Exotic South India: Best Sightseeing Options for Day Trips

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It’s not always necessary that you plan a holiday always in advance and you head to that destination packing all heavy stuffs. Sometimes the trips just happen all of a sudden without prior notice may be either in form of a short corporate trip, regular health check up or to deal with some clients. In such a situation often you get a day or two to roam around and you find yourself nowhere as you do not know about the nearby attractions to be covered in a day. In this blog we are offering an insight about the destinations that can be explored in a single day in case if you are in South India.

South India: The Treasure Trove of Hidden Gems

Lined with coastal embankments of the Arabaian Sea and flanked by the lofty mountain ranges of the Western Ghats, the Southern region of India presents many interesting varieties of blissful attractions that meet the need of newly-wed couples to solo travellers. Picturesque tea gardens, lively sea beaches and ancient Dravidian temples deck this part of India impeccably and beckon the retreat seekers in various seasons to take a plunge in its unmatched beauty. The national parks and reserve forests found in this region are quite different from those in the North and appear as the repository of several exotic species of birds and animals. The art-filled creations of several dynasties, peaceful hill stations and backwaters lined with shady coconut and palm trees make one’s holiday utterly fruitful.

Here is a glimpse of the major attractions in South India along with a brief idea about the possible outings that you can carry out during the day.

Kollam

kollam
A vibrant coastal city on the bank of Ashtamudi Lake, Kollam has been one of the oldest sea ports of the country since the time of the Roman Empire. The port was once a significant commercial hub that used to be thronged by the merchants of China, Portuguese, Dutch and British rulers to tread the spices and cashews grown in nearby areas. Lively coastal areas, cheerful city life, quaint villages and the flourishing cashew, coconut and palm plantation add a juxtaposing beauty to this city life. If you are in Kollam for a day or so try planning for a day trip from Kollam. For that you can go for sightseeing in Mayannad (10km south of Kollam), Paravur (13km south of Kollam), Chavara (14km north of Kollam) or Oachira (32km north of Kollam).

Other Attractions:
Well, to make your day trip more happening visit some other attractions in Kollam like Kolam Beach, Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuary, Munroe Island and Thangassery Light House according to the availability of time.

Alleppey

Alleppey
Located in Alappuzha district of Kerala, Alleppey is a small town known for its hushed beaches, lagoons and large network of canals. Popularly known as Alappuzha, Alleppey wins the heart of the tourists with its crystal clear backwaters and houseboats. A quaint place covered with large numbers of coconut and palm trees, this tourist spot is surrounded by wonderful sightseeing options that can be explored in a full day tour. You can visit attractions like Ambalapuzha which is around 14km from the city famous for the architectural grandeur of the Sri Krishna Temple. Karumadikkuttan is located 3km east of Ambalapuzha and visited by the tourists who come here to sight the huge black granite statue of Lord Buddha that dates back to the 10th century. Champakulam is a water logged village located at a distance of around 15km and known for The St. Mary Forane Church built in 427 A D.

Other Attractions:
Marari Beach, Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple, St. Andrew’s Basilica Arthunkal, St. Mary’s Forane Church, Revi Karunakaran Museum are a few other attractions in Alleppey.

Kottayam

Kottayam
A city in central Kerala, Kottayam has a vast network of canals and backwaters for making one’s holidays utterly relaxing. Mainly known for rubber plantation and the industries dedicated to the commercialisation of this natural product, the city is located on the basin of Meenachil River. So, by any chance if you are in Kottayam and done with the important works you have come here for, try visiting Vagamon, the popular hill station located in Idukki-Kottayam border. It is around 64km from Kottayam. However, if you are short of time, try visiting Ettumanoor which is around 11km from Kottayam city or Vembanad Lake, around 16km from Kottayam City.

Other Attractions:
Ilaveezha Poonchira, Ayodhya House Boat, Bay Island Driftwood Museum, Vaikom Mahadeva Temple are a few major attractions in Kottayam.

Cochin

Cochin
The dazzling malls, extensive walkways and bustling coffe shops lined along the beaches of Cochin will make your day outing in Cochin utterly blissful. Perfect for a short weekend trip from central Kerala this city makes your trip worth it presenting an opportunity of walking through the city which still has a hangover of its colonial past. The Jewish Heritage, Dutch palaces and British households found around this city attract the history buffs as well as fun-loving souls. However, for Same Day Trip Tours from Kochi you can visit Parur which is around 35 km from Kochi where you can see the Syrian Orthodox Church, a Krishna Temple, and a temple of goddess Mookambica which is around 35 km from Kochi. Thripunithura is around 12km south-west of Kochi where you can see the Hill Palace Museum which houses the artefacts of Cochin and the belongings of the Travancore Royal Family.

