Where to go in South India? Take a look at 15 major must visit cities to plan your trip to South India!
The moment you hear ‘South India’, you’re instantly reminded of the aroma of coffee mingling with freshly grown spices that bring out the real flavor of this region. A trip to South India primes you with knowledge on distinct cultures and traditions being practiced since time immemorial. South India Tour packages bring forth a broad range of opportunities to discover the quintessential beauty hidden in its different locations. For a vacation worth remembering, check out the best places in South India.
Almost untouched by invasions throughout its history, the Indian heritage is more intact in the Southern Part of India than in other regions of the country. South India comprises of five Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana, as well as the three union territories of Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Pondicherry/Puducherry. Given its extraordinary geographical setup comprising of forests, hill stations, beaches, and backwaters, it has something for everyone- Mysore and Madurai for those tourists who yearn for the ancient architecture, temples, and palaces, Kerala for those who are fond of the beaches and fishing villages!
While choosing where to go in South India, take a look at the list of 15 major cities that we at State Express have curated for you, to help you plan a trip to South India.
1. Alleppey (Kerala)
Alleppey or Allapuzha is a dream place in South India Tours for people who want to escape the burden of fast-paced city life for a rejuvenating vacation. The city is surrounded by a network of backwaters that create a stunning sight that is hard to resist for travelers. The most captivating feature of these backwaters is the houseboat cruises which let you explore the remote edges of these mysterious hideouts. The houseboats are well connected by boats which also help you enjoy the abundant nature from up close. The unmatched serenity combined with the breathtaking scenery is what makes Allepey a must-visit place in South India!
2. Thekkady (Kerala)
Thekkady, home to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, serves as an ideal vacation spot for wildlife and nature lovers. The winding roads trailing along thick forests transport you into a paradisical world. The sanctuary is located near the Periyar river known as the Lifeline of Kerala as it is a major source of drinking water in Kerala. The Reserve is home to tigers, rare lion-tailed macaques, sambar deer, leopards, and a significant elephant population. The sanctuary provides endless opportunities for photography, being home to a wide range of animals, birds and plant species. The dense greenery in Thekkady is great for escaping the sweltering heat and hence is one of the best places to visit in summers in South India.
3. Kochi (Kerala)
This erstwhile center of trade, Kochi has seen a great variety of tourists from across the globe, a few of which settled here giving a multi-cultural feel to its social landscape. The city takes pride in its heritage buildings designed in Dutch and Portuguese architectural styles. The most striking aspect of Kochi is the fusion of modern and ancient elements, which can be witnessed in the amazing markets it houses. Everything about this port city is bound to take your trip to South India another level, right from its stunning beaches, lagoons, coconut trees, temples to scores of fishing locations.
4. Vythiri (Kerala)
This cozy resort town located in Wayanad district is a dream escape for newlyweds (honeymooners) and lovers of ancient buildings. Surrounded by tree houses, resorts, and cottages, Vyithiri gives a chance to spend your holiday as a local. This hill station owns a number of spice gardens, parks, and forests which give you hoards of options to keep you busy. A drive around this town, especially near Pookot Lake lets you witness spellbinding views of hills and valleys located in its vicinity. This place is also home to tribals living in its different parts which intensifies your vacation by giving a peek into their simple lives. The cool climate of this town makes it one of the best places to visit in summer in South India.
5. Mysore (Karnataka)
No other South Indian city matches up to the princely states of Mysore, the city of Palaces. Everything about Mysore takes you back into the regal past the city once enjoyed which is clearly visible in its palaces and temples. Mysore Palace is the most inspiring piece of architecture that showcases the depth of artistic brilliance through intricately done interiors. Another feature that pulls in travelers to Mysore is its religious significance. The city is proud of its temples and churches which stand as testimonies to the flamboyant past. All these reasons make Mysore one of the must visit places in South India.
6. Hampi (Karnataka)
Hampi delights you with its ancient ruins that stand witness to its rich heritage. This erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagar Empire is a treat for history buffs and explorers. The age-old temples, markets, and other structures spread all over the city prove to be of great value in gaining knowledge about the Vijayanagar dynasty. Apart from the ruined structures, another thing that captures the attention of visitors is the huge boulders lying at every nook and corner. Climbing on these huge rocks is a perfect way to grasp the surrounding views and capture famous historical structures with your camera. Hampi should totally be in your South India tour package!
7. Bengaluru (Karnataka)
The garden city, Bangalore is buzzing with infinite choices to entertain tourists of all kinds. An important facet that gives this city so much attention is the elite position it garnered during the reign of Tipu Sultan. Bangalore boasts of a number of palaces, gardens, and museums that define its history. Being a hub of Information Technology, the city is a paradise for modern travelers who are left thrilled with its peaceful character. The pleasant climate of Bangalore is one more thing that entices you to visit the city once. One thing that sets it apart from other Indian cities is its clean and well-maintained surroundings which regard it as the best city in South India to live, work and travel to in India.
