(கன்னியாகுமரி ,കന്യാകുമാരി ,कन्याकुमारी )was formerly known as Cape Comerin.
It is present in Tamil Nadu state, Kanyakumari district in India. It is present at the southern most tip of mainland of INDIA. It was formerly known as Cape Comerin. (During the british Period).
Nearest town to Kanyakumari is Nagercoil, which is also the headquarters of Kanyakumari district. It is present at the distance of 20 kms from Kanyakumari.
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, 'Kanyakumari'. (The district name is spelled as 'Kanniyakumari' in official records which is in tune with the spoken name of the district in Tamil language). 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.
Kanyakumari is the southern most district of Tamil Nadu. The district lies between 77o 15' and 77o 36' of the eastern longitudes and 8o 03' and 8o 35' of the northern Latitudes.
The District is bound by Tirunelveli District on the North and the east. The South Eastern boundary is the Gulf of Mannar. On the South and the South West, the boundaries are the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. On the West and North West it is bound by Kerala.
The District has a favourable agro-climatic condition, which is suitable for growing a number of crops. The proximity of equator, its topography and other climate factors favour the growth of various crops.The paddy varieties grown in the second crop season in Thovalai and Agasteeswaram taluks are grown during the first crop season in Kalkulam and Vilavancode taluks. This shows that there is distinct variation in the climatic conditions prevailing within the district. Unlike other district in Tamil Nadu, it has a rainfall both during the South West and the North East monsoons. The South West monsoon period starts from the month of June and ends in September, While the North East monsoon period starts from October and ends in the middle of December.
People And Culture:
The people are the human resource of the District. Their culture, religion, aptitude,habits, beliefs, talents etc have a bearing on how the district presents itself to others. Tamil and Malayalam are the main languages of this district. Hindus and Christians form a sizeable percentage of the population of the district and there are a number of Muslims dominated belts in the district. The caste system in the Society has weakened to a great extent especially after independence because of growth of education and improvements in transport and communication. Some of the communities in the district are Nadars, Nanjil Nadu Vellalars, Paravas, Mukthavas, Vilakki Thalanayar, Kammalar or Asari, Nairs, Chackarevars, Kerala Mudalis etc. Rice is the staple food of the rich and poor alike in the district. Some among the poorer section also use tapioca. Beverages like tea and coffee are widely spread even in to the rural area of the district.
Festivals are held in all the taluks in connection with various celebrations in the temples, mosques and churches. The Ratholsav(Chariot fest) at Suchindram attracts huge crowd in the month of January. The Kodai festival in the month of March in the Mondaicadu temple in the Kalkulam Taluk gets a large gathering. The Thirukalya Utsavam in the Kumaracoil temple in the Kalkulam taluk in the month of March - April is observed as an important festival. Pongal in January and Deepavali in November are also occasions for festivity and rejoicing among the Hindu Communities. The Malayalis celebrate Onam in August - September with feasts and sports. Muslims in all the taluks observe Muharram and Ramzan. Christmas is an important festival for the Christians. In the St.Xavier's Church at Kottar, as annual festival in the month of December is usually celebrated on a grand scale and attracts Catholics from all over South India.
Bow Song (Villu Pattu) is an ancient form of musical, a story-telling art of southern Tamil Nadu. Bow, the age old weapon of warriors paradoxically lends itself to be used as a primary musical instrument for the Villu Pattu artists. There are Udukku , Kudam, Thala - Kattai etc as supplementary instrument in their performances. Udukku mentioned in the ancient Tamil literature as Thudi, is a small drum with a slender middle portion which is held in the left hand and played with the right hand. This may be seen in the pictures and statues of Lord Nataraja, - the cosmic Dancer, adorning his left hand. Sometimes the Villu Pattu team divides itself into two groups, each trying to prove opposite view points of a subject by conducting the programme by exchange of questions and answers. This is called Lavani Pattu. The songs used by the Villu-Pattu artists are mostly traditional folk-songs.
Thiruvathirai Kali occupies the pride of place among the folk dances. It resembles Kummi and is played especially during Onam festival. Young girls perform this art form mostly 8 to 10 in number. They perform in circles and sing in chorus.
Kalial is a folk dance done by group of men or boys in the country side. A group leader sings songs and keeps time with cymbals. The players stand in a circle holding sticks and dance around a lighted lamp repeating the songs sung by the leader. They turn, twist, lean forward and backward and move around singing to the tune. At the beginning the steps are elaborate and at times, they are also very quick. When invited to perform in a function, the players generally begin the dance with an invocation for heavenly aid and conclude the dance with a torch - dance using lighted torches. This folk dance exhibits the artistic life of the country side.
