Dream Monsoon Destinations
For those looking to travel in India during the monsoon, if you choose your travel destination wisely, it can create a memorable journey. It is the best time to hit the countryside and visit hill stations, forts, ghats, lakes, and forests, as nature and greenery are in full swing. Corporate Citizen brings a few gems our country has that are best explored during the monsoon season
The seasonality in India witnesses mainly three major seasons i.e. summer, followed by monsoon and then winter. As the country is big, it has multiple climate zones and therefore, the monsoon can develop differently in various parts of India from June to September. It’s difficult and daunting to travel during the monsoon in India, as the rains are heavy in some places, and can rain for days sometimes, flooding areas, causing landslides and often disrupting transport services and air traffic. However, the monsoon season has its own charm when nature comes to life, rivers gush with water, lakes overflow, waterfalls swell with activity and there is a thick green carpet over the landscapes.
Cherrapunji has spread out along the razor-sharp ridges of a gigantic mountain wall sitting neatly on the edge of the Himalayas, in Meghalaya. It is one of the wettest places on the planet and the only place in India to receive rain throughout the year. You have to travel to this place during the monsoon to experience the sheer rains and why it is the wettest place on earth. Cherrapunji is also famous for its living root bridges, a result of bio-engineering practised by the locals. Witness the stunning Nohkalikai falls, the tallest plunge waterfall in India, remarkable to witness during the monsoons-a good place for trekking and river canyoning.
LEH AND LADAKH
Being in a rain shadow area, Leh and Ladakh, situated in the high mountain ranges of the Himalayas receives very less rains at the beginning of the monsoon season and hence, are relatively dry. If you want to escape the Indian monsoon altogether and enjoy towering mountains, and cold desert landscape, travelling through Leh and Ladakh can be the best thing for you. Driving through the treacherous scenic roads of the region offers you breathtaking and scenic views. It also gives you great opportunities for hikes.
The blue-dyed Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh, situated at the height of 4350m is the world’s highest saltwater lake and a place not to miss. The Nubra valley to the north of Leh, known for its orchards, scenic sights, Bactrian camels and the Diskit monastery, can be reached crossing the Khardung La pass, the world’s highest motorable road. The Zanskar river flowing through Ladakh gives a thrilling opportunity for white water rafting. The Hemis Monastery in Ladakh, holds a colourful festival, Hemis Tsechu, which is celebrated in the monsoon (June/July), where you can see the monks perform masked dances. Another festival celebrated during monsoons is the Ladakh Harvest Festival. And, of course, satisfy your taste buds with a plate of steaming hot momos and thukpa (noodle soup).
The quiet villages of Spiti valley, in Himachal Pradesh, will fascinate you with its windswept and cold desert landscape and life focused around Buddhist monasteries. The moonscape land and the rugged terrain here has its own pristine beauty. It is the best mix of spiritualism and solitude. The 1.5-kilometre trek along the Spiti River from Dhankar Monastery to Dhankar Lake promises gorgeous views. At Dhankar Lake, you can sit back and relax amidst the cool mountain air. However, look out for the rainstorms and avalanches. The heavenly, Chandratal Lake, is roosted on the Samudra Tapu level and offers the most astonishing perspectives of the Spiti village. The Kee Monastery, the astounding Tibetan Buddhist Monastery is situated on a pleasant ridge at an elevation of 4,166 meters above sea level.
As Rajasthan is best avoided during the scorching and dry summer season, it transforms into green, vivid heaven during the monsoons-becomes easier for travellers. It is the best place to travel because Rajasthan faces minimal rainfall, and some rural parts don’t get any rain at all. There are many beautiful heritage hotels in Rajasthan that lower their prices a lot during the rainy season. The washed-up forts, beautiful monuments and the beautiful Aravalis make it the perfect place for a road trip. The best places to visit are Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Bundi, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Ajmer and Pushkar.
Monsson in Wayanad brings that extra elegance to the place that will stun you. The Pookode Lake offers lavish greenery and picturesque scenes. Other places include the Banasura Sagar Dam, Meenmutty Falls, Edakkal Caves, Kuruvadweep, and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.
Covered with silvery mist, incredibly vast tea gardens, lush green hills and a pleasant climate, this hill station is truly one of the most preferred tourist places in South India during the monsoons.
Is nestled in the mountains and is blessed with abundant natural beauty with a stunning wildlife reserve. Thekkady is filled with greenery and eye-soothing sceneries during monsoon and is the best time for nature lovers. Visit the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary if you love seeing animals in their natural habitat, taking a morning boat ride to the tiger reserve here. Take a spice plantation tour if you want to know about the cultivation of different varieties of spices. Experience early morning nature walk and bamboo rafting.
