South Indian Dreams
When people think of South India, they think of Kerala’s backwaters, or Ayurvedic massages, and of coconut trees and delicious food. As you’re planning your South India trip, we’d suggest a visit to these not so well-known holiday destination, to truly enjoy the country’s unique flavour:
Although still popularly known by its former name Bangalore, Bengaluru is a thriving city in the south Indian state of Karnataka. The city itself is located on the Deccan Plateau, around 900 metres above mean sea level. Known as the Garden City of India, in Bengaluru you will find historic bungalows side-by-side with glass skyscrapers that house corporate offices. Most roads are lined with trees, and you’ll find a lush park every now and again. Walk through the city to explore the heritage buildings, lively markets and modern structures. Tourists and locals alike can be found scouring the shops on M G Road, a shopping and entertainment hub.
Around the city, you’ll also find the amazing Bannerghatta National Park, which is home to India’s first ever butterfly park. As you enjoy a day at the park you will see crocodiles, lions, tigers, and of course, butterflies. If you want to, you can even enjoy an elephant safari through the park. Although not a well-known holiday destination, a trip to Bengaluru is sure to be a rewarding experience.
Velankanni, Tamil Nadu
This panchayat town is situated in the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu in South India. Located over 300 kilometres below the state’s capital, Velankanni is a coastal town with a rich maritime history. Historically, the town carried out trade with both Greece and Rome. It is perhaps most popular for being the location of the largest Catholic church dedicated to Our Lady of Good Health. Every year, millions of devotees make their way to the church to offer up prayers in the hope of being cured of all their illnesses. The church is a beautiful structure that was constructed in the gothic style of architecture. In later years however, the church was improved by the Portuguese.
Featured on most south India tour packages, a visit to Kerala is incomplete without a stay in Alleppey. Known as the Venice of the East, Alleppey boasts some incredible beaches and pristine backwaters. A boat ride in the backwaters is a memorable experience. To enjoy a true backwater experience, you can stay in a houseboat for a night or two, relaxing on the backwaters, while looking out at the lines of palm trees before you. One of the unique things about the backwaters here is that the water and land is at the same level, so tourists can easily observe village life up close from the comfort of their houseboat.
Owing to its proximity to the sea, the city has an interesting maritime history. It is renowned for its boat rides, sea shores, sea products and coir industry. This little district is also known as the Rice Bowl of Kerala, where most of the farming is carried out below sea level!