Travel Guide South India
There are many cities in South India. Below is a list of the nine most notable. Other cities are listed on their specific regional page.
Chennai (Madras) — Chennai is the City of Temples and the base of Dravidian art & culture. It is a major auto hub of Asia producing 2 cars every minute.
Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) — The south most city of India with greenery everywhere, it is the capital of Kerala state and famous for various large temples, palaces and beaches.
Bangalore — the Garden City, Pub City, Silicon Valley of India, Land of Silk, Gold, Incense etc.
Hyderabad — Pearl city of India, and part of Silicon Plateau with Bangalore
Coimbatore — Known as the Manchester of South India for its textile capabilities, it is one of the premium educational hub of South Asia.
Kochi (Cochin) — the Queen of the Arabian Sea, one of the largest port city with a strong air of colonial European cultures and unlimited shopping. It has a variety of cultures to see. The old and new face of Kerala can be easily seen in Kochi.
Madurai — City famous for its Meenakshi Amman Temple, it was among the nominees for the new list of 7 wonders of the world for its architecture. The capital of Early Pandyan Empire.
Trichy – City Famous oru Srirangam temple and Rockfort, main city of Tamilnadu and Capital of Early Chola Kingdom.
Mysore — twin city of Bangalore. Famous for the Royal Palace, Brindavan Gardens
Pondicherry — French Enclave in India. Commonly known as “Peaceful Pondicherry”
South India has more international airports than rest of India with regular connections to almost every corner of the world. Chennai & Hyderabad are the major air gateways into southern India, fielding flights from all over the world.Bangalore International Airport,Kochi international airport and Thiruvananthapuram International Airport are other airports after Chennai along with and has regular connections from Middle East and South East Asia as well as popular tourist oriented charters. Other popular options are , Kozhikode Airport, Trichy Airport, Mangalore Airport and Coimbatore Airport
Travel Guide South India
South Indian food is quite different from that elsewhere in the country, being mostly rice-based. They also make greater use of pulses. The typical meal is sambhar or koottu (a watery curry) with rice, or avial (mixed vegetables) with rice. There are regional variations too — the coastal regions make greater use of coconut and fish. In the State of Kerala, it is common to use grated coconut in everything and coconut oil for cooking, while someone from the interior could be surprised to learn that coconut oil, can in fact, be used for cooking. Anyway, all kinds of dishes from all parts of the world can be found in cities across South India. A variety of sea food fresh from the sea can be found in cities like Kochi & Chennai.
A very incomplete list of typical standalone Southern dishes, all of which are commonly eaten for breakfast:
idli, a spongy steamed cake made of lentils and rice
dosa, a thin, crispy pancake again made of lentils and rice. A highly popular variant involves stuffing the dosa with spiced potato mash and rolling it up to make masala dosa.
pongal, a sweetened rice dish with the consistency of firm porridge.
sevai, rice noodles, thin as vermicelli.
uttapam, fried pancake made from a lentil and rice batter, with onions and other vegetables mixed in.
vada, fried Indian donut, but savoury and spiced.
All of these can be eaten with Sambhar, and chutney, a condiment that can be made from practically anything. South Indian cuisine is predominantly vegetarian, though Chettinad, Andhra and Kerala cuisines use meat heavily and are a lot more spicier. Coffee (kaapi in Tamil) tends to replace tea in the south.
- Lunch on a banana leaf (no rice added yet)
A South Indian speciality is the banana leaf meal. This consists of steamed rice served with about two to six vegetable dishes like sambhar, porial (a dry stir-fried dish), rasam (a thin, peppery soup), koottu along with curd and buttermilk, all spread out on a disposable and environmentally-friendly banana leaf. For a non-vegetarian meal, curries or dishes cooked with mutton, chicken or fish are included. Meals are often accompanied by crisp appalams. Refills of curry and rice are often free, with men with buckets walking around to serve you more. After a final round of rice and curds or buttermilk or both, a traditional meal is concluded with a small banana and a few betel leaves and nuts. If served on a metal tray instead of a banana leaf, a set meal like this is known as a thali instead.
South India’s Dravidian architecture is quite different from the rest of India. The most obvious, and often striking, feature is the gopuram perched on every temple entrance, a stepped, steeply rising pyramid carved with layer upon layer upon layer of fantastically detailed and brightly painted statues.
Important historical temples include Mamallapuram (7-9th century) and Hampi (14-16th century),Jewish synagogue in Kochi, while the busiest active pilgrimage sites today are Tirupati, by some measures the entire world’s busiest, and Madurai, which has been operating continually for over 2,500 years.