Blessed with backwater towns and misty tea plantations, South India is a land of wonder for travelers from across the globe. Surrounded by the vastness of the Indian Ocean on one side and punctuated with mountains on the other two cardinal directions, the landscape offers variety to explorers. The tranquil ambiance of the region is ideal for a tropical vacation while giving you a chance to explore the rich culture of this part of India.
Numerous interesting tourist destinations in South India cater to all types of travelers. You can visit South India to bask in the glory of its beautiful beaches or relax in the lap of nature at Alleppey.
History lovers can deep dive into the mystery of Hampi while adventure seekers can enjoy activities such as trekking, camping, rafting, and surfing. The region has beautiful hill stations where you can rejuvenate. You can also visit the numerous temples to seek blessings and marvel at their architectural brilliance.
Puducherry or Pondicherry is a Union Territory that borders southern Tamil Nadu. It is fondly referred to as Pondy and is also reputed as one of India’s most picturesque townships. The town has an old-world feel with French architecture as it was a French colony in South Asia.
Travelers can enjoy the scenic beauty of Pondy while sipping coffee. A stroll through the streets of the French Quarter in Pondicherry is heartwarming. The area is also known as White Town and is dotted with charming mustard-yellow colonial structures that exude a fairytale charm.
You can walk into cozy cafes and chic boutiques amidst the bougainvillea-laden walls to enjoy delectable dishes. The perfect way to enjoy the laid-back lifestyle of Pondy is to dig in crepes filled with chocolate sauce or fresh fruit compote and topped off with sweetened cream.
For a calmer experience, you can seek inner peace at Auroville and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. You can add some thrill to your trip by indulging in water sports at Paradise Beach and Karaikal Beach. You can try boating, jet skiing, backwater sailing, and overnight camping.
The popular UNESCO World Heritage Site of South India, Hampi is a historical delight for travelers. Surrounded by 500 ancient monuments and captivating remains of the Vijayanagar Empire in Karnataka state, it is a place for history buffs and spiritual seekers. It is easy to get lost among the ruins as there is so much to explore.
From temples that date back 1,000 years ago right up until today’s modern-day markets selling homegrown fruits and spices – there is no shortage of things to explore in Hampi. You can visit the Anjaneya Hill (birthplace of Lord Hanuman), Vijaya Vittala Temple (Chariot Temple), and enjoy a coracle ride.
Bouldering and rock climbing are popular activities to try in Hampi. You can even enjoy the most mesmerizing view of the ancient city by climbing up Matanga Hill.
You can also take a ferry ride across the Tungabhadra River to reach the relatively unexplored Hippie Island. The island is ideal for backpackers who want to laze around the banks of the river and enjoy jamming sessions at Sunset Point.
Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh
Located in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, Tirupati is a well-known pilgrimage center in South India. The temple town is visited by tourists from across the globe. Located amidst the seven hills of the Tirumala range, Tirupati is abundant in spirituality and natural beauty.
The main temple of the town, Tirumala Temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara which the Lord chose as his abode. The Sri Venkateswara Temple is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage site that echoes with the continuous chanting of ‘Om Namo Venkatesaya’ by the pilgrims.
Tirupati is also home to numerous waterfalls which are considered holy. Kapila Theertham, Talakona Waterfall, and Papavinasam Theertham are natural wonders you must explore. Another natural marvel is the natural rock formation called Silathoranam. It is an important archaeological and heritage spot in the region, frequently visited by devotees.
Madurai, Tamil Nadu
Madurai has been the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu since times immemorial. The city is home to some of the world’s ancient temples which date back centuries ago. Ruled by Pandya kings for the most part in its history, the city is home to pristine temples.
The Meenakshi Amman Temple is dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi with her consort Sundareshwar. It is one of the prominent temples in South India. The spiritual ambiance and architectural brilliance of this temple are a delight to behold.
The Thiruparankundram temple is another must-visit spot in Madurai. Located on a hillock approximately 8 km outside of Madurai, this temple is dedicated to Lord Muruga and holds cultural significance as well.
Another architectural masterpiece is the Thirumalai Nayak Palace. To add some adventure to your trip you can hike up to the Jain caves nestled among the Samanar Hills. The Puthu Mandapam shopping area is the perfect place to buy souvenirs such as jewelry, fashion accessories, handicrafts, and traditional artwork.
Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
Before being renamed Mamallapuram, this port city on the Coromandel Coast in Tamil Nadu used to be called Mahabalipuram. It is known for its intricately carved temples and rock-cut caves that were built centuries ago by ancient kings.
Mahabalipuram is strewn with beautiful rock-cut monuments and numerous monoliths. The heritage encompassed by the city draws architects, history enthusiasts, and travelers from around the world to the port city. Best way to visit the city is by opting for a one day tour to Mahabalipuram from Chennai in a private cab.
This beautiful town lures tourists with its serenity and pleasant atmosphere in an impressive natural setting. You can visit the white sandy beaches dotted by Casuarina trees at Mahabalipuram Beach, Sadras, Wide Beach, and Covelong Beach.
Some of the famous tourist spots in Mahabalipuram include the UNESCO world heritage site Group of Monuments like Shore Temple or Five Rathas, Krishna Mandapam, Arjuna’s Penance, and Cavern Temples.
You can also spend some time at the Crocodile Farm witnessing a wide variety of these reptiles. Fishing safari and beachside camping are popular offbeat activities to enjoy at Mahabalipuram.