Top 10 Heritage Sites of South India

It has been no secret that India has been a country with rich history, culture and traditions. Moreover, even till date the country is a house to many historic buildings, monuments and places which glorify and add on to the charm of India attracting tourists, historians and travelers from across the globe.

Though North India, housing the capital city and many other palaces, tombs and monuments as attractions, but the charm of South India is outstanding too in a totally different way. The historic and cultural riches of South India hold no competition.

If you are searching for some amazing heritage sites to visit in South India, then think that your work is done as here we have formed a small list of some of the best heritage places housed in South India. Have a look!

1. Temples of Mahabalipuram

If you are both of a historically and culturally curious souls then, visiting the beautiful temples of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu must be on the top of must visit places for you.

  • Constructed In: Approximately around 7th and 8th centuries but till today their architectural brilliance and beauty is unsurpassable.
  • Main Attractions of the place: Its unique concept and construction. You can notice this everywhere, whether you visit the rock-carved monuments of Mahabalipuram which form the largest open - air bas relief in the world or the numerous temples which till date attract thousands of tourists throughout the year.
  • Good to know:The architectural brilliance of the temples of the place is such that they found itself a place in the esteemed list of world heritage sites back in the year 1984.
Mahabalipuram Shore Temple

Also Read : Top Places to Visit in Mahabalipuram

Suggested Tour : 5 Days - Tamil Nadu Temple Tour

2. Western Ghats

Does natural brilliance and beauty attract you? If yes, then you surely are going to be in lot trouble as once you witness the beauty of Western Ghats which span over a huge area of 60, 000 square kilometres yourself, you would not want to be separated from the place.

  • Major Attractions of the Place: The presence of tea, coffee and various spices plantations add on the colour green considerably to an already gorgeous place, so much that it is referred as one of the eight hottest hotspots of biological diversity in the whole world.
  • Good to Know: The Western Ghats spread over Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu covering many amazing places like Ooty, Coonoor, Munnar, Kodaikanal, Bandipur and many more in between.
  • Tip: Running along western edge of the Deccan Plateau, Western Ghats is one of the most beautiful regions you can find in India and is also home to a number of tourist attraction places as well as monsoon retreats.
Munnar Tea Plantations

Suggested Tour : 6 Days - South India Hill Stations Tour

3. Monuments of Hampi

If you are even a little bit interested in history, then you would know that what importance this old town of Hampi which lies on the banks of the river Tungabhadra in Karnataka, portrays in the historic context.

  • Good to Know: Once the capital of the rich and powerful Vijayanagar empire, today Hampi stands proudly as a sight of architectural wonders and an important religious centre.The architecture and construction of the place will leave you wondering how it was possible at a time with no modern machinery, tools or technology.
  • Major Attraction of the Place: It is famous for its numerous temples and markets which though today are in ruins but will still leave you speechless.
  • Tip: One important Hindu temple that you must visit if there is Virupaksha Temple.
Hampi Heritage Sites

Also Read : Top 5 Things To Do In Hampi

Suggested Tour :

4. Nilgiri Mountain Railway

Travelling in a train moved by traditional steam engines amidst the gorgeous mountains, having the golden opportunity of seeing their beauty from close as well as the other mesmerizing landscapes, isn’t it too hard to be true? But this dream has come true in the form of Nilgiri Mountain Railways in Tamil Nadu.

  • Constructed In: Originally built in the year 1908 by the Britishers.
  • Major Attractions of the Place: This amazing train takes you to visit the spectacular sites of the beautiful regions of Ooty and Coonor.
  • Did you Know: The best part of this railways is that it is running on the high and risky terrains amidst mountains with the help of the Rack Pinion Engineering technique. The Nilgiri Mountain Railways also came to be recognised as a part of the Indian Mountain Railways.
  • Good to Know: It is their dream-like setting, mesmerising views and perfect engineering technique which has got it a place in the UNESCO world heritage sites list in the year 2005.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway

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5. The Famous Chola Temples

Cholas were known widely for their arts and crafts brilliance which is clearly reflected in their construction of numerous temples. Visiting these temples in Tamil Nadu will surely be a treat for the eyes!

  • Did you Know: The powerful Chola Dynasty which is also known as the dynasty to rule the Southern India for the longest duration is till today a matter of pride for the Tamilians.
  • Constructed In: These gorgeous temples are a symbol of pride for the Tamilians since 11th and 12th centuries.
  • Major Attractions of the Place: Though the place is a house to many temples but three most famous temples which till today are the most visited cultural heritage sites are- the Brihadeeswara temple at Thanjavur and at Gangaikonda Cholapuram and the Airavateswara temple at Darasuram.
Brihadeeswarar Temple

Also Read : Top 10 Famous Temples of South India

Suggested Tour : 11 Days - Tamilnadu and Kerala Tour

6. Pattadakal

One of the lesser explored tourist spots, Pattadakal situated on the banks of Malaprabha River in Karnataka is a home to some of the gorgeous well - built temples by the famous Chalukya Dynasty. The group of monuments and outstanding temples are a treat for every historic or religious buff.

  • Constructed In: The city boasts of the numerous Hindu and Jain temples of the 7th and 8th century proudly.
  • Did you Know: The temples reflect a well - blended and unique combination of the North Indian as well as South Indian style of architectural beauty.
  • Good to Know: The marvelous historic, cultural and architectural wonder of the temples helped them to acquire the title of World Heritage Site in the year 1987. 
Pattadakal Temple

Suggested Tour : 14 Days - South India Tour from Bangalore

7. Mysore

Mysore is the most preferred place to go for all the history lovers due to its rich and glorious heritage which is very much evident in its numerous temples, palaces and monuments.

  • Did you Know: Once an erstwhile capital of the famous Wadiyar dynasty, today this place is filled with many heritage sites which hold great historic significance.
  • Major Attractions of the Place: Whether you visit the ancient Chamundi Temple or the gorgeous Somnathpura Temple or the wonderful Chennakesava Temple, you are sure to witness some exceptional beauty. Mysore Palace is also one beautiful and grand place to visit. Another name that rings in the mind at the mention of Mysore, is that of Tipu Sultan who is lovingly known as the Tiger of Mysore. You can find his legacy spread all over the place. 
Chamundi Temple Mysore
Chamundi Temple Mysore
  • Tip: Though Mysore Palace is beautiful throughout the year but the best time to visit it is at the time of Dussehra festival or during the months of September and October, as it is during this time that the palace is beautifully illuminated and the royalty of the palace is brought back to life with its grand celebrations.
Mysore Dasara, Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace lit with 100,000 light bulbs

Also Read : 15 Unforgettable Places To Visit In Mysore

Suggested Tour :

8. Bijapur

Once Bijapur, now known as Vijaypur is known widely for housing the second highest and the largest dome in the world, through Gol Gumbaz. Additionally, the place is also every history lover dream come true as the place is generously scattered with some amazing places. There is a lot to explore within the place.

Major Attractions of the Place:

  • The Gagan Mahal or the Sky Palace which is famous for its central arch being the tallest and widest in the entire city.
  • Ibrahim Rauza also known as the Taj Mahal of the South.
  • The antique Chand Bawdi which is a historic tank built by Adil Shah in honour of his wife, Chand Bibi.
  • Moreover, the several relics of the Adil Shah Dynasty just adds as a bonus.
GolGumbaz, Bijapur

We hope that the thirst of your curious souls is quenched exploring these magnificent heritage sites of South India!

Also Read :

South India Travel Guide