Places To Visit in Southern India
Are you planning a tour to India but confused with the incredibly different messages about the country? Some visitors to the country find it amazing while others find that it was one bad experience. Some love the colors, the noise, the people, the food and the spirituality it has to offer while others find it smelly, polluted and believe that everyone in India is there to cheat them in some way or the other. No matter what you read or hear, that fact is that nothing can prepare you for India no matter how many trips you have made to the country. Even for the locals; India is a vast and diverse concept – comprising of people speaking a multitude of languages, following a variety of religious beliefs, customs, dress codes, food habits and festivals and much more.
Places to visit in southern India
Cultures and kingdoms that go back centuries shape the history of South India making each of its regions distinctive with traditional art forms, dance and music expressions, literature, languages and much more. Lying south of the Tropic of Cancer, this part of India is known for its mostly hot weather, coastal places and ancient temples. The states comprising South India are Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Seemandhra and Telengana. Each of these states, including Telangana and Seemandhra (the two states into which the big state of Andhra Pradesh has been carved) has a flavor unique unto itself which is what makes South Indian tours so interesting.
This state is known for its cultural heritage and deep roots embodied in gorgeously carved ancient temples and local handicrafts. Madurai the temple city with the 40 centuries plus old Meenakshi temple in the temple city of Madurai, the Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuram and the ancient Rameshwaram temple on the island of Rameswaram are a few famous religious places. The green beauty of the hill stations of Yercaud, Kodaikanal and Ooty give them a romantic flavor. The Aurobindo Ashram in Pondhicherry attracts both national and international tourists. Down south, the Vivekananda Rocks in Kanyakumari forms the southernmost tip of India.
This is also the place where waters of three different water bodies belonging to the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal meet. In the ancient times, Kanyakumari was a great centre for art and religion and an important trade and commerce centre. Some of the places to visit in Kanyakumari include the Kumari Amman or the Kanyakumari Temple, the statue of Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar, the Gandhi Memorial and of course the sea shore.
Mysore and Hampi are the important tourist attractions in this state. The Mysore Palace is centuries old, and contains a museum worth exploring. The annual Dussehra festival every autumn in Mysore see throngs of visitors as the celebrations continue in the form of grand elephant parades, fireworks and general merrymaking with the illuminated palace in the backdrop. In Hampi, the ruins of the once mighty Vijaynagar Empire are top attractions and with 500 plus monuments spread over miles, there are plenty of sites worth exploring.
Fascinatingly centuries old shaped rock carvings and ruins make up the unique landscape in Hampi which is also considered a world heritage site. Close to the state capital Bengaluru (previously known as Bangalore), the wildlife sanctuary is also becoming popular with tourists. Coorg in the Western Ghats region is lush during the monsoons with its coffee plantations and mouth watering cuisine makes it very distinctive place in India.
Vizag the post city with a longer traditional name Vishakhapatnam is a top port and tourist destination where visitors can enjoy viewing the sea in a hilly landscape. Araku Valley with its miles of green rolling meadows is an attractive location for honeymooners. The Borra Caves in the Araku Valley are natural limestone caves going back thousands of centuries. Tirupati Temple in the Tirumala Hills sees huge crowds of pilgrims every day. Nagarjunasagar Dam is another important attraction in this state. The museum on an island near the dam location gives an insight into the Nagarjuna Konda, a rich Buddhist centre of learning.
The twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad have fascinating newer and older layers have many interesting sights. The Nizam’s Museum, and the Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad entirely made up of antiques collected by Mir Yousuf Ali Khan Salar 67/310 Jung III, is some of the few interesting places. Distinctive in the Hyderabad cityscape is the Char Minar built by the Nizam of Hyderabad and the ancient Golconda Fort. This region is famous for the world’s most famous and coveted gems including the Hope Diamond and the Koh-i-Noor.
The southernmost state of India is small but its distinctive landscape of quiet backwaters, coconut-fringed backdrops and traditional boats have given it the epithet ‘God’s Own Country’. Kochi has Fort Kochi, a popular attraction. The waterfront with its picturesque Chinese nets used by the local fishermen, gives the town a unique appearance. Kerala’s beaches, backwaters, mountain ranges and wildlife sanctuaries are some of the major attraction for tourists to the state. In addition, if you want to learn about or try out Ayurvedic treatment (relaxation and stress relief) then Kerala is a great to do it.
The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary is a famous ecotourism destination. The region also has the archaeologically rich Edakkal Caves with its Stone Age carvings. The imposing sea-facing Bekal Fort in Kasaragord is Kerala’s largest fort and St Francis Church originally built by the Portuguese in 1503 is India’s 69/310 oldest European church. Backwater trips in Vembanad, houseboat trips in Kumarakom and watching snake-boat races during Onam, Kerala’s annual rice harvest festival in August, and traditional Ayurvedic massages in eco-resorts are some popular ways to enjoy the attractions of Kerala. Lake Periyar, Lake Munnar, Varkala Beach and the city of Trivandrum are some of the other popular attractions in Kerala.