India is a land of myriad experiences if you are curious enough to look beneath the veneer of its modernity. Its towns and forests breathe with unique treasures waiting to be discovered. There are many adventures for women who are ready to hit the road on their own. From natural sights to magnificent history, there is no dearth of destinations for the intrepid traveller. Here is a small selection of the best places for solo women travellers in South India.
Hampi – Archaeology and Architecture
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Vijayanagara was one of the greatest cities in the world, second in scale only to Beijing. Wide carriageways and immense temple complexes lie in ruins today but these remnants by the Tungabhadra to this day showcase a great architectural age and more. Some of the highlights include the Virupaksha temple, the monuments at Hemakuta Hill and the various market complexes across this medieval Indian city. The building designs and old sculptures set the stage for a wonderful solo sojourn. The sunsets in Hampi are considered other-worldly; enjoy a short hike to the nearby hills to capture this magnificent moment.
Nandi Hills – Nature and the Hills
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Rejuvenate with a peaceful weekend stay at Nandi Hills, which tower over the surrounding plateau, offering visitors pleasant winding roads, a bit of history and a lot of natural beauty. The hills have many viewpoints and provide a good venue for those who enjoy hikes and treks. Pedalling up the hills on a cycle is one of the best ways to soak in the serenity of the place. At the foothills, you can pamper yourself with a wine tour.
Kabini – Bird Watching Haven
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Shack up in one of the best resorts in Kabini for a ‘Jungle Book’ experience. The thick forests and the riverine landscape make this a very rich biodiversity spot. The leopards of Kabini are famous but this range is also a heaven for birding enthusiasts. Pack up your binoculars and enjoy encounters with rare and endemic feathered beauties. Some of the species you can sight include White Wagtails, the vibrantly coloured Golden Oriole and beautiful Hoopoes.
Kochi – A Culture and Lifestyle Destination
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Kochi, being a confluence of trade and exchange of cultures for centuries, is one of the most vibrant destinations in Southern India. A walk through the streets of the old town can be full of many surprises – some of the major attractions include the Matancherry Palace and the Fort Kochi area. While in Kochi, treat yourself to an Ayurvedic massage – Kerala style – the perfect topping to this magical solo retreat.
Pondicherry – A Seaside Escapade and More
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The neat layouts of the French quarters are arguably the prettiest neighbourhoods of Pondicherry, which also boasts a regal seaside promenade with many sculptures and iconic buildings on the stretch. Pondicherry is also food paradise – explore the bohemian surroundings of Auroville and its many restaurants. This coastal destination is home to many beaches – some of the scenic ones include Serenity Beach, Auroville Beach and Paradise Beach.
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One does not need to stray too far if the schedule is a little tight. Women travellers will love a stay in one of the resorts in Kanakapura Road, a place known for its verdant surroundings and good connectivity.