In India, there are two monsoons. One is the southwest monsoon, which lasts from June to September and showers the whole of India. The other is the northeast or winter monsoon which brings seasonal rainfall to Southeast India from October to December. For ages, the monsoon in India has been the base for trade in the Indian Ocean. The Indian economy depends on agriculture and the livelihood of farmers largely depends on monsoon rains. Early showers help farmers to start planting major crops such as rice, soybeans, cotton and pulses. There is a unique charm to go on a vacation during the downpour. During monsoon, the cool climate, greenery, early morning fog, beautiful waterfalls, overflowing lakes offer a lifetime experience. So, here is a list of top 8 destinations that you can visit to enjoy the season of ecstasy and beauty.
Coorg in Karnataka
If you plan to reconnect with your soul, get some inner peace and enjoy some visual feast then Coorg is your gem. Coorg is one of the most popular hill stations in South India. Also known as ‘Scotland of India’, this little town during monsoon is soaked in the drops of rain and the lush-green plantations that offers captivating views make your vacation enthralled. Monsoon season in Coorg is from June to September, when the heavy showers boost the beauty of the town.
Thick fog turns Coorg into a mystery land and cool breeze in the monsoon gives a chill. Coorg is home to beautiful waterfalls and hence, don’t miss to visit Abbey Falls where you will hear the roar of the water as it gushes down from 70 feet high rough rock. With coffee plantation on either side and sky-kissing trees drenched in the fog is a paradise for nature photographer. Hidden treasure of Coorg, the impressive Irupu falls are a must visit during monsoon. Also known as the Lakshmana Tirtha Falls, this waterfall is a tributary of Cauvery River. Take a dip in the water or capture the picture-perfect scenery around.
Shillong in Meghalaya
Don’t mind getting drenched and want to enjoy the misty clouds, roaring waterfalls and forest in bright green? Then Shillong is the place to be. The capital of Meghalaya state in eastern India, Shillong is known for its charming sights and traditions. Shillong receives the heaviest rainfall during the monsoon making it even more beautiful and greener. During monsoon, the locals celebrate a three-day long Behdienkhlam festival which is for a good harvest after sowing of new crops. The festival usually falls in the month of July and you may also experience the football match between the local teams which is the key highlight of the festival. Shillong is also home to several sparkling waterfalls which come to full glory in the monsoon.
The Three Step Waterfall called the Elephant Waterfall will surely mesmerize you with its foamy, buttery, cascading aqua. Get an exquisite panoramic view of the city from the Shillong Peak. Witness the exotic beauty of Shillong with heavy rains and scrumptious food which will surely not dampen your holiday spirit.
Alleppey in Kerala
Alleppey is one of the most exotic backwater destinations in Kerala. During the monsoon season visit to Alleppey is simply a heavenly experience. Overnight stay at a luxurious houseboat on the backwaters of Alleppey is a top-notch travel attraction of Kerala. The cruise takes you through the lakes, river and canals to experience the best of the sights and sounds of backwaters. Explore the gorgeous flora & fauna including the beautiful migratory birds like Throated Kingfishers, White Asian Palm Swift, Breasted Waterhen, Black Drongo, and many others.
The Nehru Boat Race is one of the highlights of Alleppey’s monsoon which attracts people from around the world. The snake boat race which is an annual event organized at Alleppey around the first week of August, is a visual delight. Sea food lovers don’t forget to try some shrimps and prawns when in Alleppey. You also have the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate yourself with an ayurvedic spa at the backwaters.
Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu
Do the freshly showered tress and song of raindrops call you out? Then Kodaikanal is the perfect hill station for you to visit during monsoon. At Kodaikanal, take a romantic walk with your better half listening to your favourite monsoon playlist with the view of majestic mountains. Situated at an elevation of 2000 m above sea level, Kodaikanal is a calm and scenic hill station. This marvellous hill station is popular among the honeymooners. The monsoons cover the entire area with greenery.
Located in the heart of the town is the star-shaped Kodaikanal Lake or Kodai Lake. This lake is a manmade wonder surrounded by Palani hills and lush vegetation. Stay in a tree house that is standing tall in dense wilderness with chirping of birds to wake you up. Monsoon adds beauty to the majestic waterfalls in Kodaikanal like Bear Shola Falls, Fairy Falls, Glen Falls, and Silver Cascade. With cosy weather throughout the year and awe-inspiring views and landscapes, Kodaikanal is truly ‘The Princess of Hill Stations’.
