Hidden Jewels of South India
The year 2020 will provide a good number of opportunities for awakening the traveling bug inside you. If you wonder how so, then glance over the yearly calendar for long weekends occurring due to festive holidays. Does it seem to be a useless fact to be excited about ? Well, not every year do we have the incredible luck of getting several festive holidays placed on Mondays and Fridays which lead to long weekends and more trips!
When it comes to trips, we are more reluctant to plan for popular destinations. Your trip to any South Indian state most likely will include visiting well-known temples, hill stations or beaches. How about side lining from the mainstream tourism sites this year and heading off towards unexplored places with mind-boggling scenic beauty waiting for you ? Following below are the top 10 hidden jewels of South India as discussed:
Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu
Kodaikanal is a hill town in the Southern Indian state i.e. Tamil Nadu. It’s set in an area of granite cliffs, forested valleys, lakes, waterfalls and grassy hills. Its name in Tamil Language means “Gift of the Forest” Kodaikanal will change your perceptions totally about the existence of a Paradise..! Shrouded in clouds, Kodaikanal will charm you with its dense forests and breath taking cliffs. It is also known as ‘’Princess of Hill Station”‘ and the best part is it is pollution free. From Trekking, Beautiful lake to Homemade cheese tasting, there are so many Things to do in Kodaikanal that will not fail to impress you. Kodaikanal is also home to Kurinji flower, which blooms only once in 12 years! Travel to Kodaikanal if you wish to experience the bliss of nature which most cities are devoid of and many of us craving for. We can certainly give it first spot among the Jewels in South India.
Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh
Did you know that India has its own Grand Canyon in Gandikota, surprise right… another Jewels in South India spotted ! Gandikota in Andhra Pradesh is the Indian version of America’s Grand Canyon and also known as the Desi Grand Canyon. The Pennar River formed a stunning canyon here, it is nothing less than breath taking, which has become a non-commercialized tourist spot. If you prefer secluded tourist spots, then Gandikota is one of them, it will make sure you don’t return back unimpressed. One should ideally visit Gandikota between September to February as the weather is comfortable and pleasant. The summer months are hot and humid thus it is not a good time to witness the gorge Apart from the canyon, Gandikota will amaze you with Charminar, Ahobilam, and Gandikota Fort.
Thalassery will make you realize that you haven’t explored the best destinations in India, let alone the world! Known as the ‘Paris of Malabar’, One of those beautiful cities on the Malabar Coast of Kerala, is a municipality on the Malabar Coast in Kannur district. Thalassery is famous for many reasons. It is often called the city of “three C’s” in the state – cricket, cake and circus. It’s also known to be the birthplace of the communist movement in Kerala. Thalassery formerly known as Tellicherry, Thalassery has numerous tourist spots and it will take you by surprise with its cakes, circus and the love of locality for cricket. India’s longest drive-in-beach, Muzhappilangad Beach, and the Dharmaram Island nearby Thalassery will make sure that you have the time of your life here…!
Thalassery Cuisine has a blend of Arabian, Persian, Indian and European styles of cooking as a result of its long history as a maritime trading post. Thalassery is known for its biriyani
Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh
For all the coffee enthusiasts out there, Araku valley must be marked in your Bucket List. Araku Valley is popular for its coffee plantations. In 2007, it also witnessed India’s 1st premium organic coffee brand (Araku Emerald) grown by tribals. Araku is surrounded by mountains such as Chitamogondi, Galikonda, Sunkarimetta, and Raktakonda. If you are tired of the daily hustle-bustle of city life, then pack your bags and visit this destination for a fresh breath. Araku is a famous hill station of AP. It is located at a distance of 120 KM from Visakhapatnam. It is famous for its scenic beauty. Located on the Eastern Ghats, it has everything looks for i.e. valley, waterfalls and streams flowing by the side of the train track and roads.
October to March is the best season to visit Araku Valley. This is the season most suitable for sightseeing and outdoor activities. Since Vizag (Vishakhapatnam) is the nearest town/city one can travel by boarding a train from Visakhapatnam to Araku Valley, a journey of about 3 hours. Araku is the nearest railway station. It is about 1 km from Vishakapatnam airport. One can easily hire a taxi from Visakhapatnam to Araku Valley to travel by road.
