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Best Places to Visit in Monsoon in India
The Indian rains are a thing of great legends, dense, intense and immensely giving. The tropical landmass that is most of the Indian subcontinent blooms when it rains, crops grow and thrive and flourish, and that is how a population of 1.25 billion gets to eat to its heart’s content. In addition to this, what the Indian monsoon also does, is paint the atmosphere a vivid shade of romance. There is verdant greenery, dense misty clouds, washed up roads and a sweet wet smell that hangs heavy in the air.
Since monsoon is such a romantic time, it is bound to be a coveted holiday time. Even though schools reopen in most of India by June-July, the months from June to September are still highly coveted for monsoon treks, romantic getaways and trips to places that are worth seeing at this time. We have compiled a little list here, one that we swear by when it comes to packing up for monsoon in India.
Rajasthan is not that much of a desert that it receives no rain at all! In fact, monsoon is one of the best seasons to go exploring in the arid plains and deserts. Udaipur though is a different story. The city of lakes and palaces, Udaipur actually blooms with lush greenery when it rains in the months of July through August. The lakes swell and skies look overcast but beautiful. The weather cools down and you can enjoy the wetness in the air as you go on a trip to explore the City Palace or take a boat to the Lake Palace, or just buy a cup of tea and sit by Lake Pichola. The gardens like Saheliyon ki Baari sprout out in full technicolour blooms and everything is spank and sparkly. After winter, this is the time to enjoy Udaipur.
Coorg is a hillstation in Karnataka, very well endowed with nature and its magic. During monsoons, the hill is gushing with mists, winds and beautiful rains. The coffee plantations are fragrant and spread the cheer with the rainy winds, while there is lush, thick greenery that gives the place a heavenly feel. Travellers often escape into these hills to enjoy trekking, waterfall dips and quaint walks in the cloudy roads during monsoon months. The nearby Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary is also rife with happy animals and birds, commemorating the rain.
Andaman & Nicobar
The Andaman Nicobar Islands are all pristine sandy shores and turquoise seas. With the palm fringed beaches, rocky cliffs, untouched beauty and magnificent sunsets, these islands off the Indian peninsula make dreams come true for beach babies. And usually that is the case in the winter months. But monsoons are just as breathtaking here, with the temperature going down and steady winds blowing a Bollywood effect in everything you do; places like Havelock, Neil Island, Andaman and Port Blair come alive. If the rains are not too strong then you can still indulge in scuba diving, snorkelling, jet skiing and more.
The Princess of all Hill Stations, Kodaikanal is a place in the Western Ghats, crowned by the Nilgiris and dotted with lakes. When it rains here, everything comes alive with real rainbows, as if the world was dead and then nature worked its magic wand. From boating in lakes to wild treks and waterfall picnics; getting wet as you go about your day is just normal on a holiday to Kodaikanal. It is not very far from Madurai and Trichy so you can club a visit any time in the months of June to September.
Goa is India’s party capital through and through. And yet most tourists are put off by monsoons here. But that is exactly where the travellers and budget backpackers and the smarties among the lot come in. With rains pelting the shore, Goa may not be good for water sports but there is much to do here, and at dirt cheap rates. You can go visit the waterfalls, which are at their glorious best due to the feeding rains, or you can visit the nearby spice gardens to breathe in the fragrances that at one point in time cost its weight in gold when traded around the world. You can take strolls along the beach shores, hire a bicycle and explore rural Goa, or enjoy food and drinks at nearly half the prices at the best of shacks.
A hill station in God’s own land, Munnar may not be the best of backwaters and shikaras but it literally echoes with the monsoon rains when they pelt down over the green landscape. The tea plantations emit beautiful fragrances and the wet lushness rejuvenates the senses like nothing else can. Moreover, monsoon is the most appropriate season to get Ayurvedic massages; the essential oils and treatments benefit human body the most when it is wet and humid and rainy. And in a state where these are the best, you can also enrol for one of the spas or massages, and enjoy a pampering session gazing at the mountains in the distant.
Valley of Flowers
Uttarakhand’s Valley Of Flowers in one word, is breathtaking. It borders the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve and hence becomes a safe haven for Himalayan flora and fauna. During monsoon, the valley blooms in vivid coloured flowers and shrubs. After all, this is the flowering season. Usually the mountains are not at their best during rains, but the Valley of Flowers should only be visited during the rains. Wild roses, rhododendrons, delphiniums, blue corydalis and many more carpet the floor as the mist of rainy clouds hang over your head. Why, this is the best season for all activities here! Trekking, photography, idle picnics and bird watching expeditions are truly mesmerising in the Valley of Flowers.
