The South of India
Welcome to the South of India
South India is also known as Peninsular India or "Deccan" referring to the area covered by the Deccan Plateau that covers most of southern India excluding the coastal areas.
Shaped like an inverted triangle South India is bound by the Arabian Sea on the west, by the Bay of Bengal on the east and Vindhya and Satpura ranges on the north. The Narmada river flows westwards in the depression between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges which define the northern spur of the Deccan plateau.
South India includes the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Puducherry, occupying 19% of India's area (635,780 km2). 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. The cities of Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Vishakapatnam, Kochi, Vijayawada, Coimbatore, Madurai, and Trivandrum are some of the largest urban areas in India.
The majority of the people in South India speak one of the four major Dravidian languages: Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. During its history, a number of dynastic kingdoms ruled over parts of South India whose invasions across southern and southeastern Asia impacted the history and culture in those regions. Major dynasties that were established in South India include the Cheras, Cholas, Pandyas, Pallavas, Satavahanas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas and Vijayanagara. Europeans entered India through Kerala and the region was colonised by Britain and other nations. 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.
After experiencing fluctuations in the decades immediately after Indian independence, the economies of South Indian states have registered higher than national average growth over the past three decades. While they have improved in some socio-economic metrics, poverty continues to affect the region much like the rest of the country. The estimated population of South India is 252 million, around one fifth of the total population of India. The human development index (HDI) in the southern states is high and the economy has undergone growth at a faster rate than most northern states. Literacy rates in the southern states are higher than the national average with approximately 80% of the population capable of reading and writing.
Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram are amongst the major IT hubs of India and Bangalore is also known as the Silicon Valley of India. The growth of information technology (IT) hubs in the region have spurred economic growth and attracted foreign investments and job seekers from other parts of the country. Chennai, known as the "Detroit of Asia", accounts for about 35% of India's overall automotive components and automobile output. The region supplies two-thirds of India's requirements of motors and pumps and is one of the largest exporters of jewellery, wet grinders and auto components. The other major industry is textiles with the region being home to nearly 60% of the fibre textile mills in India.
Tourism contributes significantly to the GDP of the region with three states - Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana - among the top 10 states for tourist arrivals and accounting for more than 50% of domestic tourist visits. With 14 tiger reserves and 11 elephant reserves the region is home to one of the largest populations of endangered Indian elephant and Bengal Tiger in India.
The region has a tropical climate and depends on monsoons for rainfall. The southwest monsoon from June to September accounts for most of the rainfall in the region. Over 48% of South India's population is engaged in agriculture, which is largely dependent on seasonal monsoons. Some of the main crops cultivated in South India include paddy, sorghum, pearl millet, pulses, sugarcane, cotton, chilli and ragi. Areca, coffee, tea, rubber and spices are cultivated on the hilly regions. The staple food is rice; the delta regions of Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri are amongst the top rice producing areas in the country. The region accounts for 92% of the total coffee production in India. South India is also a major producer of cotton, tea, rubber, turmeric, mangoes and spices as well as silk and poultry.
Books and Movies
India is incredibly inspiring. Here are links some of our favourites to read and watch. Enjoy:
Water - Deepa Metha
The God of small Things - Arundhati Roy
A Passage to India - E.M. Foster
Heat and Dust - Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
Midnights Children - Salman Rushdie
Slumdog Millionaire - Danny Boyle
Lion with Dev Patel
The Life of Pi - Yann Martel
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - John Madden
Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts
Click on these links for more information on our blog about Gokarna, south of Goa and home of our first retreat, and topics such as Yoga, Aryurveda and juice fasting, Indian food, travel preparations, and Indian temples in every street.