Southern India has a diverse history and culture that sets it apart from the rest of the country. Check out the best places to visit in this region!
Hampi, once a grand city in the Indian state of Karnataka, was the last capital of the Vijayanagar Empire, the last great Hindu Kingdom. In the 14th-16th century it was home to more than 250,000 people. Its fabulously rich princes built the stunning Dravidian temples and palaces.
The abandoned city, inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List, is dotted with individual ruins and countless architectural wonders. More than 1600 surviving remains include forts, royal and sacred complexes, shrines, pillared halls, gateways etc. The site also boasts the ancient stepped water tanks.
Photo: Nataliia Sokolovska, Shutterstock
How to get there:
Take a look at the flight deals to India:
- CHEAP! Flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kochi, India from only $85 with checked bag included! >>
- Cheap flights from Mumbai to Goa and vice-versa for $49 with checked bag included! >>
- Cheap non-stop flights from the UK to Goa, India from only £279! >>
- 2-week stay at well-rated hotel in Goa, India + direct flights from Manchester for £439! >>
- Non-stop from Manchester to Goa for only £100 one-way! >>
- Chennai and exotic Andaman Islands in one trip from Malaysia for $179! >>
- Cheap flights from Italy to India and Sri Lanka from just €316! >>
- 5* Singapore Airlines: Cheap flights from Australia to India or Maldives from only AU$613! >>
Where to stay:
In Goa we encourage you to stay at 3* Casablanca Morjim with excellent reviews. Featuring a garden and a terrace, this 30star hotel offers colourful accommodation in Morjim. With a bar and massage facilities, the property is 200 m from the sandy Morjim Beach. With free Wi-Fi, the air-conditioned rooms include a balcony, a seating area and a flat-screen TV with cable channels. The private bathroom has a shower. There is a restaurant on site serving Indian, Italian and continental cuisine. Hotel Casablanca is 12 km from the Chapora Fort, while Dabolim Airport is 50 km away.
In Kerala we recommend you to book the top rated 4* Damianz Retreat with breakfast included. This 4-star hotel has a bar and free WiFi. Guest rooms at the hotel are equipped with a seating area, a flat-screen TV with cable channels and a private bathroom with free toiletries and a bath. Rooms have air conditioning, and some units at Damianz Retreat have a balcony. All rooms will provide guests with a desk and an electric tea pot. An Asian breakfast is served every morning at the property. A business center with newspapers is at guests’ disposal at the accommodation. Speaking both English and Hindi, staff at the reception can help you plan your stay. The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, 22.5 km from the property.
What to do:
Relax on Kovalam Beach in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. If you want to enjoy some time in water, visit Poovar Island.
India’s best scuba diving can be found in the Andaman Islands >> and Lakshadweep. In these islands and you can also enjoy swimming and snorkelling in the huge lagoons, as well as deep sea fishing, sailing, boat rides, water skiing and kayaking.
Admire South India’s Dravidian architecture with stepped, steeply rising pyramids carved with fantastically detailed and brightly painted statues. Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, one of the oldest cities in the country, has a long mythological history.
Go on a wildlife safari, try backwater cruising, trekking or bamboo rafting.
Visit Kolukkumalai Tea Estate, the world’s highest tea plantation (2,438 meters / 8,000 feet).
Try the Ayurvedic massage, an ancient lifestyle practice of holistic treatment.
Lose yourself in the mesmerising beauty of the rolling hills of Kodaikanal.
Bird watchers should head to Western Ghats.
In Chennai you can admire Kapaleeshwarar Temple, covered in thousands of colourful statues. The painted towers of this Hindu shrine were once the tallest structures in the city. Wind surfing, fishing and beach volleyball are some of the activities in Marina Beach, the second largest beach in the world. You can also have fun at VGP Snow Kingdom. In December and January you can take part in the Madras Music Season, which is perhaps the world’s largest cultural festival.
In Coorg you can try waterfall rappelling.
Go to Mysore Palace, the former Royal residence known as Amba Vilas, which is majestically illuminated at night.
Visit the ruins of Mandu, an ancient fortress town on a rocky outcrop, celebrated for its architecture. There are 61 monuments including fort wall, protected and declared as a site of national importance.
Visit Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO-listed group of sanctuaries, carved out of rock.
In Kochi you can admire the Mattanchery Palace (a Portuguese palace popularly known as the Dutch Palace). The city is filled with many other important sights, like Fort Kochi, Hill Palace, Bolgatty Palace and the Jewish Synagogue. A stroll along the beach, particularly at sunset with the Chinese fishing nets and sailing ships in the background, is a memorable experience.
While in Mumbai, check out the Elephanta Caves, situated on an island in the Sea of Oman. They contain a collection of rock art linked to the cult of Shiva.
In Bangalore you should visit Tippu Sultan’s Fort, Botanical Garden of Lal Bagh and Bangalore Palace. “The Silicon Valley of India” is booming with life, complete with cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, gardens, amusement parks, shops, museums and temples.
Top sights in Hyderabad include the 16th-century Charminar, Golconda Fort, Qutb Shahi Tombs, Falaknuma Palace and Salarjung Museum.
For more Destinations Fly4free click here >>>