South India is the guardian of India's cultural heritage in its purest forms. Numerous temples that abound this region have conserved thousand years old architecture, customs, traditions and rituals.
Hordes of invading armies that swept through the plains of North India failed to penetrate in the South. As a result, the North has a distinct Indo-Aryan culture, while in South it is the Dravidian ethnicity that is prevalent. The people of South India are perceived as deeply religious, intelligent and unpretentious.
Although South India comprises four states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, I have taken the liberty to include Goa, Aurangabad (base for excursions to Ajanta and Ellora Caves) and Mumbai. Typically, Mumbai is the entry or exit point of travelers visiting South India.
Starting from Chennai, earlier known as Madras, the book follows the traditional temple trail, then winds its way up to the mountainous region of spice and tea plantations. From there, it moves down to the backwaters and superb beaches of Kerala.
After Kerala, the book moves north to the state of Karnataka, which is home to the most fascinating monuments of India such as Hampi, Badami and Somnathpur. There on, the journey moves west to the coastal state of Goa, famous for its beaches and relaxed ambiance. From Goa, it moves on to the capital of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad. And there on to Aurangabad, Ajanta and Ellora. The last chapter is dedicated to the bustling metropolis of Mumbai, also known symbolically as the Gateway of India.
As a travel writer and photographer, I am delighted to bring forth known and hidden gems of this dramatically diverse region. It is the first time that this region is documented in a lavishly produced volume.