Underrated Travel Destinations of South India That Are Really Less Known

India has a vast number of stunning places to visit. While there are so many amazing destinations, there are also quite a few underrated ones that are worth visiting. You don’t have to travel far to find these lesser-known destinations in India. All you need is a little bit of planning and effort. You can book your flights from the best websites, or check out for affordable hotel stay, or get in touch with the locals for guidance before you head to these locations that still remain undiscovered but are worth exploring. Let’s take a look at 5 underrated travel destinations of South India that are really less known.

Auroville – The City the Earth Needs 

Auroville is a village in South India, located near Pondicherry, India where several spiritual leaders and scientists came together to build a new way of living. This unique place is now known as the “eighth wonder of the world” and has since attracted people from all over the world. This smallest self-sustaining city in the world was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa, popularly called ‘The Mother’. There’s no concept of religion, politics and money here. The place is a home to thousands of foreigners from nearly 60 countries.   

You can visit the Matrimandir, called the soul of Auroville, a place for practicing internal yoga. It took over 37 years to build this gigantic structure, which is surrounded by twelve petals. The Geodesic dome is covered by hundreds of golden discs and reflects sunlight that lights up the structure. You can also visit inside of the central dome which houses a meditation hall, also known as the inner chamber. However, one can visit the inside of Matrimandir by booking a free slot at the Visitor’s Centre. For those planning to behold Matrimandir, will have to register for free at the Visitor’s Center and walk towards the view point. You can also visit Sadhana Forest, Solar Kitchen, Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Arts & Research, Auro Cafe, Swaram, Auroville Botanical, Auro Bakery, etc. Those looking for a stay in Auroville can visit the Visitor’s Centre or Auroville website for further details. 

Other Places to Visit In & Around Pondicherry 

  • Rock Beach 
  • Paradise Beach 
  • Sri Aurobindo Ashram 
  • Serenity Beach 
  • Auroville Beach 
  • Ousteri Lake 

Honnavar – The Unexplored Paradise 

Image Credit: Skanda Rakshith 

The next on the list is Honnavar, a port town in Coastal Karnataka. The place is full of beautiful landscapes and rich history that was ruled by many dynasties. The word Honnavar is derived from Honnavari or Honnavare – a well-known plant there. The locals welcome you with joy and the feeling of home is truly felt here. If you are heading to this place, do watch the famous dance form Yakshagana. The place boasts of its architecture and residential areas that haven’t given into the modern lifestyle. Apsarakonda Waterfalls is a go-to place. An infamous tourist destination that is less crowded. It is 7 km from Honnavar. The waterfall cascades from a height of 50 feet to a pond that is believed to be the ‘Pond of Angels.’ One has to walk down around 100-150 steps to reach the waterfalls that will leave you awestruck. The best time to visit this place is during Monsoon. You can also visit the Apsarakonda Viewpoint that is a few steps away from the waterfall entry point. The village also boasts of a beautiful beach a few kilometers away from the waterfalls. What else can you do in Honnavar? Why not get some backwater feels and explore the small mangrove islets? All of this comes with a beautiful scenic view that you cannot forget forever. For backwater boating/ride, you can contact a localite named John (+91 8867313038) I’ve got in touch with during my visit to Honnavar.  

 Other Places to Visit In & Around Honnavar 

  • Gokarna Beach 
  • Paradise Beach 
  • St. Mary’s Island 
  • Hanging Bridge, Honnavar 
  • Murdeshwar 
  • Dandeli 

