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. 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.
European countries entered India through Kerala and the region was colonised by Britain and other Western European countries. 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.
The fertility rate in South India is 1. South India, also known as Peninsular India, has been known by several other names. The term "Deccan", referring to the area covered by the Deccan Plateau that covers most of peninsular India excluding the coastal areas, is an anglicised form of the Prakrit word dakkhin derived from the Sanskrit word dakshina meaning south. Odisha was the first state and one of early adopter to South Indian culture. Artifacts such as ground stone axes, and minor copper objects have been found in the region. The Vijayanagara Empire , founded in the 14th century A.
After repeated invasions from the Sultanate of Delhi and the fall of Vijayanagara empire in , the region was ruled by Deccan Sultanates , polygars and Nayak governors of Vijayanagara empire who declared independence. The Europeans arrived in the 15th century and by the middle of the 18th century, the French and the British were involved in a protracted struggle for military control over the South India. The region played a major role in the Indian independence movement ; of the 72 delegates who participated in the first session of the Indian National Congress at Bombay in December , 22 hailed from South India.
Telangana was created on 2 June by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh and it comprises ten districts of the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh. South India is a peninsula in the shape of an inverted triangle bound by the Arabian Sea on the west, by the Bay of Bengal on the east and Vindhya and Satpura ranges on the north. The Western Ghats continue south until Kanyakumari.
The Nilgiris run in a crescent approximately along the borders of Tamil Nadu with northern Kerala and Karnataka, encompassing the Palakkad and Wayanad hills and the Sathyamangalam ranges, extending on to the relatively low-lying hills of the Eastern Ghats on the western portion of the Tamil Nadu—Andhra Pradesh border forming the Tirupati and Annamalai hills.
The low-lying coral islands of Lakshadweep are situated off the southwestern coast of India. The Andaman and Nicobar islands lie far off the eastern coast of India. The Palk Strait and the chain of low sandbars and islands known as Rama's Bridge separate the region from Sri Lanka , which lies off the southeastern coast.
The Deccan plateau is the elevated region bound by the mountain ranges. The major tributaries include Pennar , Tungabhadra , Bhavani and Thamirabarani. The region has a tropical climate and depends on monsoons for rainfall. The tropical climate is experienced in a strip of south-western lowlands abutting the Malabar Coast , the Western Ghats and the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar are also subject to this climate. The tropical wet and dry climate , drier than areas with a tropical monsoon climate, prevails over most of the inland peninsular region except for a semi-arid rain shadow east of the Western Ghats.
Once the dry northeast monsoon begins in September, most precipitation in India falls in Tamil Nadu, leaving other states comparatively dry. The region, which includes Karnataka, inland Tamil Nadu and western Andhra Pradesh, gets between and millimetres The southwest monsoon from June to September accounts for most of the rainfall in the region.
The Arabian Sea branch of the southwest monsoon hits the Western Ghats along the coastal state of Kerala and moves northwards along the Konkan coast with precipitation on coastal areas, west of the Western Ghats.
The lofty Western Ghats prevent the winds from reaching the Deccan Plateau; hence, the leeward region the region deprived of winds receives very little rainfall. The Coramandel coast does not receive much rainfall from the southwest monsoon due to the shape of the land.
Tamil Nadu and southeast Andhra Pradesh receive rains from the northeast monsoon. There is a wide diversity of plants and animals in South India, resulting from its varied climates and geography. Deciduous forests are found along the Western Ghats while tropical dry forests and scrub lands are common in the interior Deccan plateau. The southern Western Ghats have rainforests located at high altitudes called the South Western Ghats montane rain forests and the Malabar Coast moist forests are found on the coastal plains.
Bird sanctuaries including Vedanthangal , Ranganathittu , Kumarakom , Neelapattu and Pulicat are home to numerous migratory and local birds. It is home to endangered aquatic species including dolphins , dugongs , whales and sea cucumbers. The region is home to one of the largest populations of endangered Indian elephant and Bengal tiger in India. Elephant populations are found in eight fragmented sites in South India; in northern Karnataka, along the Western Ghats, in Bhadra — Malnad , in Brahmagiri —Nilgiris—Eastern Ghats, in Nilambur — Silent Valley —Coimbatore, in Anamalai — Parambikulam , in Periyar — Srivilliputhur and Agasthyamalai  The region is home to one-third of the tiger population and more than half of the elephant population of India.
As per the census of India , the estimated population of South India is million, around one fifth of the total population of India. The region's total fertility rate TFR was less than the population replacement level of 2.
