The southern region of India comprises five states: Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Each region has its own unique tradition, culture, art and history and welcomes tourists from all over the world. It’s a repository of many unique, memorable and enriching experiences of varying diversity, from water sports for adventure junkies, backwater cruises for romantics, trekking trails for trekkers, and panoramic vistas for nature lovers. Pick your indulgence from some of the best places to visit in south India.
Top Places To Visit In South India
1. Princess Of Hill Stations: Kodaikanal
This little hill town is set amidst dense forests and enchanting waterfalls in the Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu. Rightly called the Princess of Hill Stations, Kodaikanal is known for its awe-inspiring scenic beauty. The town is perched at an altitude of 7,200 feet above sea level, and is home to the beautiful (man-made) Kodaikanal Lake. This tourist place in south India has great trek trails, but also lets you pause as you spend an afternoon by the lake or visit the vibrant gardens of Bryant’s Park. There are loads of tourist spots like the massive Pillar Rocks, and many picturesque churches like St Peter Church, Christ The King Church and more .
2. Scotland Of India: Coorg
Surrounded by imposing mountains and covered in mist, Coorg or Kodagu is dubbed the Scotland of India, because of the similarity of vistas. A popular hill station in Karnataka, Coorg is best known for its diverse flora and fauna, aromatic spices and coffee plantations. The small town offers a picturesque landscape encompassing scenic waterfalls like Abbey Falls, Iruppu Falls, lakes such as Honnamana Kere Lake, and enthralling trekking trails such as Tadiandamol Trek or Kotebetta Trek, making it a haven for nature lovers and trekkers. Along with verdant coffee plantations, tea gardens and orange groves, one can also enjoy the town’s local culture and people. At this tourist place in south india, visit the ancient Madikeri Fort which was first constructed in the latter half of the seventeenth century by Muddu Raja, on the occasion of declaring Madikeri as the new capital of Coorg.
3. French Capital Of India: Pondicherry
Pondicherry, also called Puducherry, is a vibrant city which was once colonized by the English, the Dutch, Portuguese and the French. Located on the south-eastern coast of India, the city boasts its French influence with quaint colonial buildings, beautiful promenades and unspoilt beaches. Often called the French Capital of India, this laid back city is one of the best places to visit in south India. Take a walk along its cobbled streets flanked by colourful houses, French cafes, the large churches and cottages built in colonial style, and you will be transported back in time. The quaint charm of this town along with its respectful culture and bohemian vibe have made it perfect for solo travellers. While you are here, don’t forget to check out the unblemished, serene beaches, fine-dining restaurants and beachfront cafes specializing in local and international cuisines.
Also Read: Best places to visit in Pondicherry
4. City Of Pearls: Hyderabad
This quintessential metropolitan city is the capital city of Telangana. Endearingly called the Pearl City, Hyderabad is said to be just as famous for its palaces and forts, as it is for its biryanis and haleems. The city is among the best places to visit in south India, particularly because it nicely balances the rich history and regality of the nizams (who ruled it from the 18th to mid-20th centuries) with a vibrant urban landscape. Therefore, it offers a variety of tourist attractions. Visit heritage monuments such as Charminar or Chowmahalla Palace; lakes such as Hussain Sagar Lake or Himayat Sagar Lake; parks like Sanjeevaiah Park or Indira Park; and museums such as Salar Jung Museum and Sudha Car Museum, just to name a few. You can also enjoy delectable cuisine and a delightful shopping experience. The city with its young and old, traditional and cosmopolitan charm will seduce any traveller.
5. Ancient Port City Of Pallava Kingdom: Mahabalipuram
The historic city of Mahabalipuram is situated on the Coromandel coast along the Bay of Bengal, in Tamil Nadu. It once used to be a major seaport, and today is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The intricately carved temples and rock-cut caves of the city has put it on every history buff’s bucket list; so don’t miss the majestic windswept Shore Temple, the Five Rathas, and the Arjuna’s Penance rock carvings. Experience the grandeur of this tourist place in south India as you’re certain to be enthralled by the vast casuarinas trees, the silvery sandy beach, and the classical handmade stonemade crafts of both traditional and contemporary styles. One of the best places to see in south India, Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram was the second capital city of the Pallavas who ruled Kanchipuram.
