India is a country like no other. There you can go and visit the majestic Himalayas and even perform the world known Kailash yantra (although, for that you’ll have to cross the border with China), or you can go to the desert and delve into the vibrant Rajasthani culture. You can head to the very heart of the country and explore the delights of Deli and Agra, but you might as well head to the hill stations in the southern regions and visit picturesque tea plantations. And don’t get us started about the spectacular temples because they are scattered literally all over the country! So, why head to the south, exactly? Oh, there’s so much to see and to taste that you can spend a whole year exploring this region! And no, we’re not talking about Goa. Here are 10 reasons you should go to South India right now.
Wander around the relics of Hampi
Dive into the breathtaking history of India as you roam around the remnants of what used to be Vijayanagar, one of the greatest empires in Ancient India. Most of the ruins date back to the 14 century, but some temples were built around 232 BCE, so you are up for a thrilling trip back in time. It’s dotted with old inscriptions, carvings, sacred sites, and enigmatic boulders. Most visitors note the breathtaking atmosphere of the place and special energy that can be felt there.
Visit the Niagara Falls of India
Kerala is a state known for its natural beauty, breathtaking hills, and everlasting greenery. Falling from the height of 80 feet, Athirapally Falls is a spectacular cascade of water and the largest waterfall in the whole state. Nicknamed the ‘Niagara Falls of India’, the waterfall is easily reachable from the town of Chalakudy by bus or taxi. Nearest railway station is also located in Chalakudy.
Taste coffee at the Araku valley
You might not know this, but the beautiful Araku valley is one of the most important organic coffee plantations in India. Back in 2007, this became the very first place for growing organic coffee in the country, which is now known as ‘Araku Emerald’ all over the world. The place itself is a charming hill station and a great mountain getaway from the noise of the big city.
Explore the Keralan cuisine in Kochi
Southern cuisine is light, mouth-watering, and quite spicy even by Indian standards. Head to the former spice trading port that is Kochi to enjoy some staple Keralan dishes that you won’t try anywhere else. Apart from a mix of savory spices, here you will also find a variety of fish dishes and curries. We especially recommend trying fish peera (that goes with tamarind) and fish molly (with coconut). You should also try the tasty parotas – a variety of local bread – that can be served with all kinds of currys and dips.
Enjoy the chill of Kudle Beach
Gokarna is a heaven on Earth, especially if you want to enjoy good company and serene landscape without the craziness of tourist crowds. Gokarna’s beaches are Om, Paradise, Half Moon, Gokarna Beach, and Kudle. The latter is a secluded clean beach surrounded by rocky coastline, calm and breathtakingly beautiful. You can explore all of the beaches and find a place that suits you best!
Explore the magnificence of Kailasa Temple
Even if you aren’t much into temples, the Kailasa Temple built by King Krishna I is one of the most spectacular sites in India and has to be seen at least one in a lifetime. Intricately carved and built with mathematic precision, the whole temple was erected from solid rock and more than 200,000 tons of rock had to be removed from the building site. All this with simple ancient tools!
Eat crepes in Puducherry
If you suddenly crave French-flavored Indian cuisine, then Puducherry (also known as Pondicherry) is the ideal place for you. This sweet Mediterranean-style town is dotted with colourful houses and yummy bakeries and restaurants that offer genuine French cuisine. Head to Cafes des Arts for the banana Nutella crepes and a cup of hot coffee.
Take in the beauty of the Madurai
Madurai in Tamil Nadu is a small busy city that is home to one of the most spectacular and important temples of the South. Explore the 4,000-year-old city by foot and walk around the magnificent structure of Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple that is both ancient and spectacular. It is said that the city of Madurai was built around the Shiva lingam located in its sanctum, and indeed the temple lies in the very heart of the city! Don’t miss the Hall of 1,000 pillars and the spectacular pujas that are conducted several times a day.
Buy yourself a sari in Chettinad
Whether you want to wear it yourself or buy as a present for your friends and relatives, a sari from Chettinad will become the perfect present. Known here as kandangis, local saris come in all colours with a great variety of intricate patterns and sweet little details. If you don’t know how to wear a sari, make sure you ask for a small demonstration at one of the shops.
Experience harmony in Auroville
Pondicherry is home to Auroville, an incredible self-sustaining village founded by Sri Aurobindo Society to commemorate the belief system of Sri Aurobindo and his vision of people. The village is focused on spiritual development and progress of humanity as a whole, as well as of each individual separately. Book a visit to the spectacular Matrimandir built in a shape of a huge sphere. This place is beyond serene!