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12 Places in South India not to be missed by a Wanderlusting Soul

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Travellers are always segregated in two categories. There are the beach people and then there are those who love mountains. When a group of travel enthusiasts or couples or friends plan a trip, most of the discussions always get stuck at a point where they have to decide between either of these. What if, in such situations, it was suggested that there are places in South India where they can experience both?

Sounds unbelievable, right? Well, it is certainly true.

The Southern part of India is so filled with surprises that a traveller cannot even imagine where to begin. Most of the tourist places in South India have multiple surprises to offer. From beaches to the lush green hills of The Western Ghats, the states of South India are popular for being located on off the beaten path.

The rich history, ancient architecture, diverse wildlife and mouth-watering food, what else would a traveller need to fulfil their travel goals.

For those who are yet to begin their journey of adventure to places in South India, here are a few places that they should add to the bucket list.

1. Mysore, Karnataka

Mysore- Places in South India

Mysore is filled with eclectic surprises for a travel enthusiast. It is the 2nd largest city of Karnataka and is known for its charming beauty and incredible culture. The annual celebrations of Dasara are quite famous and attract many tourists from every corner of the world.

When it comes to the most gorgeous best places in South India, places to visit in Mysore is one of the favourites because it provides access to some truly beautiful spots like Ooty, Coorg, Kodaikanal and Chikmagalur. The resorts near Mysore and Bandipur area are just perfect for the newlywed couples.

Places to visit in Mysore

  • Mysore Palace
  • Shivanasamudra waterfalls
  • Chamundi Hills
  • Krishnarajasagar Dam
  • Brindavan Gardens
  • Bandipur National Park
  • Channapatnam Toy Village

Nearby Attractions

  • Bayakulpe
  • Kokkare Belur
  • Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Mandya
  • Keshawa Temple of Somnathapura

What to Eat

  • Besibelle Bath
  • Raagi and Akki Roti
  • Vangi Baath
  • Payasam
  • Biryani at RRR Mysore Restaurant

How to Reach

  • Rail – Mysore is connected to major stations of India. You can also reach Bangalore and catch a connecting train which takes an hour and a half to reach its destination.
  • Road – Mysore is 150 kms from Bangalore and 620 kms from Goa. While traveling from Bangalore you can also cover places like Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Bayakulpe and Tala Cauvery.
  • Flight – Bangalore International Airport is the nearest International Airport. Further journey can be continued by train or bus.

2. Ooty, Tamilnadu

Ooty- Places in South India

Ooty has been a favourite of Bollywood since the 70s. Crews often visit here in search of the scenic filming locations as Ooty is bestowed with tea gardens, toy train, waterfalls and vast trails of Nilgiri hills. These attractions and activities make Ooty counted among the best places to visit in South India.

Ooty is a crown jewel in South India tourism and a favourite for honeymooners as well as adventure seekers. The scenic charms of Ooty have made it popular as one of the favourite holiday destinations in South India and its approachable distance from both Bangalore and Chennai proves helpful for visitors to reaching the place conveniently.

Places to visit in Ooty

  • Ooty Lake
  • Pykara Falls
  • Dodabetta Peak
  • Toy Train
  • Botanical Garden
  • Rose Garden
  • Tiger Hill
  • Kamraj Sagar Lake

Nearby Attractions

  • Kotagiri
  • Mudumalai National Park
  • Ketti Needle Industries
  • Glenmorgan Trek
  • Ebbanad

What to Eat

  • Kebabs
  • Ooty Biscuits
  • Chicken Rolls on the mail street market
  • Paneer Fingers at C-Stores

Shopping

  • Municipal Market
  • Co-Operative super market
  • Upper and Lower Bazars
  • Nilgiri Honey
  • Tea leaves
  • Chocolates

How to Reach

  • Rail – Mettupalyam is the nearest railway station from Ooty. The station has one overnight train running from Chennai. Coimbatore is the nearest junction which is well connected with regular trains from Mysore, Kochi, Chennai and other important cities.
  • Road – Ooty is 273 km from Bangalore and 558 km from Chennai. Regular buses run for Ooty and can be found from Bangalore, Chennai and Coimbatore. Traveller’s often mix their trip with Kodaikanal, Kocchi and Munnar so it is easy to find buses running between these places.
  • Flight – Coimbatore International Airport is connected to countries like UAE, Singapore, and Sri Lanka. Frequent flights from Indian cities also land here on a daily basis. You can take connecting bus or taxi to Ooty from Coimbatore.

