Alleppey, Kerala

admin, Jan 16, 2019

Alleppey, Kerala

Best Places to Visit in South India

  1. Backwaters of God’s Own Country – Alleppey, Kerala
Alleppey, Kerala Typical Kerala-style boats for cruise and stay

Kerala is home to serene backwaters, which over the years has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The backwaters, made up of intertwined, connected lakes, waterways and a number of small rivers, are definitely one of the most captivating natural attractions in Kerala. Alappuzha, also known as ‘Venice of the East’, is famous for its houseboat cruises.

Taking a tour on the quaint meandering backwaters in a traditional Kerala-style houseboat or a modern luxury houseboat is a must do and an exotic way to soak in the breath-taking beauty of nature. Watching the sun go down across the backwaters from the boat while it cruises across dense paddy fields, well-kept small villages lined with palm trees is truly once in a lifetime experience. While in Kerala, do not forget to witness the famous snake boat races that have been in existence for 400 years.

You also do not want to miss out on the ancient martial art sword fight shows, Kalaripayattu — considered to be one of the oldest surviving fighting systems still existing in the world — as well as the vibrant Kathakali dance performance.

Vibrant Kathakali Dancer

LET’S GO TO KERALA!

 
  1. The Forgotten Empire – Hampi, Karnataka
Hampi, Karnataka  

For fans of history and ancient civilizations, Hampi is one of the best places to visit in South India. A UNESCO world heritage site, Hampi was also known as ‘The Forgotten Empire’. It was also one of the richest and largest cities in the world during its prime.

You will need a good couple of days to explore the city thoroughly. Hampi is lined with heaps of boulders lying all around the city of various sizes. Beautifully carved temples, ruins of palaces and ancient market streets makes this place a mysterious destination. The place is sure to transport your mind to a pre-ancient age. Owing to its old world charm, Hampi has over time turned out to be a backpacker’s paradise and pilgrim’s delight.

Hampi, Karnataka

One can easily climb up one of the big boulders to catch a stunning glimpse of the entire city. Nestled on the banks of Tungabhadra River and dedicated to the patron deity of the empire, Virupaksha Temple is one the most beautifully carved temples. Old aqueducts, canals and military barracks and stables can also be found here.

LET’S GO TO KARNATAKA!

  1. Stunning Temples of South India

South India is famous for intricately beautiful temples. Wherever you are, visit the local temple whether small or large. These two temples we’ve picked are extra noteworthy and interesting enough to stand alone among the best places to visit in South India.

 

Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi temple, Tamil Nadu

Meenakshi Temple being one of them and also the largest temple in South India. As per history, the temple dates back to as early as the 6th century, and it is believed to be built by the survivors of Kumari Kandam, a mythical lost continent. The architecture of the temple is Dravidian with over 30,000 intricate, brightly coloured sculptures and 14 gateways. The most magical place in the temple is the Hall of Thousand pillars, which has two long rows of pillars with mythological creatures carved on them in great details.

Lepakshi temple, Andra Pradesh

The other most interesting Temple not only in India but across the world is the Temple with a floating Pillar – 16th-century Veerabhadra temple, also known as Lepakshi temple, the country’s most mysterious temple.

Out of the 70 massive pillars built in Vijayanagar style, one pillar, unlike the other pillars, does not touch the ground and actually hangs from the ceiling leaving a noticeable space between the floor and the pillar, enough to pass a piece of clothing through the gap. This temple is truly a surviving example of the engineering genius of ancient Indian temples.

The intriguing Floating Pillar The intriguing Floating Pillar

  1. The French colony of India – Pondicherry
Matri Mandir – The soul of Auroville Matri Mandir – The soul of Auroville  

It is a dream to wish for a Utopian world where no religion, caste or creed exists. This dream is a reality in this tiny Indian territory, Pondicherry. Formerly a French colony, with a small part of it still prevalent with colonial French style buildings in vibrant pastel shades of yellow and green.

 

Pondicherry is a lazy coastal town with abundant lazy beaches, perfect to enjoy a relaxing time off. Of course, the French influence has left behind a culture of amazing French and European cuisine. Pondicherry, or Puducherry, is a very popular travel destination so it’s no surprise that it’s counted among the best places to visit in South India.

The heritage part of Pondicherry is definitely a contrast to the surrounding South Indian cities with way of lifestyle, food, and clothing seeming like an alternate world of French to the Indians.

Heritage town, Pondicherry Dreamy pastel colored French buildings in Heritage town, Pondicherry

The most attractive part though is ‘Auroville’, a utopian setup by Shri Aurobindo. It is Auroville that attracts people from all over the globe. Auroville is home to people of all ages, infants to 80’s, coming from 49 nations, from various social classes, backgrounds, and cultures. Religion and money as we know it does not exist in Auroville, there is no circulation of money. One can even volunteer to serve and stay in Auroville. Indeed, it is a fulfilling and enlightening experience!