Other Attractions:
Depending on your schedule and mood you can visit a few other sightseeing spots in Cochin such as Princess Street, Kerala Folklore Theater and Museum, Mattancherry, St Francis Church and some more.

Munnar

munnar
If you are in Munnar for a short break and want to get the best out of it plan for a day trip and you will be bewitched by the attractions found nearby this destination. This rewarding hill station of South India has enough to satiate your hunger of travelling and if you are seeking something beyond this try visiting Devikulam (8km from Munnar), Attukul waterfall (9km from Munnar), Eravikulam National Park (8km), Anamudi (36km) and a few more as per your schedule.

Other Attractions:
Tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in Pothamendu, Hydro Electric Project in Pallivasal, waterfalls at Nyayamakad, colonial remains at Chithirapuram are some of the worth seeing sites of Munnar.

Trivandrum

Trivandrum
The city of Trivandrum encloses a number of attractive sights including beaches, backwaters, zoo, winding lanes, red-tiled roofs, pagoda shaped buildings and Victorian museums set in the Neo-Keralan buildings. Start your day with a visit to the Padmanabhaswamy Temple which is around 7km from the Trivandrum town. After your visit to the temple drive around 13km to the Kovalam Beach and spend your day on its ravine sea shores. Come back to the Museum Complex of Trivandrum driving around 14km and spend your evening exploring the rich collection of artefacts in Napier Museum, Sree Chithra Art Gallery along with a short tour around the Zoological Park.

Other Attractions:
Veli Tourist Village, Thiruvallam, Shanghumukham Beach, Science & Technology Museum & Priyadarshini Planetarium, Vizhinjam Rock cut Cave Temple are a few more attractions in Trivandrum.

Bangalore

Bangalore
The IT hub of the country, Bangalore has enough reasons to be visited by the backpackers or solo travellers. If you are visiting the city for a day or two, do not waste your precious time. You can plan an instant tour to a few major attractions of the city. Start your day outing from the majestic Bangalore Palace. Once you are done with the palace sighting, drive to have a glimpse of the Vidhan Soudha which is just 3km away via Sankeys Road. You will fall in love with the beautiful neo-Dravidian architecture of this grand palace like structure. Drive towards Lalbagh Botanical Garden (5km) and explore its diverse natural wonders. If you are still left with a few hours in the day try visiting the Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan, for which you need to drive for 3 km via Lalbagh Fort Road.

Other Attractions:
If you have other plans and don’t want to drive for too long, try exploring destinations like ISCKON Temple, Ulsoor Lake, St. Mary’s Basilica or Bannerghatta National Park.

Mysore

mysore
The royal city of Mysore is a tourist hub mainly due to its grand palaces, awe-inspiring manmade gardens and sky-scrapping temples. So, if you are in Mysore for a brief period plan a day outing without worrying much about the distances. Start your day from Mysore Palace. You will feel bewitched seeing the grandeur of this palace. It will take a few hours to explore the entire palace. Drive to the Chamundi Hills (11km) to see the famous Chamundeshwari Temple. Have your lunch here in any of the restaurants. Drive to the Karanji Lake (8km) and spend time walking through the biggest walk-through aviary of the country. If you are done with these attractions, drive to the Brindavan Garden, the famous park created on the bank of River Cauvery.

Other Attractions:
St. Philomena’s Church, Folk Lore Museum, Mysore Sand Sculpture Museum, Jaganmohan Palace are a few more attractions in Mysore that can be otherwise added to your travelling list.

Hyderabad

huderabad
You can turn your unplanned Hyderabad visit to a memorable trip by including a few major attractions in this city. The city of Nizams Hyderabad is globally known for its Charminar which is located almost at the centre of the city. Built with 45 prayer spaces and a mosque in it, this grand monument is surrounded by four grand minarets. Explore the nearest attractions to Charminar

like Chowmahalla Palace (850m from Charminar), Nizam’s Palace (2.7km from Chowmahalla Palace), Salar Jung Museum (1.4 km via Purani Haveli Rd). Further extend your attention towards Golcunda Fort (9 km via Fort Road). Spend your evening by the Hussain Sagar Lake which is around 12km from Golconda Fort.

Other Attractions:
If you are left with sufficient time do not forget to visit KBR National Park, Virla Mandir, AP State Archaeological Museum, Salar Jung Museum among others.

