At Ampersand we share Conde Nast's philosophy towards luxury travel, so when we organised a press trip for them to South India, it was a match made in heaven. Having been heralded as an unmissable journey, we wanted to give our clients some inspiration for their own luxury whistle-stop tour of South India.
Welome to South India
The tropical south has a different pace to the rest of India – it is slow and soothing, much like the backwaters of Kerala. Renowned for its welcoming people, lush scenery, delicious food and distinctive gopuram temples, South India is the perfect destination if you are looking for a relaxing, yet culturally stimulating escape. These spiritual cliff-backed beaches are ideal for a meditative break and some of India’s finest Ayurvedic medicine is practiced in the laid-back spas and resorts of this region.
India is almost a collection of countries, due to its vast size and dazzling regional array of languages, cuisines and religions. The southern states stretch from the palm-lined beaches of Goa down to the quiet Keralan Backwaters and across the Western Ghats to the thriving city of Chennai - once a hub of the British East India Company – with Bangalore, the "Garden City", on the plains in between. The state of Andhra Pradesh spans a huge part of the east coast, with Hyderabad, which is famed for its nawabs and markets at the heart. In Tamil Nadu, visitors can explore elaborately carved stone temple complexes with towering gopurams visited everyday by hundreds of pilgrims, such as the Sri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai. Chennai and the former French colony Pondicherry each have their own distinctive style of architecture. Besides the many fun beach resorts, Goa has a wealth of churches, a legacy of more than 400 years as a Portuguese colony. Few tourists make it to the remote, ruined Vijayanagara city of Hampi in Karnataka but those who do are left overwhelmed by its beauty and atmosphere. The trick with India is probably to do less, rather than more, and plan to go back.