Saturday, 7 January 2006

Kanyakumari- HISTORY of this District ...

                                      Kanyakumari district takes its name from the town of Kanyakumari at the southern tip of India. ( In Tamil, Kanni means a virgin lady and in Sanskrit Kumari means a spinster). Kanyakumari District is also sometimes called Kumari District in short. Kanyakumari town is named after the goddess Kanyakumari Amman, a popular deity of the area. Legend has it that the goddess Parvati in one of her incarnations as Devi Kanniya did penance on one of the rocks of this 'land's end' to obtain the hand of Lord Shiva.

                                        The town of Kanyakumari is geographically a cape, and it was called Cape Comorin by the British. Since ancient times, Kanyakumari District has consisted of two geographical areas, known locally as Nanjilnadu and Idainadu. The etymologists interpret the word Nanjilnadu as the country ("nadu") where there were (and still has) several agriculture plantations and fields. Nanjilnadu is mentioned in old Tamil literature as a rich agrarian area, where the town of Kottar, (today, a locality in Nagercoil) as a major commercial centre. Ancient temples and inscriptions reveal a major Jain influence in ancient times. The district is home to many practitioners of various branches of ancient India's health tradition, including siddha, ayurvedha, and varma kalai.

                                 Nanjilnadu, which was formed by the present Agasteeswaram and Thovalai Taluks (administrative sub-divisions) of the district, was alternately under the rule of the Pandyas and the Cheras until the beginning of the thirteenth century. Idainadu, including Kalkulam and Vilavancode Taluks, was under the rule of Cheras. When the power of Cheras declined due to the rise of Hoysalas and western Chalukyas, the Venad (Travancore) chieftains (one of the only two part or full blood-descendants of the Cheras and the Pandyas - the other being the Mushikas) gradually established their hold on many areas of Nanjilnadu. The annexation commenced by Veera Kerala Varma was to a large extent continued by his successors and completed by 1100 A.D.

                                               In 1729, Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the Venad king expanded his kingdom further, after putting down the insurgency of the Ettuveettil Pillamar. The expanded kingdom came to be known as Travancore (Thiruvithamkur). Marthanda Varma defeated the forces of the Dutch East India Company under Eustachius De Lannoy in 1741 at the Battle of Colachel. In the later part of the 18th century, Chanda Sahib, a rebel commandant related to the Nawab of Arcot attacked Nagercoil and other areas. Travancore had to contend with such attacks and monetary demands from the Carnatic Nawabs or from their rebellious governors until the English fully supported the state of Travancore. In spite of the troubles encountered in the southern border of Venad, Marthanda Varma expanded the kingdom northwards up to Aluva. As a result, the present day Kanyakumari District came to be known as Southern Travancore. In 1745, the capital was shifted from Padmanabhapuram (in present day Kanyakumari District) to Thiruvananthapuram.

                                                    In the princely states of Travancore and Cochin there languished a sizable Tamil population. Mostly concentrated in Nagercoil, Devikulam, Peerumedu and Chittur, they constituted a lingustic minority in a Malayalee-dominated area. After Indian independence, Kanyakumari was under Travancore and the Tamils suffered a lot by paying lot many taxes. Malayalam language was imposed on the Tamil people. Tamil people were ill-treated like refugees. A campaign under Marshall A. Nesamony protested against the Travancore government. Mutiny and scuffles broke out in various parts of the district including Marthandam, Puthukadai,etc. resulting in police firing and deaths of some protesters. The irresistible protests and sacrifices by the Tamils made the Travancore rulers, at last allow the Tamils' region to be merged with the then Madras State. It was nine years after the Indian independence, Kanyakumari District became completely independent and was formed on 1 November 1956 as per the recommendations of States' Reorganisation Commission and merged with Tamil Nadu as the smallest district of Madras State. From then on, Kanyakumari district was as peaceful as other Indian regions. This new district included the four Taluks of Vilavancode, Kalkulam, Thovalai and Agasteeswaram from South Travancore, with a total area of 1684 square kilometers.

