Southern India has an elegance which is understated yet confident. The serene backwaters of Kerela, the finger licking good cuisines of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, and the many grand temples are just the start of an incredible journey.
While the Northern India despite being diverse has Hindi language as a binding force, the South is culturally and linguistically distinct. There are five states and three union territories in the southern peninsula of India. They are:
- Tamil Nadu
- Andhra Pradesh
- Lakshadweep Islands
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The bottom two are the are two Indian island groups in the Arabian Sea (western) and the Bay of Bengal (eastern).
Below are the nine of the most notable cities.
- Bangalore (Bengaluru) — the Garden City, Pub City, and “Silicon Valley of India”
- Chennai — largest city in the region, city of temples, and base of Dravidian art and Tamil culture
- Hyderabad — the pearl city of India and part of Silicon Plateau
- Mysore — royal city with its palaces and gardens
- Coimbatore — a major textile, industrial and educational hub
- Kochi — “Queen of the Arabian Sea”, one of the largest port city with a strong air of colonial European cultures
- Madurai — historical city famous for its Meenakshi Amman Temple
- Pondicherry — former French enclave in India
- Thiruvananthapuram — southernmost city of India with large temples, palaces, and beautiful beaches
- The magnificent ruins of Hampi
- Tirupati – the most-visited Hindu temple, famed for its riches as much for devotion
- The Brihadeeshwarar temple of Thanjavur
- Kodaikanal – hill-stations and the honeymoon destination
- Ooty – hill-stations and the honeymoon destination
- The Backwaters of Kerala
- Havelock Island for the beaches and the snorkeling (in Andaman Islands)
Places to Visit
The aroma of incense diffuses through the air in Kerala. Thiruvananthapuram may have a long name, but it is a vibrant green destination. Visit the numerous temples or drown in sandy beaches during your stay. Another famous city in Kerala is Kochi.
This city still retains the ambiance of the colonial period. Plus, the architecture exemplifies the cultural mingling which is characteristic of the city. Furthermore, visit the bazaars where you can shop and indulge without spending too much.
Chennai is the power center of the South Indian dynasties. You will find magnificent temples from every era. Bangalore might not be the capital of Karnataka, but it has equal importance. Madurai is where ascetics escape, to seek moksha (escape from the rebirth cycle). It is a historic and a significant religious site.
A blanket of green covers the blue waters of Kumarakom. Visit Kumarakom to experience a relaxing trip in the arms of nature. While there you will hear the chirping of birds and live in the heart of the wild landscape. A trip to Southern India is incomplete if you do not experience the variety of tasty, spicy curries.
Southern Indians are serious about their culture. They revere the ancient Dravidian languages of Malayalam, Kannada, and Tamil. These languages are very hard to understand. However, most of the population is literate. Also, you can communicate with locals in English. Furthermore, when communicating, beware of the difference in accents.
Traveling in these parts can be smooth. Trains will take you to the main cities. Moreover, you can move around inside the cities by booking an online cab or renting a car.
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November 27, 2016 11:35 am