Must read: 18 Places To Visit In Ooty – The Queen Of Hill Stations

3. Kodaikanal, Tamilnadu

Kodaikanal- Places in South India
Kodaikanal is one of the most unique hill stations in South India. Filled with amazing, scenic views, it is perfect for those who want to explore the offbeat destination of South India. Located at an altitude of 2000m above sea level, the weather conditions are very pleasant even during the harsh summer seasons.

As one of the closest places to visit in Bangalore, Kodaikanal offers options for hiking, sightseeing, bird watching or just lazing around doing nothing. The lovely weather makes it one of the best honeymoon places in South India.

Places to visit in Kodaikanal

  • Pillar Rocks
  • Dolphin Nose
  • Kodai Lake
  • Kodaikanal wildlife sanctuary
  • Wax museum
  • Coaker’s Walk
  • Green Valley View

Nearby Attractions

  • Pine forest
  • Bear Shola Falls
  • Perumalmalai trek
  • Velagavi

What to Eat

  • Israeli Cuisine
  • Pizza
  • Biryani
  • Bhajji (prepared using onions and chillis)
  • Momos
  • Thukpa
  • Cheesecakes

Shopping

  • Cheese
  • Honey
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Spices
  • Pottery

How to Reach

  • Rail – Kodai Road is the nearest railhead and is 100 km away from Kodaikanal. Dindigul Railway station is another option for train journey. Local taxis and buses run frequently from both stations.
  • Road – At a distance of approximately 460 km from Bangalore and 525 km from Chennai, Kodaikanal is easily accessible via buses and taxis. Visitors also like to mix their trip with Ooty and Munnar as it is at an approachable distance from both destinations.
  • Flight – Kodaikanal is well connected to a majority of airports like Trichy, Kocchi, Chennai, Bangalore and Coimbatore.

4. Coorg, Karnataka- One of the beautiful places in South India

Coorg- Places in South India

Kodagu, or Coorg has been aptly named Scotland of South India because of its lovely weather and pleasant scenic views. Located in the Western Ghats, Coorg is a favourite for honeymooners and trekkers who come here to bask in the tranquil views of the everlasting sights.

As one of the popular hill stations in south India, Coorg is also a favourite for the luxury travel enthusiasts because of the amazing resorts nestled at incredible spots. Coorg provides an option to stay away from the hustle & bustle of the mainstream tourist areas.

A vacation in Coorg means relaxing in the stay homes in the middle of a tea estate, starting your day with a cup of fresh brewed coffee and then soothing in the fresh atmosphere.

Places to visit in Coorg

  • Abbey Fall
  • Chelavara Falls
  • Iruppu
  • Raja’s seat
  • Omkareshwara Temple
  • Bylakuppe
  • Dubare Elephant Camps

Nearby Attractions

  • Nagarahole National Park
  • Kutta Tiger Sanctuary
  • Pushpagiri
  • Kumaraparvatha trek
  • Somwarpet Rock Climbing Camp
  • White Water Rafting at Barapole

What to Eat

  • Local pandi curry (pork curry)
  • Kadbittu
  • Coorgi Oranges

Shopping

  • Local Wine
  • Coffee beans and powders
  • Spices
  • Tibetan Souvenirs from Kushalnagar market
  • Artificial jewellery from local flee market

How to Reach

  • Rail – Mysore is the nearest railway station. Further travel is only possible by road. There are frequent buses as well as private taxis for travel to and in Coorg.
  • Road – Coorg is 264 km away from Bangalore and 107 km from Mysore. Regular buses run between these destinations and it is easy to reach Madikeri by road.
  • Flight – Mysore airport is the nearest airport, but the flights are not frequent. The best idea is to arrive at Bangalore airport and then continue your journey.

Recommended: Experience The Bliss And Picturesque Splendor Of Coorg Hill Station

5. Gokarna

Gokarna- Places in South India

If someone told you about a destination, which is surrounded by hills on one side and sea on another then you probably won’t believe it. But Gokarna is exactly that way. The lovely, serene paradise nestled in the lap of Western Ghats will make you fall in love with this beach town.

Travellers, who wish to experience the charms of Goa without crowd and party scenes, prefer visiting Gokarna which is one of the best places in South India. It is at an accessible distance from both Mumbai and Bangalore and regular trains and buses ply to and from here.