                         Kanyakumari District is located at the southern tip of peninsular India and bordered by Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala state to the west and Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu to the north and east. It is also sometimes referred to as "Land's End".
The district lies between 77°15' and 77° 36' of the eastern longitudes and 8°03' and 8°35' of the northern Latitudes. The south-eastern boundary (coastal) is the Gulf of Mannar (Bay of Bengal), while on the South and the South West, the boundaries are the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.


 No. of Taluks - 4 (Thovalai, Agastheeswaram, Kalkulam, Vilavancode)
 Blocks – 9
 Municipalities - 4 (Nagercoil, Padmanabhapuram, Colachel, Kuzhithurai)
 Village Panchayats – 99
 Special category village panchayats - 56.

                                                                                        Kanyakumari is the smallest district in Tamil Nadu, with a land spread of 1,684 kmஏ and has varied ecosystems - forests, wetlands, freshwater resources and marine as similar to Kerala.
                                         The district, once called "The Granary of Travancore" is fertile, with hundreds of water bodies and a canal irrigation system. Rubber and spice plantations are found on the hilly terrain, while paddy fields, plantain and coconut plantations are found on the plains.

                                       The district is generally hilly, with plains found near the coast. The land from the sea-coast gradually rises from sea-level to the Western-Ghats hills in the deep interior of the district. The District has 62 km of coast on the western side (Arabian Sea coast) and 6 km of coast on the eastern side (Gulf of Mannar/Bay of Bengal coast).
                                        Most of the lands in the district are slopy in nature like kerala,which helps the water from heavy rain to collect and take to a low range area.The land area is mainly covered with dense trees, the humidity varies from some parts of Thovali and Agastheewaram taluk to other two taluks mainly Vilavancode and Kalkulam which is dense green in nature covered fully with trees.

There are three important riverine ecosystems, which converge with the Arabian Sea. They are :-
                • Thengapattinam estuary, formed by the confluence of river Tampirabarani in between
                  Thengapattinam and Eraiummanthurai.
                • Valliyar estuary formed by the river Valloiyar near Kadiapattinam.
                • Manakudy estuary formed by the confluence of river pazhaiyarin between East and West
                  Manakudy villages.
                                                     Two minor estuaries—Pambar estuary near Colachel and Pantri estuary near Rajakkamangalam—are also located in the district. These are formed by excess water in the drainage canal during monsoon and the water drained from the irrigated fields.

                                           Waterfalls in Kanyakumari District include Thiruparappu Falls, Ullakarvi Falls, Azhakiyapandiapuram and Vattaparai Falls.

Destinations from Kanyakumari
Arabian sea
Indian ocean
Bay of bengal


• Laterite soil is found at Thiruvattar, Killiyoor, Munchirai, Rajakamanagalam, Thuckalay blocks.
• Red and alluvial soil are found at Agastheeswaram and Thovalai blocks.

                                       The soil pH is between 4.5 to 8.0. The minerals in soil - nitrogen: low to medium, phosphorus: medium, potassium: high and 48.9% of land in the district is under cultivation and 30.5% is covered by forests.


                               As of 2011, the district had a population of 1,676,034 and 65.2% of the district is urbanised. It has a high population density of 995.7 persons per km2 and is one of the highest literate regions with a total literacy rate of 87.6. The district also has a high female sex ratio of 1014 females born to every 1000 males.

                            Based on a 50 year study, it is found that during the North-East monsoon, between October and December, a precipitation of 549 mm is received in 24 rainy days and during the South-West Monsoon 537 mm is received from June to September in 27 rainy days. In summer, 332 mm of rainfall is received in 11 rainy days between March and May. The annual average rainfall in the district is 1465 mm with a maximum of around 247 mm in October and a minimum of 21 mm in February. Relative humidity ranges between 60 to 100%.

                              • Hinduism, Christianity and Islam are the three main religions represented in the district. The distribution of population based on religion is as follows:

               Hindus - 51.27%, Christians - 44.47%, Muslims - 4.20%, and Others - 0.057%.

