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Top 10 places to visit in South India

South India has a lot more to offer than mere beaches and spice plantations. It’s a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, traditions, and languages. From honeymooning couples to families, the southern states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu welcome tourists with warmth and love. There’s something to do for everyone here – water sports for the adventurous, backwaters for the romantics, trekking trails for hikers, and panoramic vistas for nature lovers. Read ahead to know about the top places to visit in South India:

Places to Visit in South India

1. Coorg, Karnataka

Surrounded by imposing mountains and covered by mist, Coorg is a nature lover’s paradise. This small town in Karnataka is best known for its diverse flora and fauna and aromatic spices and coffee plantations. From waterfalls and trekking routes to forts and temples, there’s plenty to explore in Coorg. It is also home to one of the few Tibetan settlements in Southern India. Apart from sightseeing, there’s plenty of cultures, retail therapy, and delicious food to be indulged in.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to March

  • Key Attractions: Abbey Falls, Iruppu Falls, Tadiandamol Peak, Raja’s Seat, Talacauvery, Namdroling Monastery, Nagarhole National Park, Barapole River, Madikeri Fort, Omkareshwara Temple, and Gaddige Raja’s Tomb. See more places to visit in Coorg

  • Nearest Airport: Mysore Airport, Mangalore Airport, and Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore

  • Nearest Railway Station: Mysore

2. Wayanad, Kerala

Wayanad, one of the most visited hill stations in Kerala, beckons trekking enthusiasts and nature lovers. Its rolling hills and lush green forests are home to several animals and birds. After the monsoons, the waterfalls too come alive with a renewed spirit. The dams and lakes in Wayanad are ideal for an afternoon picnic. And then there are the temples and caves waiting to be explored.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to May

  • Key Attractions: Banasura Dam, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Edakkal Caves, Chembra Peak, Soochipara Waterfalls, Kuruvadweep, Thirunelli Temple, Kanthanpara Waterfalls, Wayanad Heritage Museum, and Neelimala Viewpoint

  • Nearest Airport: Calicut International Airport

  • Nearest Railway Station: Kozhikode

3. Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu

The cool breeze of Kodaikanal, a hill town in Tamil Nadu, is a welcome respite from the humidity typically associated with southern India. Nestled amidst the misty clouds, this hill station is rightly called the Princess of Hill Stations. There are rambling paths for trekkers, lakes to spend an afternoon by, waterfalls to bathe in, and plenty more. Even the trees and plants here are unique. If you time your visit right, you may be able to see the Kurunji shrubs in bloom. At night, a trip to the observatory takes you to a whole new world.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to June

  • Key Attractions: Kodaikanal Lake, Bryant Park, Silver Cascade Falls, Pillar Rocks, Bear Shola Falls, Guna Cave or Devil’s Kitchen, Moir Point, Thalaiyar Falls, Kurinji Andavar Temple, and Kodaikanal Solar Observatory. Learn more about lakes in Kodaikanal

  • Nearest Airport: Madurai International Airport and Coimbatore International Airport

  • Nearest Railway Station: Kodai Road

4. Ooty and Coonoor, Tamil Nadu

Ooty, the Queen of Hill Stations, balances the hustle and bustle of city life with expansive tea gardens. The charming bungalows from the British-Raj era add a romantic flavor to Ooty, making it one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in South India. Its famous miniature toy train is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a delight for people of all ages. One can take a toy train ride to Coonoor from Ooty another nearby hill station. Covering a distance of 19 km, the rail route offers a revitalizing travel experience. There are also museums, churches, and a tea factory in Ooty that should find a place in your itinerary.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to June

  • Key Attractions: Government Botanical Garden, Government Rose Garden, The Tea Factory and Tea Museum, St. Stephen’s Church, Thread Garden, Nilgiri Mountain Railway Line, Government Museum, Doddabetta, Ooty Lake, Kamaraj Sagar Dam, Catherine Falls. Dolphin’s Nose, and Deer Park. Learn more about historical places in Ooty

  • Nearest Airport: Coimbatore International Airport

  • Nearest Railway Station: Mettupalayam Railway Station

5. Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, is a blend of the old and the new. It is often described as the keeper of South Indian traditions. While on one hand, it flaunts spectacular architecture from the city’s past, on the other, it is known for its cosmopolitan lifestyle, quirky cafes, and boutique stores. The city also boasts of the second-longest urban beach in the world. If you’re an adventure enthusiast, there’s plenty to do here. With something to offer to everyone, Chennai is one of the most visited family destinations in South India.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to February