Pichavaram Mangrove Forest  

Pichavaram Mangrove Forest in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district is the world’s second largest mangrove forest after Sundarbans of India. It covers about 1100 hectare of area, offering wide scope for water activities like rowing, kayaking and canoeing. Interestingly, one can find as many as 400 water routes for boating. It is about 230 km from Chennai, with the nearest railway station being — Chidambaram. The mangroves attract thousands of migrant and local birds that include cormorants, storks, herons, snipes, etc. According to estimates, 177 species of birds from 15 orders and 41 families have been recorded, with most of them making their way to the mangrove between November to January. The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) offers boat rides with the help of local villagers if you are looking to ride into the mangroves. You can book your boat rides at the entry point. The tickets cost starts at Rs 250 per head, or even less or more, based on the type of boat you pick for your ride or for select kilometers. However, the boatmen will take you to different scenic spots if you can shell out Rs 500 more. Besides travelling to Pichavaram Mangroves, you can also head to Silver Beach, Kalvarayan Hills. Another option for travellers is to take a flight to Pondicherry and head to Pichavaram, which is approximately 65 kilometers. You can rent a bike from Senthil 9626111446 or contact any of the nearest bike/car rental agencies for more.  

 Other Places to Visit In & Around Pichavaram 

  • Hogenakkal Falls 
  • Thillai Nataraja Temple 
  • Tirunallurpperumanam Temple 
  • Tirunelvayil Temple 
  • Tiruvetkalam Temple 

Kumbalangi Island 

If you are travelling to Kerala, don’t forget to visit Kumbalangi. Kumbalangi is an island village, located in Kerala’s Kochi city, which is popularly known for its hundreds of Chinese fishing nets. This place happens to be the first eco-tourism village in India with a population of over 40,000 people. The land is separated from water by an array of mangroves to provide a breeding ground for crabs, crabs, small fishes, etc. You can book your flight to the Cochin International Airport, and then reach Kumbalngi, which is about 35 km or you may opt for a train, and get down at the Ernakulam JN Railway Station, which is 16 km away. The place is largely visited by foreigners. Mattancherry Palace, Hill Palace Museum, Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary and et al are a few places to visit. Do not miss out on activities like clam meat processing, coir making, crab farming, or fishing with the Chinese fishing nets. Apart from this, a nearby island, the Palluruthy, boasts of some interesting activities to offer to all its tourists. If lucky, get to witness the Bioluminescence water at Kumbalangi.  

  Other Places to Visit In & Around Kumbalangi   

  • Bolgatty Palace 
  • Jew Town 
  • Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace) 
  • Fort Kochi Beach 
  • Kerala Kathakali Center 
  • Pallipuram Fort 
  • Paradesi Synagogue   

Araku Valley

Araku Valley in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam (Vizag) is home to some of the most amazing beaches, mesmerising hill stations, temples, lonely waterfalls, coffee plantations and a submarine museum. This place is popular in the Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, but is underrated by many. The valley is surrounded by lush green forests, foggy clouds, and high mountains that will be your perfect escape from mundane life. Tourists who make their way to the city of Vizag, visit Araku to experience the splendor of this less explored valley. The best time to visit this place is between September to April. However, it is best to visit in December to enjoy the freezing temperatures.You can also visit the Borra Caves, one of the largest caves in India, which is about 37 km from Araku. And do not miss out on visiting Lambasingi, which holds the title of ‘Kashmir of Andhra Pradesh’. It is the only place in the South of India that sees snowfalls.  

Other Places to Visit In & Around Araku Valley 

  • Araku Tribal Museum 
  • Padmapuram Botanical Garden 
  • Ananthagiri Coffee Plantation 
  • Katiki Waterfalls 
  • Thajangi Reservoir 
  • Kothapalli Waterfalls 
  • Kondakarla Bird Sanctuary 

Some people think that the southern part of India is known for its beach resorts and hill stations. But, these places have so much more to offer than what meets the eye. The beauty of South India lies in its diversity, which can be seen in its different landscapes, cuisines, cultures and languages. If you’re planning a trip to South India, these places should definitely be on your list!  

About The Author

Praneeth Simon is a content marketer, journalist and enthusiastic blogger who writes articles on marketing, technology, business, travel and more. He completed his Masters in Mass Communication and Journalism from St. Joseph’s College and spends much of his time exploring places and meeting new people.

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