                            • This district is the birthplace of Ayyavazhi. Apart from the role in the religious universe, Ayyavazhi also plays a major role in the social history of Kanyakumari in the mid-nineteenth century.


                                                                 There are two major National Highways (NH) roads emanating from Kanyakumari town. One is the NH 7 that starts from the town and runs through Madurai and the other is the NH 47 that runs to Salem through Kerala, touching some important cities in Kerala like Trivandrum and Kochi and also in Tamil Nadu. The road stretching from Kanyakumari to Trivandrum is one of the busiest Highway stretches in India.

The state-owned Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation is the major operator of bus services in the district, though licences are issued for specific routes to private operators. The most remarkable bus service is the End to End service between Nagercoil and Tirunelveli, which reduces the travel time and reaches within 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Today, there are 3495.80 km of surfaced roads in the district.
The nearest airports are Trivandrum International Airport which is 70 km and Tuticorin Domestic Airport which is 110 km away from Nagercoil, the capital of Kanyakumari District

                                    The Protestant missionaries who arrived in the 19th century were the first to introduce English education in the district. The founder of the English School in the erstwhile Travancore State was Reverend William Tobias RingleTaube, a native of Prussia. He came to the state in 1806 and devoted his whole energy to evangelistic work and English education. He incessantly preached, taught and established many schools for Christian and non- Christian poor children. From 1806 to 1816 he laid the foundation for the growth of Christianity and regular education in the area.

                                     Several European missionaries who came to the district (then South Travancore) after Ringeltaube, also contributed immensely to the cause of regular education. Today, a number of old educational institutions in the district carry the names of these missionaries.

                                      Kanyakumari District has a literacy rate of 98.6%. A variety of colleges of higher education are found throughout the district, mainly art, science and engineering colleges. The Scott Christian College, founded by RingleTaube in Nagercoil, is more than 100 years old.

                                      The state runs the Kanyakumari Medical College at Asaripallam, a Government Engineering College and a Government Polytechnic at Konam, near Nagercoil.


1. Pre-primary schools - 83
2. Pre-primary schools - 413
3. Middle schools - 147
4. High schools - 121
5. Higher secondary schools - 120

Total 884


1. Aided Colleges - 12
2. Self financing colleges - 4
3. Colleges for special education - 8
4. Colleges for professional education - 25


                                           Kanyakumari District accounts for more than 95% of the production of natural rubber in the state of Tamil Nadu. Rubber is cultivated mainly in the hilly areas (on the western ghats) in the interior, while paddy fields and other crops are mainly found on the plains, near the coasts

1. Rice - 400 km2
2. Coconut - 210 km2
3. Rubber - 194.78 km2
4. Tapioca - 123.50 km2
5. Banana - 50 km2
6. Pulses - 30 km2
7. Cashew - 20 km2
8. Mango - 17.70 km2
9. Palmyrah - 16.31 km2
10. Tamarind - 13.33 km2
11. Arecanut - 9.80 km2
12. Jack Fruit - 7.65 km2
13. Clove - 5.18 km2

                                           The major river in the district is Tambaraparani River locally known as Kuzhithuraiar. This river has two major tributaries with the Pechiparai Dam and Perunchani Dam respectively built across them, Kodayar and Paralayar. There are many tributaries for the Kodayar River of which Chittar River I and Chittar II, with their dams, are the major ones. The origin of Tambaraparani River is in the Western Ghats and the river confluences with Arabian sea near Thengapattanam, about 56 km. west of Kanyakumari town.
                                             Valliar, another small river and its tributary Thoovalar, originate from the Velimalai Hills, collect the drainage from P.P. Channel and its branches, ayacuts (irrigated area under a tank) and confluence with the Arabian Sea in Kadiapattinam.

                                          The Pazhayar River, another small river, starts at Shorlacode, a place about 18 km north-west of Nagercoil. This is mainly a drainage river, mostly collecting the drainage of Thovalai, Ananthanar and N.P. Channels.
                                         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.