It was the fourth time that I went to India. And this time to an area totally unknown to me, South India. Below I will suggest you South India Itinerary. We spent three weeks touring the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. And with them, I discovered an India that has little to do with that of the north.
Here the landscape is formed by infinite rice fields, mountains where one of the best teas in the world grows and beaches with palm trees.
The temples are majestic and the palaces are fairy tales. The Indians of this part of the country are much more respectful to a surprised traveler before the ancient rites of their temples or their ancient fishing techniques.
Passing through South India offered me a different vision of the country. And encouraged me to think about future trips to other areas of the Indian subcontinent.
Although we knew that November would be the best time to travel to South India, for business reasons the closest thing to that month that we could travel was October. So we started looking for airline tickets and organizing the itinerary.
Many things to see, too many, so you had to try to find a route where the points to visit were not too far away and thus optimize time.
We decided to visit only part of three states: Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. Still, things had to be left in the pipeline. But I think it was a good three-week trip through a part of India not yet visited by foreigners.
Journey through with this South India Itinerary
Day 01 : Madrid – Mahaballipuram
We left Madrid Barajas heading to Chennai with a stopover in Dubai. One of those long flights in which you have to sleep. Because you know that on the day of your arrival at the destination you will do it in the morning. But it will be time to get your batteries started to get to know the country, in this case, South India.
Day 02: Mahaballipuram
We arrived in Chennai early in the morning, but we did not find the capital of Tamil Nadu so interesting to dedicate a day of our trip, so we went directly to the city where we would spend a couple of nights: Mahaballipuram .
After checking in, a shower and clean clothes we went to discover the monuments of this city. That was seriously affected by the 2004 tsunami.
Day 03: Kanchipuram
This day is dedicated to Kanchipuram, a city that without being attractive does have a series of impressive temples that well justify the trip of several hours by car.
In the afternoon, we wanted to watch the sunset over the Tamil Nadu. Rice paddies from the Tirukkalikundra temple before heading back to Mahabalipuram for dinner and sleep.
Day 04: Pondicherry
We leave the Mahabalipuram and go to one of the most beautiful cities in South India: Pondicherry . It was a French colony and it shows in the houses of its French quarter and even in the suits of the city police.
Day 05: Pondicherry to Tanjore
Our journey continued through Tamil Nadu lands. We leave Pondicherry and the Indian Ocean behind to head towards Chidambaram, one of the most impressive temples in this southern Indian state. In it we were able to attend a ceremony that has been celebrated for centuries: that of fire.
Later we visit other important Hindu temples, Dharasuram and Gangakondacholapuram, to finish the tour knowing Kumbakonam. At night we arrived in Tanjore, the city where we would spend two nights.
Day 06: Tanjore and Trichy
Tanjore is a chaotic city but with enough of a temple and palace attractive enough to warrant taking it into account on a journey through South India. It was also our base to visit one of those impressive temples in Tamil Nadu , that of Trichy .
Day 07: Chettinad
After our second night in Tanjore, we continued our journey towards a place. That in a way reminded us of the Shekhawati Havelis: Chettinad and its elegant mansions with large courtyards surrounded by beautiful columns. An unknown place perhaps because it is somewhat off the beaten path. After knowing this place we continue our journey towards Madurai.
Day 08: Madurai
Before we started our journey through South India, Madurai was one of the few cities whose name I knew, as well as the existence of its temple. Of course we visited him, as did his palace. but we also take the opportunity to have a relaxed day with some hours of relaxation by the hotel pool.
Day 09: Munnar
This day we left Tamil Nadu behind, a state that had fascinated me with its temples, its rice paddies, and its people.
We were leaving for Kerala and our first stop was Munnar. A hill station surrounded by tea plantations that create a landscape very similar to that of the Nuwara Eliya fields in Sri Lanka.
Day 10: Munnar
A day of walks, elephants in the wild and even a Kathakali show. The rain was our companion at the end of the day. And we appreciated the freshness that is left after the hot days spent in the neighboring state.
Day 11: Kochi
We had to leave behind the mountains and the respite they had given us on our journey through South India. Kochi , one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Asia and the famous Chinese networks by the sea , awaited us .
Day 12: Backwaters
Despite the suggestions of different people we decided to forget the idea of sleeping on a barge on the Kerala canals. We prefer to spend the whole day in one of them and go back to sleep in Kochi. It was a wise move for us to do so.
Day 13: Backwaters
The backwaters not only can go on the famous rice barges can also be found wandering in small boats or by bike. We put it all together and spend a day entertained and away from tourists. A totally recommended idea.
Day 14: Kannur
We wanted to spend a few days on the beach, and considering our Kannur route it seemed like a very good idea. Up there we went by train, but what we found was not what was expected: a beach where (Muslim) women bathed dressed did not seem the ideal place to lie in a bikini.
We also found dirty sand and a canal that took all kinds of waste into the sea. Such as plastic bottles or bags. We spent a stormy night there knowing that the next day we would look for another alternative to continue our journey.
Day 15: Wayanad
Among all that we found as a possible option to continue our trip, the Wayanad National Park won by a landslide.
After breakfast, we set out for that border state between Kerala and Karnataka. We did not arrive until late in the afternoon and finding accommodation to our liking was not an easy task.
Day 16: Wayanad
We spent the day visiting the Wayanad park . It was a heavy and boring story, but at the last moment everything changed. When just two meters from our jeep an adult leopard crossed our path. Of those things that remain in your retina forever.
Day 17: En route to Hassan (Karnataka)
Behind us, we left this day another of the southern states of India. We were leaving for Karnataka on a journey that was eternal again. We stopped in a town that we know the name of and found a very attractive temple, similar to those of Tamil Nadu but without those special colors that we had seen the previous days.
In the afternoon we arrived at Hassan , a populous city. That it took us a long time to cross to reach our hotel, a beautiful accommodation where we only had dinner and spent nights. The next day our journey continued.
Day 18: Hoysala Temples
Karnataka can also boast interesting temples, those of the Hoysala dynasty. Two good samples of them are those of Belur and Halebid . After them we left Sravanabelagola , a city where you can see the tallest monolithic stature in the world. From there, to Mysore, just to take a walk and see its beautiful illuminated palace.
Day 19: Mysore
My Mysore I found a city of the most beautiful in India . Its palaces, gardens, tidy streets and market form an interesting complex that I am very happy to have been able to visit during one of the most important festivals in the city: Dasara .
Day 20: En route to Bangalore
Before reaching the capital of Karnataka, Bangalore, we got to know two other places in this southern Indian state: Somnathpur and Srirangapatnam .
We visited a temple, the palace of the sultan Tipu and his tomb. On a day that dawned with the sun and in which it ended up raining. It was already dark when we arrived at our hotel in the modern city of Bangalore.
Day 21: Bangalore
I cannot lie to you: the only place in India. That I have passed through that I have not found any attraction for has been Bangalore. It is a modern city but for me, it lacks enough attractions to make it a mere place of passage. Not even followed its market had those vibrant colors so common in this country. In his favor the good offer in restaurants, a point in his favor.
Day 22: Return to Madrid
After breakfast we left for the airport, our trip to the south of India was over and we had to return to Madrid.
Broadly speaking, this was our journey through the three southernmost states of India . Each one has a special attraction: Tamil Nadu its temples and its rice paddies; Kerala its tropical landscape and its tea fields; Karnataka World Heritage temples and one of the most beautiful cities in the country.
Each traveler is interested in certain aspects when visiting a destination. I believe that In this our South India itinerary our expectations were met, although we exchanged that dream beach for a fantastic leopard that we had not counted on.