If you are visiting South India for the first time, it will be an experience mixed with different emotions. South India is richer in traditions and culture when compared to North India and first-time visitors may find them weird.
The four main states in South India are Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala. Each of the states has different languages, dressing styles, tastes of food, etc. If you are planning a short trip, then you can choose one state and roam around there completely. If it is a long trip, you can see 2 states. Each state is unique in its own way. Tamil Nadu has a lot of temples, Kerala is rich in greenery, Andhra Pradesh has popular forts while Karnataka has a cool climate with a lot of parks and palaces.
Even though India is a country that greets visitors to its land with complete enthusiasm, the trip will be more enjoyable for you if you learn more about their traditions and customs.
Make a detailed tour plan
Make a complete plan of the places to be visited, mode of transportation, booking in hotels, etc. Prepare a day by day schedule of what to see, where to eat etc and follow that. Book the hotels in advance before you start your journey and most hotels provide a pick up from the airport. Instead of going to each place individually, opt for a tour package that will cover your desired destinations. Also, you can mingle with other tourists and you won’t feel alone.
Some of the popular sites which offer tour packages are given below:
In the western world people, it is common for people to wear a dress that does not cover arms and legs. But in South India, the dress is also one way of showing their respect for old people and strangers. For example, most women won’t come in front of night dresses before elders or strangers. They believe that a woman dressed improperly may not have a good character although it may not be true. Most women wear Saris and Salwar kameez while tees and jeans pant has become part of the costume of young girls.
So buy a good collection of cotton salwar kameez for yourselves to get more respect and care from the people and it will be very comfortable for the climate. Also, properly covered clothing may avoid crimes related to women.
Generally, south India is a little cool when compared with north India, and the best time to visit is from July to September as the peak summer is from April to June and the monsoon is from October to December. Avoid traveling to India during summer which will make your body weak due to heat while you can get infections during monsoon as it will rain heavily.
In countries like the USA, making a horn while driving is considered bad driving but here you can hear the sounds of horn almost always on the road and it will be flooded with all types of vehicles like Bus, Car, Lorry, Bike, Auto rickshaw, etc. It will be really hectic to travel in the city on a Friday evening as it will take 100% more than the usual time to reach the place.
Cannot maintain your personal space
People are getting used to asking a lot of questions to even strangers. Sometimes you may get annoyed to hear a lot of personal questions. But you cannot avoid it as people here are interested in talking a lot. You can get fewer questions in cities or educated people but you cannot avoid that outside city or from uneducated people. It does not mean that they are bad because they are asking questions. They have a good heart than most people.
So don’t feel about they are intruding on their privacy. It is not intentional but only has become a habit for them.
Time management is not that much good in South India when compared with the western world. Especially if you have some work in government offices, then be prepared for time delays. The buses may not come at the correct time and you should plan accordingly.
Don’t carry heavy cash with you especially in your pockets of the pant as there is a chance of theft if you are traveling amidst a good crowd. You may not even realize that your money has been stolen. Also, avoid walking alone and amidst a crowd. Don’t walk during night time.
Don’t miss local food !!! Find out the food and the sweets popular for the destination and don’t miss to taste that at any cost.
P.S – This article was written by a contributing author and I (Mani Karthik) don’t necessarily agree to all points but they are great observation nevertheless.