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HomeTravels5 Incredible Destinations You Have to Visit in South India

5 Incredible Destinations You Have to Visit in South India

You’ve probably heard that South India is home to some of the most stunning destinations in the country. But with so many options, how do you narrow it down to the top spots you absolutely have to put on your travel bucket list? Well, you’re in luck because in this post we’re covering five incredible destinations in South India that need to be on any first-time visitor’s itinerary. From serene hill stations nestled in the Western Ghats to magnificent temples and palaces showcasing intricate Dravidian architecture, these are the places you simply can’t miss on your next trip down south. We’ll tell you everything you need to know to plan your visit to each of these amazing locales. So get ready to be wowed by the natural beauty, cultural treasures, and unforgettable experiences waiting for you in South India. This is one travel guide you definitely want to bookmark!

Explore the Spiritual City of Tirupati and Famous Tirupati Balaji Mandir

Tirupati Balaji Mandir

Tirupati is an ancient holy city located in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. It is most renowned for the Sri Venkateswara Temple, also known as Tirupati Balaji Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara and sits atop one of the seven peaks of Tirumala Hills. With over 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims visiting daily, it is the world’s most-visited place of worship. Even if you’re not religious, Tirupati is worth visiting for its immense spiritual energy and natural beauty.

  • Start your Tirupati tour by taking the footsteps route up the hill to Tirumala. Be prepared for a long hike of 12-14 km that takes 4-6 hours to complete. Stop at temples along the way and take in the peaceful atmosphere and stunning views of the valley below.
  • At the top, get your first glimpse of the awe-inspiring Tirupati Balaji Temple, with its ancient Dravidian architecture featuring lofty towers painted in bright colors. Join the queue to go inside the inner sanctum and receive blessings from Lord Venkateswara. Don’t forget to get the famous Tirupati laddu prasadam!
  • While in Tirupati, also check out the Sri Govindarajaswami Temple, Sri Kodandarama Swami Temple, Sri Kapileswara Swami Temple, ISKCON Tirupati, Srinivasa Mangapuram, and more. The historic temples showcase beautiful carvings and the cultural heritage of the region.
  • Visit Swami Pushkarini Lake, Akasa Ganga waterfall, and Papavinasanam for a refreshing holy dip. The natural sites have their own legends and are equally significant pilgrimage spots.
  • Stay in Tirupati town or on top of the hill in Tirumala. Both offer good accommodation options suiting different budgets. Tirupati is easily accessible by road, rail and air from major cities.

Tirupati provides a unique blend of spirituality, history, nature, and culture. Walking the ancient streets, you can’t help but be moved by the power of faith in this holy land. The serene atmosphere is perfect for quiet contemplation. Don’t miss this incredible destination on your South India tour!

Marvel at the Views From Kanyakumari, the Southernmost Tip of India


Kanyakumari is the southernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent and a breathtaking place to visit. Here are some of the top sights and experiences you won’t want to miss:

  • Take in the views of the ocean meeting the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, and Arabian Sea. It’s incredible to see these 3 massive bodies of water collide in one spot. Go to sunrise or sunset for spectacular colors reflecting on the waves.
  • Visit the 133 foot tall Thiruvalluvar Statue, dedicated to the famous Tamil poet and philosopher. It’s one of the tallest statues in Asia and sits grandly on a small island just offshore.
  • Make a stop at the Kumari Amman Temple, dedicated to the virgin goddess Kanyakumari. This 3000+ year old temple sits right on the shore, with waves crashing near it. You can often see colorful puja ceremonies taking place.
  • Wander along the serene Sanguthurai Beach and take in views of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, built in honor of the Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda. You can take a short ferry ride to explore the memorial up close.
  • Take in a breathtaking sunrise or sunset at the Triveni Sangam, the symbolic “confluence” of the 3 seas. It’s incredible to watch the sun sink into the horizon, with waves gently lapping at the shore.
  • Do some shopping and try local cuisine along the shoreline. Browse stalls selling souvenirs, seashells, spices, crafts and more. Be sure to sample delicious South Indian dishes too!
  • Relax at your hotel and take in the ocean views. Many hotels and resorts are situated right along the coast, letting you fall asleep to the sound of waves.

With its striking natural scenery, important spiritual sites, tranquil vibes, and warm South Indian hospitality, Kanyakumari is a can’t-miss stop on any trip through South India. Take your time exploring this special corner of the subcontinent.

Discover the Ancient Adi Yogi Statue and Temple in Vellore

Adi Yogi Statue

The ancient temple town of Vellore is home to some incredible historic sites that let you discover South India’s rich cultural heritage. One highlight you must visit is the awe-inspiring Adi Yogi statue and temple complex located on the banks of the Palar River.

Standing at a towering height of 27 meters, the monolithic granite Adi Yogi statue is dedicated to the Sun God Surya. This larger-than-life depiction shows Surya in a yogi’s posture, with a halo of sun rays around his head. The statue was sculpted in the 9th century during the reign of the Pallava dynasty and is considered an architectural and sculptural marvel.

  • Take time to walk around the statue and admire the fine details carved into the granite, including delicate jewelry and intricate patterns on the clothes.
  • Pause to reflect on the skills of the Pallava artisans who were able to create this massive sculpture over a thousand years ago using just chisels and hammers.

Next to the Adi Yogi statue lies the ancient Suryanar Kovil Temple, constructed in the 7th century. This temple is one of the nine planetary temples dedicated to the nine planets.

