10 Experiences in South India
A typical south India tour is a kaleidoscope of magnificent places of worship, forts and palaces, breathtaking hill stations, dense forests and abundant beaches, which together present a feast for all your senses. An India travel destination typically leaves you awestruck by the sheer magnificence at display, while at the same time it provides a deep calm that drains out all stress. Novel ways of travelling also offer high-octane excitement on your India travel. If you are looking for far-out experiences, then you may wish to consider the following, which you will find are quite different from what you can experience on north India tours.
1. Luxury Train Holiday
The Golden Chariot train offers a luxurious way of experiencing some major and some offbeat destinations on south India tours. The train departs from Bengaluru and covers Mysuru, Kabini, Shravanabelagola, Belur, Halebidu, Hampi, Badami, Pattadakal and Goa, on an eight-day sojourn. At each destination, travellers get off for day tours for the local attractions. On this India travel, you will behold the Mysuru palace, the Shravanabelagola monolith, beautiful temples and churches, visit dense jungles, explore caves and enjoy the beaches of Goa. A similar and older luxury train – The Palace on Wheels – covers other destinations in north India tours and departs from Delhi.
2. Stay at Auroville in Pondicherry and Visit the Famous Matrimandir
Auroville – a self-sustaining township that promotes harmony and human peace – is itself a unique destination in its development as a global village. At the center looms a spellbinding Ferrero Rocher-shaped building designed for meditation. Everything inside the building, including carpets and cushions, is white. A single ray of sunlight streams down from the roof to fall on a crystal in the center to radiate peace and calm. At this India travel destination, take care to book a visit, without which you will not be allowed to enter and experience the peace at the Matrimandir.
3. Stand in Awe at the Ellora Caves
The rock-cut caves at Ellora are a collection of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism art and an integral part of any India travel plans. Located outside Aurangabad, only 34 of the 100 caves are open to visitors. Cave 16 is the one that will leave you gasping in admiration. The Kailasha temple is a chariot-shaped temple cut out of a single monolithic rock and is the largest of its kind in the world. The beautiful sculptures that you will see in these caves, including the Kailasha temple, are exquisite in their detail and intricacy. Remember to wear comfortable shoes when you visit the Ellora caves, as the tour involves long walks.
4. Lagoon Fishing at Lakshadweep
The islands of Laskshadweep, situated in the Arabian Sea off Kerala, have several emerald and turquoise lagoons, which contain many fishes like the tuna, trevallies, groupers, and glowing worms, and are great for fishing and boating. Fishing is also allowed during the nights when lights are turned on and the ambience is peaceful, making it one of the most rewarding fishing experiences that you can have. While you are there, you can also have a go at snorkelling and scuba diving. This is an experience you will definitely not find in your north India tours.
5. Visit the Annual Pooram Festival at Thrissur
The festival, which is held in April at Thrissur in Kerala, takes place on the full moon day when the deities of ten local temples come to pay homage at the Vadakkunnathan Temple. Witnessing this elaborate spectacle is a unique experience to add to your India travel plans. While richly decked elephants and colorful fireworks are a treat to watch, the many events where the temples compete with each other also add to the charm of this destination on your south India tours.
6. Snorkel in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a popular snorkeling destination, with beautiful coral reefs lining the edges of the islands. The reefs are home to many colorful fishes, lobsters and clams, and visitors can snorkel to observe the delightful underwater world. Also unique to the destination, which you will find on no other India tour, is witnessing an elephant snorkeling in the remote seas.
7. Go Goa
Goa is a multi-hued amalgamation of the Indian and Portuguese cultures and experiences, and no India travel is complete without a visit. While temples, churches, spice and cashew plantations vie with the sun-soaked beaches for drawing tourists, the beach parties and night life add another dimension to your experience. Definitely a world away from anything on a north India tours. The shacks on the various beaches that offer food, shade and drinks and are ideal for spending the entire day on the beach, winding up with a colorful sunset. Moonlight cruises on the Mandovi River, the local food and cashew wine are some of the things that you should plan to experience on your trip to Goa.
8. Witness the Night Ceremony at the Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple
Witnessing the nightly “retiring to bed” ceremony at the Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple at Madurai in Tamil Nadu is an extraordinary experience. During this ritual, Lord Sundareswarar (Shiva) is taken from his temple to spend the night with Goddess Meenakshi (Parvati) at her temple, both of which are situated in the same compound. The beautiful procession begins at 9 pm every night (other than Fridays) and is a must-watch experience. The temple itself is massive and an architectural and spiritual delight. The rituals are typical to temples in south India tours and a unique experience for an India travel.
9. Attend a Performance of Kathakali Dancers
Kathakali is a storytelling form of Indian classical dance native to the state of Kerala. It combines excellent footwork, facial expressions and hand gestures to narrate a story, which is generally taken from the famous Indian epics. Accompanied by music and vocal rendition, the dance is usually performed by men who put on vivid and intricate masks, costumes and facial make-up. You can watch these dance performances during temple festivals or at various venues around the towns and cities of Kerala on your India travel.
10. Enjoy a Stroll on Coakers Walk
Running along the edge of the hills in the beautiful hill station of Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu is a two-km long stretch of narrow, pedestrian only, path. A charming and rather unusual experience during your India travel, Coakers walk provides those moments when you can sit amidst the clouds and wait for the mists to clear, whereupon the panoramic views of the beautiful Nilgiri valley and the hills looming in the distance will be revealed.
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Bradley Yandell, Enchanting Travels | May 30, 2017
Enchanting Travels was born more than a decade ago, in 2004, by two passionate travelers turned entrepreneurs. After finishing their MBAs at INSEAD in France, they knew they wanted to share their joy of travel in a more seamless, professional and authentic way in order to give guests better experiences and memories to last a lifetime. Today, the company is international with 6 offices across 4 continents, and in 32 different countries. Enchanting Travels employs nearly 130 people and is on a mission to continue redefining custom travel experiences