Top Offbeat Destinations in South India to Plan Your Next Trip


It is obvious that all the well known travel destinations will be packed with crowds during this holiday season. Increasingly, regular travellers are seeking those tourist locations that are off-the-beaten-track. Far away from the travel spotlight, these destinations are beyond touristy trappings and away from the cacophony that surrounds popular tourist spots. These are the Top Five Offbeat Destinations in South India suggested by travellers.

1. Honnemardu

Offbeat Destinations in South India - Honnemoredu

Peace, tranquility, a stunning landscape and a beautiful reservoir to give you company; Honnemardu (Honnemaradu) is a gem that you must discover this summer. A birdwatcher’s paradise, this quaint village is located on the banks of the Linganamakki Reservoir built on River Sharavathi. A small island in the middle of the reservoir attracts a few adventure tourists occasionally. Located between the renowned Jog Falls and Shimoga city, Honnemardu is a great place to camp overnight. Says traveller Renukaprasad, “Watch birds you have never seen before and enjoy the untouched beauty of the place. However, it is advisable to connect with a guide to help you explore the place. Camping overnight is exciting to say the least!”

How to reach Honnemardu
Honnemardu is 375 km away from Bangalore. The village does not have a railway station; however, the closest railway station is in Shimoga, close to 90 km away. Tourists can hire a cab from Shimoga to reach Honnemardu.

2. Shivgiri

Offbeat South India Shivgiri Karthamada
Scenic Shivgiri landscape captured by Karthamada Poovaiah Bopaiah

Shivgiri is your chance to reconnect with nature. Nestled in the dense forests of the Hoggarekangri Hills (part of the coffee country in Karnataka), Shivgiri is ideal for camping out in the wild or just experiencing the ‘simple life’. traveller Karthamada Poovaiah shares his experience in Shivgiri and says, “There is so much to do — gazing at the stars in the clear sky, bird watching, trekking, fishing and most importantly, exploring the many temples dating back to more than 800 years!” Tourists can also explore Yemmedoddi, a small village of located next to Lake Madagadakere. It is believed that the water of this lake is filled with magic rain.

How to reach Shivgiri
Shivgiri is located around 200 km from Bangalore. Take the bypass on NH47 at Tumkur towards Gubbi and continue towards Birur. From Birur, take the Lingadahalli Road and travel about 10 km. Then, take left turn at an arch towards Hoggarehalli to reach Shivgiri.

3. Malappuram

offbeat Malappuram
Murupilangadi beach near Malappuram captured by Khaleel Naha

Here’s your chance to experience one of the finest beaches in South India. Blessed with a rich culture & heritage, this town in Kerala boasts of interesting Muslim folk art forms such as Arabanamuttu, Duffmuttu and Kolkai. It is home to must-visit places like the Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary and Kottakunnu – an old fort believed to be built by the Zamorins of Kozhikode. traveller Khaleel says “Malappuram has the best beaches in Kerala. They are perfect for long drives”. Further, he adds, “if you are a foodie, do try the Thalasseri biryani”.

How to reach Malappuram
Malappuram is 165 km away from Kochi. There are a number of trains that ply between the two destinations. Tourists also have an option to hire a cab from Kochi.

4. Thenmala

Offbeat Thenmala
Thenmala landscape captured by Prakash Krishnan

India’s first planned eco-tourism project, a visit to Thenmala will help you compensate on your carbon footprint to a large extent! A cultural centre for Malayali music and other art forms, Thenmala has a lot to offer. Spend an evening at the amphitheatre to enjoy local cultural performances, or head to the Deer Rehabilitation Centre to catch a sight of the spotted deer and Sambar, and culminate your trip with a visit to the Sculpture Garden. Beyond these sights, there is a lot more to Thenmala says traveller, Shaiju, “Do visit the adventure zone where you can try out trekking, mountain biking and boating.”
How to reach Thenmala
Shaiju recommends you hit the road from Trivandrum towards -> Kowdiar -> Peroorkada -> Vazhayila -> Azhikode -> Valicode -> Nedumangad -> Pazhakutty -> Anad -> Chullimanoor -> Nanniyode -> Palode -> Irimpupalam -> Madathara and Kulathupuzha to reach Thenmala.

5. Kadmat

Offbeat South India Kadmat
Crystal clear waters of Kadmat captured by Sahdev

Crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches and a chance to discover rich marine life, Kadmat in Lakshadweep is India’s very own Shangri-La. traveller Arun says, “Move over Maldives and Mauritius, Kadmat, by far, has the best beaches I have ever seen.” It is has all the things you need for a relaxed or adventurous holiday sans touristy trappings – pristine beaches and great sites for scuba diving and snorkeling. Adds Arun, “Do try deep sea fishing. You can enjoy your catch as well since small restaurants here will cook and serve it too.” However, tourists are required to obtain an entry permit from the Lakshadweep Administration for visiting the island.

How to reach Kadmat
Cochin is the preferred gateway to reach Agatti, the most popular of the islands in Lakshadweep. Kadmat is short boat-ride away from Agatti.

Check out Offbeat Travel Destinations in North India

Honnemoredu Image –

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