6. Medieval Temple Town In Karnataka: Hampi
This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the best places to visit in south India. The city is situated amid the hills and valleys in Karnataka. It was once the capital of the medieval Vijayanagara empire and is therefore full of majestic ruins of Hindu temples, palaces, and more, all of which date back to the 14th century. With its magnificent architectural structures of historical significance, this world heritage site takes visitors back in time to the 15th and 16th century. History and architecture buffs can explore its ancient temples, dilapidated forts, huge boulders, havelis and monoliths. Try something new on this trip with a coracle ride across the Tungabhadra river, or go rock climbing or cliff jumping. Excited yet?
7. Queen Of Hill Stations: Ooty
The Queen of Hill Stations, Ooty, also known as Udagamandalam, is a hill station in Tamil Nadu and one of the best places to visit in south India. It serves as a top-rated tourist destination in south India. Nestled amidst the Nilgiri hills, this well-known hill resort has been one of the most popular hill stations in India since the times of the British Raj. Situated along the picturesque Mysore State highway, you’ll reach Ooty after passing through the dense forests of Bandipur and Masinagudi, after 32 hairpin bends, making the journey as memorable as the destination. The charm of British-Raj era bungalows along with churches such as St Stephen’s Church, CSI Holy Trinity Church, beautiful lakes like Ooty lake, Avalanche lake, expansive tea gardens, botanical gardens, and pine forests add a romantic flavor to Ooty, making it one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in south India. This tranquil retreat is also known for its famous miniature toy train which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a delight for people of all ages.
8. Hindu Pilgrimage Town In Karnataka: Gokarna
This tiny coastal town on the west coast of India is one of the top places to see in south India. Among the many Hindu pilgrimage centres in the country, Gokarna is a popular one, located in the Kumta taluk (sub-district) of Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. Known for its pristine beaches, this temple town has emerged to be quite the beach destination too. Along with beautiful beaches with white sand and swaying coconut palms, visitors can also indulge in yoga sessions, beach trekking and water sports, such as snorkelling, parasailing and banana boat rides in Gokarna. This small town is home to four of India’s most secluded and pristine beaches such as Om Beach, Paradise Beach, Half Moon Beach and Kudle Beach. Being a holy town, Gokarna also has many ancient temples, such as the Mahabaleshwar temple and the Maha Ganpati temple.
9. Seat Of The Former Ruling Wodeyar dynasty: Mysuru
Mysore or officially Mysuru, in Karnataka is one of the must-visit places in south India. Mysore city was once the capital of the Wodeyars. The Wodeyars were initially the governors of southern Karnataka under the Vijayanagara kings and later rose to become the Maharajas of Mysore. Due to its grand history, the city is known for its royal lifestyle as well. A must visit place in south India, Mysore is dotted with architecturally spectacular monuments and heritage buildings, of which Mysore Palace is the crown in the jewel. Among the grandest palaces in the country, it’s illuminated with nearly 100,000 lamps – a sight to behold! Along with its rich heritage, the city also boasts silk-weaving and spice bazaars that attract tourists from across India and the world.
10. Garden City Of India: Bangalore
One of India’s most cosmopolitan cities, Bangalore is the capital of Karnataka and is also known as the Garden City of India. People are drawn here due to its soothing climate and vibrant culture. Being the major hub of the IT industry in India, the city is also called the Silicon Valley of India, making it one of the top destinations of India. This famous tourist place in south India is also known for excellent restaurants, quirky cafes, local craft beer and a wide range of pubs. Don’t forget to check out its many gardens and some striking Victorian-era architecture.
Also read: 11 unusual places to see in Bangalore
How Many Of These South Indian Tourism Places Have You Visited?
You will be charmed by south India’s variety of cultures, cuisines, traditions and languages. All five states of the region will welcome you with the warmth and love that India is famous for. Try these top places to visit in south India and let us know your experience in the comments below!