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Introduction

South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area. The region is also known as Dravida as is used in the National anthem.

South India lies in the peninsular Deccan Plateau and is bounded by the Arabian Sea in the west, the Indian Ocean in the south and the Bay of Bengal in the east. The geography of the region is diverse, encompassing two mountain ranges, the Western and Eastern Ghats, and a plateau heartland. The Godavari, Krishna, Tungabhadra and Kaveri rivers are important non-perennial sources of water.

A majority of Indians from the southern region speak one of the Dravidian languages: Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, and Tulu. 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 cultures of modern nation-states such as Sri Lanka, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. The region was colonised by Britain and gradually incorporated into the British Empire.

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 metrices, economic disparity, illiteracy and poverty continue to affect the region much like the rest of the country. Agriculture is the single largest contributor to the regional net domestic product, while Information technology is a rapidly growing industry. Literary and architectural styles, evolved over two thousand years, differ from other parts of the country. Politics in South India is dominated by smaller regional political parties rather than by national political parties.

South India ranks the highest in terms of social and economic development in areas such as fertility rate and infrastructure; the fertility rate of South India is 1.9, the lowest of all regions in India


History

Carbon dating on ash mounds associated with neolithic cultures in Southern India date back to 8000 BCE. Artefacts such as ground stone axes, and minor copper objects have been found in the region. Towards the beginning of 1000 BCE, iron technology spread through the region; however, there does not appear to be a fully developed Bronze Age preceding the Iron Age in South India. South India was a crossroads of the ancient world, linking the Mediterranean and the Far East. The southern coastline from Karwar to Kodungallur was the most important trading shore in the Indian subcontinent resulting in intermingling between locals and traders. The South Indian coast of Malabar and the people of the Sangam age traded with the Graeco-Roman world. They were in contact with the Phoenicians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Syrians, Jews, and Chinese.

There were several significant rulers and dynasties in southern Indian history. Dynasties such as Cheras, Cholas, Pallavas, Pandyas, the Satavahanas of Amaravati, Kadambas of Banavasi, Western Ganga Dynasty, Chalukya dynasty of Badami, Western Chalukyas, Eastern Chalukya, Hoysalas, Kakatiya dynasty, and Rashtrakutas of Manyaketha have ruled over South India.

The late medieval period saw the rise of Muslim power in South India. The defeat of the Kakatiya dynasty of Warangal by Tughlaq forces of the Delhi Sultanate in 1323 CE heralded a new chapter in South Indian history. The struggle of the period was between the Bahmani Sultanate based in Gulbarga (and later, Bidar) and the Vijayanagara Empire with its capital in Vijayanagara in modern Hampi.


Culture and heritage

According to some experts, the weltanschauung of South Indians is essentially the celebration of the eternal universe through the celebration of the beauty of the body, and motherhood, which is exemplified through their dance, clothing, and sculptures.[36] South Indian women traditionally wear the Saree while the men wear either a white pancha or a colourful lungi with typical batik patterns.

Rice is the staple diet, while fish is an integral component of coastal South Indian meals. Coconut is an important ingredient in Kerala whereas Andhra Pradesh cuisine is characterized by pickles and spicy curries. Hyderabadi cuisine a legacy of the past, is popular for its Biryani. Dosa, Idli, Uttapam are popular throughout the region. There are large coffee estates in southern Karnataka and parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The traditional music of South India is known as Carnatic music, which includes rhythmic and structured music by composers like Purandara Dasa, Kanaka Dasa, Tyagaraja, Annamacharya, Muthuswami Dikshitar, Shyama Shastri, Kshetrayya, Subbaraya Shastri, Mysore Vasudevachar and Swathi Thirunal. The contemporary singer Dr. K. J. Yesudas is a cultural ambassador of Carnatic music.Thiruvarur Bakthavathsalam is a cultural ambassador of carnatic instrumentals. The motion picture industry has emerged as an important platform in South India, over the years portraying the cultural changes, trends, aspirations and developments experienced by its people. Some movie classics like Nammukku paarkkaan munthiri thoppukal (1986) by Padmarajan, Adi Shankara (1984) by director G V Iyer, and Perumthachan (1990) by Ajayan have gained worldwide acclaim. When it comes to cinema, due to the difference in languages compared to northern India, Bollywood does not have much of an audience in the region. Rather films in the language native to each state are dominant, this includes Kannada cinema, Malayalam cinema, Tamil cinema, and Telugu cinema. South India is home to several distinct dance forms — the Koodiyattam, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Vilasini Natyam, Kathakali, Yakshagana, Theyyam, Ottamthullal, Oppana, Kerala Natanam and Mohiniaattam.


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