South India is a region of India with its own character. Anyone who imagines that the crowded streets of Delhi seen on television encapsulate India as a whole will be surprised by the relaxed far south of India. The region is also known for its unique architecture and culture, with dance and literature that differ, often quite dramatically, from that of other regions in the country. The independent literary traditions of the region stretch back as far as 2,500 years. Culinary traditions are also distinct from other parts of India, with many types of food being prepared, both traditional and more recent inventions. The Malabar coast’s higher proportion of non-Hindu groups means that non-vegetarian cuisine is more popular, for instance.
South India may not yet be as widely known as some other regions of India. However, the region’s tropical, idyllic and remarkable beaches are just two of the reasons why the natural beauty and fascinating culture of South India is drawing more travellers to explore this region of India. Kerala’s backwaters stretch through that South Indian state like labyrinths. Traditional houseboats that have been navigating those waters for a long time have become increasingly attractive to tourists as a way to explore the state’s gorgeous environment. Tea and spice plantations are everywhere, including South India’s famous hill stations.
South India does offer its urban pleasures as well. Kochi, the city formerly known by the colonial name of Cochin, lies between Kerala’s restful backwaters and the legendary waters of the Arabian sea. In old Kochi there are many historic colonial buildings with distinct European flavour. For a taste of more uniquely South Indian culture, one may take in a Kathakali dance. This performance is a traditional South Indian experience like no other. Further encounters with the remarkable tradition of Hinduism as practiced in South India can be found in Madurai, which features temples with distinctly South Indian architecture. As in any sacred city, there are opportunities to see Hindu ceremonies as well.
To explore the beauty of nature, few better choices exist than the Kettuvallam houseboats that float along the backwaters. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary features such exotic and magnificent animals as tigers, leopards, and elephants, and the idyllic quality of the Munnar hill station, where tea-growing is abundant, will not be easily forgotten.
Newmarket Holidays is offering escorted holidays to the region, covering many of the highlights mentioned above.