From their cuisine to art, architecture and festivals, beach and island destinations are a fusion of Eastern and Western influences. Close to the city of Chennai, Mamallapuram is home to historic monuments dating far back in time. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, once used as penal colonies far from the mainland, offer a laid back vibe of their own.
While Mamallapuram and Trivandrum are part of the state of Tamil Nadu. Goa is a Union Territory of the country just as the Andaman Islands and Nicobar Islands – all of these regions are directly ruled by the central government.
Portuguese colonial influence is evident everywhere in Goa – from the cuisine – a fusion of Eastern and Western flavors and ingredients, and the clothing, to local culture. Home to a large number of Christians and Hindus, Goa also has many minority communities. Christmas, Diwali, Easter are major religious festivals in Goa and the Goan Carnival attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Goa is known for its vibrant beach parties and nightlife, especially in the northern beaches of Baga and Calangute, while the quieter beaches of the south are a favorite with hippies and backpackers.
The riverine Divar Island near Panaji offers a slice of pristine, offbeat Goa with its lush greenery, picturesque villages, churches, temples and laidback life.
One of Kerala’s major artistic and cultural centers, the city is well-known for its beautiful paintings and sculptures – from the cave shrines of southern Travancore and paintings and murals, to the paintings of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal which adorn the city’s art museum. The Malayalam film industry is based out Trivandrum and the city also hosts an international film festival every year.
The city is home to a large number of Hindus. Almost everyone speaks Malayalam, but a number of people are also well-versed in English, Hindi and Tamil.
The UNESCO World Heritage site of Mamallapuram by the Bay of Bengal is known for its many architectural splendors and was once nicknamed the Land of the Seven Pagodas by European seamen. Just a little distance from Chennai city, the small town stands as testimony to some of the earliest examples of Dravidian architecture and Buddhist influence in South India. As of 2004, when a tsunami hit the region, many more sites were discovered buried underground.
Often referred to as Mahabs, the town is popular with local and international tourists alike and is equipped with several hotels, eateries, and curio shops.
Andaman and Nicobar Island
These Indian Islands are an amalgam of indigenous tribes and settled migrants. The aboriginal population of the islands have no rules when it comes to clothing, and some still prefer not to be clothed. A majority of the population are Hindus with a smattering of Christians, Muslims and Sikhs. Away from the main city of Port Blair, the sparsely-populated smaller islands are home to many an indigenous tribe such as the Sentinelese.
The many islands of Andaman and Nicobar have steadily become a popular hub for visitors since Indian Independence in 1947 and our private beach vacations offer you many opportunities for water sports as well. For popular Andaman packages, must-visits include the popular Cellular Jail in Port Blair, Cove Beach nearby, North Bay Island, the incredible Radhanagar Beach or Kalapathar Beach on Havelock Island, rocky Neil Island and Ross Island.
Five ‘particularly vulnerable’ Andaman tribes reside in islands that are deemed restricted areas by the government. These include the Jarawas, North Sentinelese, Great Andamanese, Onge and Shompen.
Top India Beach Vacation Tips – Culture:
- The northern beaches of Goa, including Baga and Calangute are famous for their vibrant nightlife while the quieter southern beaches are described as a backpackers’ paradise.
- Trivandrum is home to India’s only magic school – The Magic Academy Research Centre, run by Merlin Award winner Gopinath Muthukad.
- Crocodile Bank near Mamallapuram is home to over 5,000 crocodiles!