South India Region
Warn and sunny South India,
geographically separated by the east-west Vindhya ranges, is distinctly
different from North India. Southerners pride themselves on being the orinigal
Indians, the indigenous people of this vast country. Their stock has remained
pure - unsoiled by the Aryan influences of the invaders who thundered in to
India through the mountainpasses in the North.
Physically as well as
culturally, the south Indians are different from the people of the Hindi
heartland - Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. Most of them
are darker and smaller built and they have ebony-black hair and large, lustrous
eyes that probably come from their diet of fish, coconut, tamarind and
The women wear the most gorgeous silks and love to
flaunt diamonds in their ears and flowers in their hair. The men wear pride
their starched 'dhotis' or 'veshtis' - seven metres of cloth worn around their
lower torso like a sarong. Dhotis are worn formally at weddings, in State
Assemblies as well as informally for lounging around.
The South India is the home of Classical Indian Dance and Carnatic
music. Every child is taught music or dance. However, despite their traditional
cultural moorings, film songs and
Western pop music are altering the taste of the modern youth.
South Indian love movies, and real-life heroes and heroines are often transformed
life politicians and Chief Minister.
In South India natural beauty and a
rich cultural heritage provide a stimulating experience. While
in Karnataka and Tamilnadu India's ancient heritage co-exists
with the present, Kerala is a
kaleidoscope of swaying palm trees, alluring backwaters, emerald
paddy fields and golden beaches. In Andhra
Pradesh, the Muslim
culture of the Nawabs and
Sultans has blended with the dominant Hindu culture and is
reflected in the cuisines that is sharp and yet different.
Karnataka, India's eighth
largest State, is a land of delightful contrasts, a harmonious
mix of the modern and traditional. Though predominantly rural and agrarian,
of India's raw silk and more than half of its coffee, the State
is also the largest producer of electronics goods and telecommunications
equipment in the
country. The nerve centre of India's space programme is located
at Hassan in southern Karnataka, and just 50 kms away to the Southeast
is the important Jain
pilgrims centre Shravanabelagola, the site of the 1000-year
old monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali (Goomateswara), towering to a height
of 18 metres.
Bangalore, the capital city, is famous both as the 'Garden
City' as well as the 'Silicon Valley' of India.
Temple and worship are
the dominant characteristics of Tamilnadu. Even the small towns
around Chennai, as the capital Madras is called today, are replete with
temples- each more
famous than the other, and all of them adorned with the finest
carvings. The temple complexes are surrounded by high boundary walls, with
lofty 'Gopurams'. Usually embellished with sculptures, these
rectangular or pyramid-shaped temple towers could be several stories higth
thus dominating the
According to legend, Pondicherry was the abode of the great
Hindu sage Agastya, a seat of Vedic culture and once called Vedapuri. Lying on
the South-East coast of India, 162 km South of Chennai, today it is an idyllic
land of Yoga and spirituality.
This is the largest of the four States of
southern India with an area of over 275,000 sq. k.m. even bigger than the
United Kingdom or New Zealand! It is the land of the warm and friendly Andhras,
an ancient race whose history goes back to the Mauryan era (circa 200
Most of the state lies on the ariod Deccan plateau and the land
slopes eastwards to meet the Bay of Bengal in a 1000 km coastline. Physically
rich in contrasts, like Karnataka its western neighbour, the State has ancient
pre- historic rocks in the Southeast, lush green paddy fields in the deltas of
the Godavari and Krishna rivers, lakes, waterfalls, low forested hills teeming
with wild life, and many pretty beaches.
According to popular legend,
Lord Vishnu, the Protector, in his sixth incarnation as Parashuram, was looking
for a secluded place to perform penance and threw his axe into the ocean.
Thereupon a crescent shaped land rose from the sea - and Kerala, 'God's own
country', was born.