South India | India
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South India

South India is the area encompassing the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as well as the union territories of Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep and Puducherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area (635,780 km2 or 245,480 sq mi). Covering the southern part of the peninsular Deccan Plateau, South India is bounded by the Bay of Bengal in the east, the Arabian Sea in the west and the Indian Ocean in the south. The geography of the region is diverse with two mountain ranges - the Western and Eastern Ghats, bordering the plateau heartland. Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, Tungabhadra and Vaigai rivers are important non-perennial sources of water. Bengaluru , Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Coimbatore, Mysore and Thiruvananthapuram are the largest urban areas. A majority of the people in South India speak one of the four major Dravidian languages: Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam. During its history, a number of dynastic kingdoms ruled over parts of South India whose invasions across southern and southeastern Asia impacted the history and culture in those regions. Major dynasties that were established in South India include the Cheras, Cholas, Pandyas, Pallavas, Satavahanas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas and Vijayanagara. European countries entered India through Kerala and the region was colonised by Britain and other nations. After experiencing fluctuations in the decades immediately after Indian independence, the economies of South Indian states have registered higher than national average growth over the past three decades. While South Indian states have improved in some socio-economic metrics, poverty continues to affect the region much like the rest of the country, although it has considerably decreased over the years. HDI in the southern states is high and the economy has undergone growth at a faster rate than most northern states. Literacy rates in the southern states are higher than the national average with approximately 80% of the population capable of reading and writing. Kerala stands first for literacy in India with a rate of 93.91%. The fertility rate in South India is 1.9, the lowest of all regions in India.

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South Indians are very religious The Western Ghats traverse the entire western coast India is mostly located on the Deccan Plateau, bordered on each side by two mountain ranges, the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, and coastal plains. The Western Ghats is one of the "hottest hotspots" of biological diversity in the world and has been listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. One typically can understand by simple sights and sounds the big air of difference between Southern Indian and the rest of the country. The basic culture of the south is essentially Dravidian Buddhist culture, quite different from North India's Sanskrit Hindu culture. The area was colonized by the Portuguese, Dutch, French and British, unlike the long history of British rule in the North. The people of the South would remain down to earth, calm and simple in spite of talents and riches. South Indians respect castes and religious sentiments quite unlike their brash Northern neighbors. Historians and scholars across the world have always admired the culture and language of South India for its depth and history. South India has a glorious history of more than 3,000 years. With the advent of Aryan civilization in early centuries BCE, much of the Dravidian civilizations (said to be even a base for Indus Valley civilization) were confined to Southern India, which soon became a major Dravidian bastion. Though Hinduism remained as the invisible thread that connected North and South, much of the culture and outlook remained entirely different in the two parts of the country, with the Vindhya mountains preventing Northern cultural dominance into Southern India until the Medieval period. The ancient history of South India owes a lot to large empires like the Hoysalas, Chalukyas, Gangas, Kadambas, Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas and Cheras, all hailing from similar roots. The Cholas are famous for their cultural monuments and navy, which brought much of South-East Asia under its domination. The Cheras ruled much of Kongu Nadu (western Tamil Nadu) and Kerala, had extensive trading relations with the West, particularly the Greeks and the Roman Empire, as well as with Egyptians. The Pandiyas were renowned for their cultural achievements, concentrated in much of Southern Tamil Nadu. Several other Hindu dynasties including the Chalukyas and Pallavas also contributed to the cultural heritage of the region. Vijayanagara Empire (1336-1646) Towards the Medieval period, the Vijayanagar Empire became one of the largest empires, covering two thirds of South India, particularly Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, with its capital at Hampi. The frequent attacks of Sultans of Delhi and other Northern Muslim states slowly weakened the great Vijayanagara Empire, with the final invasion in 1565 disintegrating it, giving rise to several Muslim states in the South that were modeled on the Mughal Empire of the North. Portuguese, Dutch and other European colonial powers fought over South India, with the British ultimately emerging victorious. The Mysore kingdom from the early 1400s, with its capital at Mysore, ruled for the most part by the Wodeyar dynasty, greatly expanded after the fall of the Vijayanagara Kingdom in 1565 and ruled over much of what is now Karnataka. The British started their expansion into India setting up their base in Madras and slowly growing into a major power all over India. Aside from some kingdoms which paid tribute to the British in order to maintain local rule, including Travancore, Kochi, Mysore, Hyderabad and Coorg, most of South Indian came under British dominance by the end of the 19th century. After Indian independence in 1947, South India remained one of the major economic powerhouses for the new nation. South Indian cities are known for industrial growth and overall development. The growth of IT in cities like Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, textiles in Coimbatore, auto manufacturing in Chennai, and tourism in Kerala made South Indian states race ahead of North India in terms of economic prosperity, urbanization, human resources, education and overall social development.

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