South India boasts a rich cultural history and heritage that is simply unparalleled by other parts of the country. The perfect kaleidoscope of diversity and beauty, here are the best places to visit in South India that you shouldn’t miss during your stay in this major tourist destination:
The city of Chennai is Tamil Nadu’s capital and is dubbed the Gateway to South India. Previously called Madras, what the city lacks in terms of major monuments, it makes up in terms of museums, friendly locals, and fabulous local cuisine.
Discover the history of East India Trading Company at Fort St. George, formerly an English fortress turned museum. Watch the sunset in awe from Marina Beach after a fulfilling day of sightseeing.
Consistently topping the list as one of India’s most liveable places, the small state of Goa is acclaimed for its golden sand beaches lining the Arabian Sea. The paradise fringed by palm trees is the perfect place to be if you want to relax and tap into your spiritual side.
Goa is also popular for its thriving nightlife, while the Portuguese colonial heritage and architecture round out the appeal of this haven.
Kerala is the ultimate paradise for all nature lovers and is one of the most picturesque states in South India. Don’t miss the opportunity of exploring the mesmerizing network of canals or backwaters weaving through several villages, verdant green landscapes, and coconut groves.
A houseboat tour is one of the best ways to experience Kerala’s backwaters like a true local. You can even visit a tea or spice plantation to further spice up your trip literally and figuratively.
Kochi or Cochin is a port city in Kerala that serves as a cultural melting pot rich in influences from China, Portugal, Britain, and the Netherlands. Fondly called the Queen of the Arabian Sea, the city was an important spice trading center during the 14th century.
The natural harbor that the Portuguese built remains to be an activity hub to this day as giant fishing nets of the Chinese rise from the sea in all their glory. While you are in the city, make sure to drop by the Pardesi Synagogue first constructed in 1568.
Madurai is called the City of Temples and is the heart of the culture of Tamil Nadu state. Situated on River Vaigai banks, the ancient city overflows in Tamil heritage and history.
The Meenakshi Amman Temple is a site you can never miss. Thousands of candy-colored statues cover this Hindu temple to depict gods, animals, and demons, making it the perfect spot for photo ops.
Officially named Puducherry or simply Pondy, Pondicherry, is a union territory located on the Coromandel Coast. Previously known as the biggest French colony of India, you can still feel the European influence in the place even to this day with its Catholic cathedrals and old-world architecture.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram is one of the best sights to visit in Pondy, which is a major spiritual center for integral yoga. There is also the utopian community of Auroville that is dedicated to the teachings of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. The golden dome temple is definitely one of the most striking sights you will ever see not just in South India but in the entire country.