Also known as Alappuzha, Alleppey is one of the most coveted destinations to holiday in Kerala at any given time of the year. But during monsoon, this town is just unmatched in its quiet natural glory. The backwaters swell with freshly fed rain, and the palm and coconut-fringed banks go all lush on your eyes. The exotic nature of Alleppey pops out in the green of its landscape and blue water streams flowing like lifeline through the land. There are lakes and houseboats and much more to celebrate the rains. You can get those Ayurvedic massages and spas, enjoy the best South Indian fare while the sky pelts down and chill out in this Venice of East.
Ladakh is locked in snow for six winter months of the year, that leaves the summer and monsoon season to explore it. Even though summer is evidently the best tourist season, monsoon has its own perks. The months of August and September are rain damp, with streams swelling because of melting snow and lakes looking freshly filled. The dusty roads are dusty no more and you can do everything adventurous, from white water rafting to trekking and mountain climbing. It is to be noted that monsoons in Ladakh are not heavy but mild, so the rains don’t disrupt your schedule; rather, they adorn your trip.
A serene hill station in Tamil Nadu, Ooty is a haven for tea lovers. With its elaborate tea plantations and estates and processing factories, botanical gardens and waterfalls and hill-top temples, Ooty is a great getaway, especially in the monsoon months. What sets apart this town during the rains is the distinguished fragrance of tea and mud that wafts through the landscape through the season. It is indescribable. The weather is great too, and you can easily bask in the baby rays of the sun as they last for less than a couple of hours.
The only Rajasthani hill station, Mount Abu is an all season delight. But monsoons are special here because the rest of the state is a desert, and this hill, when it rains, blooms like nothing else the locals have ever seen. The lushness of its forests and the giant Nakki Lake overflowing when it rains make you forget that you are on a hill in a desert region. The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is a great day trip, as is the famous Dilwara Jain Temple.
Pondicherry is a Union Territory at the southern end of Tamil Nadu, unique because of its French connection. This place is an eclectic mix of modern and old, classic and contemporary, French chic and Tamil traditional. From its vividly hued cafes and town walls to the shingle and rock beaches, from all that French and Italian food in the French side of town to the traditional South Indian fare sold in the Tamil part; Pondicherry is fun and more fun. During monsoons, the place is devoid of too much crowd and hence gives you ample space and budget options to explore, eat, chill and repeat.
Majuli Island is located off the Brahmaputra river bank in Assam, suffused with nature and heritage. It is the largest river island in the world, and proudly so. Majuli is almost like a small fisherman’s town, where you can stay in bamboo huts, use a ferry or wooden boat to go around exploring, learn mask-making by the local tribes and enjoy the rains that nurture all the verdant greenery around you. The food here is very different from traditional Assamese ad you must try some local fish and rice delicacies, along with their potent rice beer. All in all, Majuli Island is a very unique experience. And in monsoon, it is unforgettable.
Kozhikode is one of the country’s oldest cities. Earlier known as Calicut, it was a very significant port during and even before the British Raj. This coastal town is full of beaches, ponds, palm fringed coasts and lots of heritage charm. Through the monsoon months, you can enjoy the houseboats, eat mussels at the beach, visit temples and art galleries and bird sanctuaries. The lushness of the landscape coupled with a lazy vibe of monsoon in the air provides the perfect holiday backdrop for you.
Lakshadweep Islands in the Laccadive Sea are a major tourist haven for many adventure and nature lovers. Even though most of Lakshadweep is beyond tourist reach, and even off-limits, there is so much you can do here, even as it rains. Between the lighthouses and coral beaches and islands that are crawled on by stray crabs, Lakshadweep is phenomenal. The weather rests east during monsoon months and the heat is beaten by regular showers. What else would you want on a beach island holiday?
Only an hour and a half road trip away from Mumbai as well as very close to Pune, Lonavala is one of the most coveted monsoon getaways from both cities. Perched up in the ghats, Lonavla is actually crowded in the rainy season as people drive up for a day of fun at a resort coupled with maggi, roadside pakodas, roasted corn on cob and tea. Most tourists prefer a longer weekend getaway and usually families, groups of friends and extended family groups abound at resorts. You can chill in the lushness of the environment at your resort or venture out to Bushi Dam for some photos and fresher air. Eat chikkis. Drink Tadi. Gorge on fresh fruits.