The Points South Experience of travelling in India and Sri Lanka
Jane Points has over 30 years experience of travelling in India and Sri Lanka, she has a passion for sharing her knowledge with others. South India has proved a rewarding and gentler experience for her clients visiting India for the first time. Sri Lanka is best described as “calm India”.
Whether you are looking for an introduction to India and Sri Lanka or a return adventure, Jane’s insight and ‘on the ground knowledge” obtained from her personal visits ensure that your holiday meets your specific requirements. We also hope you will find the “Points South point of view” a unique way to enhance your holiday with us.
India is a vast continent, we think it is better not to attempt covering both the North and South unless you have abundant time. In the North the landscape and the climate are more harsh. The food is different to the South, more meat is eaten, with dishes more familiar to the Indian food served in restaurants in the UK. The tourist trail is over established, especially in Rajasthan, with tour buses ferrying weary tourists around the “must see ” sights on hectic schedules however, it is still possible to enjoy the less known sights by staying in the smaller restored palaces, where the owners insight can often lead to special discoveries. Points South has compiled a rural Rajasthan tour specifically for this purpose.
While Kerala has prospered from tourism in the last decade, its neighbour Tamil Nadu remains largely untouched and undiscovered. From the Coromandel Coast to the Nilgiri hills there is much that will reward the more adventurous traveller. The temples are open to non-Hindu’s, here you can experience centuries-old rituals, often as the only western presence. As a refreshing contrast to the heady temple trail, the 19th century Chettiar trader’s mansions in Chettinad still stand and several have now been converted into small hotels. The architecture and history are an interesting comparison to that of the East India Company, whose headquarters were originally in Chennai, the coastal capital city of Tamil Nadu. While Pondicherry’s French heritage still influences the town’s unique cuisine.
Kerala offers a gentle introduction to India. The climate is less harsh than the north and the scenery is lush due to the abundance of water. Kerala has been a popular tourist destination for over a decade as a result the coastal area around Kovalam has been over developed and now best avoided. Kerala offers a diverse choice of destinations from the cooler climate of the Western Ghat mountains to the stillness of the backwaters. The cities offer a fascinating insight into Kerala’s rich cultural history, Fort Cochin retains many interesting historical buildings reflecting the many faiths and cultures that have grown together . Kerala has an excellent selection of hotels, some more like retreats such as Coconut Lagoon while the home stays offer the opportunity to experience life and customs of a local family. “What the time -poor want is an experience ” quoted Victoria Mather, Daily Telegraph. Kerala will certainly provide a memorable one.
Karnataka is the most diverse of the Southern Indian states. The climate is less humid and tourism is less developed than Kerala. There is plenty to see with outstanding palaces and temples, particularly in the Mysore area.
Although Bangalore is a thriving city, it is only a few hours travel to the fascinating city of Mysore with outstanding National parks a little further on. In our view Karnataka provides a manageable itinerary for a shorter visit, encompassing the historical palaces of Mysore, the rich architectural legacy of the Hoysala temples at Belur and Halebid and the tranquility and beauty of the National parks at Nagarhole and Wayanad.
The island of Sri Lanka sits just to the south-east of southern India, about the size of Ireland.The size of the island makes it far easier to travel to the various places of interest. With ancient cities, cool green hill country, lovely beaches and fascinating old towns this is a perfect holiday destination, I would describe Sri Lanka as “calm India”. The beaches of the North east coast are still un-spoilt and not affected by the summer monsoon, making this area ideal for the summer holidays, combined with a wildlife park and a visit to the Kandy Perahara festival.