Most Southern India itineraries are at least 10 days with some as long as 18 days. There is so much to see and do in this stunning region. Here are our Top 5 favourite cities.
India’s third largest city, Bangalore is commonly a stop off point to somewhere else. However, this buzzing city is much more than just a stop over. Home to over 9 million people and dubbed the “Garden City”, Bengaluru boasts lush parks and botanical gardens, a diverse restaurant scene as well as several stunning churches, temples and mosques. If none of that draws you in, did we mention the weather? Warm temperatures in the 20s and 30s all year round.
One of India’s most developed cities; Chennai’s culture and music scene thrives along with its economy. Chennai is the place to be if you’re looking for some of India’s best vegetarian food, from dosas to dhal, the food won’t disappoint. One would expect a metropolis like Chennai to feature very few historic sites. However, Chennai is home to some of India’s oldest temples. From the ancient Kapaleeswarar Temple to the ornate Sri Parthasarathy Temple, Chennai has been able to preserve India’s distinct and antiquated religious architecture over many centuries. If you’re still looking for a reason to visit Chennai, in addition to everything we’ve mentioned, Chennai is home to the world’s second longest urban beach; Marina Beach which stretches to an impressive 13km.
Once a French colonial town, Pondicherry offers more than its French roots. Located 160km south of Chennai, Pondicherry features French buildings as well as traditional Tamil Nadu architecture throughout the city. Its French heritage is evident from the tree lined streets and colonial villas of the French Quarter. Puducherry’s most famous site is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The Ashram offers a peaceful and enlightening spiritual experience focussed on yoga for mind and body transformation.
One of India’s most popular tourist destinations; Mysore boasts a rich history and culture. From the ancient Somnathpur Temple built in 1268 to the royal Maharaja’s Palace; home to the Wodeyar maharajas, before catching fire in 1897. In 1912, it was meticulously restored to its former glory. Other must see attractions include the Sri Chamundeswari Temple, towering an astounding 3,500ft above the summit of Chamundi Hill. Be sure to visit St. Philomena’s Church, constructed in 1956 standing at an impressive 175ft above ground, you can see the spires of this cathedral from almost every corner of Mysore’s city centre.
Finally, there is Kochi (or Cochin as most of the locals prefer to call it) city. This popular spot is made up of a series of peninsulas and promontories caught between the lakes and rivers of its inland waterways and the Arabian Sea. Each region of the city is unique in its own right. From the old colonial trading post of Fort Cochin, to the sandy beaches of Vypeen Island, there’s plenty to see and do in Cochin. While the architecture is breathtaking, its not all Kochi has to offer; a true Kerala experience lies within the backwaters. Take a cruise on the luxury Kettuvallam houseboats. Unique to Kerala, these traditional thatched roof boats were originally used to ship rice, spices and other goods between the backwaters and Cochin port.
Southern India is full of many awe-inspiring cities, and it would take months to explore every crevice of this beautiful region. So, we hope that this short list of our favourite cities in Southern India helps you decide where you want to go on your next Indian getaway.