India being as rich and varied as it is provides travel destinations for all time and seasons. You don’t have to stay indoors fearing mud daubed clothes, slippers and perpetual sneezing when it rains, and even when it rains for hours at end. Yes, I am speaking of Monsoon and how people often think it must be the enemy of all those with a wanderlust. But fortunately, you are in the right country to avoid that line of thought. There’s plenty of adventure and fun traveling activities to do during monsoon. From taking time out to unwind as the sun hides behind puffs of grey or exploring the untouched destinations which, literally, come into full bloom only during this period, monsoon has something to offer for all kinds of travelers. The mesmerizing ambiance that monsoons create is highly attractive for travelers from abroad as well who often incorporate a monsoon experience in India in their itineraries.
10. Dalhousie, Himanchal
Dalhousie is a year round favorite of tourists looking for scenic Himalayan beauty. The mighty Dhauladhar ranges stand high and provide a magnificent view from Dalhousie. During monsoon the mountains become shiny and greenery envelops the whole landscape. Monsoons in Dalhousie aren’t heavy and the light showers make for a pleasant weather which doesn’t restrict movement and adventure activities. There are plenty of treks that can be taken in the town which features a highly colonial landscape. Also, Khijjar, just 25 kms away from Dalhousie, nicknames the Switzerland of India comes to life as the pines all shine in the dew from the rains.
Located in the Satara district in Maharashtra Koyna is an offbeat monsoon destination for the travelers in the south. Easily accessible from Pune, Koyna is famous for the dam which goes by the same name. In monsoons the waterfalls are in full swing provide for a perfect place to unwind and relax yourself amidst the greenery of the Koyna Wildlife sanctuary. There are plenty of resorts and homestays on the backside of the dam and the views are majestic. Plus it’s relatively lesser known and isn’t crowded like Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani thus making it more secluded and closer to nature.
8. Orcha and Panna
Orcha and Panna are small towns nested in the lush green settings of Madhya Pradesh. Orcha is a heritage site with rich medieval culture of Bundelkhand peeking at you from every corner. Every few miles you can see brilliant stone architecture of medieval India. The main attractions include the Orcha Palace and the Ancient Ram mandir. Monsoons make the heritage experience all the more enchanting with everything covered in a thin layer of transparency. Besides Heritage Orcha offers a lot of adventure activities as well. Go bicycling through the town or rafting in the Betwa river which is apt for rafting in the monsoons. There is a small forest reserve nearby which provides for a calm place to relax and enjoy local food. Panna on the other hand is located deep within forest and resorts here open in Monsoons to cater to travelers looking for a isolated off beat experience.
7. Spiti Valley
Spiti valley falls under Lahaul & Spiti District in Himachal Pradesh state, with Tibet as its next door neighbor Spiti shares many of its ethno-cultural uniqueness with Tibet. The area is dry and barren and shares Tibet’s uneven terrain. The scarcity of rains in the summer and some heavy showers in the monsoons make Spiti valley a continuity of grey nothingness with green patches, a unique landscape unlike any other in the country. The valley is surrounded by gigantic mountain ranges which are transversed by the main line of Himalayas. The lowest point in the valley is 11,000ft and many villages lie as high as 14,000ft. In spite of the harshness of the terrain and living conditions Spiti valley provides rich cultural heritage. With Monasteries covering major part of the breath taking landscape and prayer flags flying throughout the valley, there’s a sense of calm that dawns through the eerie silence.
An average tourist will consider the period between June-August as off seasons but any avid traveler will tell you the advantages of Goa in Monsoon. You can stroll on the beaches for hours without any annoying crowd or dirt or filth around. Thought the water sports activities take a set-back during this period you can take the advantage of Jet-sking and parasailing during the clearer days with the benefits of not going too deep into the water. The Daudhsagar waterfalls is a must visit for any trip to Goa and during monsoons the waterfall becomes almost dream-like. A drive through the spice plantations is also a pleasant experience during the rains with the aroma of spice and the soil in the rain filling up the atmosphere.
Coorg is beautiful no matter what time of the year it is. But monsoons in Coorg is an experience to treasure. The many cascading waterfalls are on a crescendo with the roar of the water falling onto the rocks makes Coorg exceptionally serene. There are many trek-trips that can be undertaken during monsoons the most popular one being from Kakkabe to Thadiyandamol, the region’s highest peak, but people usually avoid them due to overload of snakes et al. Coorg is famous for its plantations of Coffee, rosewood and sandlewood and the best way to enjoy these is to stay at one of the homestays on these estates. All in all the rains bring out the best in Coorg.
Rajasthan in monsoons is all about beige sandunes against a background of grey or a dark sky shimmering in the scattered and unpredictable rains. Places of interest include Bundi, Keolado National Park and the lake city of Udaipur. If you plan your trip right you might also get to witness one of the most vibrant festivals of teej which takes place in July/August. It marks the beginning of the monsoons and is celebrated with great fervor by the married women in Rajasthan. Moreover no trip to Rajasthan is complete without a stay in one of the royal havellies which offer a discount of upto 40% during monsoons!
Kerela is heavenly in monsoons. Monsoon tourism in Kerela is slowly gaining popularity with both Indian as well as foreign travelers. The God’s own country offers a range of Ayurvedic practices for both mental and physical wellbeing. A visit to Munnar during the rains offers the majestic view of the Ernakulam national park and Anamudi peak. Treks through the lush green mountains is another delight in Munnar. A houseboat cruise during Monsoons offers heavy discount plus serene views of Kerela’s country side drenched in the rain. The beaches are not crowded and offer a relaxing recluse from the concrete jungles of cities.
2. The Valley of Flowers, Uttrakhand
Valley of Flowers has a microclimate of its own which is shielded from the Southwest monsoon by the Himalayan ranges. With more than 300 varieties of flora and fauna in full bloom in the valley it provides a very surreal experience and is also a UNESCO world heritage site. As it’s covered in snow most of the year July-August is the apt season to visit the valley. If you go before july there’ll be hardly any flowers and it’s only in July that the valley comes to a full bloom. After august the colour of the balley changes drastically from a lush green to a subtle yellow as the flowers die gradually.
Ladakh has become India’s monsoon hotspot for avid travelers. Tucked between the two highest ranges of the world the Himalayas and the Karakoram, Ladakh offers a rich culture and magnificent scenic beauty. The high desert altitude is often compared to the lunar terrain and provides ample adventure for the outdoor souls. While those seeking the peace in the insides will find peace in the monasteries and Buddhist culture.