Kanyakumari through the ages
Kanyakumari has a rich and ancient history. It also bears Christian, Jain and Muslim influence. It is believed that when St Thomas (one of the 12 apostles of Jesus) came to Indian subcontinent in 52 AD a church was established in Kanyakumari area.
It is proved that great Greek philosophers like Erosthenes, Ptolemy and Pliny had been to Kanyakumari. It also finds mention in the Periplus written somewhere around 800 AD by Arrian a Greek man of letters. Similarly, Jainism and Islam have also left their imprints on this place and have considerably contributed to the architectural wealth and literary heritage of the region.
The area of Kanyakumari had seen the rule of Cholas, Cheras, Pandyas, Vijayanagara Kings, the Nayaks , Venad Kings to Dutch and then British interference.
Rise of Venad Chieftains
Gradually the Chola Empire became weak with the rise of of Hoysalas and western Chalukyas. The Venad Chieftains descendants of CheraÂ?s seized opportunity and gradually established a firm grip on the areas now under modern Tamil Nadu. By 1115 AD the Venad Kings under Veera Kerala Varma and his successors achieved complete succession.
In 1609 AD Viswanatha Nayak of Madurai captured Kanyakumari. Afterwards there was no real threat to Venad Kings. Kanyakumari thus became an integral part of the Venad Empire with the capital at Padmanabhapuram. King Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma(1729-1758) of Venad dynasty formed Travancore ( Modern Kerala) by extending his domain further north up to Aluva. Kanyakumari thus came to be known as Southern Travancore. In 1741, King Marthanda Varma another great king from the same dynasty overcame the Dutch East India Company forces at the fiercely fought Â?Battle of Colachel.
Kanyakumari under British Supremacy
After Marthanda Varma, the subsequent rulers were very weak and as the British forces were gradually tightening their noose over all Indian Princely states Kanyakumari was also no exception. The British established complete control over Venad Kings and continued till IndiaÂ?s independence in the year 1947. The Kings of Travencore state ruled over Kanyakumari under the overall sovereignty of the British.
Travancore became part of the independent Indian Union in 1947 thus the royal reign came to an end. From 1947 to 1956, His Highness Sree Chithira Thirunal, Maharaja of Travancore continued as Rajpramukh of the Travancore-Cochin Union.
In the year 1949, Kanyakumari became a part of the reconstituted Travancore-Cochin Union. The Tamil majority of Kanyakumari was not happy with this. Eventually in 1956 bowing to a mass agitation under the leadership of Thiru M.A. Nesamani Government of India amalgamated Kanyakumari District with Tamil Nadu(then Madras State).Updated on December 2008.