South India can be a traveller’s dream, with its vast variety of tourist destinations, from temples and ashrams to beaches and wildlife parks. Let’s take a look at the best times for a tourist to visit South India.
Mahashivrathri at Isha Yoga Center
Mahashivratri or “the great night of Shiva” is one of India’s most spiritually significant festivals and is celebrated in the Indian lunar month of Phalgun, which falls in February or March in the Gregorian calendar. It is held in honor of Lord Shiva, who is also known as the Mahadeva or “Great God” in the Hindu pantheon.
One of the country’s largest Mahashivratri celebrations takes place at the Isha Yoga Center in Tamil Nadu, near the city of Coimbatore. The all-night celebration draws hundreds of thousands of people, and includes spiritual discourses, group meditations and musical performances by the country’s best artists.
Guru Poornima at Puri Jagannath
The Jagannath Puri Temple in the east Indian state of Odisha is one of the famous temples in India, and is dedicated to Lord Krishna, one of the most popular gods in India. The temple is most famous in the West because of the Jagannath Rath Yatra, an annual festival during which the deity of Krishna is placed on an enormous chariot and taken around the temple courtyard for devotees to behold. The English word “juggernaut” was coined by British observers astounded by the immense size of the chariot.
The festival takes place in the Indian lunar month of Ashada, which falls in February or March in the Gregorian calendar. Your visit can take in the Rath Yatra, as well as the Guru Purnima celebrations at the temple, which begin a few days after the Rath Yatra.
Navratri is a nine-day festival that honors the divine feminine. The day after Navratri is the Vijayadashami or “day of victory.” Navratri is celebrated by most South Indians from every region and caste in India. The festival is celebrated in the month of October, and most temples are decorated and illuminated for special festivities. The festival is also a time when the arts and culture are celebrated, and several cultural performances are organized at this time of the year.
Touring South India during these times is a great way to absorb and appreciate the unique culture found in South India. However, Tour prices and packages aren’t cheap at these times, so it’s always a good idea to plan ahead of time and book early.