The city of pearls, Hyderabad, holds an esteemed position in defining the history of Mughals. It beautifully portrays the larger-than-life status of Mughals through a range of historic structures. A few days in this lavish city promise to spoil you in many ways, be it the vast range of palaces and forts, regal cuisine or the matchless hospitality of locals who take pride in treating each guest with the utmost respect. Hyderabad has not only earned a massive recognition in Indian history but has also grown as a city replete with all modern facilities. Places worth visiting in Hyderabad are Charminar, Golconda fort, Chowmohalla palace, and Nehru zoological park. One must not forget to try the famous Hyderabadi Biryani, when in Hyderabad.
The islands of Lakshadweep serve as a perfect holiday getaway for tired souls. The breathtaking landscape of these islands entices people from different countries who come to experience the sublime gorgeousness of blue waters skirmishing along white beaches. These beaches are great spots for scuba divers for exploring underwater flora and fauna. One can also participate in other adventure activities like kayaking, windsurfing, parasailing, and snorkeling. Out of its 36 islands, the ones you must visit are Kavaratti Island, Bangaram Island, Kalpeni Island, Minicoy Island and Agatti Island. Laskhwadeep without a doubt comes in the list of “must-visit” places in South India.
Suggested Tour: South India Lakshadweep Tour
10. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The islands of Andaman and Nicobar enclose profuse biodiversity along with a gripping history which contributes to their popularity as a tourist getaway. The exotic plant life abounding in these islands deserves to be seen for a close-up encounter with nature. What makes Andaman and Nicobar truly special are the crescent-shaped beaches which again delight your senses with their pristine beauty. A visit to the capital island Port Blair is a must to learn about struggles endured by freedom fighters at the Cellular Jail. The city is home to many museums and marine parks that highlight the city’s history and topography. You also get to try tempting seafood that lies at the heart of this precious island destination.
A Union Territory located near Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry surprises the visitors with an amazingly beautiful kaleidoscope created by ancient temples, churches, beaches and French colonial structures that surprise you with their magnetic ambiance. Besides being a popular attraction for budding architects, the place also bewitches visitors with heavenly natural beauty. The town has many beach resorts that make for excellent locations for a beach holiday trip to South India. Pondicherry is one of the famous tourist spots in South India portraying a perfect blend of Indian and French Culture and also amongst the best tourist places in South India.
12. Mamallapuram (Tamil Nadu)
Famously known as Mahabalipuram, Mamallapuram is an ancient town situated along the Bay of Bengal in Tamil Nadu. Named after a demon, Mahabali, who used to live here, it houses many impressive monuments of historical importance, few of which are included in the list of UNESCO World heritage sites. The most beguiling structures that attract visitors to Mahabalipuram are Shore Temple, PanchRathas and Cave Temples which give a glimpse of the fine aesthetic ability of artists during the Pallava Dynasty.
13. Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu)
Kanchipuram is noted as the Centre of Hindu religion in South India. The temples and other structures in Kanchipuram elegantly portray the artistic brilliance employed during Pallava and Vijayanagar dynasties. Kamakshi Amman Temple, KanchiKailasnathar temple and Varadaraja temple are marvels of impeccable architecture that deserve every bit of your attention. Apart from being a perfect location for religious seekers, Kanchipuram attracts nature lovers as well who come to visit Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary. This nature reserve stores endless options for visitors like birdwatching, nature walks, and photography.
14. Tanjore (Tamil Nadu)
Tanjore, a center of art, music, and handicrafts, is also a well-known town with great historical and religious significance. It stocks up an infinite number of South Indian ancient temples representing the impressive artwork of Cholas. Among its most striking temples is Brihadeeshwara temple, which also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage site and should definitely be included in South India Tour Packages. This town is also a hub of performing arts and you get to learn about the famous classical dance Bharatnatyam through live performances near Brihadeeshwara temple. The town is also known for its world-famous Tanjore paintings.
15. Madurai (Tamil Nadu)
Madurai. Popularly known as the “Athens of the East”, is also one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. It’s a holy city located along the river Vaigai in Tamil Nadu and hosts a number of religious festivals which attract many people from different parts of India as well as from abroad. Meenakshi Amman Temple is the most popular tourist place in Madurai. The temple displays fine architectural brilliance utilized in its towers, pillared halls, and gateways. If you wish to gain knowledge on the rich Tamil history, a visit to Thirumalai Nayak Palace is the best option. Madurai can totally be a part of your South India Tour Packages if you are interested in a pilgrim tour.
Suggested Tour: South India Splendor Tour
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