Sunday, March 11, 2018

Kanyakumari – General Information

Kanyakumari – General Information
Kanyakumari district is the southernmost district in Tamil Nadu state and mainland India. It stands second in terms of population density among the districts of Tamilnadu and the second most urbanized, next only to Chennai district. It is also the richest district in Tamil Nadu in terms of per capita income and tops the state in Human Development Index (HDI), literacy and education. The district headquarters is Nagercoil. Kanyakumari district has a varied topography with sea on three sides and the mountains of the Western Ghats bordering the northern side.

Geologically, the landmass of the district is much younger when compared to the rest of state - faulted as late as 2.5 million years during the Miocene, after which numerous transgression, as well as regression of sea, had shaped the western coast of the district. 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'.

With an area of 1672 it occupies 1.29% of the total extent of Tamil Nadu. It is situated between 77°15' and 77°36' east longitude and 8°03' and 8°35' north latitude. The district has borders with Tirunelveli district, the Gulf of Mannar, the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Thiruvananthapuram District (Kerala). Kanyakumari includes the special grade village of Chinna Muttom, located at the southernmost point of the Indian Subcontinent.

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Administrative Divisions
For administrative purposes, the district comprises four taluks: Thovalai, AgastheeswaramKalkulam and Vilavancode. It has nine blocks - Agastheeswaram, Rajakkamangalam, Thovalai, Kurunthancode, Thuckalay, Eraniel, Thiruvattar, Killiyur, Munchirai and Melpuram and four municipalities: Nagercoil, PadmanabhapuramColachel and Kuzhithurai. At the lower levels of administration, there are 99 village panchayats and a further 56 special category village panchayats.
The major towns of the district include:
Agastheeswaram Taluk:
·        Nagercoil
·        Kanyakumari
·        Agastheeswaram
·        Suchindram 
·        Rajakkamangalam
Thovalai Taluk:
·        Thovalai
·        Aralvaimozhi
·        Boothapandi
Kalkulam Taluk:
·        Padmanabhapuram
·        Thuckalay
·        Colachel,
·        Kalkulam
·        Thiruvithamcode
·        Kurunthancode
·        Thiruvattar
·        Kulasekaram
·        Thingalnagar
Vilavancode Taluk: 
·        Karungal
·        Kuzhithurai
·        Marthandam
·        Vilavancode
·        Killiyur
·        Munchirai
·        Kollemcode
·        Manjalumoodu
·        Arumanai
·        Melpuram
Language and culture of Kanyakumari district is very rich and various language accents and dialects spoken in these areas. Most of the people speak Tamil and Malayalam. Tamil spoken here has influences of Malayalam.
During 2011, total population of the district is 1,870,374, among them 909,872 (48.65%) are Hindus, 876,299 (46.85%) are Christians, 78,590 (4.2%) are Muslims, 438 (0.02%) are Buddhists, 160 (0.01%) are Sikhs, 156 (0.01%) are Jains, 10 (0.001%) are Others and 4,849 (0.26%) are none of the above.
Religion in Kanyakumari District (2011):
·        Hinduism (49%)
·        Christianity (46.85%)
·        Islam (4.2%)
·        Other or not religious (0.3%)
The main source of food is coming from rice and rice products. Rice is the staple food of the people, although for some people in the hilly areas, tapioca is the main food. Though there are some vegetarians among the populace, most of the people use agro, meat and fish products. Fish caught in the seas around the district during the night or early morning hours reach the markets in the interior towns and villages in the early morning. Oysters are used to prepare Chippi appam. Also, they prepare a coffee made by Karuppatti during the winter season. The food (for example, Chakkoli) is spicy, and the people in the district tend to use more grated coconut in their curries and food-preparations.
Colleges of higher education are found throughout the district, mainly arts, science and engineering colleges. The Scott Christian College, founded by William Tobias Ringeltaube in Nagercoil, is more than 120 years old and is one of the earliest colleges in India and the oldest college in the Madras Presidency. The South Travancore Hindu College is also an old college in Nagercoil established in 1952.
The state runs Kanyakumari Government Medical College at Asaripallam, a Government Engineering College and a Government Polytechnic at Konam, near Nagercoil. Many private Engineering Colleges including a private university were started-functioning in the recent past. No fewer than 30 engineering colleges are functioning in the district which are currently affiliated to the Anna University; arts and science colleges are affiliated to Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Tirunelveli.
The Manonmaniam Sundaranar University runs a research unit – Centre for Marine Sciences and Technology at Rajakamangalam, Kanyakumari District. Noorul Islam University is the only private university functioning at Thuckalay. Education has changed the cultural, economic and social, scenario of the district Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. People from Kanyakumari district occupy many senior level state and central Government postings and have earned good reputations among colleagues.