Agriculture is the major employer in the region with After experiencing fluctuations in the decades immediately after the independence of India, the economies of South Indian states have registered growth higher than the national average over the past three decades. While South Indian states have improved in some of the socio-economic metrics,   poverty continues to affect the region as it does the rest of the country, although it has considerably decreased over the years.
Basis the census, HDI in the southern states is high and the economy has grown at a faster rate than most northern states. The largest linguistic group in South India is the Dravidian family of languages , a family of approximately 73 languages  The major languages spoken include Telugu , Tamil , Kannada and Malayalam.
English is also widely spoken in urban areas of South India. Tamil was the first language to be granted classical language status by the Government of India in The economy of South India after the independence of the nation conformed to a socialist framework, with strict governmental control over private sector participation, foreign trade and foreign direct investment.
Through to , the South Indian economies experienced mixed economic growth. In the s, Kerala achieved above average economic growth while Andhra Pradesh's economy declined during this period.
Kerala experienced an economic decline in the s while the economies of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh consistently exceeded national average growth rates after due to reform-oriented economic policies compared to other Indian states.
Tamil Nadu has the second highest GDP and is the second most industrialised state in the country after Maharashtra. Some of the main crops cultivated in South India include paddy , sorghum , pearl millet , pulses , sugarcane , cotton , chilli and ragi. Areca , coffee , tea , rubber and spices are cultivated on the hilly regions. The staple food is rice; the delta regions of Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri are amongst the top rice producing areas in the country. The growth of information technology IT hubs in the region have spurred economic growth and attracted foreign investments and job seekers from other parts of the country.
South India elects members to the Lok Sabha accounting for roughly one-fourth of the total strength. State legislatures elect members for terms of five years. Governors may suspend or dissolve assemblies and can administer when no party is able to form a government. Politics in South India is characterised by a mix of regional and national political parties.
Ramaswamy commonly known as Periyar. The initial aim was the secession of Dravida Nadu from the rest of India on independence. After Independence, C. Annadurai , a follower of Periyar formed the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Indian National Congress dominated the political scene in Tamil Nadu in the s and s under the leadership of K. For the past fifty years, these two coalitions have been alternately in power and E.
Namboodiripad , the first elected chief minister of Kerala in is credited as the leader of the first democratically elected communist government in the world. The region has produced six Indian presidents namely Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan ,  V. Giri ,  Neelam Sanjiva Reddy ,  R. Venkataraman ,  K. Narasimha Rao and H. Deve Gowda were from the region. South Indian women traditionally wear a sari , a garment that consists of a drape varying from 5 yards 4.
The men wear a dhoti , a 4. It is usually wrapped around the waist and the legs and knotted at the waist. Rice is the staple diet, while fish is an integral component of coastal South Indian meals. The region has a rich cuisine involving both traditional non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes comprising rice, legumes and lentils. Its distinct aroma and flavour is achieved by the blending of flavourings and spices including curry leaves , mustard seeds , coriander , ginger , garlic , chili , pepper , cinnamon , cloves , green cardamom , cumin , nutmeg , coconut and rosewater.
Andhra cuisine is characterised by pickles and spicy curries. Nataraja Mudaliar in Swamikannu Vincent built the first cinema studio of South India in Coimbatore and introduced the concept of "tent cinema", the first of whose kind was established in Madras and was known as "Edison's Grand Cinemamegaphone". Karun , John Abraham and G. Aravindan in Malayalam cinema, and K. Sastry and B. Narsing Rao in Telugu cinema produced realistic parallel cinema throughout the s. South India has an independent literary tradition dating back over years.
The first known literature of South India is the poetic Sangam literature , written in Tamil to years ago. The literature was composed in three successive poetic assemblies known as Tamil Sangam s that were held in the ancient times on a now vanished continent far to the south of India. South India has two distinct styles of rock architecture, the Dravidian style of Tamil Nadu and the Vesara style of Karnataka.
Besides these, a South Indian temple typically has a tank called the Kalyani or Pushkarni. This forms a prominent feature of koil s, Hindu temples of the Dravidian style. In March , a discussion initiated by Pilot G. Vlasto led to the founding of Madras Flying Club which became a pioneer in pilot training South India. There are 9 international airports, 2 customs airports, 15 domestic airports and 11 air bases in South India. Chennai airport serves as the regional headquarters of the Airports Authority of India for the southern region of India comprising the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana and the union territories of Puducherry and Lakshadweep.