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South India Travel Guide


Bangalore

Lal Bagh Glass House, Bangalore TourBangalore, the capital of Karnataka State, is one of Indias most charming cities. Aptly named "Garden City", it boasts of an amazing number of flowering trees and parks. With splendid pink cassias and golden acacias blooming, with jacarandas flowering in purple majesty and the gulmohurs lighting the roads, with their flame-orange brilliance, the city is a sheer delight to simply wander around in. From a sleeping city, to the Silicon Valley of India, the momentum of India's 5th largest city's industrial and commercial growth remains unequalled in the country.




Chennai

Chennai, the cultural centre of South India and gateway to the state of Tamil Nadu, is a fascinating jumble, dominated by glittering high-rise emporia and corporate buildings. Cinema and politics, are the major beats on the streets. But between the psychedelic flashes, you can catch a glimpse of the special-toned charm of colonial history, splendid strains of classical music and sniff a heady compound of jasmines and spices, Chennai still retains a traditional charm of its ancient past. Shored along the Bay of Bengal, Chennai has evolved from a tiny fishing village to the countrys fourth-largest metro.




Coimbatore
One of the most industrialised cities in the state, Coimbatore, is known as the textile capital of South India or the Manchester of the South. The headquarters of the Nilgiri region, the city is located in the shadow of the Western ghats. It enjoys a pleasant climate the year round, aided by the fresh breeze that flows in through the Palakkad gap, The centre of textile manufacturing in the state, Coimbatore is primarily a business centre with a strong economy.






Coonoor
A quiet hill station ,an hour away from Ooty, and reached by a delightful toy-train, Coonoor nestles snuggly in the lap of the famous blue Nilgiri hills. A delightful town with exquisite scenery all round, there is much to see at this idyllic, lesser-known retreat covered by grassy meadows, a profusion of sunflowers, marigolds and rhododendrons, all growing wild. With steep hills and valleys carpeted with tea bushes, interspersed with eucalyptus and silver oak, life moves at a gentle pace in this town of tea estates. Commanding a breathtaking view of the Coimbatore plains, it is a paradise for avid trekkers and naturalists with its vast stretches of undisturbed shoals forests. An essentially small tea garden town, the weather remains pleasantly cool throughout the year.



Karnala / Idduki
Karnala is a famous bird sanctuary located a little away from the city towards the south. It is a delightful picnic spot especially popular with schools who bring their students here so that they can have an encounter with nature. For the adventurers - one could take a trek to the top of the hill where there is a temple on the top and a cool spring as a reward for ones effort.






Kanniyakumari
Famous for its peaceful and stunning natural environment, Kanyakumari is to the end of India. Surrounded by oceans on three sides, it is located on the confluence of the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Famous for its peaceful and stunning natural environment, this place, has been attracting tourists, due to its geographical positioning. It is perhaps the only place in India, when at full moon, it is possible to enjoy the unique experience, of seeing the sun set and the moon rise over the ocean simultaneously. The sight of Sunrise and Sunset at Cape Comorin is something, which cannot be forgotten easily. Kanyakumari is also famous as a pilgrimage for Hindus.




Kannur
Bounded by a wealth of natural beauty, days of glory of Kannur were under the Kolathiri Rajas. Noted by Marco Polo as a spice trading port, it is a key contributor to the cultural, religious, political and industrial heritage of the State. Though various colonial powers, including the Portuguese, Dutch and British, exerted their influence over this rich Malabar Coast region, Kannur enjoys the credit of having been the cradle of many a colourful folk art and folk music of Kerala. Most of the sites of Kannur are a few Km out of town. Formerly a major port area, Kannur is now a city known for its handloom and beedi industries. Some of finest weavers of Kerala come from this district.




Kochi
One of the finest natural harbours on the Arabian Sea coast, Kochi has been a port of call, for foreign traders from early times. One of the most interesting towns in South India; its cosmopolitan character is reflected, in its low rise, picturesque buildings and structures. A prime tourist destination and commercial hub of Kerala; with its wealth of historical associations and its settings, in a stunning location, between the Arabian Sea and Backwaters, the city of Kochi, perfectly reflects the eclecticism of Kerala. A city of peninsulas and islands, it is one of the largest ports of India, a major naval base, and one of the finest natural harbours in the world.




Kodaikanal
One of the best hill stations in India, Kodaikanal or Kodai is a very beautiful place in the western ghats. Wrapped in mists, covering her with mystique and magic and the ochre earth covered in emerald silk studded with gems of sheer glittering water; Kodai is sure to leave you enchanted and enthralled. Surrounded by lush green forest and dotted with numerous walks where one can have a pleasant morning stroll, the wooded hills, pleasant walks, picturesque waterfalls and a magnificent lake where you can spend the evening watching the sun go beyond the hills, add to the attraction of the place. An ideal place for trekking, Kurinji, a plant special to Kodai region, turns the slopes into a sea of purple once in 12 years!




