After going over some of the best places to travel in India, we began covering each of the four corners of the country in more detail. We already went into some detail into the west and now, we will be heading down south for a closer look at some of the best places to visit in south India!
Always wanted to experience the legendary Grand Canyon? But with stateside travel having its fair share of hurdles at the moment due to the ongoing pandemic, Gandikota can provide the next best thing!
Gandikota is a picturesque village in Andhra Pradesh and bears the moniker of ‘India’s Hidden Grand Canyon’. That’s because of the enormous gorge that formed between the Erramala range of hills, also known as Gandikota hills, due to the Penna River that flows through it.
Unlike the Grand Canyon, however, there are no luxurious glass bridges to explore it from the highest point, so the best way to take in the breathtaking sight on offer at Gandikota is to go for a hike.
If you’re looking to take in some history and heritage, then look no further than Hampi, in the Ballari district of northern Karnataka. It was the bastion of the Vijayanagar Empire and to this day, evokes grand memories of a bygone era. Everywhere you look, there are grand statues of deities, temples and elephant stables.
One of the must-visit locations include the Virupaksha Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was built in the 7th century on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. Ornate stone inscriptions feature on the temple walls and you can also spot a stone chariot dating back to the Vijayanagar era, depicting the history of that empire.
As you tour the area, you will constantly marvel at how some of the carvings were possible back then without any advanced technology.
Mahabalipuram is a popular halt among travellers between Chennai and Pondicherry. It is known for its historical importance and features temples with intricate carvings and rock-cut caves.
The Shore Temple is one of the oldest stone temples in India built using granite stones and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Dating back to the 7th century, it features a Dravidian style of architecture. Also worth a visit are the Five Rathas - a set of rock temples associated with the Mahabharata.
Mysore – the name alone evokes visions of kings, queens and palaces. Situated at the foothills of Karnataka’s Chamundi hills, Mysore is known as the ‘City of Palaces’ for having as many as seven royal abodes.
The most famous of them all is, of course, the Mysore Palace. It used to be the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty. First built in the 14th century, it’s since been rebuilt, most recently between 1897 and 1912. Make sure you plan your visit such that you can enjoy the spectacular light and sound show at night, held daily except for Sunday.
Then there are the picturesque Brindavan Gardens, with its lovely flowerbeds as well as the fountain show as well as the Philomena Cathedral.
No trip to one of the most royal cities in south India would be complete without shopping for its famous sandalwood products, sarees and incense sticks, which are often imitated but never duplicated anywhere else!
One of India’s eight union territories, Pondicherry is one of the best places to visit in south India. With a history that dates back as far as the Roman empire, Pondicherry features plenty of European architecture.
However, the beaches are the best reason to visit, such as Paradise Beach, where sparkling water and palm trees offer you the ideal tranquillity to put your worries behind. You can only reach this beach via a pleasant 20-minute ferry ride.
Auroville, an experimental township featuring a highly diverse population, is another must-visit. Once there, check out the Matrimandir (Sanskrit for ‘temple of the mother’). The building is an enormous golden sphere surrounded by 12 petals. It is not affiliated to any religion in particular and is regarded as a spiritual abode for all of humanity – a node to the diversity of Auroville itself.
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