If you are a traveller who wants a peek into the glorious history of South India, get ready to embark on an enlightening journey through South India’s astonishing and awe-inspiring historical places.
South India which is a treasure trove of natural beauty, culture, and history has a plethora of historical places which are a delight for any traveller. Each historical places shed light on the ancient history of South India and have a story of its own. There is no doubt, they are absolutely fascinating to explore and learn about.
Here we present you the list of the Best Historical Places In South India For a Perfect Heritage Tour:
Hampi – Exploring the Ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire
A celebrated UNESCO World Heritage Site in Karnataka, Hampi is the most sensational of all the historical places in South India. Hampi’s ruins glitter with history and the place itself is like an open museum showcasing the glory, heritage, culture, and remarkable artistry of the erstwhile Vijayanagara Empire.
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The extraordinary architectural marvels of Hampi can give you goosebumps and take you on a virtual tour of a time long ago. So, don’t miss this gem of a place on your heritage tour.
Key Attractions: Virupaksha Temple, Vijaya Vittala Temple, Stone Chariot, Achutaraya Temple, Hazara Rama Temple, Musical Pillars, Hanuman Temple, Hampi Architectural Ruins.
Chennai – A Peek into the British Era
A happy blend of old-world and contemporary charm, Chennai is counted as one of the most vibrant and happening places in South India. Even with the visible ‘westernization’, this metropolitan Indian city still remains deep-rooted in culture and tradition. Previously known as Madras, Chennai, which is the capital of Tamilnadu state was built by the British East India Company.
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The countless colonial architecture scattered all across the city reflect its colonial heritage. Steeped in history, Chennai is another wonderful place worth visiting for a perfect heritage tour.
Key Attractions: Marina Beach, Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Government Museum, Edward Elliot’s Beach, Santhome Cathedral, Fort St. George, Guindy National Park, Vivekananda House & Museum, Kalikambal Temple, Loyola Cathedral, National Art Gallery.
Kozhikode (Calicut) – The Kingdom Ruled by the Samootiris (Zamorins)
Kozhikode, a beautiful city along the Malabar Coast in the state of Kerala is a place of rich historical legacy and culture. It was the capital of an independent kingdom ruled by the Samootiris (Zamorins) in the middle ages and later of the British-era Malabar district. Kozhikode was famous as a major port centuries ago and was well-known for its centuries-old trade in cotton and spices with Arabs, Chinese, Turks, and Egyptians.
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Kozhikode holds high historical relevance, as this is the place where the world-famous Portuguese explorer, Vasco Da Gama set foot in India. Also, the place was conquered by many rulers including Tippu Sultan for their political gains. The age-old temples, beaches, and monuments in Kozhikode have a fascinating tale of history attached to them that are worth exploring.
Key Attractions: Kozhikode Beach, Kappad Beach, Mananchira Square, Beypore, Pazhassi Raja Museum and Art Gallery, Thikkodi Light House, Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary, Thali Temple, Calicut Planetarium, Mishkal Mosque, Thusharagiri Fall, Sweet Street (Mithai Theruvu), Matri Dei Cathedral.
Mysore – The Mighty Kingdom of Tippu Sultan
Mysore is a city of great historical importance. A magnificent city, ruled by Wodeyar Kings for 500 years. And later, the power of Mysore moved into the hands of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. The dazzling royal heritage of the city is so captivating that it transports you to the era of Mysore Maharajas.
The highlight is the Royal Mysore Palace, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is a must-visit. The illuminated Mysore Palace at night is a visual feast for the onlookers. The glorious heritage, marvelous architecture, legendary temples, and historic sites make Mysore one of the top historical places in South India.
Key Attractions: Mysore Palace, Mysore Zoo, Brindavan Gardens, Chamundeshwari Temple, Philomena’s Church, Jaganmohan Palace Art Gallery and Auditorium, Kishkinta Moolika Bonsai Garden, Venugopala Swamy Temple, Somanathapura Temple, and Karanji Lake.
