South India is the area including the five Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, as well as the three union territories of Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry, occupying 19% of India's area. Covering the southern part of the peninsular Deccan Plateau, South India is bounded by the Bay of Bengal in the east, the Arabian Sea in the west and the Indian Ocean in the south. The geography of the region is diverse with two mountain ranges–the Western and Eastern Ghats, bordering the plateau heartland. Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, Tungabhadra and Vaigai rivers are important non-perennial sources of water. Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Coimbatore, Visakhapatnam, Madurai and Kochi are the largest urban areas.
The history of South India covers a span of over four thousand years during which the region saw the rise and fall of a number of dynasties and empires. The period of known history of the region begins with the Iron age (1200 BCE to 24 BCE) period until the 14th century CE. Dynasties of Satavahana, Chola, Chera, Pandyan, Chalukya, Pallava, Rashtrakuta, Kakatiya, Seuna (Yadava) dynasty and Hoysala were at their peak during various periods of history. These Dynasties constantly fought amongst each other and against external forces. Vijayanagara empire rose in response to the Muslim intervention and covered most of south India and acted as a bulwark against Mughal expansion into the south. When the European powers arrived during the 16th century CE, the southern kingdoms resisted the new threats, and many parts eventually succumbed to British occupation. The British created the Madras Presidency which covered most of south India directly administered by the British Raj, and divided the rest into a number of dependent princely states.
The region has a tropical climate and depends on monsoons for rainfall.The most humid is the tropical monsoon climate with seasonal heavy rainfall above 2,000 mm per year. The tropical climate is experienced in a strip of south-western lowlands abutting the Malabar Coast, the Western Ghats and the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar are also subject to this climate.
Winter and early summer are long and dry periods with temperatures averaging above 18 °C (64 °F), summer is exceedingly hot with temperatures in low-lying areas exceeding 50 °C (122 °F), and the rainy season lasts from June to September with annual rainfall averaging between 750 and 1,500 mm (30 and 59 in) across the region.
The best months to visit South India are from November to March as the weather is pleasant with warm days and reasonably cool nights.
South India connects people with the exquisitely architectured ancient temples and the beautiful setting where the South Indian women are seen in traditional silk sarees draped elegantly and men wearing a white sarong like garment (Lungi or Mundu in Kerala) with white shirts are laid-back and welcoming towards each other and the tourists. The palm-fringed canals, spirituality, and pristine beaches are some of the reasons that make the discerning travelers a chance to wander to the unfailing and unbeatable tranquility of the gorgeous places in South India.
South India is the place where you will get to see different dance forms, each having its own beauty and charm. Some of the famous dance forms practised here are Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Koodiyattam and Kerala Natanam. A variety of fairs and festivals are celebrated with great enthusiasm in this region of the country. From the enchanting Elephant festival to the popular Onam, a variety of festivals are celebrated here. Each state has its own wonderful festivals. Some of the famous festivals are Elephant festival, Natyanjali dance festival, Hampi festival, Fire walking festival, Pongal, Music and dance festival and Nehru Trophy boat race.
Hinduism is the major religion with about 80% of the population adhering to it. About 11% of the population follow Islam and 8% follow Christianity. Hinduism, often regarded as the oldest religion in the world, traces its roots to prehistoric times in India. Islam was introduced to South India in the early 7th century by Arab traders in Malabar Coast of Kerala and spread during the rule of Deccan Sultanates. According to tradition, Christianity was introduced to South India by Thomas the Apostle, who visited Muziris in Kerala in 52 CE to proselytize the natives. Kerala is also home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world who are supposed to have arrived in the Malabar coast during the reign of King Solomon.
The largest linguistic group in South India is the Dravidian family of languages, a family of approximately 73 languages.The major languages spoken include Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam.English is also spoken here. Tamil is recognized as a classical language by the Government of India. Other major languages declared classical were Kannada (in 2008), Telugu (in 2008) and Malayalam (in 2013).
Cuisine and Clothing
The food of South Indian consists of rice, fish, coconut, idli, dosa, sambhar, uttapam and curries with lots of spice. Kerala Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are dotted with large coffee plantations. South India's glorious culinary variety and melange of dining options are an adventure in their own right. Some of India's most famous and traditional staples hail from here: large papery dosas (savoury crêpes) and fluffy idlis (fermented rice cakes) are the backbone of South Indian cooking. Kerala's coconut-infused seafood is the stuff of legend; and, everywhere you travel, the humble South Indian kaapi (filter coffee) keeps things ticking over.
South Indian women traditionally wear a sari, a garment that consists of a drape that is typically wrapped around the waist, with one end draped over the shoulder baring the midriff. Women wear colourful silk sarees on special occasions such as marriages.
The men wear a dhoti, a white rectangular piece of unstitched cloth often bordered in brightly coloured stripes. It is usually wrapped around the waist and the legs and knotted at the waist. A colourful lungi with typical batik patterns is the most common form of male attire in the countryside. People in urban areas generally wear tailored clothing and western dress is popular in urban areas.