India is an incredible country, with many gorgeous yet unexplored sites kept as secret and not adulterated with present economy and commercialization. In case you have already explored most of India and are in search for that secret gem in the Southern part of India, then here are a list of offbeat places in South India. Starting from beaches in Malabar to peaceful and quiet corners of Western Ghats, there is a lot to grab. These places are away from tourist spotlight and you can find peace and solitude here even during peak seasons. These places are away from the discordance that is often found in various famous tourist attractions. While you cover them, it would be worthwhile to spend a day or two at these places too.
15 Offbeat Places In South India
Take a look at this list of the offbeat places in South India and choose which place you are going to visit next. Whether planning a family or couple trip, these places are best for every kind of traveler.
- Thalassery – City Of Seven Hills
- Tharangambadi – Danish History
- Pollachi – Untapped Destination
- Badami – Historical Ruins
- Nagarhole – Wildlife And National Parks
- Devbagh Beach – Beautiful Beach
- Araku Valley – Splendid Views
- Gandikota – Panoramic Views
- Belum Caves – Intricate Caves
- Skandagiri Hills – Night Treks
- Athirapally Falls – Beautiful Waterfall
- Maravanthe Beach – Exquisite Beach
- Dhanushkodi – Untouched Beauty
- Kudle Beach – Peaceful And Serene
- Halebidu – Historical City
1. Thalassery – City Of Seven Hills
Thalassery, is a city on the western coast of Kannur district, mostly Malabar Coast in Kerala. It is one of the largest cities in North Malabar. Thalassery is an island amidst the Eranjoli river and is fully covered by the Arabian sea. Thalassery has got seven hills which are auspicious and are known to be the reason for prosperity that lies in this city. Eranjoli and Dharmadam are two rivers that are flowing around the city forming a ring around it. The place is also popularly called ‘City of seven hills.’
The place provides a picturesque landscape for its travelers. The town is located amidst the wooded hills and is protected by a natural breakwater of rocks. The city has various tourist attractions which are yet to be brought into popular tourist spots like Arakkal Museum, Aralam WildLife Sanctuary, Bekal Fort, Dharmadam Beach Island, Gundert Museum, Kottiyoor Shiva Temple, Lokanarkavu Temple and many more.
How to reach: Thalassery has its railway station, which is connected to various cities in Kerala and outside. Nearest Airport is Calicut International Airport.
Location: Kannur, Kerala
2. Tharangambadi – Danish History
Tharangambadi is a small beach town in Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu. The place is still untouched and still possess that tranquility of ancient times. The city is popularly known as ‘The land of singing waves’. The city is on the banks of the Kaveri river and the Bay of Bengal and holds the magic of various cultures. The famous tourist attractions in this city are Fort Dansborg, the town gate, the Zion Church, Old Danish cemetery, the Ziegenbalg museum, and the Masilamani Nathar temple.
The city reflects Danish history in India. The place has got it all from fancy bars to beaches and sand. The name ‘ Tranquebar’ was christened by the Scandinavians because they found it difficult to pronounce the Indian version of it. There is always the sound of sea waves at the background which is why it is called the ‘land of singing waves’. The place was damaged by the tsunami in 2004 and still is building, but the archaeological department helped to restore most of it. One of the juxtaposing views of the city is colorfully painted old homes besides picture-perfect beaches.
How to reach: There is no straight rail or flight to this place. You need to take the state-run buses from Chennai’s Metropolitan Bus Stand at around 8 PM to run down the East Coast Road to Pondicherry via Mamallapuram and reach this place via NH45A. Nearest Airport if Chennai and the nearest railhead is Mayiladuthurai.
Location: Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu
3. Pollachi – Untapped Destination
Pollachi is another untapped destination in the southern part of India. It is around 40 km away from Coimbatore and got a picturesque landscape that has its warmth and joy to pass on to its visitors. Also, the place has several adventure activities to be explored in the awesome climate of the location which expands all year round due to the cool breeze coming from Palghat Ghats.
