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South india tourism



South india tourism
Tamilnadu, Andhra pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka are some of the most beautiful states in south India.Tamilnadu is a bastion of Hinduism, whose past and endures into the present . Temples with towering spires called gopurams are a common features of the state, seldom seen anywhere else in the country.Temples in Tamilnadu were the fulcrum of society and even today art forms that have their origin in religious worship continue to colour daily life. Notable among these are splendid bronzes of deities , paintings on glass and Bharata natyam, an evocative dance form.Mahabalipuram , Kanchipuram and Thanjavur are good examples of temple towns where within the temples fortifications grew a multi layer society that preached faith and grew from social harmony.Kanchipuram , also called Kanjeevaram, is famous throughout the country as the centre where lustrous silk sarees are woven . Likewise Thanjavur is an important cetre for bronze figure castings.Mahabalipuram, with its wealth of sculptures , is located by the sea side and has excellent resorts. The towns of Tiruchirapalli and Madurai also contain famous temples .

Quite a contrast to the temple heritage is provided at Pondichery, for long a french colony.French is still widely spoken , and sea side villas and cobbled streets are more reminiscent of the south of France than the South of India.

Yet another facet of this surprisingly diverse state is two hill stations Ootacamund and Kodaikanal.Both are little , patches of england , being much loved by the expatriate population of the Raj .Both places provide delight ful relaxation during an extended tour of the south, having a wide range of hotel accommodation.The cuisine of Tamilnadu, more or less totally vegetarian, has become enormously popular all over the country, and few towns do not have have atleast one eatery serving popular snacks from the states extensive repertoire.

With foreign influences as disparate are chinese and portuguese, arab and Dutch, Kerala is the spice coast of India . Edged by a thread of unbroken beach line , the state heart is composed of intensely green paddy fields and a unique network of rivers and lagoons.Upland Kerala, relatively little visited is composed of hills thickly wooded with teak and rubber.It is here that Kerala's most precious spices are grown in carefully nurtured plantation :cardamom, pepper and nutmeg.

Trivendrum, the state's capital , an international airport, has an exceptionally fine museum set in an amusement park.16 kms away is Kovallam one of the popular beaches in the country. Many visitors stay at k0valam , driving into trivendrum for sightseeing trip, rather than the other way round .Sri padmanabhasawamy temple in Trivendrum, and padmanbhapuram palace , a short drive away are important monuments .

Cochin ,with a fine natural harbour ,has been kerala's center of maritime trade for innumerable centuries.Along the harbour , rows of antidiluvian chinese fishing nets indicate kerala's trade with china, just as buildings along the water edge testify to the erstwhile presence of Dutch and Portuguese colonisers.Jewtown, complete with an immaculately preserved synagogue, has a flavour all its own , while Tripunathura , at the other end of the city , has many traditional houses with central courtyards.Kerala's multitudes of faiths --islam, judaism , and a host of sects of christianity and Hinduism -all co exist harmoniously in a state that is known for its marxist inclinations!.Kerala's tradition of Dance forms , which originated from temple worships; can be witnessed at regularly held performances . Lecture- demonstration of the most spectacular of these -Kathakali are held daily at many centre in Cochin.Teyyam, at once an act of worship and visual feast, temple festival complete with caparisoned elephants, Kalaripayata the indegenous art of self defence , all are a part of remarkable heritage of performing arts , and can be witnessed at verious centres in Cochin and Trivendrum.A five hours drive from Cochin leads into thickly forested hills ,past rubber and spice plantations , and into southern India tea growing district headquartered at the charmingly old world Munnar.From Kottayam to Aleppy is a world of Palm fringed waterways, a route which is covered by motor lunch.Elderly sailboats , long barges transporting tons of coconuts and tiny skiffs used to transport children to schools are common sights on these backwaters.

Just off the coast of Kerala's are a widely scattered group coral islands--36 of them --collectively knowns as the Lakshadweep.They form part of the union of India and are one of the country's newest tourist destinations.Ten of the islands are inhabited by simple , peace loving folk whose language is close to that spoken in Kerala.The islanders have lifestyles and occupations that revolve around coconut cultivation , coir matting and fishing.Even today nothing is actually produced in the islands themselves , and everything comes from the "mainland ", as india is somewhat quaintly referrred to there.Tourism major focus is on water sports, as each of the islands are sorrounded by a coral reef providing large area of crystal clear water for everything from snorkelling to wind surfing .The five islands which are open to tourists have simple accommdation in the shape of beach cottages. While equipment for water sports is available at the islands themselves, not much in the way of shopping and entertainments is possible as yet..Lakshadeep is a perfect destination for those who want to get away from the artifices of the world and enjoy a few days in simple yet beautiful sorroundings.

karnataka, with its capital at Bangalore , is home to a fascinationg legacy of richly carved temples, imposing mosques, and trapping of royal past.Bangalore is also a shopper's paradise and a gracious legacy of the british, it is reknown as much for its industrial plants as for its silk sarees, and for the sprawling cubbon park which lies at the heart of the city, as also its prestigeous race course.mysore , the capital of the erstwhile princely state, has a profusion of palaces and museums.Nearby Srirangapatnam is linked to the memory of one of the old state's best known rulers-Tipu Sultan.somnathpur, a few miles away has a magnifiiciantly carved temple.Belur and Halebid have between them a series of carved stone temples.For perfection of finish ,wealth of detail and sheer artistry, they are unrivalled specimens of the art of temple sculptures.Also a short distance away , Shravanbelagola is famous as the pinnacle of the sculpture's art.A figure 120 mts tall has been carved out of a single piece of granite in 183 A.D.Every 12 years , the figure of Gomateswara is ritually bathed by priests and witnessed by millions of devotees in one of the most colourful festivals of the austere jain religion.

Andhra pradesh's capital city hyderabad has the atmosphere of an arabian nights fairy tale.Whimsical palaces , eastwhile stately homes , and crowded bazzars filled with shops selling hyderabadi pearls, incense and coppers utensils characterise the city, while in the distance loom Golconda fort.The city's historical connection traces itself to the rulers of nizams whose wealth was legendary.Rooms full of jewels and currency notes , a garage full of gleaming rolls royces are all now part of history, but a unique culture lives on, colouring the city with its distictive charm.The epicurean tastes of this most exalted royal house of princely India gave rise to a fabled cuisine based on painstaking preparations and slow cooking.Most of the hyderabad's old town can be covered on foot.The city's important landmarks include charminar, a 16th century gateway; the salar jung museum which exhibits priceless treasures alongside trivia that made up the personal collection of the owner; Mecca mosque and Golconda fort.Nagarjuna konda is the site of ongoing excavations which have revealed budhist temples, stupas and monasteries.please see our itinerary section to plan your trip.

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