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South India boasts a plethora of fantastic off-the-beaten-path destinations to visit. Some places are far from the tourism spotlight and are free of the clamour prevalent in renowned tourist spots. Here's a list of 7 unique places to visit in South India to plan your next getaway. Check out!

1. Hampi, Karnataka:

Nestled along the banks of the Tungabhadra River, Hampi was once the crown jewel of the Vijayanagara Empire and is the highlight of South India tourism. Visiting this gorgeous ruin is one of the fulfilling places to visit in South India. It is one of India's UNESCO World Heritage Sites and houses historical and cultural treasures. As you wander through the ruins of Hampi's magnificent forts, palaces and temples, you will get an exclusive sneak-peak of the monuments that speak eloquently about Hampi's grandeur and wealth in the 14th century. In 1565, Hampi was attacked by the Mughals of the Deccan, who pillaged the city for six months before leaving it. Nevertheless, the ruins of Hampi have weathered the ravages of time and continue to evoke memories of the grandeur of the bygone era.

2. Belum Caves, Andhra Pradesh:

Belum Caves was discovered in 1884 by British archaeologist and geologist Robert Bruce Foote. It is the second-largest natural cave in the Indian subcontinent and is known for its speleothems, such as stalactite and stalagmite formations. Belum Caves, which is more than a million years old and was formed over time by the steady flow of underground water, has lengthy corridors, small chambers and vast tanks filled with fresh water. The Belum Caves are also historically significant since numerous earthenware dating back to 4500 BC was unearthed at the spot used by the Jain and Buddhist monks. If you are looking for unique places to visit in South India, then Belum Caves are a must-have in your itinerary.

3. Athirappilly Falls, Kerala:

Athirappilly Falls, often known as the "Niagra of India," is Kerala's ever-shining pride. Visiting this waterfall is one of the top things to do in South India. The sight of water cascading onto the ground from a height of nearly 80 feet inspires awe in the sheer strength and magnificence of nature. It originates from the upper parts of the Western Ghats and flows through the lush foliage of the Vazhachal forest toward the Arabian Sea, creating an unparalleled picture of descending water with the backdrop of rugged topography and emerald sky. Moreover, Athirappilly Falls became notable for the rare species present inside the forests surrounding them, not merely for their beauty. Endangered Hornbills have been discovered here, making it the only spot in the Western Ghats to sustain.

4. St. Mary's Islands, Karnataka:

St Mary's Island, a secluded island off the coast of Udupi, Karnataka, is a remarkable ecological wonder and unique place to visit in South India. As you relax on the pristine white sands of the beach beneath the shade of a swaying palm tree, the crystal blue waters of the sea gently caress your feet, and all you can hear is the peaceful murmur of the waves. St. Mary's Island has a crystalline rock shoreline that geologists believe was formed when Madagascar was broken off from India about 88 million years ago. It has no residents and lacks hawkers, food establishments or other commercial ventures, adding to its allure.

5. Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh:

Did you know that India has its version of the Grand Canyon, and the replica can give an intense competition for its Arizona equivalent? Movement Over millions of years, the Pennar River's course through the Erramala Hills, along with weathering and tectonic activity, has resulted in a stunning gorge formation near Gandikota, a small village in Andhra Pradesh's Kadapa district. It is a beautiful assemblage of rocks, carved and stacked in the most remarkable way, similar to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Aside from the Indian Grand Canyon, the Gandikota Fort is one of the marvellous places to visit in South India. While most of the structure is now in ruins, there are still some interesting structures to see, such as a watchtower, a jail and a granary.

6. Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh:

Visiting Araku Valley, a region of tremendous scenic beauty, is one of the top things to do in South India for any nature lover. It is home to enormous coffee plantations, protected forests, breathtaking waterfalls and a thriving cultural heritage. The coffee estates of Araku Valley, in particular, are a sensory joy. Stately oak trees border endless rows of squat, green coffee bushes and neat small paddy fields in the distance. Such a lovely panorama always remains infused with the enticing perfume of fresh coffee beans, which is bound to tantalise your senses. Araku Tribal Museum, Borra Caves and Padmapuram Botanical Garden are three of our recommended locations to explore in Araku Valley.

7. Badami, Karnataka:

Badami's beautiful sculptures and sandstone cliffs are picturesquely perched in the mouth of a canyon between two steep hills, bringing up many a narrative from the past. It was once the capital of the Badami Chalukyas, who reigned from 540 to 757 AD. Badami is known for its cave temples carved out of sandstone cliffs, which Agastya Lake encircles. Three of the four cave temples are dedicated to Hindu Gods, while one is dedicated to Jainism.

Which is the best time to visit South India?

The months of December to February are ideal for visiting South India because the weather remains pleasant during this time.

How to reach South India?

By Air:

South India is well-connected via airways. Cochin International Airport (Kochi) in Kerala, Kempegowda International Airport (Bangalore) in Karnataka, Chennai and Coimbatore International Airports in Tamil Nadu are among the several airports serving visitors to South India and cover the majority of South Indian destinations.

By Railway:

Railways connect many South Indian states, including Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. In South India, major junctions include Kerala's Kozhikode and Alleppey, Karnataka's Bangalore and Mysore, Tamil Nadu's Chennai and Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam Junction.

By Roadway:

South India is well-connected by road, thanks to the extensive interweaving of national highways, state highways and district roads. Most locations are served by state-run buses. Some of the most well-known public buses include the KSRTC (Kerala), BMTC (Bangalore and nearby districts), APSRTC (Andhra Pradesh) and TNSTC (Tamil Nadu).

So, are you ready to explore the hidden gems and have an exhilarating experience in South India?

About Mahindra Holidays

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited (MHRIL), India’s leading player in the leisure hospitality industry, offers quality family holidays as also stated by Club Mahindra Membership Reviews and Club Mahindra Reviews, primarily through vacation ownership memberships. While Club Mahindra is the flagship brand offering Club Mahindra Membership, other brands offered by the company are – Club Mahindra Resorts Fundays and Svaastha Spa. As of Mar 31, 2019, MHRIL has 61+ resorts across India and abroad and its subsidiary, Holiday Club Resorts Oy, Finland, a leading vacation ownership company in Europe has 33 resorts across Finland, Sweden and Spain. Visit us at https://www.clubmahindra.com/

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