What to see in South India. The 10 Essential places

3 mn read

The tourist attractions of South India do not detract from those of North India. It is true that the North is more touristy, perhaps because of communications with the outside world, perhaps because in the summer period, or because the monsoon moves more through the South, or it is simply better promoted.

The powers of the North cannot be denied, in my opinion, an indisputable one, the Himalayas, other notable ones are the historic cities and fortresses of Rajasthan that is why it is the most touristic state in the country. And without forgetting the Taj Mahal, and the impressive city of Varanasi.

But the South also has its attractions. The fabulous and impressive temples of the Dravidian cultures, the monuments carved out of the rock. And if in the North they have the Himalayas, where they have a beach.

To which we must add less tourist pressure, greater warmth of its inhabitants, more “unexplored” surprises to discover, and even more genuine gastronomy and less adapted to the visitor.

That is if there is one thing in which North and South are the same, you love India or you hate it.


For the very urbanites, the largest city in the country, impressive, a microcosm of India that begins at the Gateway of India, and can continue with the great Victorian architecture of the 19th century, or the Elephanta Caves, a World Heritage Site. A walk along Marina Drive, watch cricket, or visit popular Bollywood are some of the things to see in Mumbai.

Ellora and Ajanta Caves

Two absolute wonders of rock-sculpted architecture. For the extraordinary work of chiseling the stone in the case of Ellora and the excellent frescoes of Ajanta. One of the most spectacular monumental complexes in all of India.


Goa, another different India. A great attraction of the South, due to its Portuguese cultural heritage, present at a monumental, religious, gastronomic level, and even in the very physiognomy of the cities. A destination that satisfies cultural attractions as well as leisure and relaxation.


Another very particular state and with its own attractions. Inland water network known as backwaters and backwaters of Kerala offers countless possibilities for enjoyment and any of them very pleasant, from simple transport boats to houseboats with all amenities. The historic city of Kochi, its beaches, the popular Kerala theater, the Kathakali, or the lately highly promoted Ayurveda treatments offered in the increasingly numerous spa hotels in Kerala.

The National Parks

In the very extensive list of national parks in India, the south has a wide representation, and of course with Tiger included, in some cases like Bannerghatta National Park, with White Tiger. The parks are abundant and varied, Periyar National Park, Silent Valley, Eravikulam, Guindy, Bandipur, etc.

The Hill Station

The Hills Stations are mountainous locations that the English turned into places of rest and recreation where they could take refuge from the intense heat. There are dozens of them all over the country and in Tamil Nadu alone there are 23 Hill stations with Kodaikanal being the most popular.

They usually have lakes and wooded areas. Today in a way they continue to fulfill the same function, to escape from the intense heat and the humidity of India, and to take refuge in places with less human density.

Southern Dravidian Temples

Here the South beats the North. Its huge temples brimming with life are like small cities, the imposing Sri Ranganathaswamy temple in Trichy, which occupies 631,000 m², with 4,116 meters of perimeter flanked by its great gopuram, or the Brihadeshwara Temple and Fort, a World Heritage Site and one of the best examples of Chola architecture, a Dravidian culture of the late first millennium.

The Dravidian Culture

A culture named for the Dravidian languages, of which no connection with other linguistic families is known.

But that is not the reason for their interest; they are people with a more affable and open character than in the north, (Those arrogant Punjabis!) With a greater predisposition to the conversation. Above all less polluted by the perverse influences of mass tourism, which makes contact with the locals more natural and relaxed.


Monuments carved into the rock, one of the monumental “specialties” of all of South India, beaches, and seafood make Mammallapuram one of the main tourist spots in the South.

Southern Gastronomy

Logically spicy as it could not be otherwise, the “Thalis” or typical Indian menus here in the South are served on a banana leaf or similar. In the same, the waiter deposits you the food to form a palette of vegetables, legumes, and rice. As in the North, fried foods abound, here the famous Dosas and Pakoda.

In summary, South India is a part of the subcontinent with as many attractions as North India but with the advantages of fewer tourist pressure.


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