Although India is a single country, the differences between every part of the country are striking, especially between the north and south parts of India.
You can think of India as Europe, where every state represents a different country because of their striking differences but the democratic values are the same. Each state in India has its own regional languages, cuisine, attire, customs, and artistic expression.
The differences between north and south India are so much that sometimes a person feels he has come to a different country when he visits the north after the south or the south after the north. From weather to culture to languages, the differences are so much. So, let’s have a look at the major differences between North and South India.
1. Weather & Climate
North India is landlocked while South India is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea so, you can expect the weather and climate differences between the two regions. In the north, the weather is generally cool and dry in winters & mildly hot in summers along with monsoon seasons that run from June until mid-September. The north is also surrounded by the Himalayas that play a major in the North’s weather patterns.
In the south, the region is a tropical region and there are warmer temperatures in the region throughout the region and because of water bodies nearby, the humidity in the area is also high that makes it feel hotter. The winters in the South are usually dry and there is low rainfall in the winter months although the state of Kerala has a secondary monsoon season from mid-October to mid-November.
In the South part of the country, the people speak at least one of the four major Dravidian languages: Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, and Kannada. These languages are 5000 years old and presently spoken by more than 240 million people.
In the North, however, the languages spoken by people belong to the Indo-Aryan family and include the languages such as Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi. Another difference is that North Indian languages are inflectional in nature while South Indian languages are agglutinative.
Rice and lentils are very popular in South India and they are the main ingredients of many popular dishes in the region including dosas, idlis, vadas, and uttapams. Because South India has a prominent coastline, coconuts, fish, prawns, and other seafood is very popular there. Most of the food in the Southern region is cooked with coconut oil. Also, there are abundant coffee plantations in the region and it is also a region of coffee lovers but overall the food isn’t very spicy in South India.
If you like spicy and heavy food then you should head over to North India where the staple food is wheat bread instead of rice and flatbreads of wheat are a part of every meal. The food in the north is generally spicy and you will find thick curries made from creamy gravies, spicy tandoor-fired kebabs, and deep-fried samosas.
Rice is also cooked there but they are usually of Basmati variety which is the most elite variety of rice available. You would love to enjoy these spicy and heavy delicacies from North India when you are doing any sort of activity, whether just chilling off, playing some games like Freecell, Klondike Solitaire, or just having a chit chat with friends.
As far as clothing is concerned, shalwar kameez and churidar are common in North India for women while for men, pants, shirts, and kurtas are popular. In the South, Bright colored saris and half saris (for unmarried women) are preferred by women while men usually wear white dhotis or colorful lungis.
The music from the North is called Hindustani and from the south Carnatic. Hindustani music is influenced by foreign invaders and is divided into different styles while Carnatic Sangeets exhibit regional influences and aren’t divided into different styles. Sitar, sarangi, santoor, and tabla are popular in the north while Mridangam, gottuvadhyam, violin, veena, and jalatharangam are popular in the South.
There are also differences in the dance styles of the north and the south. A very popular dance style of the North, Kathak was influenced by the invasion of Muslim rulers while the dance styles of the south have maintained their originality. The costumes worn by dancers in both the north and south are different but they are colorful and bright. Popular dance styles in North India are Bhangra, Rasleela, Nati, Dumhal, and Kathak while in the South, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, and Mohiniyattam are famous.
7. Temple Architecture
Hindu Temple Architecture is classified into three types, the Nagara or Indo-Aryan style in the north; the Dravida or southern style; and the Vesara or mixed style. In the north, the Hindu temples are smaller as compared to those in the South are nestled along with natural beauties such as mountaintops, river banks, caves, or gardens.
In South India, the Hindu temple gateways are adorned with towering gopurams that lead to smaller interior towers. The shapes of the towers in the north include peaking like a mountain while those in the south include a pyramid-like design.