Kochi – Tracing the Influence of Ancient European Culture
Kochi aka Cochin is a harmonious blend of centuries-old Jewish synagogue, Chinese Fishing Nets that dip in and out of the mighty Arabian Sea, majestic palaces and bungalows dating back to the Dutch era, Portuguese Forts, and quirky cafes. This vibrant city of Kerala has served as the centre of the world spice trade for many centuries and maintained a trade network with Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Jewish, Greeks, and Roman merchants which have influenced its lifestyle.
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According to TripAdvisor’s 2020 Traveler’s Choice Destination Awards, Kochi was listed among the world’s top trending destinations. Kochi is home to stunning historical monuments, the finest heritage hotels, and fabulous hideouts, making it a must-visit historical place in South India.
Key Attractions: Fort Kochi, Mattancherry Dutch Palace, Jew Synagogue and Jew Town, Marine Drive, Hill Palace Museum, Santa Cruz Basilica, St Francis Church, Museum of Kerala History, Indo-Portuguese Museum, Kadamakkudy Island, Bolghatty Palace, Lulu Shopping Mall, Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary, Wonder la Amusement Park.
Thanjavur (Tanjore) – Exploring the Golden Period of the Chola Kings
Thanjavur enjoys a rich historical heritage and has a lot of cultural value while it holds a significant place in the moulding of ancient as well as modern south Indian civilization. From grand temples to awe-inspiring museums to stunning palaces, it reflects the glory of the bygone era.
Also Read:- UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South India
A renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site that comes under the “Great Living Chola Temples”. This 11th-century Brihadeeswara Temple is a symbol of the glory and architectural brilliance of the mighty Chola dynasty that ruled the region. This stupendous Dravidian-style Lord Shiva Temple is big, grand, and majestic, and a visit here is a sheer delight for historians and architectural lovers alike.
Key Attractions: Brihadeeswara Temple, Great Living Chola Temples, Saraswathi Mahal Library, Thanjavur Maratha Palace, Sivaganga Park, Ayyarappar Temple, Thanjai Mamani Koil, Royal Palace Museum, and Manimandapam.
Warangal – The Ancient Capital of the Kakatiya Dynasty
Ruled by the powerful Kakatiya rulers, Warangal has a rich history associated with it. Also known as “Ekashila Nagaram” in the past, this city is believed to be carved out of a single rock. This historic city also finds its name mentioned in the travel diaries of the famed Italian traveler, Marco Polo who speaks about Warangal that reflect the cultural and administrative excellence during the time of Kakatiyas.
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The city of Warangal is dotted with temples, forts, and ancient monuments that bear testimony to the unimaginable craftsmanship of the Kakatiya kingdom. Among them, the 13th-century Ramappa Temple/ Rudreshswara Temple, the new UNESCO World Heritage Site of India is worth visiting. A sight to behold, Ramappa Temple has been hailed as the “brightest star in the galaxy of medieval temples of the Deccan” by Marco Polo centuries ago.
Key Attractions: Warangal Fort, Thousand Pillar Temple, Ramappa Temple/ Rudreshswara Temple, Bhadrakali Temple, Kakatiya Musical Garden, Kakatiya Zoological Park, Padmakshi Temple, Waddepally Lake, Kush Mahal, and Bhadrakali Lake.
Mahabalipuram – To The Land of the Pallavas
Mahabalipuram is a most recognized historical place in South India, situated on the Coromandel Coast along the Bay of Bengal in Tamilnadu. It was the major seaport of the ancient Pallava kingdom and also flourished as a significant centre of art, architecture, and literature during their reign.
From intricately carved temples to rock-cut caves and monolithic structures, Mahabalipuram stuns everyone with some of the most outstanding architectural wonders in the world. This world-renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site deserves a place on every history buff and architectural lover’s travel bucket list.
