TAMIL NADU, INDIA
BEST TIME TO VISIT: This tropical Southernmost state sees little variation in temperature throughout the year. The best time for sightseeing is from November to March, after monsoon season, when the temperature is consistently cool and ideal for all day exploring.
WHERE TO GO: Technically it’s a union state surrounded by Tamil Nadu, but Puducherry’s intriguing blend of mustard colonial villas and bohemian boutiques has a truly unique vibe. The allure of its serene beauty and quirky eateries have earned this alternative coastal location the nickname ‘The Paris of the South’.
WHAT TO EAT: Tamil cuisine is distinctly lighter and spicier than its North Indian cousin, with turmeric and tamarind being fundamental flavours in many dishes. Crispy and delicious pancake-like dosas are the quintessential Tamil dish, but zingy lemon rice topped with crunchy peanuts makes for a mouthwatering snack. Be sure to try a traditional ilai sappadu, a vegetarian feast which encompasses six tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, salty, pungent and astringent) and is served on a banana leaf.
WHY NOT TRY: Surfing. You can definitely catch some waves in Mahabalipuram. The sport’s popularity has grown and a private lesson at a local surf school costs as little as £10. You can even hire a board for just £2.80, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or a total wipe out.