The place is located around 40 km from Coimbatore and is a backdrop place behind many of the famous South Indian films and advertisements. Also, there is an ideal picnic spot located at Annamalai which is around 34 km away from Pollachi Town. Other major attractions of this place are Arivu Thirukoil, Arulmigu Masani Amman Temple, Topslip Tiger Forest, Annamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Anamalai Tiger Reserve and many more. The place is mostly famous for its temples and waterfalls.
How to reach: There is no regular train or flight to this place. Nearest Airport is in Coimbatore which is around 41 km from the city. And the nearest railway station is also located in Coimbatore. You can hire cabs from these places to reach your destination in Pollachi.
Location: Tamil Nadu
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4. Badami – Historical Ruins
Badami is a place of rock-cut cave temples and Redstone cliffs which almost resemble the American Wild West. The landscape is stunning in this place and gives an ideal hideout from the busy lives of the city. One not to miss features of this place is Badami’s backstreets which are covered with very many fascinating and welcoming old houses with carved doorways and Chalukyan ruins. The top attraction includes the cave temples, the north fort, archaeological museum, and the Agastya Tirtha tank.
The city was the capital of Chalukyas and resemble their essence in each building built in ancient times. It also holds Mahakuta Group of Temples which were also built by the Chalukyas. Badami Fort is known for its ancient architecture which stands on the top of a hill and again resembles the Chalukyan architecture style. You can also take on some adventure activities like rock climbing. If you are here during November- December, then a small fair held in Godachi village is a must-visit.
How to reach: The Badami city has its small railway station with trains connecting from Bangalore and Bijapur. The closest airport is at Belgaum which is just 150 km away from Badami. The city is also accessible via buses and has its bus stand.
Location: Bagalkot, Karnataka
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5. Nagarhole – Wildlife And National Parks
Nagarhole is mainly famous for its national parks which expands in 247 km in Karnataka and holds an astonishing abundance of wildlife including tigers, leopards, wild elephants, dhole, and guard. The place is called Nagarhole because of a large number of serpentine holes in this place. The place has gentle slopes and shallow valleys and is covered in deciduous trees. This is one of the best national parks in India and has got many elephants and bison. You can see a wide variety of birds at this place. The last count was around 250 different species which were spotted in this national park. The park also has the Kabini river flowing through which provides a unique viewing experience to its visitors.
Apart from wildlife, you can also take a look at the variety of flowers and plants at this national park. The place is on the verge of being declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a hunting reserve of the Wodeyar Dynasty. The place is also ideal for photography. The place is open from 12 in the night up till 8 in the morning and then 3 in the evening up till 5 PM. The entry fee is just INR 200 for Indian nationals, you can carry your cameras along at an additional charge of INR 1000.
How to reach: Nearest airport to Nagarhole is I Mysore which is 96 km away and Bangalore which is 236 km away. The nearest railway station is Mysore which is again 80 km away. Regular Bus Service is available from Mysore and Bangalore.
Location: Mysore – Madikeri Rd, Hunsur, Karnataka
6. Devbagh Beach – Beautiful Beach
Devbagh Beach is yet unexplored and you can find your quiet time in this place. It also has a resort which could provide you with private islands. Other activities include water sports including snorkeling, kayaking, banana boat rides, water scooters, and others. You can sit across the beach and look at the quiet sunset on Devbagh Island while lazing around on the sacks near the beach. The place has very a smaller number of footfalls and is known for its serene beauty.
The beach is covered with pristine blue water and a backdrop of beautiful mountains covered in casuarina trees. It is an exotic island that lies along the Arabian sea and is about 2 km from southern goa. This beach town is famous for seafood and mesmerizing sunsets. The place is a perfect getaway for couples who are looking for an isolated and secluded vacation in a beautiful destination.
How to reach: Kudia is the nearest railway station to Devbagh. Goa is connected to this place via NH66 is make it accessible via road. The nearest airport is in Goa.
Location: Kali River Delta, near Capre Temple, Karwar, Karnataka
7. Araku Valley – Splendid Views
This place is located on the border of Odisha on the Eastern Ghats and is a popular hidden holiday destination for nature lovers and wildlife lovers. The place has it all including magnificent mountains, greenery, waterfalls. It is located on the lap of three hills namely Galikonda, Raktakonda, and Chitamogondi and is a perfect destination to be checked out in your bucket list of unexplored destinations.
