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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.
Kanyakumari takes its name from the Hindu goddess Kanyakumari (also called Kumari Amman). Her temple stands on the shores of the Laccadive Sea. In his work on ancient India, Ptolemy had identified Kanyakumari (Cape of Comorin) along with the Gulf of Mannar as a center for pearl fishery. He also identifies Korkai, a place to the east of Kanyakumari as an emporium of pearl trade.
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.
Of late, the promotion of tourism has increased, with increasing emphasis on attractions outside the town, such as the surrounding landscapes, as well as the historical and religious sites found around the district. Ultimately a total of 1.9 million tourists (domestic and foreign) visited Kanyakumari in 2007.
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.
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