  1. Mystical Munnar, Kerala
Tea gardens of Munnar The mystical green tea gardens of Munnar

The southern part of India is famous for its tea and coffee plantations, one such haven of peace, tranquility and breath taking natural beauty mixed with vast expanses of tea plantations is Munnar in God’s own country. Munnar is a one of the biggest tea-plantations and one of the best hill stations in the South.

 

Apart from absorbing the beauty of Munnar wrapped in green carpets of tea gardens, also visit Eravikulam National Park and Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary to spend some time in the wild.

 

Munnar The heavenly misty view of Munnar

  1. Serene Beaches of Gokarna, Karnataka
Gokarna  

Many beaches in India are usually crowded. But not all. To escape the crowded beaches and enjoy serene sunsets with golden sands, Gokarna is an ideal destination. Blissful coasts and breathtaking landscapes define Gokarna. It is a prominent Hindu pilgrimage town.

 

Tranquil beach in Gokarna

 

Beaches lined with palm trees dotted with carefree tourists is a usual scene here. It is the laid back and unique nature of the beaches that draw more foreign tourists than Indians holiday goers. If you’re looking for places to visit in South India that allow you a slow-paced beach holiday, where you can peacefully relax by the blue sea and clean beaches, Gokarna is South India’s perfect choice.

  1. Nature lover’s paradise – Coorg, Karnataka
Raw coffee seeds in the Coffee Plantations of Coorg

Visiting South India and not obsessing over South Indian style filter coffee is tantamount to a sin! So is not spending some time in the misty coffee plantations of the South.

 

Located in the mountains of Karnataka, Coorg is a nature lovers delight and a very popular hill station. Exotic scenic beauty, lush greenery, hills covered with a canopy of green forests, spice and coffee plantations is what makes Coorg such an ideal place to rejuvenate your senses. It is also a hit among couples and honeymoon goers owing to its misty romantic ambiance.

What Is The Culture South India?

Culture of this region varies with the geographical and historic factors. Yes, a coastal region has a different culture when compared to a temple town like Madurai. The Portuguese colony of Goa still has remains of the European culture, while, French history filled Pondicherry. South Indian women’s traditional attire is saree and you can find a lot of them wearing it on a daily basis.

Apart from this, you can find them wearing chudidar/ salwar kameez (an attire derived from North India) and western wear. The traditional attire of men is Dhoti, a few people wear them today. Western wear is also common among men.

 

The cuisine of the southern India is focused on seafood, as most of the regions are coastal areas. Rice and seafood are the main component of the cuisine. When it comes to Kerala and southern Tamil Nadu, coconut is widely used in the dishes. Andhra and Telengana are famous for pickles and spicy food. Tea and coffee are commonly consumed by people. Non-veg dishes are iconic to Chettinad and Kerala. If you wish to enjoy spicy food, choose southern part of Tamil Nadu or Andhra Pradesh.

 

If you want to enjoy many delicacies, choose Mysore or other parts of Karnataka. Yes, the ancient ruler of Karnataka has a sweet tooth and he invited chefs from various parts of the country to cook him, unique dishes. While you are at Mysore, you ought to try the royal delicacy, Mysore Pak.

No Trip Is Complete Without These Five Delicacies In Karnataka  

Each state has its own iconic music and dance form. Most of the southern India focuses on Carnatic music. Folk music is regaining popularity among youngsters, now. Top iconic dances of southern India are Bharatanatyam, Kucchipudi, Theyyam, Mohiniaatam, Kathakali, Ottamthullal, Oppana and others.

Ancient rulers of the land built numerous monuments and structures around the regions. When it comes to architecture, there is not much of a difference between the states of Tamil Nadu. The traditional architectural style of Southern India is called as Dravida style. Top places of southern India to enjoy architecture are Mahabalipuram, Badami, Hampi, Tanjore, Halebidu, Pattadakal, Lakkundi, Belur and others.

 

Tanjore painting, mural paintings of Travancore, Raja Ravi Vama paintings and Mattancherry Dravidian mural paintings are the iconic styles of arts of ancient times. As time passed by, each state derived new artworks mixing the western style and tradition. Paintings are not the only form of artwork in India. Sculptures are inevitable part and can be found in temples and ancient monuments. Handlooms of Kanchipuram and Pachapalli are iconic souvenirs. Handicrafts of Mahabalipuram, accessories of Kanyakumari, wooden articles of Kodapalli, sandalwood articles of Sathyamangalam and Mysore are top ones to mention in this genre.

 

The most beautiful part of the culture is its colorful festivals. Each state has its own set of local festivals. Even when a festival is common throughout the country, each state and each community celebrates it in a different manner. During festivals, you can enjoy local dance and music, delicious delicacies and watch people perform many unique rituals. Locals allows tourists to be a part of their culture and festivals. Remember to wear and act modestly to blend in. This is the land with hospitality as a spiritual factor. Indians are taught that Guest is God and thus, hospitality is guaranteed.