It is one of the most exotic backwater destinations in Kerala during the monsoon season. Overnight stay at a luxurious houseboat on the backwaters. The Nehru Boat Race is one of the highlights of Alleppey’s monsoon season and is an annual event organised around the first week of August. You can relax and rejuvenate yourself with an ayurvedic spa at the backwaters.
The monsoon in Hampi is pleasant and not so wet for sightseeing. Everything around is lush green and the clouds lend character to the landscape. With the onset of the monsoon, the dry vistas here turn into vibrant green pastures and the myriad of temples dotting the scenic landscape of Hampi look gorgeous when drenched in rain. The aerial views from Matanga hills give you a stunning experience. You can enjoy Putty Ride, a circular boat.
Offers enchanting waterfalls, lakes, and vast coffee plantations. Ideal for nature lovers, Coorg is exceptionally known for its lush green dense forest cover. Abbey Falls where you will hear the roar of the water as it gushes down from a 70 feet high rough rock at the Abbey Falls. Enjoy the panoramas of Madikeri town and the highest point, Raja’s Seat.
DANDELI WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Located at an altitude of 1551 ft. above sea level on the rocky trails of the Western Ghats, it is a beautiful place synonymous with peace and adventure. Dandeli’s green landscapes, mountain ranges, nature reserves and fascinating wildlife comes alive during the monsoon season. It is a bird watcher’s paradise and one also have a unique experience of crocodile spotting along with white-water rafting activity in the Kali River.
This is a less explored monsoon destination in the ‘The Eastern Ghats’, Andhra Pradesh. Heavy rains during monsoon increase the beauty of this valley manifold. A morning train journey from Vizag to Araku will take you through 58 tunnels and 84 bridges and the grandeur of the valley. Madugula, Chittamgondi meadows and Panduru are some of the popular trek routes here. Visit the Borra caves famous for their stalagmites and stalactites. Around four km away from the caves are the Katiki waterfalls known for their natural beauty. Other attractions include treetop cottages at Padmapuram Garden, Araku tribal museum and Galikondalu viewpoint.
THE WESTERN GHATS
The Western Ghats in India are synonymous with the monsoons. After a month of rains, the western ghats in Maharashtra turn into a place of lush greenery, cascading waterfalls and misty slopes. The western ghats cutting across the far western part of Maharashtra, with the coastline on one side, are dotted with hill stations, historical forts, mesmerising lakes, wildlife sanctuaries, and winding ghat roads, waterfalls and biodiversity. Some of the best tourist hotspots are Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, Matheran, Lonavala and Khandala, Pawna Lake, Mulshi Lake, Tamhini Ghat, Malshej Ghat, Amboli Ghat, Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kaas Plateau, Igatpuri, Bhandardara, Thoseghar waterfalls. Go for river rafting in Kolad during the monsoon. Take adventurous treks to Kalsubai mountain or forts like Raigad, Lohagad, Pratapgad, Tikona, Torna, Rakmachi, Murud Janjira, Shivneri, Harishchandragad and many more.
Is a blend of natural beauty and old-world charm, located in the western ghats. Mahabaleshwar is well known for its numerous rivers, magnificent cascades and majestic peaks. The whole place is under a blanket of mist during the monsoon. A pedal boat ride in the Venna lake is a magical experience. The Elephant’s head, a viewing point, offers stunning views of the Sahyadri mountain range and is covered in full greenery in the monsoon. Mesmerising Lingama waterfall, located at an altitude of 1278 m is at its peak flow during the monsoon. The other attractions include Parsi Point, Lodwick Point, Mahabaleshwar temple, and Arthur’s seat for its panoramic view.
This hill station is blessed with the most awe-inspiring views and landscapes. Situated at an elevation of 2000 m above sea level, Kodaikanal is a calm and scenic hill station. Kodaikanal Lake is a manmade wonder surrounded by Palani hills and lush vegetation. Monsoon adds beauty to the majestic waterfalls in Kodaikanal like Bear Shola Falls, Fairy Falls, Glen Falls, and Silver Cascade. Some popular tourist spots are Pillar Rocks, Dolphin’s Nose, Coakers Walk, Byrant’s Park, and Green Valley View.
Ooty will mesmerise you with its serene green freshness in the air and beauty during the monsoon season. The clouds hung low over the trees and the valley giving a mystic atmosphere to the queen of Nilgiri hills. Nilgiri Mountain Train is the best way to experience the monsoon beauty by riding up the lush hills. You can experience the mystic clouds flowing across your head at Doddabetta Peak and Pykara Lake. Dolphin’s Nose viewpoint is a renowned picturesque tourist spot situated 1550 meters above sea level.Visit the Tea Museum exhibit to know more about tea, its origin and its evolution. Take a hike to Catherine waterfall winding through picturesque sites or camp at Avalanche lake.