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Places to Visit in South India


Bengaluru
Bengaluru often referred to as the Garden City for its numerous parks and avenues of jacaranda, gulmohar and cassia is the sixth largest and one of the cleanest cities in India. World – class technological excellence has earned it the sobriquet, India's Silicon Valley and today it rivals Chennai as the most important metropolis in the South. Thanks to India's booming computer software industry most of which are based in Bengaluru.

Badami
Set in beautiful countryside at the foot of a red sandstone ridge, the small rural town of Badami was once the capital of the Chalukyan. Empire covered much of the central Deccan between the 4th centuries AD. Here and at nearby Aihole and Pattadakal, you can see some of the earliest and rock- cut caves. The forms and sculptural work at there sites provided inspiration for the later Hindu empires which rose and fell in the arrival of the Muslims. Though principally promoters of the vedic culture, the Chalukyans were tolerant of all sects, and elements of Shaivism, Vaishnaivism, Jainism and even Buddhism can be found in many of their temples. Badami was the Chalukyan capital from about 540 AD until 757 AD when the Chalukyans were overthrown by the Rashtrakutas. The surrounding hills are dotted with temples, fortifications, carvings and inscriptions dating not just from the Chalukyan period, but from other times when the site was occupied as a fortress. After it fell to the Rashtrakutsa, Badami was occupied successively by the Chalukyans of Kalyan (a separate branch of the western Chalukyan), the Kaachuryas, the Yadavas of Devagiri, the Vijayanagar Empire, the Adil Shahi kings of Bajipur and the Marathas. All these various rulers have left their mark at Badami, and there's even a Pallava inscription dating back to 642 AD when their king, Narasimha Varman I, Briefly overwhelmed the Chalukyans and occupied Badami for 13 years before being driven out.

Chennai
Chennai is the fourth largest city in India and gateway to the south. This morning tour the city by car. Madras ( Chennai ) became the earliest British Settlement in India when in 1639 the Raja of Chandragiri, gave Francis day the site which now forms the city of Madras. Fort St. George, built in the following year became the chief centre of activity of the East India Company. Within the fort is St. Mary's Church, the first Anglican Church built in India. Also visit the National Art Gallery, museum and the Sam thome Cathedral.

Chidambaram
Chidambaram the another Tamil Nadu's gems of Dravidian architecture – the temple complex of Nataraja , the dancing Shiva. The complex is said to be the oldest in the south India and covers 13 hectares. There are four Gopurams, the north and south ones towering 49 meters high. Two of the gopurams are carved with the 108 classical postures of Nataraja, Shiva in his role as the cosmic dancer. Other notable features of the temple include the 1000-pillared hall, the Nritta Sabha court carved out like a gigantic chariot, and the image of Natarajan himself in the central sanctum.

Chikmagalur
This small town is at the centre of one of India's major Coffee growing areas. Chikmagalur literally means 'younger daughter's town' as it was the legendry dowry for the daughter of a local chieftain. In addition to the Hoysala style Kondandarama Temple, there are mosques, a Roman Catholic Cathedral and a Fort accessed over a moat. Between Chikmagalur and Shimoga based around the huge Bhadra reservoir is the 425 sq km Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary. Most of the park is a mixture of dense moist and dry deciduous forest with plenty of bamboo and teak. Wildlife here includes elephant, panthers, wild boars, striped hyenas, flying squirrels and a variety of birds. The best time to visit is between October and May.

Hospet
The town of Hospet, which is 13 km from Hampi, is an important tourist center. Travelers can have a panoramic view of surrounding areas from the 49-m-high and 2-km-long Tungabhadra Dam, 6 km from Hospet.


Maysore
Situated 140 Kms away from Bangalore is the former princely city of Mysore with its magnificent palaces, and a myriad of historical sites. This charming and easy-going city with beautiful parks and shady avenues has always been a favourite with travellers. It enjoys an equable climate and is renowned for its silk, sandal wood and incense industries. Mysore is Karnataka's second largest city.

Madurai
Madurai which has been a centre of learning and pilgrimage for may centuries. Life in this bustling pilgrimage city is centred on the great Meenakshi Temple. In the afternoon visit the 17th century Shree Meenakshi Sundareshawara temple which dominates the old city. This great temple with its gopuram (pyramidal gateway) is covered with a profusion of multi colored images of mystical figures, animals and gods. From dawn until late at night the temples complex and colourful bazars teem with pilgrims. Return in the evening to the temple to witness the temple music.

Munnar
Munnar is one of the most popular hill resort town in Kerala. The altitude of Munnar varies in height from 2000 meter to 2600 meters. Temperature of Munnar ranges between 0°c to 10°c in winter and 8°c to 16°c in summer. Tourist attractions in Munnar are- Anamudi Peak, Eravikulam National Park, Mattupetty, Pallivasal, Chinnakal, Top Station, Tea Museum and Anayirangal.

Puducherry (Pondicherry)
Puducherry earlier known as Pondicherry is a French Colony and Pondi Street. Pondicherry covers an area of 480 aq.km. Consisting of the four coastal regions of Pondicheery, Karakkal, Yanam and Mahe. There where former . French possessions situated on the eastern coast along the three states of Tamil Nadu, Andhrapradesh and Kerala, transferred to Indian Union in 1954. Places of interest are Sree Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville, The French Institute, Raj Nivas. etc.

Periyar
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in the cardamom hills on the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Periyar was established in 1934 and is one of the largest sanctuaries in India. It is one of the best sanctuaries in which to observe herds of elephants. The 21-mile long lake is artificial, built by the British in 1895 for irrigation purposes. The scenery, shapes and colors often remind people of the Scottish Highlands. Viewing is best by boat at sunrise and sunset - there is also a rich variety of bird life and other animals that may be seen include bison, wild boar, and sambar.

Kochi
Kochi the principal port and centre of the spice trade on the Malabar Coast. Cochin was the first European settlement in India and the port was founded by Vasco-da-Gama in 1502, Portuguese and British settlers have all left their culture on this colorful city. Visiting the Mattancherry Palace the nearby enchants houses and a fine synagogue. Also visit Fort Cochin and St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India and also visit Chinese fishing net.

Kovalam
It is one of India's internationally renowned beaches. Popular since 1930, Kovalam consists of three successive crescent shaped beaches. Kovalam beach is a strip of golden sand lying side by side between the serene blue waters of the Arabian Sea and the rich greenery of coconut palms. With a high rock promontory and a calm bay of blue waters, this beach paradise creates a unique aquarelle on moonlit nights. At your choice from any of the centres nearby you can pamper yourself with a herbal, body-toning massage. You can enjoy the rejuvenating Ayurvedic therapy in the privacy of your room. A wide range of accommodation is dished out along the shores of Kovalam.