A travel Guide to South India

South India Tourism

The southern part of India comprises the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. This part of India is historically and geographically rich. Mainly a peninsula, South India is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on the west, the Indian Ocean on the south, the Bay of Bengal on the east, and the Vindhya and Satpura range on the north. The region is also characterised by the presence of the great Western Ghats and the vast Deccan Plateau. Major rivers like Godavari, Kaveri, and Krishna flow through these southern regions.

This part of the country is a confluence of many diverse cultures, owing to the several dynasties that ruled over the lands centuries ago. The culture revolves around food, dance, and clothes. Rice, fish and coconut are the staple food items that are dominant amongst the southern people. Many South India tourist attractions entice thousands of visitors every year. Each state of this region has its attractions, making each a tourist destination in its own right.

There are many South India tours one can go on to explore the various tourist spots and places that are historically and culturally rich. Throughout the year, hotels in Kerala, Chennai, Kochi and other South Indian states are filled up to the brim with bustling tourists.

Places to visit in South India

1. Kerala

‘God’s own country’, Kerala is at the top of the list. The state of Kerala is one of the most famous places in South India tourism. It is not only popular among Indians but also among people around the world. The most striking feature about Kerala is its soothing backwaters. Replete with tranquil beaches, lush green forests and diverse wildlife, many tourist places make the state so enticing. Some of the must-visits include Munnar, Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, and Kochi. All these places have their unique tourist spots, be it grand temples or beautiful sanctuaries. The best part of Kerala is that all these districts are within a few hours of travel on the road, making them more accessible to tourists. During peak season, hotels overflow with tourists, so prior booking should be done.

2. Pondicherry

It is the ‘French capital of India’, and strong French influences can be noticed in almost anything. The beaches here are lined with many modern-styled cafes and restaurants, which create a buzz amongst the youth of the region. You can take a leisurely walk through the city, which is filled with bustling markets selling various goods. Some of the famous South India attractions that can be found here are Sri Aurobindo Ashram, where people visit to seek spirituality, Serenity Beach, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Auroville. All these places exude with the vestiges of French culture and heritage.

3. Coorg

Filled with the aroma of coffee, Coorg is often termed as the ‘Scotland of India’. It enjoys the scenic beauty of the several hills and streams that inhabit the district. The misty landscape is also home to a local clan, ‘Kodavas’. They are specially trained in martial arts and are known for their hospitality. Many of the popular South India tourist places can be found here, in the mesmerising town of Coorg. Some of the things to look for are hiking from Kakkabe to Thandiyandamol, experiencing the beauty of the Abbey waterfalls, visiting the Golden Temple which is famous amongst Buddhists, and staying on a coffee plantation.

4. Mysore

Located around 150 km from the city of Bangalore, Karnataka, Mysore is often called the City of Palaces. The modern city has been able to successfully preserve the architectural gems of the past. The crown jewel of this district has to be the great Mysore Palace. It is the perfect example of the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. Another popular destination here is the Brindavan Gardens that houses indigenous flora. Some other Mysore attractions include the grandiose Jaganmohan Palace, the beautiful Chamundi Hills, and St. Philomena’s Cathedral. The district also boasts of colourful local markets that sell memorable souvenirs, including products made from Sandalwood. Therefore Mysore constitutes an important part of South India tourism.

5. Hampi

This South India travel guide advises visiting Hampi to experience the history and culture of South India. This city of ruin has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated in northern Karnataka, Hampi is filled with history and stories of the by-gone days. You will find a temple at every step of the way, each telling a story through their unique carvings and inscriptions. Some of the popular tourist spots include the Virupaksha temple, the Hippie Island, the Elephant Stables, and the Monolithic Bull. All of these are archaeological as well as architectural treasures. The Hampi Bazaar provides tourists with an opportunity to satisfy their inner shopaholic and indulge in buying souvenirs and some locally made products. Hence, Hampi proves to be one of the most visited South India attractions, which is perfect for all kinds of travellers.

Things to do in South India

From activities that offer relaxation to your soul to ones that provide you with the feeling of being adventurous, there are a host of things to do in South India that satisfies everyone’s fancies.

Relaxing in Houseboats

The land of Ayurveda, Kerala, has the most relaxing activities in store for you. You can take a ride on a houseboat on the tranquil backwaters. Tourists can savour the delectable local fish, freshly cooked abode their houseboat in the traditional style. You can enjoy the sunsets and have a relaxing evening as you glide through the silky waters. You can get yourself a heavenly massage at the waterside that is sure to relieve you of all stress and tensions. Kerala, being one of the famous South India tourist places, sees a huge footfall of tourists every year, that visit to experience these activities.

Go on Coracle Ride

A coracle is a bowl-shaped boat that is made from material like a reed and hides. People sit inside these large bowls and float across rivers, enjoying the view as they go. One of the popular coracle ride routes is the Tungabhadra river and the Sanapur Lake flowing through the district of Hampi. These offer the best environments for a coracle ride, with green fields on one side and magnificent structures on the other. The approximate price for these rides varies from Rs. 50 to Rs. 100. This has become an important activity of South India tourism.

Participate in Watersports

The Lakshadweep Islands are another popular South India attractions, mainly for the wide variety of water sports they offer. Some of these adventurous activities include scuba diving, lagoon fishing, snorkelling and canoeing. These are the perfect watersports to take part in for thrill-seekers and adventure lovers.

Visit the tip of India

Kanyakumari is where the Indian Subcontinent finishes, and many people visit to touch the tip of India. Apart from the beautiful scenery that you can see here, various tours take you to the surrounding attractions. The tours include the Bhagavathi Amman temple, Our Lady of Ransom Church and the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. Your South India travel guide is incomplete without visiting this place.

Best time to visit South India

The best time to visit South India depends on what part of the region you want to explore. Each state, each district experiences unique climatic conditions that are very different from each other. For instance, the best time to visit Karnataka is around November to April. On the other hand, Tamil Nadu is best in April for its multiple festivities.

If one had to pinpoint the best season to visit South India, it would probably be the winters. The pleasant weather and endurable temperatures make it suitable for tourists to make plans and experience tourism to its fullest.

How to reach South India

Most places in Southern India are well-connected places. So you need not worry about how to reach South India.

By Air: The South Indian states are well connected to the rest of the country via airways. You will get regular flights to Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore, Tiruchirapalli, and many other states. You can board on a flight and land in any of these states.

By Rail: Most of the cities and villages in South India have a railway station, which improves connectivity. The Southern wing of railways is monitored from Chennai. Major junctions include Kozhikode and Alleppey in Kerala, Bangalore and Mysore in Karnataka and Chennai in Tamil Nadu.

By Road: Through the network of national highways, most regions are well-connected via road. NH-32 connects Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. NH-42 links Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Many bus and cab services can be used for road transportation.

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