If you think that you have explored South India to the fullest, hold on! This incredible part of India still has many amazing hidden getaways that lie untouched and unexplored. There’s a lot more to South India than just the tranquil Western Ghats or the dreamlike pristine beaches. There are still many secret places in South India that are waiting to be explored and are a must visit.
Here are some of the hidden getaways in South India that you must explore if you get a chance.
Vattakanal is a small charming village, which is located on the Western Ghats and is also known as 'Vatta' or 'Little Israel’. This is because a large number of Israeli tourists frequent this village October onwards. Explore Vattakanal and its surroundings and the beautiful forests and admire the fabulous range of exotic flowers. If you are a nature lover, then this is the place for you to soak in its beauty.
Located in Tamil Nadu, Dhanushkodi is situated in Pamban Island and is famously referred to as 'Ghost Town' or the 'Lost Land'. The railway line to the town got destroyed in 1964 because of a cyclone. Earlier, Dhanushkodi thrived as a tourist and pilgrimage town. However, the cyclone disaster cut off this land adjoining India and Sri Lanka. Today, even though Dhanushkodi lies in ruins, there is an unorthodox charm about it. Swami Vivekananda set foot here first after his visit to the west to attend the World's Parliament of Religions. Dhanushkodi ruins are both striking and nostalgic.
The beauty of Athirappilly Falls will make you fall in love with them. Located in Kerala, the 80-ft-high waterfall is famous as the ‘Niagara Falls of India’. It is the largest waterfall of Kerala surrounded by small villages and lush greenery. Explore the captivating sight and go for jungle safari trips. One must also explore the evergreen forest of Sholayar ranges in the Western Ghats, when here. However, you need to purchase a ticket to enter the waterfall, and once you enter the main gate, you are rewarded with a panoramic view of the falls. Make sure to carry an extra set of clothing as you are sure to get drenched in water! Explore and relax in the calm green environs that surround the waterfall.
Gandikota is located in Andhra Pradesh, on the banks of the river Pennar and the small village is definitely worth visiting. Known as the Grand Canyon of India, it is an adventure in itself to reach the village. Since there is no regular means of transportation, one can take the downhill trek through the canyon. One needs to spend a good amount of time here to explore the village and the surroundings completely. This is one of the best touristic spots of South India that is waiting to be explored.
Halebidu was the royal capital of the Hoysala empire in the 12th century. If you are interested in history, then you must explore the old city, which is rich in architecture and heritage. Earlier, it was known as Dorasamudra, but the capital got the name "Halebidu" as it was invaded and ransacked by Malik Kafur. Halebidu is being proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stunning Kedareswara temples are a mute witness to the interesting history.
Chimmony and Ponmudi lie hidden amidst the untouched parts of the Western Ghats. One gets tremendous opportunities to explore nature while they trek to the Ponmudi Peak. Escape the crowded cities to explore the Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary, which is ideal for bird watchers and photography enthusiasts.
Famous for its coffee plantations, Araku valley is well-known among coffee lovers. Araku is located in the Vishakapatnam district, and it is a relatively unexplored hill station. It is famous for "Araku Emerald", the premium coffee brand. Located in a valley surrounded by Sunkarimetta, Galikonda, Raktakonda, and Chitamogondi mountains, it is an almost untouched tourist place in south India. The beautiful Araku valley makes for a great retreat from the crowd and rush of the cities.
The Belum Caves are the second largest and the longest caves in India. Explore the expansive chambers and the long passages of the caves. Enjoy the fresh water galleries and siphons, thanks to the continuous flow of underground water. These caves are made of black limestone and their deepest point is 150 feet. Along with the main entrance, there are 16 different pathways.
If you love adventure water sports like snorkelling, kayaking, water scooters and banana boat rides, then head straight for Devbagh Beach near Karwar. You can enjoy some thrilling beachside activities and have a lot of fun here. If you want to relax, just laze around the white beach on the soft sand and enjoy gazing at a quiet sunset. Take a midnight boat ride along the enchanted Karwar shoreline or trek across the white sands of the beach. With endless open spaces, Devbagh Beach is a wonderful place for beach lovers.
Skandagiri is a mountain citadel which lies as a short distance away from Bangalore. Well known as Kalavara Durga, there is very little that is known about the fortress. However, it makes for an exciting weekend trip from Bangalore. One can enjoy a picnic here as well as take photographs of the majestic fortress overlooking the Nandi Hills and Muddenahalli. This is a wonderful experience that is a beautiful mix of history and adventure. As you trek to the top of the hill to view the fortress and its ruins, you are rewarded with stunning views of lush greenery.
There is so much more to South India than Chennai, Munnar, Kerala, Ooty etc. Explore these hidden getaways and come back with some beautiful memories and some excellent stories to share with friends and family.