While most adventurists like to choose a travel destination beyond the Vindhyas, the quick getaways of South India often remain unexplored. While a few parts of Kerala do attract a fair share of tourists, there is a lot more in the getaways department that the five states have to offer.
Here’s a quick look at the 15 best getaways in South India:
1. Munnar (Kerala)
Located on the Western Ghats of Kerala, Munnar is the highest city in South India. Located very close to the Malabar Coast, the high-altitude fantasy land is like a bonsai a version of Darjeeling. With tea plantations, extremely cold climate, unparallel scenic beauty of the pine forests and undoubtedly the best cottage industry chocolate, Munnar is one of the finest places for a quick getaway.
2. Ooty (Tamil Nadu)
Second on the list is a place which also happens to be the second highest hill station in the southern part of the country, Ooty. Situated in Tamil Nadu, Ooty is considered to be one of the most picturesque hill stations in the country. The place has attracted many Bollywood movies too and remains one of the most popular tourist destinations.
3. Coonoor (Tamil Nadu)
Located in the same hill range – The Nilgiris, Coonoor is like a quieter and rawer version of Ooty. This is a perfect destination for people who love traveling to hill stations but without the tourist hustle bustle to it. This place has everything that Ooty with an additional feature of being quieter.
4. Suryalanka (Andhra Pradesh)
Located halfway between Chennai and Visakhapatnam on the coast of Andhra Pradesh, Suryalanka is one of the very few white sand beaches of the country. Easily accessible by road, Suryalanka remains the most untouched beach of South India.
5. Ananthagiri Hills (Telangana)
Although ideally most hikers would prefer hiking through the snow-laden peaks of Uttaranchal, the Ananthagiri Hills are the closest one could get to hiking in South India. You wouldn’t see snow here, but the view from an area on top of the hill called ‘viewpoint’ makes it worth going up this trail. But what really makes this place stand out are the night treks organized by various groups here.
6. Pondicherry (UT)
Next on the list is a union territory landlocked by Tamil Nadu on three sides and the Bay of Bengal on the other. Russian colonies, French bakeries, a meditation center, a beach and cheap alcohol, need we sell this place more?
7. Alleppey (Kerala)
‘I don’t like hills’, ‘I don’t fancy beaches’, ‘I’m not really a trekker’. If these statements sound familiar, Alleppey is just what you’re looking for. At just an hour away from Kochi, this is the perfect place to sit back, relax and surf the calm backwaters of Kerala in a house boat.
8. Mysore (Karnataka)
Perfect climatic conditions, delicious Udipi food, a beautiful fort, and tons and tons of history awaits in the magical town of Mysore. The city makes up for its lack of being a proper tourist place with its history and the way it has been preserved over the years.
9. Gokarna (Karnataka)
This place comes closest to Goa, literally. Located North of Bengaluru and around 100 kilometers from the Goa border, Gokarna is Goa but with a Kannada touch. This place is far away from the party animals of Goa. Ideally this place is what Goa would’ve been in the 1970s.
10. Araku Valley (Andhra Pradesh)
Tollywood’s favorite romantic destination (for lower budget films), Araku Valley is a result of what happens when a trekking valley meets some tourism and has a beach, that’s right, a beach. The place is just a couple of hours from Visakhapatnam and boasts of a lot of valley-themed resorts.
11. Nandi Hills (Karnataka)
Standing just 60 kilometers from the technological jungle – Bangalore, Nandi Hills is untouched by any of the hullabaloos that goes on in Silicon Valley’s India branch. The place is home an ancient fort which once was used by Tipu Sultan, a dreamy fog and makes for an amazing sunrise point.
12. Kuntala Falls (Telangana)
300 kilometers north of Hyderabad, Kuntala Falls is peaceful getaway that doesn’t attract a huge number of tourists. Not intimidating or massive in any way, the falls are a symbol of what a trip to the falls feels like, humbling.
13. Lake Pulicat (Tamil Nadu/Andhra Pradesh)
That’s right, what was once just an answer to a question in Social studies in school is actually a pretty good getaway if you’re around Chennai. India’s second largest fresh water lake, Lake Pulicat is generally very majestic and it just steps up a notch when a host of migratory birds arrive here in December.
14. Thekkady (Kerala)
Widely known as the Periyar Wildlife Reserve, Thekkady is a four-hour drive cutting through God’s own country from Kochi. Not only does it offer an incredible view of the thick forests around, the boat ride at the reserve takes you into deeper areas where you can spot bison, elephants and a whole lot of birds.
15. Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh)
Made popular by the Lord Venkateshwara temple, Tirupati is considered to be more of a pilgrim spot than a getaway. The entire hill range is covered in lush green forests and make for a great trek. The place also has a lot to offer in terms of scenic value. And to top it all off, you also get blessings of the lord and the delicious Tirupati laddu. What else could one wish for?
— By Southie Bhavneet Singh.