingdom with its capital at Padmanabhapuram. The king of Venad, Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, established Travancore by extending his domain further north up to Azhva, during his reign from 1729 to 1758. By this, the present Kanyakumari District came to be known as Southern Travancore. In 1741, Maharaja Marthanda Varma defeated the Dutch East India Company at the famous Battle of Colachel.
As of 2001 India census, Kanyakumari town had a native population of 19,678.Kanyakumari is the southernmost town of the Indian mainland. The land mass in and around the town is hilly and uneven, with many commercial buildings and hotels at the upper crest of the land mass, with the sea visible below. The old areas of the town, where the local population lives, are on the lower side. Many of the locals carry out fishing, fish processing and other maritime professions.Tourism is one of the main activities of the town. In addition, many locals are employed in shellcraft and other tourism-related businesses.
Since the early 1970s, tourism has been an important activity 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.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 ocean waters. On balmy, full-moon evenings (locally called Chitra Pournami), one can also see the moon-rise and sunset at the same time.
While Kanyakumari town has tourist attractions of its own, the district has many more, from centuries-old historic and religious sites to scenic places. The district is also rich in flora and fauna. A unique feature of Kanyakumari district is its diversity of natural ecosystems, including beaches, mountain valleys, evergreen forests in the deep interior, rubber and clove plantations on the highlands, all in a 50 km (31 mi) radius of Nagercoil, the administrative headquarters of Kanyakumari District. Nagercoil is 20 km (12 mi) from Kanyakumari town.