1. See South India through the locals’ eyes
South India is full of never-ending things to explore and exciting experiences you can be a part of. Using the (adapted) phrase ‘when in India, do as the Indians do‘, you’ll find endless chances to learn from the friendly local people. You may start by interacting with them, listening to their stories, trying to understand the different meanings of the Indian head bobble, or even sitting with your legs crossed while exchanging stories and sharing a meal with them. An open mind and respect for South Indian traditions will definitely reward you with a full and authentic experience of this one of a kind area.
2. Enrich your sensations with a Sadhya meal
Eating is a multi-sensory experience, all sensations – taste, aroma, temperature of the food, and its presentation work together in harmony. And one of the best opportunities to get a full experience of South Indian food is tucking into a family style Sadhya meal. Sadhya, meaning “banquet” in the local language, is a cuisine from Kerala, featuring a large variety of well-spiced, vegetarian dishes, sometimes more than twenty and is traditionally served on a large banana leaf. During a traditional Sadhya celebration, people sit cross-legged on mats, eating food with their hands and sharing conversation. When our fingers touch the food during a Sadhya meal, we have a more direct connection with it and some would even say eating with your hands makes it taste better!
3. Witnessing India’s ancient dance
There are many classical dance forms in South India, but Bharatanatyam is perhaps the most well-known one. It’s an energetic Indian classical dance from Tamil Nadu, known for intricate poses, hand gestures, and facial expressions. Another famous dance not to miss is the Kathakali, which has subtle movements telling a mythological story and is danced only by men, even for female roles! While the Kathakali is performed only by men, the Mohiniyattam dance from Kerala is an enchanting dance performed only by solo women dancers after extensive training. Plenty of chances to check out the variety of one of a kind classical dances means you will never be bored!
4. Explore local industrial heritage
A privilege of travelling the off the beaten path route is to see things seldom seen by outsiders. In South India, there’re many local workshops where you can see how local products are made now and in the past, such as a rubber plantation house where you can learn about the interesting process by which rubber is made or a hand-woven sarees village where you can see the gorgeous and brightly colored South Indian silk sarees being weaved on a table loom.
5. Admire the diversity in religious architecture
Indian architecture was mainly focused towards religious buildings since it’s a birthplace of multiple religions such as Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. Visiting the ancient temples of India is as much of a lesson in history as it is in culture and unique rituals. It’s not only Indian-originated religions that co-exist peacefully in South India, but also other faiths have found their place in South India. Especially in the town of Chendamangalam, where you can find a unique and beautiful mix of historic synagogues, churches, mosques, and Hindu temples all within close proximity of one another.
6. Indulge yourself with traditional ayurvedic spa treatments
Nothing is better than enjoying a relaxing moment after a day of exploring! Ayurveda is one of the most ancient yet living health traditions, conceived as a way to help balance the body and mind. There are various types of Ayurveda treatments. The most common one is a warm therapeutic essential oils massage by traditional experts. This treatment helps you to feel relaxed, improves blood circulation, and makes you feel rejuvenated and fully re-charged!
7. See South India differently by bicycle
Travelling by bicycle will change the way you see South India. With SpiceRoads, we’ll take you to explore off-the-beaten track Kerala. Dive into South India away from the crowds and up close to the real culture and local people (and all the experiences we mentioned on the list above!) At slow speed, you can exchange greetings with children on their way to school, take in the colors of local life or even spot the forest’s colorful bird species along the edge of the water if you’re lucky. And at the end of the day, you will relax in the accommodations we mindfully selected, such as a beautiful riverside resort where you can canoe or a 300 year-old traditional Hindu homestay! There are never ending sites to discover in South India, and you can never go wrong by deciding on a truly uniquely designed trip with SpiceRoads!
Used by permission of SpiceRoad Cycling.
Originally posted at: http://blog.spiceroads.com/2020/02/05/7-awesome-and-cultural-experiences-in-south-india/