Kottayam
Situated in the Backwater circuit, the populace of Kottayam is marked by the presence of the Syrian Christian community. A beautiful town situated in the hills, Kottayam is surrounded by some of the most fertile and beautiful scenery in the state with serene palm-fringed backwaters on the west and the Western Ghats on the east. Well known for its churches, most of the natural rubber of India originates from the acres of well-kept plantations of Kottayam. An important commercial centre of India, Kottayam is home to the Rubber Board, one of the Primary Commodities Board of the country and the headquarters of the daily newspaper Malayala Manorama.




Kovalam
Sparkling blue waters, silvery white sands, swaying coconut palms... Kovalam is a dream. Once a serene and secluded beach, it is now a busy tourist site, haunted by foreign habitués who spend hours on the beach, sipping coconut water, watching the fishermen go out to sea, gorging on fantastic seafood or splattering on an anti-tan and dozing off under a beach umbrella. A sheltered natural bay, there are a number of Ayurvedic centres, providing herbal treatments, to rejuvenate your tired muscles with ayurvedic massages and oil treatments. Kovalam is also the venue, to indulge in many water sports, including kayaking and water skiing. From the beach, you can also make inland backwater tours in the country or hire pedal boats.




Kozhikode
Basking in the idyllic setting of the serene Arabian Sea on the west and the proud peaks of the Wayanad hills on the east, Kozhikode or Calicut has all the elements, that fascinate a visitor. There is an abundance of wild and marine life here. Though wild elephants and bisons, are occasionally seen in the forests, tigers and leopards are very few and rare. Barking deer, Mouse deer, Monta lizards, Malabar squirrels, black and grey monkeys, hares and porcupines, as well as, a large variety of avions are found in abundance. The British and Portuguese - along with other Europeans, Americans and Japanese - can still be seen in plenty, tanning themselves on the beaches, strollingthrough the markets, or getting a nice hot oil massage, in one of the many health resorts that have mushroomed in the tiny beach resort.




Kumarakom
On the shores of Lake Vembanad, Kumarakom is where time slows to a crawl as you travel through the narrow backwater channels. Silence rules. Only bird calls and the click of the shutter break it.
Temperatures in Kumarakom range from a maximum of 37°C in summer to a minimum of 16°C in winter. There is generally a cool breeze blowing in from Lake Vembanad.





Munnar
Paradise of nature lovers , Munnar was the summer resort of the British government in South India. Surrounded by the Annamalai Hills, this hill station offers spectacular views of the craggy peaks, manicured tea estates, picturesque towns and winding lanes. Munnar in the wee hours of the morning is a dream, covered in mist. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands is the flower Neelakurinji, which bathes the hills in blue once every twelve years. It will bloom next in 2006 AD. Tiger, sambhar, bison, spotted deer, leopard, malabar flying squirrel, stripe-necked Mongoose etc. can also be spotted in the forest. The crisp mountain air and the serenity of the hills make Munnar an ideal getaway. It may be the commercial centre of the tea growing estates but it still retains its old world charm. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which is excellent for trekking.




Mysore
Once the capital of the Wodeyar kingdom, the jewel of Karnataka, Mysore is a mammoth, magnificent tourist paradise. A city of much splendour, it has gorgeous palaces, beautiful parks, wonderful museums and art galleries, dams, reservoirs and temples. Wide stretches of treelined avenues enveloped with the aroma of jasmine, jacaranda and frangipani permeate the air. This easy-going city is famous for its silk and is also a thriving sandalwood and incense centre.





Thiruvananthapuram
The gateway, to one of the most beautiful states in India - Kerala, the city gets its name from the word, Thiruvananthapuram, meaning the city of Anantha, or the abode of the sacred Serpent Anantha, on which Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Hindu trinity, reclines. Presiding over one of the most scenic states of the country, it is a beautiful seaside city built on seven hills. The famous Sri Padmanabha Swami Temple, is dedicated to Vishnu and is a landmark in the city. Most visitors to Kerala, use it only as an arrival point, speeding on immediately to the silvery sand beach of Kovalam. It is slow paced and laid back, but is the political hub of Kerala and politically very active and volatile, Thiruvananthapuram is the capital of Kerala.




Tiruchirapalli
Tiruchirapalli or Tiruchi is the fourth largest city in Tamilnadu. Once the citadel of the Cholas, this strategic city, was much too benevolent, under the rule of the Nayaks of Madurai. Apart from the Rock with its historicity of spiritual significance, Tiruchi has popular institutions, built in the second half of 18th century by the Christian Missionaries. Being located in the heart of the State, Tiruchi has a blend of tradition and modernity, offering a variety of attractions to tourists. for repeat visits.




Varkala
Kerala's new destination Varkala, is a perfect place for those who like to holiday in a calm and serene atmosphere. Varkala is a seaside tourist resort and spa. A small town 55km north of Thiruvananthapuram, it is also an important religious place for the Hindus. The Papanasam Beach at Varkala is a quiet, secluded beach known for its white, silvery stretch of sand, mineral springs and rocky cliffs. Varkala is also an important Hindu centre of pilgrimage. It is the final resting place of Sree Narayana Guru, the great social reformer of Kerala, is near Varkala atop a hill named Sivagiri. High cliffs from mineral springs majestically rise is a scene typical of Varkala. There is a nature cure centre adjacent to the beach.









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