Chennai

chennai
The colourful temples depicting various mythological incidents on the Vimana (tower), beautiful churches, wide sea shores and authentic South Indian cuisines make one’s Chennai trip memorable. There are plenty of places to be explored. But if you are short of time, you can go for City Sight Seeing Tours as per your taste. To get the best out of your trip start your day at Kapaleeshwarar Temple which is famous for the detailing on its walls. A wonderful specimen of Dravidian Architecture, this temple is must see for the history buffs as well. Marina Beach is only 3 km from this temple, so spend your day in this beach. Spend your evening watching the charisma of Birla Planetarium which is around 7.3 km via Dr Radha Krishnan Salai.

Other Attractions:
The Huddleston Gardens of Theosophical Society, Semmozhi Poonga, Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Kapaleeswara Temple are a few of the other attractions in Chennai.

Ooty

ooty
Undoubtedly, the most popular hill station of the south, Ooty is often visited by the tourists for taking a break from bustling city life. Located amidst the lush green surroundings of the Niligiris, this quaint location is often dubbed the “queen of hill stations” and looks stunning for the tea and coffee plantations. The weather of this hilly site remains always pleasant and that is why it was once the favourite outing spot of the British officials. Nilgiri Mountain Railways, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the most attractive element of tourism in Ooty. However, if you are a lively soul and don’t want to waste your day seeing one or two attractions, you can end up visiting Mukurthy National Park, Government Botanical Garden(35km from MNP), Government Rose Garden (3km from Botanical Garden) Avlanche Lake (24km from Rose Garden) and some more.

Other Attractions:
Ooty Golf Course, Ooty Lake, Doddabetta, St. Stephen’s Church, Ooty are a few other attractions that can be explored as per your schedule.

Kodaikanal

kodaikanal
The literal meaning of Kodaikanal is “The gift of the Forest” and you will find it true if you are visiting this place in monsoon. The best thing about this hill station is the moderate temperature that prevails all through the year. Here you will find the famous Kodaikanal International School where students from different corners of the globe come to study. Most of the tourist spots found in this peaceful tourist spot are less crowded and visited by newly-wed couples to feel the romantic charm. Devil’s Kitchen (Guna Cave) a deep hidden narrow valley that is deceptively deep. It is located between three naturally arranged enormous rocks called Pillar Rocks and is another attraction of Kodai. Try climbing this rock to have a birds’ eye view of Kodai. You should visit this place only if you are adventurous enough. Berijam Lake is around 15km from this cave.

Other Attractions:
Shenbaganur Museum, The Boat Club, Kurinji Andavar Temple, Silver Cascade and Bear Shola Falls are a few other attractions in Kodaikonal.

Mahabalipuram

mahabalipuram
If you are a history buff, try staying near Mahabalipuram. Here you can see beautiful Shore Temple, Pancha Rathas, Descent of the Ganges, Thirukadalmallai, Tiger Cave and Descent of the Ganges. Most of the sites here are associated with some mythologies and thus tourists get a chance to relive those days visiting the Cave Temples of Mahabalipuarm, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built around 650 AD these temples reflect a transitional style of architecture and house no deities inside the sanctum sanctorum. There are 11 caves or Mandapas on this hill among which Varaha Cave Temple, Panchapandava Cave Temple, Krishna Cave Temple, Mahishasuramardini Mandapa are the most significant amongst them.

Other Attractions:
For sightseeing in Mahabalipuram there are few more attractions around this city which includes the Ganesh Ratha Temple, Mamallapuram Lighthouse, Krishna’s Butter Ball and few more awe-striking sites.

Kanyakumari

kanyakumari
There is an excitement behind visiting Kanyakumari as being here you reach at the southernmost tip of the country. There are several attractions in and around the city among which the Vivekanda Rock Temple is the most jaw-dropping element. Carved out of a single giant rock, this temple is built in the sea. This is the place where Vivekananda, the great Indian saint was enlightened by the divine entity. Just next to this temple there is another small island where you can see a 40.6m high statue of Thiruvalluvar, the famous Tamil poet and Philosopher. Once you are done with these two, drive to the temple of Bhagavathi Amman temple or Devi Kanya Kumari (53km), the famous Shakti Peetha of Hindu beliefs. The temple is located at a spot where the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal meet.

Other Attractions:
Padmanabhapuram Palace, an old granite fortress; the temple town of Suchindrum, Thengapattinam Beach, Gandhi Memorial, Udayagiri Fort, Vattakottai are a few major attractions in and around the city.

