There are many land spots that one can visit in India alone but South India brings its own set of cultural architecture, historical views, and intricate temples which cannot be found just everywhere. The south part of India consists of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu. Not only is each state different from one another based on the languages spoken there but also based on distinct features and unique tourist spots. This article will highlight the top 16 best places one could visit in south India so it becomes much easier to plan a trip if you ever wish to visit the southern waters.
- Hampi, Karnataka
One of the greatest Hindu empires had Hampi as their village capital in Vijaynagar. The laid-back stone hedge-like structures have their own unique set of ruins that date back to the 14th century. The ruins are stretched over 4187 hectares and include at least 1600 monumental remains. Most tourists from Goa make their trip to Hampi as there are many transportation options available from that destination. Eccentric eerie energy can be felt when you visit this place.
2. Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal, Karnataka
the heritage sits within Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal are worthwhile side trips not far away from Hampi itself. In Aihole, tourists often find temples and monuments belonging to the Chalukya empire which ruled from the 6th to 12th century in India. There are a total of 125 stone temples which are not as appreciated as they should be. Whereas Badami has more places to see caves where there is a set of four ancient rock-cut cave temples. Lastly, Pattadakal has smaller but impressive temples which are even included within UNESCO heritage sites.
3. Kerala Backwaters
The palm-fringed canals are known as the backwaters of Kerala and what could be more fun than cruising along clear water, rustling palm trees, and a clear sky. Most of the boat cooking that is seen on master chefs in India happens in the onboard boats in these backwaters. Imagine spending a night on the boat by being surrounded by water and peace. There is freshly caught seafood that is served when you spend a night or more on the boat mixed within traditional recipes.
4. Varkala, Kerala
Varkala beach is one of the most breathtaking beaches to exist in India. The long stretch of cliff alongside the Arabian sea and coconut palms is too good of a serene scenery to miss out on. The rustic shops and beach shacks are just the right amounts of aesthetic for your pictures and memories both. The beach here is just too beautiful to be missed.
5. Fort Kochi, Kerala
Kochi is one of the enchanting cities that has had an eclectic influence. The Arabs, British, Dutch, Chinese, Portuguese have all left their imprint within the city. Most tend to recognize Kochi because of the Chinese fisherman’s pictures of throwing the fishing nets into the waters. The fort of Kochi is made up of architecture and historical sites that are worthwhile to explore on foot.
6. Madurai, Tamil Nadu
If there is anything that you must not leave on your list when visiting South India, it is the Meenakshi Temple in ancient Madurai. The city of Madurai alone is 4000 years old and has been a central area for Tamil culture and learning for centuries. There is a two-week long festival that consists of re-enacted celestial weddings between the gods and goodness that is celebrated during spring each year. If you ever have time to visit alongside the humongous Meenakshi temple, go visit the city on foot, there are lots to explore!
Formally, known as Puducherry it was a French colony that remains as a separate union territory on the east coast of Tamil Nadu. There is a different French flavor aesthetic that you can see through the colors on the walls and the rickshaws within the territory. There are beaches and even aesthetic streets painted with pink, blue, and yellow pastel colors.
8. Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu (also famously known as Mahabalipuram)
It is a beach town that has a serene surfing scene an hour or more south of Chennai. Some of the other attractions within this town are the Shore temple (about which we have read numerous times in our history books), Pancha Rathas (a place where temples are sculpted in the shape of chariots), and Arjuna’s penance (huge Mahabharata scenes craved on huge rocks). There is a classical dance festival that happens here every year from December to late January where you get to see vibrant colors and dances almost in every corner of the town you go to.
9. Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi, Tamil Nadu
A peaceful little pilgrim in southern parts of Tamil Nadu which has been brought to life by the several thousands of devotees that visit to take bath in the holy waters of Rameshwaram for puja – what more has to be said. The town and the temple are all tied to another great epic of Hindu mythology, the Ramayana. This is the very same place where Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman had to build a bridge from stones to reach Sri Lanka for rescuing Sita from her abductor, Ravana. So, the Ram Setu (or also known as Adam’s bridge) is a chain of reefs and sand where the bridge is said to exist.
10. Mysore, Karnataka
One of the most impressive royal heritage is within the Mysore Palace. There are so many buildings that are spread wide across the palaces and even temples nearby which are worth taking an evening walk for. Not only is Mysore one of the best places to buy sandalwood in India but it is also an excellent attraction when the annual 10-day Mysore Dasara festival commences here.
11. Coorg, Karnataka
the most freshly brewed coffee and other aromatics which are advertised on television include the stunning scenario from Karnataka’s Kodagu region (often called Coorg, an English version of Kodagu). It is best known for its coffee estate and is not far away from Bangalore and Mysore. There are some lovely homestays within Coorg which are on the top of some fields in the mountains. The magnificent Golden Temple is one of the top Buddhist monasteries within India and should not be missed if you were ever to visit Coorg.
12. Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Tamil Nadu
The most popular railway in India is upon the hill station of Ooty where this historic railway line was completed within 1899 and declared by UNESCO as the world heritage site in 2005. This 46-kilometer journey is too enchanting as it passes through rocky terrain, ravings, forested hills, tea plantations, 16 tunnels, and more than 250 bridges.
13. Gokarna, Karnataka
If you think Goa is too crowded these days then come visit Gokarna which gives the tropical vibes of goa but in a more clean and remote environment. This town also has four of India’s most remote and pristine beaches that you should visit if you are looking for peace and serenity.
14. Periyar National Park, Kerala
There are hardly any national parks that remain open in India during the monsoon season but the Periyar National Park of the south has got you covered. Periyar is well known for its herds of wild elephants being seen on the side of the lake during boat safaris or on nature walks. There are several options of how you want to travel across the park such as through border hikes, bamboo rafting trips, or even night jungle patrols.
15. Hyderabad, Telangana
In contrast to most places in the south, Hyderabad stands well known for its Islamic heritage which is why it is called the city of Nizams. The Nizam dynasty had ruled within Hyderabad up until independence was granted in 1947 but the legacy of the dynasty lives on through several architectural monuments especially the area around Charminar. Moreover, the famous Hyderabadi chicken and veg biryani are worth trying.
16. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
This is the best trip planner for even students who are tight on their budget within their trip. The snorkeling and the scuba-diving experience that Andaman and Nicobar Islands have to offer is one of the most unique tourist activities to do. The several scenes within movies that were shot underwater have been filmed within the waters surrounding the island. The aquatic world displayed at its most pristine form is simply too alluring to not visit.
To conclude, the South of India has too much to offer if you ever visit it by leaving your crowded life in the North. There is hardly any pollution and if there is then there is a very small chance that you will be coughing in all the tourist visiting spots anytime soon. The beaches, the temples with sculpted runes from both the Hindu epics and the hill stations are too good of a pack to not visit.