The Delhi-Agra-Jaipur junket is considered India's Golden Triangle of tourism – it's the must do on any Indian itinerary of foreign tourists. Unfortunately, fewer people ensure they head towards south India, other than maybe the state of Kerala, which over the past few years has done a stupendous job of marketing itself as a splendid destination for rejuvenation and relaxation.
Other destinations in the south are less sought after even among domestic tourists, especially the likes of us who live in Delhi. I've never lived in the south of India, but decided last year to explore each southern state one at a time. This week, we travelled through the state of Karnataka. Bangalore, considered India's Silicon Valley, is the capital of Karnataka. I've been to Bangalore before on work and it's like any other Indian metro – buzzing, overcrowded, poorly planned and clogged to its gills. But we headed south from Bangalore towards Mysore and the region of Coorg, a coffee plantation district.
These drives were pure pleasure. The highways were wide, newly built, well maintained and provided several stunning landscape views. Karnataka is hilly, and the temperate weather ensures a sort of emerald green that eyes used to the arid heat and dust of northern India take time in getting accustomed to. In fact, the difference between the south and the north of the country was quite stark. Drive out of Delhi towards the mountains in Uttarakhand, and the first few hours of your highway traffic meanders through shamefully shabby towns. None of that was on display here. The Bangalore-Mysore corridor is a strategic IT hub, and the growth of the industry has ensured the area's development. The Coorg Valley, especially, is stunning. Its thick foliage, frequent rain showers and an unmistakable unhurried pace of life imparts to you a lovely, old-world charm. Keep it in mind for when you next plan an India trip, or if you want to get the most out of it on your first big holiday here!