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The pleasant south; almost untouched by incursions throughout its history, the Indian inheritance is more intact here than in other regions of the country. This is a land of temples, a land of the pious where new wonders await - the abundance of orange flowers, the shade of the banyan tree, and the soft beat of distant drums as yet another festival starts

South india travel information

Kaleideoscope of Moods

Chennai is the centre of the Hindu custom of Bharata Natyam (classical dancing) the art of temple sculpture also comes from this part of the country, and gives expression to both the spirituality and the artistic skills of the Tamil people. Chennai is the home of the antique Dravidian civilization, one of the oldest articulate cultures in the world. It is a city where the scenery of the past lives easily with more recent history. This busy, competent metropolis is a good centre to plan a trip over South India. Make use of the global and domestic airport and the huge network of trains and buses. The friendliness, sincerity and colorfulness of the people could gradually be absorbed while taking a stroll over the sandy widen of beach known as the Marina, or visiting Fort St. George, built by the British East India Company. So many of the street names reproduce the city’s long union with other cultures; China Bazar Road, Armenian Street, Portuguese Church Street for instance. In 78 AD, the Apostle St Thomas was martyred in the city, but the Christian trust now finds graceful expression in the many churches, chiefly the San Thome Cathedral.

View the whole panorama from the Chennai lighthouse, or experience the culture from ground height in the temples, art galleries or museums. Head off in any way from Chennai – even east, across the Bay of Bengal by boat or plane to Port Blair in the Andaman Islands; a heaven archipelago, lush and forested, home of some of the most exotic plant-life in the world. The crystal clear waters sparkle with tropical fish, and the islands are well-known for their corals and water-sports facilities. North of Chennai is the large state of Andhra Pradesh, rich in archeological and architectural treasures. The capital, Hyderabad, was once the seat of the fabled Nizams. The Charminar is a national symbol, and the Salar Jung Museum a rich storehouse of the Raj.


The pious Dravidian people of the south live and breathe their ancient religion. Nothing, however, could actually prepare a visitor for the temples, where images of the quiet bustle of the vast halls, the huge gopurams completely enclosed by colored sculptures of gods and goddesses, the sight of bare feet walking athwart cool slabs, the heady smell of incense and the chime of the temple bell rung by priests and the true leave entrancing impressions. Rustic carts drawn by oxen with their brilliantly colored painted horns, smiling villagers harvesting the hay at the side of the road - these would be some of the brilliant features of the short journey from Chennai to the famous temple town of Mahabalipuram. A swim off the magnificent beach will refresh you after fascinating the wonders of the idealistic shore temples and of Arjuna’s Penance, the huge rock carvings of animals and gods, There are so many imposing temple towns in South India - nearby Kanchipuram with its stunning gopurams, ’ visible from miles away, or other magical sounding places - Chidambaram, Tanjore, Tiruchirapalli, and, most of all, the pilgrim centre of Madurai - one of the oldest cities in Southern India - with its theatrical and lively Meenakshi temple, dedicated to the fish-eyed goddess.

Alternatively, for a dissimilar style of relaxation, visit the attractive French-style coastal town of Pondicherry, south of Chennai. In the neighboring state of Karnataka lie the stone-carved temples of Belur and Halebid. Relive the thrilling era of the Hoysalas, who flourished around the 12th century, by investigative the endless stories which the sculptural feature portrays the war, the hunt, the animals, the dancing girls and, of course the gods. Located on top of a hill in Sravanabelagola is the huge statue of Lord Bahubali, dwarfing the landscape. Lose yourself in the eccentric and beautiful ruins at Hampi. Visit Bangalore, the state capital, for another, different taste of Indian urban life; the city is wealthy, bustling and vibrant and -wonderfully adorned with trees, parks and gardens. It is also the most significant centre of India’s ’non-smoke’ industries, including aerospace, machine-tools and electronics. Further delights are waiting in the cordial sandalwood city of Mysore, where it is probable to stay in the one-time home of an ex-Maharajah, now the Lalitha Mahal Hotel of shiny white beauty. Incense is manufactured in the city, and the sweet and perfumed smells of jasmine and rose and musk would linger in the air and in the memory.


Kerala - land of surf, spice and magic, an antique crossroads of cultures...Chinese fishing nets tired up on the golden sand, Jewish synagogues, Portuguese forts, Dutch and Syrian churches, and of route beautiful Indian temples and palaces...backed by mountains, fringed with surf, wealthy in spice plantations and coconut palms, relaxed and tranquil under the warm tropical sun. Laze splendidly on the unspoiled and beautiful coconut beaches of Kovalam, India’s premium beach resort; or visit Cochin, with its good-looking waterfront, or Trivandrum, with the Padmanabhaswamy Temple, the previous rulers’ place of workshop; both towns are also memorable for their churches and museums. While in the area, move into the vicinity and hear the trumpeting of an elephant and the chatter of monkeys’ organization wild in the green and watery Periyar Game Sanctuary. Inhale the clean fresh air from the height of the Nilgiri hills as absorbing the spectacular views in Ootacamund or Kodaikanal, perhaps followed by a gentle trip on the backwaters amid Aleppey and Quilon, watching the villagers at work in the lush green paddy fields.


A visit to the south might well coincide with one of the many superb festivals; if not, don’t worry, as there would typically be a celebration of some sort in every lively village here. The Bharatanatyam dance originated in the south; the rhythm of the music, the colors of the costumes and the elegance of every stylized movement would spellbind the onlooker. Experience the beauty and elegance of the Kathakali mask dance, which depicts tales of the gods, heroes, demons and fabulous beasts of Indian legend, or the elegance of Kalaipattu, the martial art of Kerala. Join the happy and smiling multitude of revelers as fireworks explode into the night sky, brightly colored flowers are dotted in the air, splendidly bedecked elephants and cows join the march in the street, everyone dancing to the beat of the table sights and sounds all tangled with the haunting rhythm of ancient Sanskrit Mantras (chanting).


KanyaKumari (Cape Comorin) in Tamil Nadu, India’s Lands End, washed by three seas, where at the time of the full moon it is probable to watch the sun set and the moon rise at the same time, a popular pilgrimage town, the end of the railway line ... from here to Jammu and Kashmir is over 3,300 kilometers, and the railway journey would take three days, passing through the whole astounding diversity of India – the great plains, soaring mountains and rich forests, the serene temple towns and energetic resorts, thriving cities, tranquil hill stations and little villages, the people, the history, the wildlife, the cultures... such a assets of beauty and mystery and laughter in this graceful and gentle land. An experience both beyond description and unforgettable as only India could be. She is waiting for you, and has been for 5,000 years. All you have to do is land; the wonder of India - only nine hours away.


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