Comprising five states – Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, South India is a region that has earned the status of being a cultural mesh. Distinct cultures of all the states in this region with their particular cuisine, art forms, architecture, history and traditions are woven together nicely to make your travel full of excitement. You can go on to explore anything- the natural beauty of Kerala, timeless history of Karnataka or architectural marvels of Tamil Nadu, you will never fall short of experiences.
Here we have brought to you a quick list of top 12 destinations in South India that you can include in your tour to make it a memorable one:
1. Kerala Backwaters:
Unmatched natural beauty of Kerala backwaters makes it the top destination to explore while on a south India trip. Pristine and clear waters lined with tall palm trees give a paradisiacal feel to the place. An overnight cruise is highly recommended as you can enjoy a calm starry night with the scrumptious cuisine on board.
If you’re a fan of traditional sea food dishes then you can have some while on a Kerala Backwaters tour.
This historical place in Karnataka is one where time seems to come to a standstill. There are numerous monuments (nearly 500) in this ancient city that spans 25 kms of area. It served as the last capital of the empire of Vijayanagar.
Come to see various temples here because of which Hampi has been included in the UNESCO World heritage sites list.
3. Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal:
These heritage sites are awe inspiring as you can see some great monumental carvings here. Located a little away from Hampi, there are many monuments and temples which lie in a ruined state as a reminder of the glorious Chalukya empire.
Special attractions here will be the stone temples in Aihole and rock cut temples in Badami.
Second largest city in Tamil Nadu, this place receives a lot of tourist traffic due to a mix of tourist attractions for sightseeing like the magnificent Meenakshi Amman Temple, beautiful Tirumalai Nayak palace, shopping havens of Puthu Mandapam, elegant saint Mary’s cathedral, enlightening Gandhi memorial museum etc.
As a plus you can go and taste some authentic South Indian cuisine at Murugan Idli shop.
This scenic place is best for relaxing and easing out yourself. Edenic setting here makes it an offbeat honeymoon destination and an ayurveda and meditation retreat. One highlight is that the beach at the bottom of the cliff offers a perfect place for taking quiet walks in evening and enjoying sunsets when sky is blazing red.
As a cherry on the cake, get spectacular views of Arabian sea from the cliff.
This colonial town near the east coast of Tamil Nadu is one colourful and happy place to spend your vacation. Since it was a colony of the French so everything has a characteristic French flavour to it especially the houses which are brightly painted. Grab yourself some gastronomical delights from a bakery or a restaurant and browse the boutiques if you get a chance to do so.
People who want to do some soul searching can go to the famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
This one is a not to miss stopover on a Kerala tour. You can see many pretty things here like Chinese fishing nets, Jewish synagogue and can take a heritage walk in and around Fort Kochi. Lastly, you can enjoy splendid evening shows of various performing arts practised in Kerala: Kalaripayttu, kathakali and classical music.
The ancient rock cut temples of Mahabalipuram have made this place another top tourist destination in south India. Some marvellous sights await the exploring traveller here like Arjuna’s penance which is a bas-relief , 5 Ratha temples which have been carved out from a huge monolith in the shape of chariots, etc.
Serene and quiet, Thiruvannamalai is a place for the people who want to experience peace and spirituality. Pilgrims flock Mt. Arunachala in this city at the time of full moon to do the holy parikrama. Also, they visit Arunachaleshwara temple at the foot of Mt. Arunachala where Lord Shiva is worshipped. At the time of Karthikai Deepam festival, a huge fire is lit up at the top of the mountain as a tradition.
The dressing tree organic restaurant and Ramana Ashram are two other attractions in this city.
This picturesque hill station in south Karnataka qualifies as a perfect vacationing spot for couples as well as families looking to escape scorching heat of the planes. Cool breeze flowing through the air brings with it deep aroma of coffee grown in the estates here.
We suggest you to book your stay at one of the coffee estates only to wake up to a fresh morning with a spectacular view.
This is another hill station in the list but certainly is not like others. Popularly called as “queen of the hills”, it is one place to catch breath-taking views of mountains painted in deep blue.
For a perfect vacation, plan for a walk through a flawlessly manicured tea garden and a train journey via Nilgiri mountain railway that will take you through some striking scenes of the place.
Karnataka is a treasure box of heritage sites and this one also is a must see destination here. Catch a view of the palatial Mysore palace besides the regular tourist spots. Also, don’t forget to take some good quality sandalwood back home from here.