Key Attractions: Shore Temple, Pancha Rathas, Arjuna’s Penance or the Descent of the Ganges, Krishna’s Butterball, Thirukadalmallai, Mahabalipuram Beach, Olakkanesvara Temple, Varaha Cave, Trimurthi Cave, Mahishasuramardini Mandapa, and India Seashell Museum.
Pondicherry (Puducherry) – A Peek into its French Connection
This former French colony offers you the golden chance to explore the harmonious fusion of Indo-French culture. The streets of the French Quarter of Pondicherry, also known as White Town, are stunningly picturesque with charming mustard-yellow villas and colonial structures that feature bougainvillea-laden walls and teak columned courtyards.
The place is teeming with authentic French bakeries and cafes where you can feast your tummies with delectable French cuisine and beverages. A leisure stroll or a bicycle ride through the cobble-stoned paths, experiencing the fairytale charm of Pondicherry would surely leave a lasting impression on your mind.
Key Attractions: Auroville, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Promenade Beach, Rock Beach, Paradise Beach, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, French War Memorial, Pondicherry Museum, Bharathi Park, Varadharaja Perumal Temple.
Hyderabad – Traveling Back to the Mughal Era
Hyderabad in Telangana which served as the capital of the Nizams offers a fascinating panorama of the past, with a richly mixed cultural and historical tradition. Stunning architectural marvels adorn every nook and corner of the city that transports you back to the Mughal era the moment you set foot here.
A city of contrasts, Hyderabad is simultaneously young and old, traditional, and cosmopolitan with wonderful historical sites like palaces, forts, temples, and museums on one hand and a string of cafes, noisy bazaars, swanky new office buildings, and malls on the other. A heritage tour to Hyderabad is a learning and richly rewarding experience.
Key Attractions: Charminar, Golkonda Fort, Salar Jung Museum, Lumbini Park, Hussain Sagar Lake, Chowmahalla Palace, Ramoji Film City, Birla Mandir, Qutab Shahi Tombs, NTR Gardens, Necklace Road, and Paigah Tombs.
Goa – Experiencing its Portuguese Influence
Goa which is often known for its irreplaceable beaches also possesses a rich heritage. Goa‘s cultural beauty and glorious heritage are well expressed in its architecture. It was the presence of the Portuguese that led to the introduction of Western architectural elements in Goa.
The ancient churches and majestic forts of Goa evoke an old-world charm with their unique architecture and are a sight to behold. The fusion of Indo-Portuguese culture and the presence of captivating historical monuments make Goa a great historical place worth visiting in South India.
Key Attractions: Aguada Fort, Reis Mogos Fort, Bom Jesus Basilica, Se Cathedral, Church Of St. Francis Of Assisi, Church of St. Cajetan, Dudhsagar Waterfall, Aguada Beach, Arambol Beach, Baga Beach, Anjuna Beach, Calangute Beach.
Dhanushkodi – The Ghost Town that Narrates the Tales of Myth, Melancholy, and Mysteries from the Past
Dhanushkodi in Rameswaram is one of a kind destination in Tamilnadu that every curious traveler and history buff, would like to visit at least once in their lifetime. Though in ruins after being abruptly destroyed by a ferocious cyclone and later by a disastrous Tsunami, Dhanushkodi still fascinates travellers with its eerie vibe, tragic past, and the remnants of the old town.
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Besides, the breathtaking natural beauty of the place and the mesmerizing views of the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal it offers are sure to blow your mind. Interestingly, this abandoned town has a great mythological connection too. The history of Dhanushkodi dates back to the time of Hindu mythology. Dhanushkodi is undoubtedly a must-visit historical place in South India for a perfect heritage tour.
Key Attractions: Dhanushkodi Beach, Ram Setu or Adam’s Bridge, Pamban Island, Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, Ramar Patham Temple
Come, unfold the pages of the past and get a rich insight into the flourishing culture and splendid history of South India by exploring its marvelous historical places.
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