6 weeks left in Southern India. How to spend it?

#1 Apr 29th, 2015, 13:30
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  • Woldranger is offline
#1
This is my first post on here so please go easy on the newbie! (new to this site, not the wonderful world of traveling)

I've been over here since late January, staying in Mumbai, heading down into Goa, over to Chennai for a flight to Sri Lanka for 3 weeks then back into Tamil Nadu.
I came down the coast from Mamallapuram to Pondi then inland to Tanjore, Trichy and now I'm in Madurai. My next stop as things stand is Rameshwarem but after that, I don't know.
I fly out of Mumbai mid June and would prefer not to head too far north on this trip as I think I'll come back for a few more months at the end of the year to do the north and Nepal.
I've been recommended a few places by a friend of mine from Bangalore, namely Cape Comorin , Kodai, Colmbatore and Ooty in Tamil Nadu.
I'd really like to hit Hyderabad at some point as I've heard lots of good things about it. I'm unsure of just how much of Kerala I actually want to see at this time of the year. I had a friend who was there a couple of weeks ago and he said things were super quiet, a lot of restaurants shutting up etc. I'd like a bit of break time in my next trip so I was thinking of getting a flight down to Kerala and travel around for a few weeks /month. When it comes to beach time, as a solo traveller I prefer to be somewhere where I can meet a few people. When I'm wandering through temples and on the move then it's ok, but when I'm coming out on a beach I like to be able to meet a few people. But I'm happy to head over to Trivandrum and maybe Kovalam in Kerala and maybe a few more places.
I travel on a tight budget so I'm not too interested in expensive day trips or places where the only accommodation options are high end. I love the food over here and I'm rarely seen without a camera, so anything picturesque is fine by me. I can handle the heat (though it's not the most pleasant when is so hot) better than the rain.
Basically, I've got lots of time but the weather is against me. Once I'm out of the hills is going to be blisteringly hot so I'm unsure of how to send my trip...
#2 Apr 29th, 2015, 13:54
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  • aarosh is offline
#2
Since you are in Madurai you could either consider Kodaikanal or Rameshwaram as your next destination. Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin) is the southern most part of India. You may get a direct train from Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari (tri weekly train) or you could take a bus from Madurai if you go to Kodaikanal. From Kanyakumari you can move on to Ooty via Coimbatore. From Ooty you can take a bus to Mysore. Then you could consider Hampi, Goa or Konkan coast of Maharashtra.
#3 Apr 29th, 2015, 14:03
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#3
Sorry, I should have mentioned that I've already visited Mysore and Hampi on a previous trip.
Thanks for the suggestions and quick reply.
#4 Apr 29th, 2015, 14:09
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#4
The Chettinad region is really interesting (research it), you can get a bus from Madurai to Karaikkudi, then a bus to Chettinad, there are then direct trains from Chettinad station to Rameswaram.
#5 Apr 29th, 2015, 14:20
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#5
Thanks I'll have a quick look into it.
I'd just like to mention that my time online is somewhat limited, so when it comes to suggestions of places to go would you guys mind giving me a tiny bit of info as to why you'd recommend it and what that place is known for? At the moment I'm good for the internet, but when it gets patchy I'd like to be able to research things that are of the most interest to me. Plus I want to be out wandering the streets not spending my time online
#6 Apr 29th, 2015, 15:56
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#6
So you would like everyone else to do the spadework for you!

A bit mean surely
#7 Apr 29th, 2015, 16:10
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by fsg View Post So you would like everyone else to do the spadework for you!

A bit mean surely
Well excuse me! I'm not asking for people to "do the spade work for me ", I'm not asking for a tour itinerary just for the benefits of people's experience from a travel forum - I thought that was the idea of travel forums, to share first hand knowledge? I moved away from the lonely planet forum due to a lot of preachy "old timers" on there. Hopefully this site isn't going to be the same.

I spend a lot of my time helping people out with specifics and general info when I meet them on the road and appreciate the pointers that they give me, but here in south India that's not really an option.
#9 Apr 29th, 2015, 18:03
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#9
A large hilly area (several hundred sq km?) is Coorg in southern Karnataka. You could take a bus from Bangalore's majestic bus stand or one from Mysore (if you arrive there by train directly). A few days can easily be whiled away visiting the coffee and spice plantations and checking out the local, unique attractions such as the temple at Bhagamandala and Talcauvery and the elephant camp at Dubare. The culture of Kodagu (historical name for coorg) is quite distinctive from mainstream India. They worship ancestors, eat boar (pandhi) curry there and the people have distinctive features (quite tall as well). Also, you'd get passion fruit juice.

