The dominant features of south India are the tropical climate less harsh than the northern
States, lush green tropical vegetation in the coastal areas and the architecture, culture,
languages and lifestyle which had remained essentially Dravidian at the core in spite of
repeated exposures to alien influences.
Since the southern culture evolved millennia before the modern State borders did, there is
a racial, cultural and linguistic homogeneity here that makes visitors perceive the four
major southern States together simply as 'south India', albeit mistakenly.
In spite of the seeming similarity, each State has different scenery, festivals,
architecture and subtle cultural variations to offer, each State in its own right a
fascinating tourist destination. Pondicherry and Lakshadweep are again utterly
different from the four traditional States of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka
and Kerala. The leitmotif of southern culture is its tapestry of magnificent temple
architecture going back to the 6th century, the unaltered traditions of food,
religion and lifestyle, handicrafts, heritage of sandalwood, silk, rosewood and
brass, and of course the grandeur of classical dance and music.
This is a land of temples, a land of the devout, the profusion of jasmine and
'kanakambaram' flowers and the soft beat of distant drums as yet another festival