An #India holiday is incomplete without visiting South India. It comprises the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana. It also covers the union territory of Andaman and Nicobar island. Let’s look at some popular places in each state and then shortlist the best places to visit in South India.
Tamil Nadu – In 2019, 494 million (or 50 crore) domestic tourists visited Tamil Nadu. And there is a reason for this. With big cities like Chennai, hill stations like Kodaikanal, Ooty and Coonoor, beach destinations like Kanyakumari, Puducherry religious places like Mahabalipuram, Madurai, Rameswaram and Kumbakonam and wild life reserves like Periyar National Park, tamil nadu has a bit of everything.
Andhra Pradesh – After Tamil Nadu, the most popular state in South India is Andhra Pradesh. In 2019, the state had 237 million (or 23 crore) domestic tourists. The main city in Andhra Pradesh (AP) is Vishakapatnam. AP has also the most popular temple in India of Shri Tirupati balaji in Tirupati. Tirupati attracts a lot of visitors year round. Vellore is a nice and popular historical city.
Karnataka – Karnataka has almost similar number of domestic tourists to Andhra Pradesh (227 million or 22 crore). But it has more variety than Andhra Pradesh in terms of things to do. Its main city is Bangalore – the IT hub of India. Hampi and Mysore are popular historical places. Coorg is a popular hill station. Among national parks, Bandipur, Nagarholeand Dandeli are popular. If you are looking for a beach destination, don’t miss Gokarna. And do not forget Jog Falls which is the second highest plunge waterfall in India.
Telangana – Telangana had about 83 million (8.3 crore) domestic tourist arrivals in 2019. Hyderabad is the most popular city in Telangana. The other popular city here is Adilabad which is a mix of nature, history, mythology and craftwork. If you like national parks, there is Papikonda national park which is an important bird and biodiversity area and home to some endangered species of flora and fauna.
Kerala – Kerala is a popular name around the world. It surprisingly had 18 million or 1.8 crore domestic tourists. The main city Cochin (Kochi) is the gateway to Kerala with most arrivals in the state starting from Kochi city. Munnar is the best hill station and Kumarakom is popular for its backwaters. You can also enjoy an overnight houseboat ride from Alleppey (Alappuzha) to Kumarakom. Thekkady is another city you could consider. Kovalam and Bekal are famous for their beaches.
Now that we have spoken of the different popular places in South India statewise, if you plan to a trip to cover the entire South in one trip or few states, I would recommend the following:
Land in Hyderabad (Telangana). Then visit Bangalore, Bandipur & Gokarna. Next would be Tirupati (if you like religious places or want to include one). Then you could consider Chennai, Kodaikanal, Mahabalipuram and Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu). Finally visit Cochin, Munnar and Kumarakom with an overnight houseboat to Alleppey (Alappuzha).