I found it picturesque enough to visit thrice. You should ideally spend no more than one night in Madikeri and then get further in the interiors towards Kabinakadu, kakkabe, somwarpet or virajpet. Between Mysore and Madikeri, a great place to stop for a few hours or possibly overnight since you'd be using public transportation is Kushalnagar (also known as Bylakuppe), the site of the largest (numerically, though some maintain that Mcleodganj is larger) Tibetan settlement in India. The main temple has three 60 feet high gold plated statues of Buddha Sakyamuni, Padmasambhava and Amitayus.

Also, while hyderabad is not without its charms (I live there now), this isnt the best season to visit, it's blazing hot (which is probably why I'm dreaming of Coorg right now). If you still plan on visiting Hyde in May, budget two days minimum, three preferably and longer if you'd like to include Bidar and / or Srisailam. Also between Ooty and Kodai, I'd recommend Kodai and between anything in TN and Coorg, it's a no brainer to go to the latter. The thing is, once school vacation begins, the two little hill stations is pretty much that all of the great state of TN has but Coorg is a district!
#10 Apr 29th, 2015, 18:03
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by aarosh View Post Since you are in Madurai you could either consider Kodaikanal or Rameshwaram as your next destination. Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin) is the southern most part of India. You may get a direct train from Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari (tri weekly train) or you could take a bus from Madurai if you go to Kodaikanal. From Kanyakumari you can move on to Ooty via Coimbatore. From Ooty you can take a bus to Mysore. Then you could consider Hampi, Goa or Konkan coast of Maharashtra.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woldranger View Post Sorry, I should have mentioned that I've already visited Mysore and Hampi on a previous trip.
Thanks for the suggestions and quick reply.
After Kanyakumari proceed along the coast to Trivandrum. I have not visited these, but around there are the beach destinations Kovalam and Varkala.

Somewhat further is Kollam from where you can take the ferry to Alleppey
In Allepey the cheapest way to explore the backwaters are the public ferries.

From Alleppey it is a short trip to Cochin. The fort Cochin area is nice and the KTDC organizes good day trips.

From here proceed by train to Coimbatoire and next by bus to Ooty, a hill station.
Back to Coimbatoire and onwards to Hyderabad.

On this route you can eventually stop for some days in the famous pilgrim centre Tirupati.
A second option is Chirala (near Vijaywada). This town is not interesting but we spend some good time at the remote beach of Vodarevu.
#11 Apr 30th, 2015, 00:28
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#11
Head to the hills where it's cooler. Kodaikanal, Ooty, Munnar are some possibilities, though will be full of Indian tourists and higher prices as it's school vacation time.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice,bigotry and narrow-mindedness" Mark Twain
#12 Apr 30th, 2015, 20:19
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#12
I don't know what happened to my "thank you" message but it never made it through!
This has been a great intro to this forum, thanks guys!
Feel free to keep the info coming
#13 May 12th, 2015, 18:32
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#13
There are lot of historic places to see in Hyderabad. Also, it's a Foodie's den. As visiting historic places requires lot of walking, I suggest not to opt for Hyderabad this summer as it is very hot.
#14 May 14th, 2015, 00:10
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#14
Not sure on your budget but I can say that south at this time of year, especially keralan side, is kind of pointless and filling 6 weeks would in my opinion be both lonely, a tad boring and tough going.

I would highly recommend a small investment of a flight to Delhi as you're entering the best time to see the beauty of Jammu, Kashmir and himichal! I know you said no to the north but hopefully Srinagar, Manali, McLeod Ganj etc will help change your mind!

Failing that, if you want to see Hyderabad a simple night train or bus to Hyderabad followed by a slightly further trip north to Kolkata then follow the trail back across to Mumbai through Varanasi, khujarao, orcha, ajanta/Ellora would be a great use of 6 weeks!

NB
"See the World, then see India - because the World is an anti-climax"

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