Monday, 6 October 2014
Roundup of South India: History and Tourist Attractions Part-II
A round up of best tourist spots in South India would include a journey through three states – Kerala, Tamilnadu and Karnataka. These places are ideal for family travel because they are close to each other. To understand the significance of various landmarks, forts, palaces and gardens, one must understand history of each place. This is a continuation of Part-I Roundup of South India. Tourist attractions abound in plenty at these places in South India. Try to get a detailed plan of the things you have to see first so that you do not miss out on any of the prime tourists spots.
Mysore is also like Bangalore full of gardens and zoos. Enjoy your stay by exploring the numerous tourists’ attractions present there.
i. Mysore Zoo: Enjoy a ride in an electric car through this zoo. You can see elephants, lions, zebras, many varieties of birds and leopards. Zoo is clean and very well maintained. Children will love it. Plan your family vacation by booking in advance.
ii. Brindavan Garden: It is a lovely garden with plenty of flowers. There are fountains all over the place and in the evenings, they are lit up in different colours and create a spectacular show.
iii. Mysore Maharaja’s Palace: This large palace contains art objects from around the country. In the evenings, they light up the palace.
Also known as Kodagu, Coorg is home to Kodavas. Wildlife abounds and Coorg has many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. Prominent among them are Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary and Rajiv Gandhi National Park.
i) Visit elephant capturing and training camp in Dubare forest
ii) Visit Talakaveri, the source of River Kaveri, one of the most prominent rivers of South India
iii) Visit Omkareshwara temple built on riverbank by king Lingarajendra II in 1820 to atone for his misdeeds
Bright spots in Tamilnadu
Next, let us look at the history of Tamilnadu. Tamilnadu is steeped in tradition. Civilization has always existed in Tamilnadu alongside other world civilizations right back from Stone Age times. It has the oldest literature of the world. It was ruled since ancient times by three dynasties Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas (Sangam era). They had trade connections with Greeks and Romans.
Cholas arose to power by defeating Cheras and Pandyas. However, invasion by Muslim army and subsequent attacks by Marathas saw the end of that period. Tamilnadu as it exists today resulted from the unification that led to Madras Presidency under the British East India Company. Soon after independence, Andhra Pradesh separated from Tamilnadu. Karnataka took the cue from Andhra Pradesh and soon formed its own state.
After the close of Sangam era, a period of non-existence took shape under the Kalabhras, evil rulers who overthrew Tamil rulers. During this period, Jainism and Buddhism took roots in the country. Writing flourished as did poetry and Tamil-Brahmi became established and vatteluttu became used in Tamil.
However, Nastik Jainism and Buddhism soon gave way to Dravidian architecture when Vaishnavism and Saivism dominated the Hindu culture. Vatteluttu was replaced by Tamil script for all literature. Rise of Pallavas, along with Chalukyas and Pandyas during 5th century to 7th century saw a power struggle that culminated in the rise of Vijayalaya the Chola king in 850 AD. This was followed by the period of annexation that saw Dutch settlers, French and British forces grabbing whatever they could. The age of Tamil rulers came to an end with death of brave Tamil king Dheeran Chinnamalai.
Interaction of so many cultures saw the birth of a new kind of mixed tradition where something of each foreign culture was adopted. However, indigenously the people followed their ancient roots and it still reflects in the festivals and celebrations that mark every occasion. Tamilnadu is very tourist friendly and you can find several items suited for tourists wherever you go.
Main places for tourists to visit
‘Queen of hill stations’ Ooty as Ootachamund is popularly referred to rises above Coonoor, another popular family holiday destination. These two places are situated on hills and offers tourist splendid views of rolling hills and vast green plains.
Main attractions of Ooty comprise of Ooty Lake, Tea Museum, Rose Garden, Dodabetta peak and Botanical Gardens. In Coonoor, Sim’s Park offers tourists chance to see rare trees shrubs and flowers. You can enjoy your picnic at Dolphin’s nose and Lambs rock.
One of the leading tourist destinations, Kodaikanal is resplendent with natural scenic splendour. Located on Palani Hills, a short distance from Madurai, it is home to Grizzled Giant Squirrel an endangered species. It has botanical parks (Bryant Park) and museums (Shembaganur Museum) that are top tourist attractions. Other top tourist spots would be the following.
i) Pine Forest
ii) Green Valley View Point
iii) Coakers Walk
iv) Kodai Lake
v) Pillar rock
Actually, Kodaikanal is quite close to where I live. The other hill station Ootachamund is also close by. We live in the valley you could say between the two. Tourists make a beeline for these two spots past our house everyday. Now that winter is setting in, the tourist rush will slacken off somewhat.
If you are planning a family vacation to these spots, you should try to get a package from your travel agent that includes boarding and lodging together with travel costs. This will work out simpler and cheaper. Tourists on their Indian trip will find India enchanting. However, compare these travel plans and see that you have enough time to visit all important tourist spots.