South India is a huge treasure chest full of greenery, palaces of 1001 Nights, colourful temples and loud chaotic cities.
Here you can find out what your trip through the south of the country could look like, are the most beautiful sights and what awaits you in fascinating India.
South India Round Trip & Attractions: You should not miss this!
Bangalore: The IT capital of the country
Bangalore is the IT capital of India, big and modern. There is not a lot of sightseeing except a palace, but if you are looking for a relatively gentle entry into India then Bangalore is perfect.
When we got off the plane in the middle of the night here, the culture shock was to our great relief.
The palace in Bangalore is one of the few attractions in the city.
Mysore: A fairytale city
Come to Mysore and let yourself be enchanted, dive into the sea of a thousand colours and travel to a strange world. For us, it was exactly like that! Mysore was one of the absolute highlights of our South India trip.
Especially beautiful is the huge fairy-tale palace whose red domes shine with pride in sunlight and pride.
Another highlight of the city is a colourful market. Here pile up fruits, vegetables, spices and just about everything on the camera lens perfectly exotic, unique and somehow Indian could look like.
Also, you can watch dealers when making incense sticks or buy essential oils.
Ooty & the Nilgiri Mountain Railway
This small town, which is also often called Udagamandala, lies in the middle of the Nilgiri Mountains. Most visitors come here for the perfect starting point for excursions into the beautiful nature, as well as for the endless tea plantations.
But Ooty is also known for its only Indian rack railway, which drives visitors through the great scenery at walking pace.
At least since our trip with the Trans-Siberian Railway once across Russia, we love train rides and of course, we could not miss this beautiful ride.
Kochi: A small tropical paradise
Kochi (formerly called Cochin ) is a small tropical paradise! And as so often in India, we suddenly landed in a whole new world. The old town is just beautiful with its small, clean streets.
There are many great cafes, numerous street stands with fresh coconuts and it is strikingly quiet.
Also, the small town is located directly on the sea and at sunset, the Chinese fishing nets – which are traditionally fished today – perfect photo opportunities.
Backwaters of Kerala
Kerala is world-famous for its beautiful backwaters, a ramified network of 29 lakes, 44 rivers and 1,500 kilometres of canals. Many of the small canals are littered with flowering water hyacinths, there are coconut palms on the shore and the sight is just wonderful.
For many, an ideal starting point to the backwaters is the small town of Alleppey.
Alleppey is known above all for his houseboat rides.
Unfortunately, the number of houseboats has risen in recent years and from the romantic idea, pure mass tourism has emerged! As wonderful as the idea is to drive on lonely canals on a wooden boat for two days, so far away is the reality.
Therefore, we decided to go on a wooden canoe tour, went to all the little canals that are too narrow for the big boats and were able to enjoy the wonderful nature to the fullest.
All important information about the backwaters of Kerala as well as three perfect alternatives to the houseboat can be found here: By houseboat through the backwaters? Three better alternatives
Madurai & the famous Minakshi Temple (Meenakshi)
Madurai is awfully loud, dirty and not sensitive to noses. We loved it anyway or just because it is a very “typical India “.
In the streets of Madurai, one shop joins the next, the craftsmen offer their services, in between are cows, hardly a street is paved (or it is so dusty that you cannot see the tar) and the horns are definitely louder than here in the rest of the world.
Subject entry: To travel to India you need a visa. You can simply apply online. You will find all the information and a step by step guide in our article India Visa online.
Madurai is mainly known for the Minakshi Temple (or Meenakshi Temple), which is an important place of pilgrimage for the Hindu people.
Pondicherry (Puducherry): The Paris of India
New city, New world. That’s at least in India.
And in Pondicherry (or Puducherry ) we were not sure if the colonial era is really over. Most (including the Indians) speak French, all street names are in French, it smells everywhere of fresh croissants…
The cityscape is characterized by beautiful yellow shining colonial architecture and there are a very large number of emigrants who live here (exactly: especially French).
The city has some attractions and a great beach promenade from which you may even see dolphins and whales!
Hampi: UNESCO World Heritage Site
Hampi has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and (like so much in India) is one of its highlights. Unfortunately, we did not make it there in time, but we would like to mention it briefly as a highlight.
Discover not only the treasures of the south but all the highlights of the country. More about this in our article: India sights
South India round trip: The best travel time – when should you go?
Between October and March is the dry season in India.
The rain probability is then low, the humidity and the temperatures are not too hot, a perfect time for you to discover South India’s treasures.
Best time for your trip through South India: October to March!
South India round trip & sights: Our conclusion
India is just completely different, own and crazy. And actually India is a country that is hard to put into words; you just have to experience it. The south of India is gorgeous, diverse and incredibly authentic.
Our highlights listed here are a perfect itinerary for about three to four weeks to experience the south of the country in all its beauty.
Reading tip: Combine your trip through South India with a detour to fascinating Sri Lanka and do not miss any of the most beautiful sights in Sri Lanka.