South India is famous for its intricately carved Dravidian temples, palm-fringed beaches, coastal villages, sprawling tea/coffee/spice plantations, scenic hill stations tucked in the Eastern/Western Ghats, and some of the most popular Indian cities. The culture and tradition in this part of India is distinct from North India and this is what sets it apart from the rest of the country. From the backwaters in Kerala to hill stations and temple towns in Tamil Nadu to coffee plantations in Karnataka, here are five of the best places to visit in South India during your trip.
A top tourist attraction in South India, Alleppey (officially Alappuzha) is thronged by tourists for an experience of the famed backwaters of Kerala. Often called the Venice of the East, Alleppey is equally popular with family vacationers as well as honeymooners. Cruising along the silent backwaters in a traditional houseboat is the most popular thing to do here. A refreshing vacation in Alleppey is complete with enjoying an Ayurvedic spa in one of its wellness centers.
Best Time to Visit: November to February
Popular Tourist Attractions in Alleppey: Alappuzha Beach, Marari Beach, Vembanad, Alleppey Lighthouse, Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple, Mullakkal Temple, Basilica of St. Mary, International Coir Museum, etc.
Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport
Nearest Railway Station: Alappuzha Railway Station
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
A major hub for the textile industry, Coimbatore is called the Manchester of South India. For tourists, Tamil Nadu’s second-largest city has a range of natural, historical, religious, and fun-filled destinations such as waterfalls, hills, forests, wildlife reserves, ancient temples, museums etc. Coimbatore (also known as Kovai) is situated on the banks of the Noyyal River. Adiyogi Shiva Statue at Isha Yoga Center is one of the most popular attractions in this city.
Best Time to Visit: July to March
Popular Tourist Attractions in Coimbatore: Marudhamalai Hill Temple, Monkey Falls, Siruvani Waterfalls, Patteeswarar Temple, Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Kovai Kondattam Amusement Park, Gedee Car Museum etc.
Nearest Airport: Coimbatore International Airport
Nearest Railway Station: Coimbatore North Railway Station
Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Nestled at an altitude of 2,240 m above sea level in the Nilgiri Ranges of the Western Ghats; Ooty or Udagamandalam is one of the most popular places to visit in South India. This quaint hill station is blessed with stunning environs and pleasant weather throughout the year. The Queen of the Nilgiris, Ooty offers rolling hills, mountains, misty valleys, clear lakes, waterfalls, botanical gardens, and tea plantations to explore. A train journey on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (fondly called the Toy Train) is the best way to enjoy Ooty’s beautiful landscapes.
Best Time to Visit: October to June
Popular Tourist Attractions in Ooty: Ooty Lake, Doddabetta Peak, Ooty Botanical Garden, Rose Garden, Pykara Falls, Emerald Lake, Tea Museum, St. Stephen’s Church, Dolphin’s Nose, Tiger Hill, Mudumalai National Park etc.
Nearest Airport: Coimbatore International Airport
Nearest Railway Station: Mettupalyam Railway Station
Madurai, Tamil Nadu
With a history dating back to pre-Christian times, Madurai is among the oldest cities in India. The cultural capital of Tamil Nadu, Madurai is dotted with beautiful temples, some of which are considered extraordinary examples of Dravidian architectural grandeur. The most popular of them all is the Meenakshi Amman Temple dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi (an avatar of Goddess Parvati). The exquisite temple complex features 14 towering gopurams, several beautiful sculptures, pillared halls, and a sacred pool (where visitors take a dip before entering the temple). Other than temples, Madurai is also known for its colorful bazaars and mouth-watering street food.
Best Time to Visit: October to March
Popular Tourist Attractions in Madurai: Meenakshi Temple, Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple, Koodal Azhagar Temple, Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace, Gandhi Memorial Museum, Samanar Hills, Pazhamudhir Solai, Alagar Koil, etc.
Nearest Airport: Madurai International Airport
Nearest Railway Station: Madurai Junction Railway Station
The Coffee Land of Karnataka, Chikmagalur is known to be the first recorded place in India to have cultivated coffee. Its sprawling coffee plantations are indeed a treat for coffee lovers. The gorgeous mountains, hills, and waterfalls in Chikmagalur attract nature lovers whereas the trekking opportunities it offers draw adventure enthusiasts. It is located at a distance of nearly 250 km from Bangalore.
Best Time to Visit: September to March
Popular Tourist Attractions in Chikmagalur: Mullayanagiri Peak, Hebbe Falls, Jhari Falls, Baba Budangiri, Coffee Museum, Kudremukh National Park, Z Point, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Kallathigiri Falls etc.
Nearest Airport: Mangalore International Airport
Nearest Railway Station: Kadur Junction Railway Station & Hassan Junction Railway Station
There are many more beautiful places to visit in South India. Depending on the length of your trip, you can also visit Kodaikanal, Tirupati, Munnar, Wayanad, Mahabalipuram, Hampi, Gokarna, Kochi, Pondicherry, and Kanyakumari. Are you planning a trip soon? Get the best deals on flight tickets to India at Indian Eagle and earn reward points too on your bookings.