Places to visit in Gokarna

  • Kudle Beach
  • Half Moon Beach
  • Paradise Beach
  • Half Moon Beach
  • Mahabaleshwara Temple
  • Maha Ganpati Temple
  • Koti Tirtha
  • Mirjan Fort

Nearby Attractions

  • Kumta
  • Murudeshwar
  • Karwar
  • Devbagh Beach

What to Eat

  • Pizza
  • Spanish and Israeli cuisine
  • Fish curry
  • Squid chilli
  • Juices around the temple market

How to Reach

  • Rail – Gokarna is well connected via trains. A majority of trains from Mumbai to Mangalore and Udupi pass through Gokarna. Madgaon station, Goa is also one of the nearby stations. Gokarna is only 4 hours away from Panjim.
  • Road – Gokarna is a well connected via road from Mumbai, Bangalore and Goa. Regular buses run between these places and it is easy to find a taxi.
  • Flight – Dabolim airport Goa is the nearest airport which connects with Gokarna. Since travellers generally spend a few nights in Goa and then move to Gokarna, flying here makes perfect sense.

6. Chikmagalur, Karnataka

Chikmagalur- Places in South India

Ask any driving enthusiast from Bangalore about their favourite long drive destination and they’ll tell you about Chikmagalur.

Located near Mangalore, this lovely destination is known for its soothing weather and cloudy skies. It is said that years ago the land of this district was given as a dowry to the younger daughter of a legendary chief who ruled Sakrepatna- Rukmangada.

Counted among the lesser known tourist places of South India, Chikmagalur is known for its tree plantations and picturesque uninterrupted views of the Western Ghats. Chikmagalur’s hills are also known for tiger sighting, although rare but rewarding.

Places to visit in Chikmagalur

  • Mullayanagiri
  • Camping at Ballalarayana
  • Coffee plantations
  • Hanumangundi Falls
  • Kudremukha Peak
  • Baba Budan Giri
  • Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Hebbe Falls

Nearby Attractions

  • Mullayanagiri
  • Udupi
  • Surathkal Beach

What to Eat

  • Biryani
  • Kheer Sheera
  • Continental cuisine at coffee barn café
  • Mysore Dosa
  • Burgers at Salipicon

Shopping

  • Coffee beans and powder
  • Wooden crafts
  • Handloom

How to Reach

  • Rail – Chikmagalur railway station is connected with a majority of stations in Karnataka. Many trains plying between Indian cities also make a stop at Chikmagalur.
  • Road – Chikmagalur is well connected from Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore. You will easily find a bus for your destination. Taxis are easy to find from Mangalore and Bangalore.
  • Flight – The Mangalore International Airport is well connected to multiple national and international destinations. Bangalore airport is also one of the major airports at a distance of 250 km.

Read this: South India: Undiscovered Southern Destinations

7. Wayanad, Kerala

Wayanad- Places in South India

If the idea of your vacation is to relax in your resort as the clouds hover right in front of you then Wayanad is where you should be. When it comes to beating the heat and exploring one of the best tourist places in South India, nothing beats Wayanad.

This beautiful destination is surrounded by the lovely, quaint Western Ghats belonging to the state of Kerala and provides uninterrupted views of the lush green hills wherever your eyes go.

Wayanad is not only a preferred destination for honeymooners but also a favourite of the naturalists and photographers. Wayanad’s biodiversity is unique to this region. 80% of the flora is found exclusively in this region.

The dense forests of Wayanad offer a sanctuary for elephants, great Malabar squirrel, wild boar along with birds like black-and-orange flycatcher and the black-capped kingfisher. The Neolithic era’s Edakkal Caves have been declared a word heritage site by UNESCO.

Places to visit in Wayanad

  • Chembara Peak
  • Spice Plantations
  • Tea Gardens
  • Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Edakkal Caves
  • Bansura Sagar Dam
  • Pookode Lake
  • Kuruva Island
  • Bamboo Forests, Muthanga

Nearby Attractions

  • Sulthan Battery
  • Kozikode
  • Nilambur
  • Vyithri
  • Begur wildlife sanctuary

What to Eat

  • Dum Biryani
  • Malabar Paratha
  • Pathiri
  • Saffron rice
  • Alisa (A Kozikode speciality)
  • Arikadka

Shopping

  • Coffee beans and powder
  • Tea
  • Spices
  • Crafts done with coconuts and shells
  • Cane and wood work
  • Embroidered Mats

How to Reach

  • Rail – While the nearest railway station is in Kozikode, a lot of people visit Wayanad from Mangalore and Bangalore which has more frequent train connectivity.
  • Road – KSRTC buses and private taxis run between destinations like Kochi, Calicut, Bangalore and Mangalore.
  • Flight – The Calicut International Airport provides easy connectivity with Wayanad. You can also land in Bangalore and then continue your further journey.

