Why you should travel to Southern India
Why you should travel to Southern India
When it comes to travelling to India, first thing most traveller’s think of is visiting its most iconic attraction, the Taj Mahal. For others who see past one of the seven wonders of the world, Rajasthan state might be next in their thoughts with its scorching desert, camel safari’s and brightly coloured weaving towns.
Yet, despite all of these wonderful places, it is thought that real India exists in the south. Why? We’re going to tell you, but with a different vibe, generous people and charming setting, it’s safe to say Southern India secret holds the bragging rights to India’s wonders. With India being a country that has a population of over 1 billion, it’s fair to say we have to be a little more specific about Southern India and why you should visit.
It’s More Laid Back
A far cry from the chaotic scenes in India’s North, Southern India has a more down to earth and relaxed approach. The locals are generally warmer to welcoming tourists, there’s less of the hustle bustle culture in the streets meaning it’s ideal for a first timer to get a taste of the varied Indian cultural way. Walking in peace with curiosity and freedom without being hawked at on every corner is a delight, whilst appreciating the pockets of India where life is a little dreamier rather than bursting with urgency makes for a perfect Indian introduction.
It’s Romantic As Hell
If you’re travelling as a couple, heading to the famed Kerala backwaters are a must. You might even spend a special occasion here, and it isn’t uncommon for newly wed adventure travellers to spend their honeymoons in these parts. However, even if you’re solo or in a group, Kerala still provides, with it’s 360 panoramic lush landscape made up of coconut trees and rice paddies by the drifting waters. With its network of backwaters shifting through the canals, the inevitable option is to ride via houseboat, allowing you to see the natural rural wonders Kerala is known for in true style whilst with all the comforts from home.
The Cuisine Differs
Even the thought of the rich flavours and colours of traditional Indian cuisine will make the most supressed stomach rumble, and venturing into Southern India is no exception. Food delicacies in states do differ, but generally there is a more vegetarian focus with lentils, fruits, rice, spices, coconuts and chillies the major ingredients. The chillies are some of the hottest in the whole country so beware if you’re up for trying some, whilst the coastal seafood dishes are to die for such as fish molly and fish peera. If you’ve had enough of authentic Chai Tea, then not to worry, coffee is hugely popular in Southern India too.
Famous Beach Locations
Just squeezing into the circumference of India’s South, Goa, the West coastal beach town is no secret to travellers anymore. Still, it’s popular for a reason. With umpteen beaches to relax on during the day suited to visitors it’s easy to see why Goa stands out to the rest of the country. It also has an interesting nightlife that are epitomised with its markets, including ‘The Saturday Night Market’. Filled with its cultural goods, wide selection on food and open-air bars filled with plenty of cocktails accompanied by live DJ’s playing Trance music and a whole array of music genres. If you’ve ever been to Camden markets in London, this is the Indian night-life version.
Interesting Cities and Towns
Chennai is a popular starting point on the Southeast coast of India and is the capital of Tamil Nadu. Even if you’re just stopping over, hustle your way through the traffic whilst exploring Chennai’s temples and museums, or stroll along Marina Bay.
Cochin (Kochi) on the other hand is a far more charming place to visit. With a mix of previous Dutch and Portuguese heritages as far as it’s trading facilities and architecture show; with also Arab and Chinese merchants once dealing here. Make sure you visit Fort Kochi and stroll along Cherai Beach.
Especially venturing into the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, you’ll encounter a vast amount of Dravidian Hindu styled temple, all of which are dedicated to several Hindu Gods, including Lord Vishnu. The most notable and attention seeking temple is the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, which is decorated with gopurams that are ornamented colourful figures.
Sticking with temples and history, the quiet town of Hampi, only 6 hours from Goa, is an archaeological wonder. Gigantic Boulders border the town, almost as if they’ve fell from the skies. Here, you’ll see an abundance of temples, once the capital of the power Vijayanagar Empire.
Abundances of Wildlife
Witnessing elephants in India is quite common, but in their natural surroundings at Periyar National Park is best. Based in Kerala, Periyar is full of wildlife and is the home to one of India’s largest tiger populations. Whether you’re witnessing via the backwaters or doing a safari tour, things get a little wild and exotic in these types of environs in India, and it’s exactly what you should want.
Off The Beaten Track
Southern India doesn’t get the attention the North does, so heading south will take you away from the majority of visitors. If you like to get away from the typical tourist trail, then exploring the Southern environs will give you that rawness you seek in your adventures. This part of India allows even the most amateur of travellers grasp the taste of Indian culture, without the hectic approach that is pretty standard up north.
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