South India

Like a giant wedge plunging into the Indian Ocean, peninsular South India is the subcontinent’s steamy heartland, and a lush contrast to the snow-capped peaks and sun-crisped plains of the North. In the South, the coconut groves seem a deeper green and the rice paddies are positively luminescent, the faces are a darker brown and the vermilion marks smeared over them are arrestingly red. The landscape varies from tropical beaches that hug towering Ghats in the  west, to the arid Deccan plateau that descends into fertile plains in the east. Under a sun whose rays feel concentrated by a giant magnifying glass, the ubiquitous colors of South India of silk saris, shimmering classical dance costumes, lurid movie posters and frangipani flowers radiate with a life of their own.

South India comprises thousands of kilometres of coastline that frame fertile plains and curvaceous hills, all kept glisteningly green by the double-barrelled monsoon. The region’s tropical splendour is one of its greatest tourist draw cards with thick coconut groves, luminescent rice paddies, fragrant spice gardens and picturesque tea plantations proffering plenty of green respite. And then there are the waterways. Azure seas gently lap crescents of sun-warmed sand and boats cruise along the slender rivers and glassy lagoons of Kerala’s famed backwaters.

With its glorious culinary variety and melange of dining-out options, South India is deliciously rewarding. From traditional southern favourites such as idlis (fermented rice cakes) and large papery dosas (savoury crepes) to a mix of inventive fusion creations, there’s certainly no dearth of choice for the hungry traveller. Food has also long played a prominent role in many of the region’s festivals, with temptingly colourful mithai (sweets) more often than not taking centre stage.

South India is full of wonder, color, history, culture, and everything beautiful in between! From hills to beaches and forts to temples, this part of India has it all.

If you are a breakfast lover, the South has a lot of options to offer. The last time we counted, more than 17 breakfast dishes originated here, including the all time favorites idly, dosa, uttapam, upma, and much more.

South India is home to some of India’s richest temples, and Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala is famed for being the world’s richest temple. Located in the Pazhavangadi region of Thiruvananthapuram, its treasures include gold ornaments, statues, and other precious stones.

South India is known not only for its natural beauty but also for its textile industry. While Coimbatore, Erode, Salem, and Tirupur are the four major cities of Tamil Nadu that have contributed to the growth of this industry, it is interesting to note that Coimbatore is known as the Manchester of South India, as 35% of the entire cotton in India is grown here.

Did you know that around 3/4 of all coconuts come from South India compared to other states, such as Maharashtra, Odisha, and West Bengal! Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka are the states where coconut trees are cultivated extensively and produced in large quantities. Further, these states are known to contribute around 84% of the total area for coconut cultivation.

As per the records, the origin of this famed diamond was in Golkonda in Andhra Pradesh. It was during the rule of the Kakatiya dynasty that it was mined from the Rayalaseema diamond mine.

Records state that under Alauddin Khilji, the Khiljis made successful raids in Southern India, and it’s believed that the Khiljis acquired the world-famous diamond during one such expedition in 1310. The diamond then kept switching ownership from Ibrahim Lodi to Babur, Shah Jajan, and more.

Then, the Persian monarch, Nadir Shah, invaded the Mughal empire in 1739 and secured the diamond. As per the legends, Nadir Shah gave this diamond its current name, Koh-i-Noor.

Southern India is one of the warmest region in India with an average daily high temperature of 32 degrees centigrade. The climate is very warm with an annual average of 32 degrees, but has few truly tropical and sultry months. It is warm to hot all year round and invites to bathe at average water temperatures of 28 degrees. Dued to the lesser rain the best time for traveling is from November to April. The most rain days occur from from June to September.