Check out: 10 Best Places To Visit In Wayanad – Green Paradise Of Kerala

8. Dandeli, Karnataka

Dandeli- Places in South India

When the call of adventure is a must, Dandeli is where you should be heading. Dandeli is a number of worlds combined into one and considered one the best places in South India. The hilly terrains of The Western Ghats, with the rushing Kali River provides the best options for adventures from White Water Rafting to River crossing and Flying Fox.

Dandeli National Park is also the home of The Black Jaguar and offers a chance to spot animals like peacocks, langoors, barking deers and antelopes.

Places to visit in Dandeli

  • Dandeli National Park
  • Kali River Adventure Park
  • Kavala Caves
  • Syntheri Rocks
  • Shiroli Peak
  • Anshi National Park

Things to do in Dandeli

  • River Rafting
  • Wildlife Safari
  • Kayaking
  • Jungle Camping
  • Mountain Biking
  • Coracle Boat Ride
  • Trekking

Nearby Places

  • Hubli
  • Badami
  • Pattakdal
  • Bijapur

How to Reach

  • Rail – The nearest railheads from Dandeli are Londa, Hubli, and Dharwar.The best way to explore Dandeli is to reach Goa or Bangalore and then take a connecting train to either of these stations. Further journey can be continued on bus or by hiring a private cab.
  • Road – Dandeli is 32 km from Hubli, 99 km from Goa and 466 km from Bangalore. Direct buses from these destinations run up to Hubli from where further journey can be continued on local bus or private taxi. Private buses are extremely slow, so it is recommended to hire a taxi to save yourself some wastage of time.
  • Flight – Hubli Airport is a fully functional airport and is nearest to Dandeli. You will find regular flights for Hubli from Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Goa, and Chennai.

9. Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu

This former French Colony is a favourite for those who want to enjoy the natural charms of empty beaches and lovely continental food. With a mix of prevailing French culture along with the Tamil lifestyle makes Pondicherry counted among some of the important places in South India.

The sun, the sea and the thriving culture of this gorgeous Union Territory is perfect to spark the flames of romance between lovelorn couples. Combined with some of the best cafes of South India and adventurous activities like surfing and scuba diving, Pondicherry provides the perfect ingredients for a romantic vacation.

Places to visit in Pondicherry

  • Promenade Beach
  • The French Quarter
  • Botanical Garden
  • Sri Aurobindo Ashram
  • Oustery Lake
  • Chunnambar Boat House
  • Auro Beach
  • Old Light Houses

Things to do in Pondicherry

  • Meditation sessions
  • Food walk
  • Cycling
  • Rock climbing
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Thanjavur Painting Workshops

Nearby Places

  • Tranquebar
  • Mahabalipuram
  • Kovalam

What to Eat

  • French breakfast at Daily Bread
  • Biryani
  • Andhra Tiffin or Thali
  • Fusion French and South Indian food at Carte Blanche
  • Pancakes
  • Chocolate custard
  • Fish curry and rice

Shopping

  • Indo-European clothes
  • Embroidered clothes
  • Silk Sarees
  • Bamboo works
  • Indian Antiques

How to Reach

  • Rail – While Pondicherry is connected with Chennai via railway line, the number of trains on that route is very low. This is why a majority of travellers get down at Chennai and then continue their journey.
  • Road – Pondicherry is on the East Coast Road network which is one of the important routes of Tamil Nadu. Chennai is 165 km from Pondicherry, Coimbatore is 380 km and Bangalore is 320 km away. All these places are perfectly connected via buses and the need for private taxis is hardly an issue.
  • Flight – Chennai Airport is the nearest airport from Pondicherry.

10. Yellagiri Hills, Tamil Nadu

Yellagiri is one of the best places in South India and most popular weekend gateway place to visit near Bangalore. Located in Vellore district, Yellagiri’s scenic charms and splendid beauty make it one of the popular tourist places in South India. This lovely destination offers an escape from the summers of Bangalore and a pleasant long drive experience.

Yellagiri is located at a height of 1100 meters and the lovely hilly area is spread in an area of 30 square kilometres.