Thekkady in Kerala
One of the most scenic destinations in Kerala, Thekady or Periyar is nestled in the mountains. Thekkady is blessed with abundant natural beauty with a stunning wildlife reserve. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is home to tigers, elephants, different species of birds and enormous reserves of flora and fauna. If you love seeing animals in their natural habitat then indulge in morning boat ride to the tiger reserve of Thekkady. With heavy rainfall, it is during monsoon when Thekkady is filled with greenery and eye-soothing sceneries.
Participate in an early morning nature walk or go for bamboo rafting deep inside the sanctuary near the wildlife- a unique experience which no other sanctuary in India offers. Get to know the processes involved in the cultivation of different varieties of spices while you go for a spice plantation tour with your guide. The Kathakali (traditional Indian classical Dance form) and Kalaripattu (skilled form of martial arts) are the pillars of Kerala’s culture and heritage. You may experience these art forms with a live performance by well-trained and brilliantly talented artists. Visiting Thekkady in monsoon is the best time for nature lovers and for people who love rain.
With amazing beaches, food and vibrant nightlife, Goa is the smallest state in India. Goa attracts huge number of international tourists. The monsoons in Goa, turns the country side into lush greenery. During monsoon, Goa witnesses lesser crowd, cheaper accommodation rates and fresh coastal breeze throughout the day. When you visit Goa in monsoon, you must definitely see the Dudhsagar waterfalls. Go on a hike or a trek to this beautiful waterfall nestled in the lush-green western ghats.
History and nature lovers must visit the Chapora Fort in Goa because from this fort the view of the Arabian Sea on one side and the city of Goa on the other are worth the climb. During monsoon you also have the opportunity to go for White Water Rafting at River Mhadei or visit a wildlife sanctuary. The wildlife sanctuaries in Goa are open all year round. The Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is rich and diverse and is home to several rare and endangered species of animals, plants and insects. Get a chance to spot Bengal tiger, long-billed vultures, ruddy mongoose, Indian gaur, the sambar, Black-faced langur, deer, and colourful butterflies. Whilst your stay munch on some traditional Goan Konkani cuisine like Prawn balchao, Goan Red Rice, Kingfish, Crab xec xec and many more.
The beautiful town of Leh within the towering ranges of the Himalayas receives very less rainfall, as it is located in a high altitude and rain shadow area. Hence, Ladakh makes to the top monsoon destinations in India. The fluttering prayer flags, whitewashed stupas, dramatic landscapes, blue lakes, dusty mountains, green rivers make Ladakh an oasis-like region. On your visit to Ladakh, indulge in the thrilling white water rafting on the Indus and the Zanskar rivers, as during monsoon water levels remain high all through July and August offering best rafting experience.
The most important festival Hemis Tsechu is celebrated in monsoon (late June/ early July) to mark the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, one of the founding fathers of Tibetan Buddhism. You may experience this festival at Hemis Monastery where the monks perform masked dances and are seen in colourful silk costumes. Another festival celebrated during monsoons is the Ladakh Harvest Festival which also includes activities like masked dances, folk music, archery, concerts and theatre. While enjoying the pleasant weather of monsoon in Leh Ladakh, satisfy your taste buds with plate of steaming hot momos and thukpa (noodle soup).
Maharashtra’s popular hill station Mahabaleshwar, 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 monsoon starts from July and lasts till October and is the right time to go on treks, see the amazing waterfalls and enjoy nature displaying its beauty. The whole place is under a blanket of mist during monsoon and you may pedal a boat through the Venna lake for a magical experience.
The Elephant’s head point offers the stunning views of the Sahyadri mountain range and is covered in full greenery in the monsoon. Mesmerizing Lingama waterfall, located at an altitude of 1278 m is a must visit during monsoon as the waterfall is at its peak flow. The other attractions in Mahabaleshwar that you may explore during monsoon are Parsi Point and Lodwick Point for a stunning valley view, 16th century temple of Lord Mahabaleshwar, and Arthur’s seat for panoramic views of the Deccan and the Konkan on either side.
Jay Kajaria is Founder of Bespoke India Holidays. Bespoke India Holidays is an award-winning company that specialises in creating luxury trips to India and the subcontinent.
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