Madurai

madurai
A historical city ruled by several dynasties for ages, Madurai turns out to be a popular sightseeing spot for the lovers of architecture and devotees. If you are here for a short period of time, do not forget to visit the temple of Goddess Minakshi, the fish eyed deity and Sundareshwar Shiva. The exclusive work of art etched on the walls of this temple is superb. The temple was first built around 2000 years ago and later renovated by various dynasties. Further extend your trip visiting Thirumalai Nayak Palace just a kilometre from the Sundareshwar Shiva temple. Mariamman Teppakulam is 5km east of Minakshi Temple so, if you feel like exploring more, you can visit this temple as well. Do not forget to have authentic South Indian food from Murugan Idli Shop located on the West Masi Street around 700m from Meenakshi Temple.

Other Attractions:
If you are not at all into religious sightseeing go and visit the Thirumalai Nayak Palace, Gandhi Museum, or the Banana Market.

Coorg

coorg
Kodagu or Coorg is a popular tourist site of Karnataka on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats. Large areas of this hill station are dedicated to the cultivation of pepper, orange and coffee. Salubrious weather and picturesque milieu of this tourist spot compel the visitors to spend their precious holidays in this quaint city. But if you are here for a very short period of time plan to watch a few major attractions of this city like Abbi Falls, which is around 5km from the main town. If you would love to spend a day in a very peaceful environment, drive 6 km to Raja’s Seat. Nisargadhama Ecological Park is around 30 km from the district headquarter Madikeri.

Other Attractions:
Depending on your schedule you can plan to see a few more attractions of Coorg like Byle Kuppe, Dubare Reserve Forest & Elephant Camp, Omkareshwara Temple and a few more. River rafting in Barapole River, Quad Biking at Kedkal, fishing in Valanoor are some must try things in Coorg.

Visakhapatnam

Visakhapatnam
Named after the deity of Valor, Vishakha, the city of Visakhapatnam or Vizag was once ruled by the Kalinga Kingdom. So, you can expect a lot from this city. You can plan different way for your same day trip tours. If you are a pantheist and love spending time amidst bare nature, try visiting Rishikonda Beach. Later drive to Kondakarla Bird Sanctuary which lies at a distance of 63km from this beach. If you are a religious soul offer your prayer in Simhachalam Temple dedicated to Lord Narsimha. For a bird watcher Kondakarla Bird Sanctuary can be a delight as you can spot wide varieties of birds in the lake of this reserve.

Other Attractions:
Dolphin’s Nose, studio of Dr. D. Ramanaidu, INS Kurusura Submarine Museum, Matsyadarshini Aquarium are a few major sightseeing options in Vizag.

Idukki

idukki
Nature Goddess has blessed Idukki with all the finest elements and coincidentally if you are also a nature worshipper you should visit Idukki at least once in a lifetime. What to see in a day trip of Idukki can be answered in multiple ways. Nestled within mountains, this tranquil hill station is known for tea plantations. Just walk down the undulating hills of this magnificent hill station, or go sightseeing in one of the famous reserve forests like Eravikulam National Park in Munnar or Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary. If you further want to add some more life in your outing you should visit Kulamavu Dam and Idukki Arch Dam built across the Periyar River.

Other Attractions:
Ramakkalmedu in Idukki is a popular hill place that houses Periyar Tiger Forest, spice farms and several popular sightseeing spots. Thommankuthu, Kalvarimount, Palkulamedu are a few more attractions in Idukki.

Wayanad

wayanad
There are several ways to make your Wayanad trip memorable. Depending on your mood and taste you can tailor your trip. You can go for trekking in any of the trekking spots such as The Chembra Peak Trek (9km) or Thusharagiri Trek (5km). You can go for wildlife safari in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary or for caving in Edakkal Caves. The Jain Temple called Sulthan Battery is another major sightseeing option in Wayanad. You can also go for a guided cycling tour in Wayanad which is organised at the base of the Manimala Hills.

Other Attractions:
Pakshipathalam Bird Sanctuary, Kuruva Island, Thirunelli Temple, Muthanga-the bamboo forests are a few major sightseeing spots in Wayanad.

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About

From the tranquil land of Silchar, Assam, Sudip is a nature enthusiast. An avid wildlife lover and a history buff, Sudip likes to explore and capture the best through his lens. He aims at working towards the conservation of biosphere and desires to promote the rich heritage of India. As a traveller, Sudip has extensively explored North-East India. When he is not travelling, Sudip likes to read novels and write travel and lifestyle blogs.


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