Yellagiri is not just a weekend destination. Many artists, writers and photographers visit this small paradise and spend some time inspiring their soul. Surrounded by lush greenery, orchards, rose gardens and valleys, this quaint spot is perfect for anyone who wishes to soothe their soul and experience a rejuvenating vacation.

Places to visit in Yellagiri

  • Alagamparari Waterfalls
  • Punganoor Lake Park
  • Telescope Observatory
  • Jalagandeeswarar Temple
  • Government Herbal Farm
  • Swamimalai Hills
  • Velavan Temple

Activities in Yellagiri

  • Local market tours
  • Paragliding
  • Telescope observatory visit
  • Boating on Punganur Lake
  • Trekking in Swamimalai Hills

Nearby Places

  • Tirupati
  • Kumbakonam
  • Kanchipuram
  • Pondicherry

Nearby Places

  • Rail – Jolarpettai Junction is the nearest station from Yellagiri. Regular trains between Bangalore and Chennai stop at Jolarpettai.
  • Road – Yellagiri is 150 km from Bangalore and 258 km from Chennai. It is easy to find AC/Non AC and deluxe buses traveling on this route. Cabs usually charge approximately INR 1200 for a one-way journey.
  • Flight – Chennai Airport is the nearest airport from Pondicherry.

11. Hassan, Karnataka

One of the lesser known tourist places in South India, Hassan is known for its rich history. From the lovely trails in the Western Ghats to the temples of Beluru and Halebidu, Hassan has something to offer to every travel lover.

Located at a height of 935 metres, Hassan’s weather and the rainy atmosphere is what makes it a favourite destination for those who wish to experience fewer crowds and more natural beauty.

Hassan can be explored during the weekend or mixed with nearby destinations like Sakleshpura for a longer vacation experience.

Places to visit in Hassan

  • Channakesava Temple, Belur
  • Shrawanbelagola
  • Chandragiri Hills
  • Manjarabad Fort
  • Ramnathpur temples
  • Gorur Dam
  • Someshwara Temple
  • Ranganatha Hills
  • Koravangla
  • Nuggehalli

Nearby Attractions

  • Hadlu Waterfalls Trek
  • Bisle Ghat
  • Agni Gudda
  • Magajahalli waterfall

What to Eat

  • Ragi Mudde
  • Rice and Yogurt
  • Biryani
  • Pork fry

Shopping

  • Silk
  • Sandalwood
  • Ivory

How to Reach

  • Rail – Hassan is connected via daily trains from Bangalore and Mangalore. There are weekly trains which connect Hassan from Mumbai and Delhi.
  • Road – Hassan is at an accessible distance from Bangalore, Mangalore and Hubli. Frequent buses run between all the places. One can hire a taxi to commute in the city.
  • Flight – Bangalore International Airport is the nearest to Hassan from where you can continue your further journey.

12. Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh

This small Andhra Pradesh town is known for its temples, which are an example of sheer brilliance of architecture. Its history and culture make it counted among the best tourist places in South India. Some of the most famous temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Veerbhadra and Lord Vishnu.

Its association with one of the famous events of Ramayana makes it a destination amongst many pilgrims who come here to live the tale of Jatayu’s sacrifice. The 4.5 feet high statue of Nandi is what takes your attention because of its size and design. This monolithic structure is one of the prime attractions of Lepakshi Temple Complex.

Places to visit in Lepakshi

  • Lepakshi Temple
  • Nandi Statue
  • Kalyana Venketeshwara Swamy Temple
  • Veerapuram Bird Sanctuary

Nearby Attractions

  • Dharamavaram which is famous for its silk factories
  • Puttaparthy
  • Penukonda
  • Kadiri
  • Belum Caves.

How to Reach

  • Rail – Hindupur and Anantpur railway stations are the nearest from Lepakshi. One can take a connecting bus, auto-rickshaw or cab to visit the temples.
  • Road – At a distance of 100 km from Bangalore, Lepakashi is a part of many travel packages that one can be a part of. You can also travel on your own by booking a bus or a private cab.
  • Flight – Bangalore International Airport is the nearest to Lepakshi village which is approximately 100 kms away.

The umpteen number of places in South India make it impossible for it to be explored in one visit. Still, the above-mentioned places are a few from where you can start your journey and then move further.

Among the many tourist places in South India, it is on you to choose the best and then experience the beautiful destination in its true sense. This summer, you can make your dream of exploring the best of South India Tourism come true with special South India holidays tour packages from Thomas Cook designed for a luxurious vacation.


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