  • Key Attractions: Marina Beach, Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Government Museum, Edward Elliot’s Beach, Santhome Cathedral, Fort St. George, Guindy National Park, Parthasarathi Temple, Valluvar Kottam, Arignar Anna Zoological Park, DakshinaChitra, and B.M. Birla Planetarium. Learn more about historical places in Chennai

  • Nearest Airport: Chennai International Airport

  • Nearest Railway Station: Chennai Central

6. Gokarna, Karnataka

Gokarna, a Hindu pilgrimage site in Karnataka, is best known for its beautiful beaches with white sand and swaying coconut palms. Apart from the beaches, Gokarna has several old and new temples. It is considered one of the popular tourist places for solo travelers in South India. Since the town has religious significance, there are several vegetarian-only restaurants but seafood places and a bar to relax in are not very hard to find.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to March

  • Key Attractions: Om Beach, Mahabaleshwar Temple, Half Moon Beach, Kudle Beach, Paradise Beach, Maha Ganapathi Temple, Shiva Cave, Koti Teertha, and Sri Bhadrakali Temple

  • Nearest Airport: Dabolim Airport, Goa

  • Nearest Railway Station: Ankola and Gokarna Road

7. Hampi, Karnataka

Hampi is one of the top places to visit in South India. The world heritage site takes visitors back in time to the 15th and 16th centuries with its magnificent ruins. It makes everyone’s imagination come alive with remnants of temples, monuments, and Havelis. Quaint cafes set up on rooftops offer a variety of cuisines and are the ideal places to spend the evening.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to February

  • Key Attractions: Virupaksha Temple, Matanga Hill, Hemakuta Hill Temple, Vijaya Vitthala Temple, Hampi Architectural Ruins, Achyutaraya Temple, Kadalekalu Ganesha, Saasivekaalu Ganesha, Lotus Mahal, Hazara Rama Temple, and Stone Chariot

  • Nearest Airport: Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore

  • Nearest Railway Station: Hospet Junction

8. Varkala, Kerala

Varkala, a small town in Kerala, also boasts of one of the top beaches in South India. The pristine white sandy Varkala beach is offset by majestic cliffs that make it a popular site with photographers. The town caters to backpackers as well as families. It’s an ideal place to escape city life. Apart from the beach, there are shacks with their fresh catch of the day and flea markets that make this place special. At its essence though, Varkala is a temple town with religious significance for Hindus.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to March

  • Key Attractions: Varkala Beach, Sivagiri Mutt, Varkala Cliff, Janardanaswamy Temple, Kappil Beach, Golden Island, Anchuthengu Fort, Varkala Cultural Center, and Sreenarayanapuram Temple

  • Nearest Airport: Trivandrum International Airport

  • Nearest Railway Station: Varkala Sivagiri

9. Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

Mahabalipuram, once a major seaport, is now a must-visit World Heritage Site on every history buff’s bucket list. From carved relief work on stone to cave temples, Mahabalipuram overflows with architectural wonders. Sunsets are extra special here as the soft glow of the setting sun adds to the allure of these monuments. And then there’s the mystery of Krishna’s Butterball. The city’s proximity to Chennai makes it one of the popular long weekend destinations in South India.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to March

  • Key Attractions: Shore Temple, Pancha Rathas, Descent of the Ganges, Group of Monuments, Krishna’s Butterball, Thirukadalmallai, Mahabalipuram Beach, Ganesha Ratha, India Seashell Museum, Arjuna’s Presence, Mahishasuramardini Mandapa, and Tiger Cave.

  • Nearest Airport: Chennai International Airport

  • Nearest Railway Station: Chennai and Chengalpattu

10. Tanjore, Tamil Nadu

The first thing to come to mind when you hear about Tanjore is the beautiful gold relief paintings that take their name from this town. Tanjore has a history that dates back to many centuries and it once served as the bedrock for art in South India. Today, its cosmopolitan vibes blend easily with the palaces and temples bearing witness to erstwhile kingdoms. Tanjore is also a great place to find antiques and reproduction pieces to take back home with you.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to March

  • Key Attractions: Brihadeeswara Temple, Great Living Chola Temples, Saraswathi Mahal Library, Thanjavur Maratha Palace, Sivaganga Park, Aiyarappar Temple, Thanjai Mamani Koil, Royal Palace Museum, and Manimandapam

  • Nearest Airport: Tiruchirappalli International Airport

  • Nearest Railway Station: Thanjavur Junction and Trichy Junction


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