  • The main shrine houses a large image of Surya carved from a single stone. Observe the ornate floral patterns and carvings on the pillars at the entrance.
  • Soak in the spiritual ambience as you walk around the inner prakara, or corridor, with its carved pillars and statues.

Make time to attend the daily sunset aarti ceremony at the temple if you can. Watching the priest wave the sacred fire in front of the Adi Yogi statue as the sun sets is an ethereal experience.

  • The sunset transforms the statue into a glowing vision as the last rays illuminate it in a fiery golden orange hue.
  • Participate in the prayers and chants to Lord Surya along with the devotees gathered there.

After visiting the statue and temple, take a moment to appreciate this incredible example of Pallava art and architecture. As one of the most ancient and culturally significant sites in South India, the Adi Yogi statue is an unforgettable part of this region’s living heritage.

Trek Through the Lush Green Valleys and Waterfalls of Araku Valley

Araku Valley

If you want to get up close and personal with nature, a trek through Araku Valley should be on your South India itinerary. Located in the Eastern Ghats, this lush green paradise is known for its breathtaking landscapes, tribal villages, and gushing waterfalls. Ready your hiking boots and get ready for an incredible outdoor adventure!

  • Pack light clothes and hiking shoes. The weather here is pleasant, with average temperatures around 25°C. But the hilly terrain can get warm when trekking. Bring sun protection.
  • Hire a guide in Araku town. Locals know the valley like the back of their hand. They’ll lead you on the best routes and share stories about the local tribes. Don’t set out alone.
  • Trek to waterfalls first. Galikonda, Raktakonda, and Katiki are some of the most stunning cascades. The chilled mist and thunderous roar will rejuvenate you.
  • Visit tribal hamlets along the way. Interact with the local Kondadora tribe and see their way of life. Watch them craft bamboo handicrafts.
  • Don’t miss the coffee plantations. Araku Valley produces aromatic organic coffee. Take a tour of an estate and sip on freshly brewed coffee.
  • Have a simple meal at a local homestay. Try staples like jonna roti (sorghum flatbread) and bayalu vepudu (country beans). Nothing beats homecooked food after hours of trekking.
  • Wind down with hilltop sunset views. Hike up to Ananthagiri Hills as the sun begins to set. Watch the sky turn ablaze in hues of orange and pink.

A few tips:

  • Carry snacks, water, first-aid supplies, and cash. There are limited shops. Stock up on energy bars.
  • Get permits if visiting tribal villages. Government regulations protect indigenous communities.
  • Respect customs if visiting homes. Women should cover up, no alcohol or smoking. Ask before photographing.
  • Don’t litter. Help preserve the valley’s pristine environment. Follow eco-friendly trekking principles.

Ready to trade busy city life for fresh air and natural wonders? Lace up those boots and head out on a rejuvenating trek across Araku Valley’s mesmerizing landscape. Mother Nature is waiting to welcome you with open arms. Just be sure to leave nothing behind but footprints!

Wander Through the Impressive Gondikota Fort and Village


Nestled amongst the hills of south India, you’ll discover the impressive Gondikota Fort and village. Dating back over 1000 years, this fort is one of the best preserved in Andhra Pradesh. Meandering through the ruins and village provides a glimpse into the region’s rich history and culture.

  • Stroll along the fort’s massive perimeter walls and climb up to admire the striking views over the surrounding countryside. Parts of the fort are carved directly into the hillside – an impressive feat of engineering.
  • Wander through the remains of the queen’s bath, granaries, and temples within the fort. Palm trees now grow amongst the ruins, creating a serene atmosphere.
  • Chat with locals in the village at the base of the fort. Friendly residents sell handicrafts and are happy to share stories about the area.
  • Check out the small Gondikota Museum near the village entrance to learn more about the fort’s history. Exhibits showcase artifacts found during excavations.
  • Pause for chai and a snack at a quaint cafe along the village’s main street. It’s a nice place to take a break from exploring.
  • Don’t miss the ornately carved pillars of the Prasanna Venkateswara Temple just outside the village. The intricate carvings are absolutely stunning.

Allow a full day to leisurely take in the sights of Gondikota Fort and village. It’s an off-the-beaten-path destination that provides a glimpse into India’s diverse history and culture. Meandering along quiet village lanes and climbing historic fort walls transports you back through the centuries. Don’t miss adding this impressive fort to your South India itinerary!

Some tips for visiting Gondikota:

  • There’s an entry fee to access the fort grounds and museum. Inquire locally for current rates.
  • Visit in the cooler morning and evening hours, as there’s little shade. Carry water with you.
  • Wear good walking shoes and bring a hat – you’ll be doing a lot of exploring on foot.
  • Modest dress is recommended when visiting temples in the village.
  • Hire a guide to maximize your experience and learn about the intricate history.

Let the impressive Gondikota Fort transport you back in time. Its winding lanes, carved temples, and formidable architecture showcase the marvel of ancient engineering and captivating history just waiting to be uncovered in South India.


The list of incredible destinations to visit in South India goes on and on, but these five picks are some of the best places to start your journey. With stunning beaches, lush jungles, ancient temples, and vibrant cities, South India has something for every type of traveler. Wherever your South Indian travels take you, go with an open mind, a sense of adventure, and flexibility in your plans. Let the journey unfold naturally, and don’t be afraid to veer off the beaten path. Immerse yourself in the local culture, try the delicious cuisine, and soak up the beautiful sights. South India is waiting for you to explore its treasures – now it’s your turn to experience it for yourself!