Kathakali is a unique form of dance-drama, which has its origin in Travancore. Kathakali is a relatively recent (fifteenth or sixteenth century) development of earlier dances, which arose out of religious expression through symbolical action. In this art-form, the characters express their ideas not by words, but by significant gestures. The conversations between the characters, as well as the narrative portion of the story, invariably in verse, are recited by the singer to the accompaniment of musical instruments. The gestures by the actors on stage are enactments of the lyrics. The costume and make up of the actor are also important aspects in Kathakali. The headgears are made of light-weight wood and are decorated with pieces of mirror, spangles, and coloured stones. Usually, a Kathakali performance extends from eight to ten hours. With the advent of cinema, the popularity of this art has declined. It is now performed in the temples at Thiruvattar, Thirparappu, Ponmana, Kuzhithurai, Neyyoor and Munchira in district of Kanyakumari twice a year during the time of festivals.
Ottam Thullal is a form of story telling. It is a popular form of amusement, staged in the temple premises and Malayalam is the language commonly used. It combines dance, song and acting. The story – teller is aided by two musicians, one, who leads the song and plays on an instrument, and the other, who keeps time by playing the cymbal. The actor wears a simple costume consisting of a skirt, some arm and chest decorations and an elaborate headgear. ‘Ottam Thullal’ is now played in the temples of Thiruvaattar, Thirparappu, Ponmana and Thirunanthikara in the district during the time of festivals.
Karagam Dance is a kind of dance common in the country side. It is played by both men and women during the time of festivals and marriages.
Kalari also known as Adimurai in Kanniyakumari district is an ancient martial art, still preserved in the villages of this district and also in Kerala. A tradition believed to have been founded by Parasurama is known Vadakkan Kalari : and another credited to Agasthiar is called as which emphasis is on striking at vital points of the body and not on weapons, even through sword, knife, Urumi (rolling sword), Mankombu (horns of a deer), Kandakkodali, (a kind of axe), mazhu (a kind of axe) etc., are also used.
Forests of Kanniyakumari
Forests are the heritage of the nation. These are assets and natural resources of the nation on which all forms of life depend and thrive. The forests in Kanniyakumari district are verdant and virgin and said to be 75 million years old. Of the total district area of 1,67,130 hectares, forests occupy an area of 50486 hectares which comes to about 30.2% of the total district geographic area, which is next to Nilgiri district with (59 %) and Dharmapuri District (38 %) in the State. The district is having 52 % of its forests as dense forests.
Kanniyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary
Kanyakumari Wildlife sanctuary with adjacent areas of Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve and Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary of Kerala State constitutes the Southern most tip of westen ghats. The natural vegetation of this region represents biomes ranging from southern thorn forests, dry deciduous, moist deciduous, semi evergreen forests to ever green hill sholas with grassy downs. The tract is exceedingly rich in wildlife harbouring a variety of animals. The avifauna, the reptilian and amphibian fauna of this region are also rich and diverse.
In due recognition of the tremendous biological potential, kanniyakumari forest division was declared as Kanniyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary during 2002 vide G.O.Ms.No.152 dated:16.07.2002 with an extent of 45777.57 ha. Later in 2007 Kani tribal settlements, approach road to settlements and area leased out to Arasu Rubber Corporation were excluded from the sanctuary and vide G.O. (Ms) No.128 (E&F) dated20.11.2007 and an area of 40239.55 hectares was declared as Kanniyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary.
The ecological significance of the Kanniyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary is of paramount importance. The forests serve as a catchment area for 10 reservoirs namely Pechiparai, Perunchani, Chithar-1, Chithar-II, Upper Kodayar, Lower Kodayar, Kuthiyar, Chinna Kuthiyar, Mukkadal and Poigai Anai. These reservoirs irrigate an area of about 50,000 ha and feed about 2,500 ponds and more than 500 Kms. lengths of channels. The well-being of these water systems is closely related to the prosperity of the farmers of the district as the economy of the district depends on agriculture. The rainwater due to precipitation in the reserve forest is collected by hundreds of the hill streams. These streams drain into Kodayar, Paraliyar, Pazhayar and Valliyar. Only if the reserve forests are protected well, the water resources can be maintained properly.
Kanniyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary being a part of Western Ghats is rich in wildlife with atleast 30 types of mammals, about 100 species of birds including 14 species of migratory birds and many species of fishes, reptiles and amphibians. The presence of Tiger and Leopard though scanty lends credence to the richness of biodiversity of the tract.