Kudle Beach, Karnataka
South India has clean, splendid beaches and Kudle Beach stands as a wonderful testimony to prove it! Kudle Beach is one of the many beaches of Gokarna, situated only a few minutes’ walk from Gokarna Beach or Om Beach. The journey to this beach is another bonus feature as one needs to do a small trek for reaching here. This place is so underrated in India that you will find more foreigners here than locals. Kudle Beach is completely secluded which makes it a perfect place to chill. The beach is usually deserted, except for the peak months from November to February, when it is visited by many foreign travellers and backpackers. Out of all beaches, this is the only beach where you can spend some quality time.
Belum Caves, Andhra Pradesh
Walking through a cave with 16 different pathways is no joke, but the thrill by doing so gives a spectacular experience. The Belum Caves are India’s longest and 2nd largest caves, making them a perfect destination to fulfill your adventure fantasies. With the deepest point at 150 ft., they will baffle you with freshwater galleries, long passages, and spacious
Bangalore to Belum Caves: There are frequent trains from Bangalore to Anantapur. And from Anantapur, you can catch a bus directly to Belum Caves. In case there are no direct buses to Belum Caves, take a bus to Tadipatri and then proceed to Belum Caves in another bus.
Hyderabad to Belum Caves: By train Hyderabad to Belum Caves takes approximately 7hrs 20m. Another Option to get from Hyderabad to Belum Caves is by taxi, which takes 4hrs.
Devbagh Beach, Karnataka
If you want to try out several thrilling activities at a single destination, then think no further and just travel to Devbagh Beach! The enchanting beauty and offbeat character of this beach makes it a unique beach. Devbagh gives visitors/tourists the wonder of scenery, stunning blue waters along with the ivory beach, predominantly tourists flock here for the dolphin sighting (for which devbagh is normally famous for) and thrilling water sporting activities. One can also visit an island (Tsunami Island) created during Tsunami, devbagh is completely private, literally isolated, throw away over the cares of this earth. At Devbagh Beach, you will get a marvelous opportunity to try out a plethora of water sports adventures like Parasailing, Snorkeling, Kayaking, Banana boat rides, Speedboat rides, and Water Scooter rides. The sea-food here will make you crave for more chambers.
Athirappilly Falls, Kerala
An 80-feet high waterfall with greenery and small villages around makes Athirappily a fabulous hotspot for picnics. It is Kerala’s largest waterfall and is also nick named as the ‘Niagara Falls of India‘. Thrissur District Tourism organizes jungle safari trips from Chalakudy to Malakkappara, offering you a fabulous sight of the wildlife in Sholayar ranges. Athirapally falls is almost a character in the movie Bahubali and leads the hero to his destiny in the film.
You will have loads of memories to cherish for sure after being here…!
Ponmudi Hills, Kerala
The thick tropical forest of Ponmudi hills is an absolute feast for the eyes. Ponmudi is a hill station in the Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala in India. It is located 55.2 km north-east of Trivandrum city at an altitude of 1100 m Ponmudi hills are known for their tea estates as well. Flowing through a wilderness area, it has rounded pebbles, cool water, fish, and lush green trees. Fascinating and refreshing long drives up these hills, as well as nearby attractions like Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary and Kallar, will revoke the joyous feelings within you. Don’t forget to visit the ancient Koyikkal Palace near these hills. The ideal time to visit Ponmudi is winter season from November to March is the ideal time to take a trip to Ponmudi. The whole place looks mesmerizingly beautiful enveloped in mist.
By Air and Rial Trivandrum is the nearest railway station airport to reach Ponmudi. Visitors/Tourists from across the country can board a train to this station, and hire private vehicles or take the regular buses to make it to Ponmudi. Trivandrum to Ponmudi approximate distance is 55 Kms.
10. Skandagiri Hills, Andhra Pradesh
Known for its mountain fortress, the Skandagiri hills are one of the best places for trekking. It is just 70 km away from Bangalore city and it is called Kalavara Durga by the locals. While trekking towards its top, you will feel as if you are walking above the clouds! You shouldn’t miss the breathtaking view offered by this place at an altitude of 1350 meters. Strange enough I have studied (i.e. school) at its foot of the mountain.
Nearest airport or railway station is Bengaluru, which is around 70 kms Skandagiri Hills around approximately 1 ½ hrs. if you can beat the traffic, I mean 😊
Exploring even a couple of these hidden jewels in South India this year will raise your bars of how to create ever-lasting memories in every turning page of your life.
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