Goa and South India Holidays - Fantastic beaches and atmospheric culture
The Indian Tourism Board’s slogan ‘Incredible India’ truly describes South India! Where else can you ride a landaulet to the finest palace hotel in the world; or wander awestruck through the scattered ruins of a huge and resplendent Imperial city destroyed in a paroxysm of jealous hatred; explore the labyrinthine interiors of vast temple complexes where top-knotted priests practise arcane and ancient rituals.
The greatest palace hotel in the world in Hyderabad – Falaknuma or ‘Mirror of the Sky’ – with its legendary dining table that seats 100 guests – in a city that produced the Koh-i-noor ‘Mountain of Light’ diamond and is also home of the Charminar. Hampi – a World Heritage Site that gives its name to the ruins of one of the greatest Imperial cities of the medieval world. Great mountains corrugate the rugged edges of the peninsula sheltering a wealth of wildlife and forming some of the greatest elephant and tiger habitats in Asia, perfect for tiger safaris and fringed by idyllic beaches where the traveller can recover in sybaritic luxury whilst on luxury holiday in India.
Here are towns literally crammed with palatial mansions and thriving markets and charming heritage homes. Four hundred years of European presence have left their mark in charming and gracious Pondicherry, with its French boulevards, colonial architecture and gendarmeries!; quaint Danish Tranquebar and, of course, Goa, where one has a glimpse of the inhabitants’ languorous, laid-back lifestyle, as well as charming villages set amidst a serene and timeless countryside bounded on the west by the sea and the east by the lush wildlife-rich mountains. Goa has everything – private, remote and characterful beachside hotels and gorgeous villas, beautiful, unexplored and quiet beaches, fantastic seafood and wildlife that ranges from a wealth of birdlife to dolphins and even elephants in the moist forests of the hills.
Explore this fascinating city that first came to prominence in the 15th century when it became the capital of the Qutub Shahi Sultans. Famous as the source of the great diamonds that included the Koh-I-Noor and a major entrepot for east-west trade, Hyderabad soon attracted the attention of the Great Mughal and in the 17th century passed into Mughal control.
The magnificent city of ruins, Hampi, is not far from Bangalore. A World Heritage Center, Hampi is the most beautiful and evocative of all the ruins in Karnataka. This erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagar Empire boasts some exquisite examples of temple architecture of that period. One can still glimpse the splendor of Vijayanagara - one of the largest empires in the history of India - in its ruins. The Vijayanagar Kings were great patrons of Art & Architecture as evident by the vast ruins of Hampi.
The Southern states of India, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, are primarily known for breathtaking temples. For those of you who do not know, temples are the holy places where you can worship God and see him in all his beauty and feel his presence in the very air you breathe.
While only 46km in length the Nilgiri Mountain Railway line took 54 years to build — from the first proposals in 1854 to completion in 1908. Three companies tried their hand of which two were so daunted by the terrain they gave up and fortunately the third managed to finish it.
Accustomed to the fortunate grace of nature, soothing sound of the beaches and huge tourist presence, Goa has undoubtedly proved its mettle as the fun capital of India. Renowned for its fun-filled vibe and enjoyable culture, Goa is considered to be the best place to spend a vacation regardless the season.
Visit Karaikudi, a small town in Tamil Nadu famous for its stunning Chettinad bungalows that are still owned by the Chettiars. The Chettiars are a business community and owned private banks in the yesteryears.