The South India is the perfect place for all those travelers who have already traveled in Rajasthan and want to discover another side of India. The states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu are the most famous travel destinations of the South India. Kerala is mainly famous for its backwaters and Tamil Nadu for its numerous incredible temples. However we would like to give you more detailed information about the best places you can discover during your tour with private driver in India.
Let’s start with Kerala.
Alappuzha (Alleppey) is the starting point for a memorable backwater cruise, called also the “Little Indian Venice” What are backwaters? It is a multitude of canals of different widths, crossing and surrounding the city of Alappuzha. It is an ideal place to make a houseboat trip and stroll along the water, in the heart of the tropical vegetation of this area of Kerala. A houseboat, is a small floating house which is designed to give a possibility of the overnight on board. Cruises of one to several days on the houseboat are offered, including all meals. Normally the houseboats offer the full day AC in your private room. There are private and shared houseboats. In order to make a comfortable tour, we would recommend you to book the private option. The alternative option to the houseboat could be the canoe trip. It will allow yo to go through the small canals where the big houseboats do not pass.
Cochin (or Kochi) is a very beautiful city with a rich colonial past located in South India. It has always been the great port of India. This is where the Portuguese, along with Vasco da Gama, settled at the beginning of the 16th century. Then the Dutch and English rule succeed them. That is why during your stay in Kochi, you will explore different monuments reflecting the colonial past of Kochi.
Its main tourist attraction is the Fort Cochin peninsula, where the historic heart of the city is located. In particular, you can visit the Dutch Palace built by the Portuguese in the 16th century, the old synagogue (the streets around the synagogue are a paradise for antique bargain hunters) or the Sainte-Croix Cathedral. Before leaving the city, you can discover also the famous Chinese fishing nets and, of course, don’t miss to taste the delicious local fish.
Kovalam and Varkala
Kovalam, along with Varkala, are the most famous beaches of Kerala. Sea, palm trees, coconut trees, everything is there. However you should know that the sea is often rough here. But it remains one of the most preferred beaches by the travelers as it’s not very crowded such as the beaches in Goa. So, if you prefer to relax on a beach off the beaten path, Kovalam or Varkala could be the best options.
Munnar is a small mountain resort at 1,600 m above sea level. The landscapes are splendid: tea plantations, lakes, eucalyptus forests. Tata Tea Limited, one of the world leaders in tea production, is located in Munnar. In Munnar, the air is pure and the atmosphere very calm. It is even a favorite destination for the locals for their honeymoons. For nature and trekking lovers, it could be a nice travel destination as well. You can just stroll through the tea and coffee plantations and learn more about their production enjoying beautiful panoramas at the same time.
Periyar is mainly famous for its wildlife sanctuary. Here you can make a jeep safari and discover the local flora and fauna or make a boat tour on Periyar Lake. Here you can observe very rare animal species including elephants, tigers, monkeys.
Now let’s make a virtual tour through the best places of Tamil Nadu state.
Already known as a commercial and cultural center, Madurai is one of the oldest cities in India. Located on the banks of the Vaigai River, Madurai is known for the Minakshi Temple (17th century) located in the heart of the city and for its jasmine flowers that Tamil women intertwine in their hairstyles. Don’t miss to visit the Gandhi Memorial Museum which traces Gandhi’s life and the struggle for Indian independence. It was here that Gandhi decided to wear the dhoti. The flower market of Madurai could be an interesting discovery as well.
The city of Mahabalipuram is located in the state of Tamil Nadu, on the shores of the ocean. The real wealth of the city are its numerous temples. The Shore Temple is the most famous one, which withstood the 2004 tsunami. A huge bas-relief tells the legend of this site on Earth: the Descent of the Ganges. Not far from there, you can discover five monolithic temples: the five Ratha. Each of them is dedicated to a deity of the Hindu religion. The city offers to its visitors a relaxing atmosphere with its fishing port. It’s an unusual stopover during your tour with private driver in India.
The city of Thanjavur, called also Tanjore, is considered as the cradle of Tamil culture, especially of old Carpathian music and the bharathanatyam, the traditional Tamil dance. The region is also famous for its manufacture of musical instruments such as the veena and the thavil. The Thanjavur region cultivates rice and it has been known for centuries to feed all of southern India. For that reason, it is often called the bread basket of South India. During your tour with private driver in India, you will have the opportunity to see a large number of rice fields. In Thanjavur, you can find also a great collection of extremely old manuscripts, listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site. And, of course, one of the main attractions of the city is the temple dedicated to Shiva dating back to 10th century, the famous temple of Brihadesvara.
Capital of Tamil Nadu, Chennai, also known by its old name Madras, is India’s fourth largest city. It’s the starting point of many tours to discover the region of Tamil Nadu. Chennai is known as the birthplace of traditional South Indian cuisine. During your stay, you will certainly taste the delicious local dishes! In addition to its culinary heritage, Ancient Madras is home to historic gems from the colonial era, as well as the second largest urban beach in the world, the Marine Beach or the Besant Nagar Beach. During your stay in Chennai we recommend you to visit the famous Kalakshetra Foundation which frequently hosts dance performances. It will be a great possibility to discover the local classic music and dances. Among the numerous temples of the city, we recommend you to explore the temples of Parthasarathy and Kapaleeshwarar.
In Chettinad, you will discover the sumptuous dwellings of European inspiration dating back to the 18th century. There, you will find furniture and accessories of breathtaking luxury. Many temples respectively dedicated to a deity, were built and financed by wealthy families. The cuisine of this region is very famous, but the arts and crafts occupies an important place as well. The region is famous especially for the manufacture of colorful fabrics that are used to make the traditional dress of women: the sari.
We hope this article was useful for you and that the South India will be your next travel destination.