 

This cultural element has given rise to a richness in shopping experience. Thanks to the tradition and culture, you can find many antique items, handloom articles, handicraft items and others. The same goes for natural items too. The spices of Kerala is as worthy as a traditional Kanchipuram silk saree.

 

Main Languages Spoken In South India

Surprisingly, English is more than enough to scale the place and live in South India. Apart from this foreign language, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam are common in this region. You can also find other languages like Hindi, spoken by a small group of people.

In India, the most common language is English itself. The largest population of people speak Hindi and other common languages include Marathi, Urdu and others.

 

Main Religion Of South India

Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Christianity and Buddhism are common in Southern India. However, Hinduism is the largest population of the region. Christians are common in coastal regions. Karnataka is famous for Jain pilgrimage. There are many branches of Hinduism, which prevails in India. Commonly, there are two main branches of Hinduism, Shaivam and Vaishnavam. Those who follow Shaivam pray to Lord Shiva and the later pray to Lord Vishnu. Ayyavazhi is a deviant of Vaishnavam, which is common in Kerala and southern part of Tamil Nadu. Malabar Coast has high Muslim population. This is due to the trade link between Oman and Kerala. Kerala holds an old Jew community, which is an important tourism destination in the state.

Which Is The Biggest State Of South India?

South India covers 19.31% of the whole country. There are five main states in this region and union territory of Goa and Pondicherry, islands of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep. The largest state of this region is Karnataka. A few years ago, the largest state in South India was Andhra Pradesh. Later, it was separated as two different states, making Karnataka, the largest one.

The geographical boundaries keep changing in Southern India. Before 1950, the Telengana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were combined as the state of Madras. It was the largest state of South India. Later, Madras was separated as Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The smallest state in the region is Kerala, which an area of 38,863 sq km. Not just in South India, this is the smallest state in the country. Karnataka has an area of 12,791 sq. km. With regards to population, Tamil Nadu is the largest state with 7.2 crore population.

 

List Of States In South India

Andhra Pradesh Telangana Tamil Nadu Karnataka Kerala

Largest City Of South India

The largest city of South India is Hyderabad of Andhra Pradesh. When it comes to population, Chennai is the most populated city, followed by Bangalore, Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram.

 

Top Tourist Destinations Of South India

As mentioned before, South India is a land of diversity. It is impossible to compare two destinations of different genre and give a list of top attractions. Here is the list of different types of vacations to enjoy in South India and the top places to visit under each category.

 

Top 10 Places to Visit in South India

 

Top Hill Stations Of South India

Munnar, Kerala Ooty, Tamil Nadu Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu Coorg, Karnataka Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh Coonnor, Tamil Nadu Idukki, Kerala Devikulam, Kerala Ananthagiri hills, Telengana Lambasingi, Andhra Pradesh Top Cultural Spots Of South India Madurai, Tamil Nadu Hampi, Karnataka Hyderabad, Telengana Mysore, Karnataka Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu Cochin, Kerala Top Temple Sites Of South India Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu Tanjore, Tamil Nadu Hampi, Karnataka Madurai, Tamil Nadu Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu Chottanikarai, Kerala Pattadakal, Karnataka Read More : Top Places for a Temples Experience in South India   Top Heritage Sites Of South India Hampi, Pattadakal and Aihole of Karnataka Hyderabad of Telengana Thajavur of Tamil Nadu Mysore of Karnataka Cochin of Kerala Mahabalipuram of Tamil Nadu Gooty Fort, Andhra Pradesh Warangal, Telengana Nizamabad, Telengana Top Metropolitan Cities Of South India Bangalore, Karnataka Chennai, Tamil Nadu Hyderabad, Telengana Kochi, Kerala Goa Pondicherry Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu Mangalore, Karnataka Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh Alappuzha, Kerala Kozhikode, Kerala Top Beach Locations Of South India Goa Kovalam, Kerala Gokarna, Karnataka Kochi, Kerala Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu Chennai, Tamil Nadu Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala Nellore, Andhra Pradesh Andaman and Nicobar islands Lakshadweep Read More : Famous Beaches of South India   Top Shopping Destinations Of South India Bangalore Hyderabad Chennai Kanyakumari Kochi Mysore Badami Kakinada Andaman Thekkady Also Read : Best Shopping Destinations in India with Specialties   Top Nightlife Destinations Of South India Goa Bangalore Mysore Chennai Hyderabad Top Secluded Tourism Destinations Of South India (Hidden Gems) Vattakanal, Tamil Nadu Badami caves, Karnataka Pollachi, Tamil Nadu Thalassery, Kerala Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh Belum Caves, Karnataka Maravanthe Beach, Goa Papi Hills, Andhra Pradesh Top Wildlife Destinations Of South India Periyar National Park Mudumalai National Park Bandipur National Park Nagarhole National Park Kudremukh national park Bannerghatta National park  

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