The major river in the district is Thamirabarani locally known as Kuzhithuraiar. This river has two major tributaries, Kodayar and Paralayar, with the Pechiparai Dam and Perunchani Dam, respectively, built across them. There are many tributaries for the Kodayar River of which Chittar I and Chittar II, with their dams, are the major ones. The origin of Tambiraparani River is in the Western Ghats and the river confluences with Laccadive Sea near Thengapattanam, about 56 Kms (35 mi) west of Kanyakumari town.
Valliyar, another small river, along with its tributary Thoovalar, originates from the Velimalai Hills, collects drainage from P.P. Channel and its branches, ayacuts (irrigated area under a tank) and confluences with the Laccadive Sea in Kadiapattanam. The Pazhayar River, another small river, starts at Shorlacode, about 18 Kms (11 mi) north-west of Nagercoil. This is polluted as it collects drainage of Thovalai, Ananthanar and Nanjil nadu Puthanaar channel passing through Thazhakudi, Vellamadam villages. The Pahrali River also flows through the district. The Mathur Hanging Trough, the highest and longest aqueduct in Asia, was built over it near Mathur.
The forests in Kanyakumari District are about 75 million years old. Of the total district area of 1671.3 km2, government forests occupy an area of 504.86 km2 which comes to about 30.2 percent of the geographical area of the district. The forests of the district are administered through the Kanyakumari Forest Division, with headquarters at Nagercoil, the capital of Kanyakumari District. There are 14 types of forests from luxuriant tropical wet evergreen to tropical thorn forests. This variety occurs in the district because of diverse locality factors. 
Rainfall varies from 103 cm to 310 cm elevation from sea level to 1829 m. The forest area is 30.2% of the total district geographical area which is next to Nilgiris district with 59% and Dharmapuri District with 38% in Tamil Nadu State. 52% of the district's forests are classified as dense forests, which is second only to Dharmapuri District with 58%. The forests contain species such as Mesua ferrea, Bischofia Javanica, Vitex altissima to smaller trees of Dillini a species festooning climber, shrubs, valuable herbs, variety of orchids, two types of canes, many indigenous palms and cycas.
The important timbers are teak, rosewood, vengai and aini. Various types of forest products like bamboos, reeds, canes, soft wood, tamarind, lemon grass, rubber, coconut, are canutterminalia chebulacinnamon bark nelli, cardamom, mango and many medicinal plants are harvested in this district. The Maruthuvalmalai, a hill located among green paddy fields and coconut palms, is famous for valuable medicinal plants.
This is the only district in Tamil Nadu where rubber and clove plantations have been raised in reserve forests in an area of 47.857 km2 and 1.1 km2 respectively. The district is rich in wildlife with at least 25 types of mammals, about 60 species of birds including 14 species of migratory birds and many species of fishes, reptiles and amphibians listed.
The following are the reserve forests in Kanyakumari Forest Division:
·        Therkumalai East and West - 17.4 km2
·        Thadagaimalai - 7.9 km2
·        Poigaimalai - 12.4 km2
·        Mahendragiri - 43.6 km2
·        Veerapuli - 281.9 km2
·        Velimalai - 11.2 km2
·        Old Kulasekaram - 6.9 km2
·        Kilamalai - 81.06 km2
·        Asambu - 43.10 km2
Flora & Fauna
The flora and fauna of Kanyakumari District are vast and diverse.
Animals on the hills of the district include Bengal tigerelephantsambar deerporcupineshedgehogs and wild boar, while pied kingfisherpainted stork and cranes are commonly found in the water bodies and wetlands. Reptiles include monitor lizardspythons, blood viper and other snakes. In Mahendragiri hills (about 4,000 ft (1,200 m) above sea level), one can find elephanttigerleopards and deer. Leopard cubs often stray onto the highway near the hills and are sometimes run over by motorists.
The Keeriparai and Maramalai hills are habitats for wild elephants and Indian bison. The Kodayar hills are the breeding centers for the Indian rock pythons and Indian bison. In the Theroor wetlands, one can see several varieties of storks and migratory birds during specific seasons. Trout and other varieties of freshwater fish are found in the Pechiparai reservoir. The district also has a wildlife sanctuary and a bird sanctuary.
Kanyakumari district is noted for its medicinal plants and herbs. The district also has a huge forest cover, accommodating a wide variety of plants, trees, and shrubs. Commercial varieties include various kinds of plantain (like Nenthiram, Palayamkotan, Thuluvam, Matti, Singan, Robesta, Rasathali), jackfruit (like Varikila, Semparthi Varikila and Koolan), mango (varieties like Alphonsa, Bangalora, Neelam, Sunnakannan, Senga Varikka and Ottu) and coconut.
In addition to fruits, a variety of flowers like roses and jasmine are also produced. Common garden varieties in the district include crotons, lilies, and dahlias. Areas like Keeriparai are home to varieties of ferns, bamboos and other tropical plants. Flame of the forest (Butea monosperma), a tree with reddish and orange leaves and flowers, is found in the Pechiparai Reservoir. Rubber estates are found in the hilly areas surrounding Arumanai, Kaliyal, and Kadayal.
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Places of Interest
Kanyakumari district has beaches, water falls, temples, churches, mosques, historical sites, forts, heritage structures, cave temples, Jain and Buddhist places, various eco-systems, including beaches, mountain valleys and evergreen forests, as well as rubber and clove plantations.
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Hotels List
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