How to reach: Araku Valley does not have any airport. The nearest Airlink is Vishakhapatnam which is 112 km away. The railhead in Araku Valley has one train coming to the destination every day from Visakhapatnam. The place is conveniently bridged via an efficient network of state-run buses.
Location: Andhra Pradesh
8. Gandikota – Panoramic Views
Gandikota is known as the ‘Grand Canyon of India’ and is one of the offbeat places to visit in South India. Gandikota lies in the twee village in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh. The village is flanked by the river Pennar on the right side and is a popular gorges that is formed due to the river cutting through the Erramala Hills. The narrow valleys, running streams, and steep rocky walls remind one of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Apart from these splendid gorges, the highlight of the village is the Gandikota Fort built in the 13th Century. The fort is sturdy and surrounded by the gorges on both sides. The fort is built in red sandstone, protected by a 5-mile long wall and boasts intricate carvings. The fort is known to offer exceptional views of the hills and valleys. Some of the structures inside the fort that can be witnessed are granary, jail, and ruins of temples.
How to reach: The nearest airports are the Tirupati Airport at Renigunta and Bengaluru International Airport at Bangalore. It is also well connected via railways and roads.
Location: Andhra Pradesh
9. Belum Caves – Intricate Caves
Belum caves, located in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, are the longest and largest cave system in India that is open for tourists. After Krem Liat Prah in Meghalaya, Belum caves are the second largest caves in India. The caves are formed over a period of millions of years with a formation of limestone. Belum caves, centrally protected monuments of national importance, have numerous pathways with intricate patterns of water streams on limestone. These water streams are bound to leave you awestruck with its sheer nature and beauty. Over three and half kilometers of cave has been explored till date, however only kilometer and half is accessible to tourists.
At some places, the caves go as deep as 46 meters and that point is known as Pataalaganga. Hiding beneath the surface, an underground stream flows gliding over the rocks, throughout the year. With long passages, galleries, large cavities with fresh water and water tunnels, the cave is a beautiful place to see.
How to reach: The nearest airport is at Hyderabad from where a taxi can be hired. Alternatively, Tadipatri is the nearest railway station and is 30kms from caves.
Location: 1/1, Opposite Indian Oil Petrol Pump, Kolimigundla, Andhra Pradesh
10. Skandagiri Hills – Night Treks
Skandagiri hills is one of the places in South India that breaks the myth that trekking can only be done in mornings. Skandagiri is a hilltown near Bangalore which is known for providing an opportunity to trek and explore the hills amidst the moonlight. Also known as the Kalavara Durga, Skandagiri is situated at an elevation of 1450 meters and is surrounded by Nandi hills. It is one of the offbeat destinations in South India. The hill also has a ruined fort which makes the trek more interesting and adventurous. At the end of the trek, you will get to spend the night under the stars.
How to reach: Skandagiri is at a distance of 70 km from Bangalore. Buses by KSRTC bus service are available at regular intervals from Bangalore to Skandagiri. Alternatively, cars can also be hired to reach Skandagiri.
11. Athirapally Falls – Beautiful Waterfall
Located at a distance of more than 60 kms from the Thrissur district of Kerala is Athirapally Falls, a majestic cascade of water making its way from the Anamudi mountains of the Western Ghats. Locally, the waterfall is called Bahubali waterfalls, owing to its grandeur. The waterfall is 80ft in height and 330ft wide and is the largest waterfall in Kerala. The waterfall is often referred to as “Niagara Falls of India” and it flows through the Vazhachal Forest towards the Arabian Sea. The charming sight of the green Sholayar Peaks over the waterfall is nothing less than mesmerizing. Above the waterfall is a pool where you can relax and unwind.
How to reach: Athirapally falls can be easily reached by roadway buses from Kochi.
Location: Athirappilly, Chalakudy Taluk, Thrissur District, Kerala
12. Maravanthe Beach – Exquisite Beach
Karnataka is known for its beautiful beaches, and Maravanthe Beach is no exception to this fact. Located at a distance of 12 kms from the main city of Kundapur is a beach so serene that will leave you in sheer awe. The beach runs along National Highway 17 as close as 100 meters. Maravanthe Beach is one of the offbeat places to visit in South India as at one side you see waves crashing at shore of the beach, and on the other hand you see Kodachadri Hills making a beautiful backdrop for the Souparnika River. The sunset here is a sight that should not be missed.
The panoramic views, serene and quiet flowing river, deep sea, and majestic mountains makes this place a paradise that will leave you speechless. The Maravanthe Beach offers various activities such as scuba diving, sunbathing, and taking strolls on the beach.
How to reach: Kundapura Railway Station is nearest to the Maravanthe Beach. buses ply through the Kundapura-Udupi-Mangalore route (NH-17) almost every minute. You can also hail a cab or auto.
Location: Kundapura, Karnataka
13. Dhanushkodi – Untouched Beauty
Dhanushkodi, a small beach town on the coast of Tamil Nadu with a small population and beautiful views. In 1964, Dhanushkodi was hit by one of the worst storms in India, but since then Tamil Nadu has rebuilt this small town into one of the most beautiful and unique beach towns of India. The beach town is isolated, cut off from the world, and is untouched. It is one of the best beach towns in India and its grandeur and beauty reflects in the history of the town.
How to reach: You can reach there by bus or cab from Rameshwaram, the nearest town. The nearest railway station is Rameshwaram from where Dhanushkodi is 18kms
Location: Tamil Nadu
14. Kudle Beach – Peaceful And Serene
Among the many beaches of Gokarna is the Kudle beach, situated at a distance of a short trek from Om Beach. This beach is one of the most serene, peaceful, and silent. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in India and one of the offbeat destinations in South India. This beach is preferred by locals and tourists for morning and evening walks, observing tides, and enjoying sunsets. Kudle Beach is not very crowded and is quite serene. The beach is calm, flocked by foreign travelers who are looking for privacy and is usually deserted but still quite attractive.
How to reach: Kudle beach is located at a 15 minutes walking distance from the main bus stand of Gokarna. Boats and ferries can also be hired from Om Beach.
Location: Gokarna, Karnataka
15. Halebidu – Historical City
Previously known as Dwarasamudra, Halebidu is a city located in the Hassan district of Karnataka state. It is a city that is adorned with beautiful temples, shrines, and sculptures. Owing to the Hoysala architecture, the Halebidu is known as the Gem of Indian architecture as it houses magnificent temple complexes and some stunning Jain sites. Although the city is in ruins, it was once the majestic capital of the Hoysala empire.
How to reach: The nearest airport is Mysore airport and nearest railway stations are Mnagalore, Mysore, and Hasan.
Location: Hassan District, Karnataka
Here are some of the incredible best-kept secrets from the travel bucket in South India. These places are yet untouched and unexplored and have a lot of serenity still imbibed in the place. In case you are looking for offbeat places in South India then these are ideal locations to start your bucket list, which covers the dreamy Malabar Beaches to silent corners of Western Ghats. So without any delay, plan your vacation to India with TravelTriangle and get a chance to customize your own trip.
Frequently Asked Questions About Offbeat Places In South India
A. Most of them do not have a direct link via rail or flight, but they have some sort of road connectivity which will help you reach there from the nearest railway station and airport.
A. The best part about these places is its untamed beauty and nature. These are some of the best-hidden destinations of South India, where you won’t find many crowds even during the peak tourist seasons.
A. These are offbeat places and that doesn’t mean they are underdeveloped. They all are famous for their specialties, however are not so famous tourist destinations. You can very well find a three-start lodging at each of these places.
A. Well, since these are not so popular destinations, for most of them you will have to arrange your itinerary. However, some of them like Nagarhole National Park, you can get a guided tour package.
A. These places are appropriate for any category of travelers. As a couple, you would like to explore these places together, enjoying the seclusion and peaceful vibes which might be difficult to get other popular destinations.
A. Well, it all depends on the itinerary you choose. The main cost of any travel is the cost of coming to that place and then lodging. You can vary these two components and alternatively decide your budget.
A. Well, these places are beautiful, however, are not so popular and are not listed as top tourist destinations on the map of most travel agents. Hence you don’t see too many footfalls to these places.
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