The period between July to September is usually ones most urban Indian cretins dread and who could blame them? It tends to imply dried muck on the backs of your calves, failed public transport and the debilitating stench of damp people in damp spaces, usually spread out across piles of damp garbage. But even those averse to the wet chaos can appreciate the sheer beauty of a grey monsoon when they’re not succumbing to the catastrophes of it. We got so carried away with our peer-out-the-window daydreams, we decided to shine a little light on all the places that are most beautiful when they aren’t getting any.
Here are some of the country’s most incredible monsoon destinations.
Situated at the foothills of the Himalayas, Darjeeling is one of the most naturally scenic places in India. Also known as the Queen of Hills, Darjeeling is famous for its boarding schools, tea plantations and dense evergreen forests. However, it is less known that Darjeeling can also double up as the perfect monsoon getaway. It receives very heavy rainfall during the monsoons, which can be enjoyed by visiting the many monasteries and enjoying the peace and the lush green blankets of trees and plantations all around. For the adventurous, river rafting and trekking provide a rare experience. For the nature lover, a visit to the national parks is heaven on earth itself. Apart from the evergreen forests made of sal and oak trees, one can also find rare orchids. The forests also harbour a myriad of rare animals, some of which include rare species of ducks, gulls, the one-horned rhinoceros, leopards and the endangered red panda. And of course, you can enjoy all of this with a plate of pakodas and special Darjeeling tea!
II. MeghalayaThere is one simple reason why Meghalaya definitely had to feature on the list: It is the wettest place on planet Earth! It receives the highest rainfall in all of India, and its monsoon are the longest as well. In fact, the average rainfall in Cherrapunji and Mawsynram is close to 11,872 millimeters. As if that wasn’t enough, the state also does not possess a dearth of waterfalls, viridescent valleys and beautiful, panoramic hills. The fact that all of that can be explored using their numerous waterways is extraordinarily brilliant.
III. RatnagiriRatnagiri is one of the most underrated holiday destinations in India. A region that receives more than its fair share of rainfall, perhaps the most striking feature is its innumerable beautiful clean beaches. And we know you might think a beach holiday during the monsoons doesn’t sound like much fun but Ratnagiri will be the one to change your mind. be it Murud Janjira, Alibaug, Srivandhan or Shekari, the coasts are invariably devoid of litter. Renting a farmhouse close to a beach is the perfect weekend getaway. And if you’re lucky, you might enjoy some of those delicious leftover Alphonso mangoes!
IV. NainitalWhile some might argue Nainital is tailor-made for winter, its monsoon has a beauty of its own. The Naini peak, Eco Cave Gardens and the stunning Naini Lake are definitely brought to life during the monsoon. Nature lovers can always take a trip to Jim Corbett National Park, and observe the magnificent Tigers and several species of rare birds in their natural habitat.
V. CoorgOne of the most pleasant hill stations in India, Coorg is a sea of green during the monsoon. Situated in Karnataka, the region is one of the wettest places in the country, and one of the more aesthetically appealing ones too. It is also home to some of the best waterfalls in the country, and boasts pleasant weather right through the year. Pllus, there’s some good news for the caffeine addicts—Coorg has some of the country’s most expansive and quality coffee plantations so you can be sure the product won’t disappoint.
VI. MunnarSituated in God’s own country Kerala, Munnar is probably the best monsoon destination on this list, especially for the wildlife lovers. Gifted with cliffs, valleys and streams, Munnar provides the perfect escape for someone seeking a quiet time in the midst of nature. Trekking, although a bit risky, is at its scenic best between July and September. And for the wildlife freaks, the region boats some of the rarest birds in the country, although spotting them in the monsoon might be a bit of a task!
VII. KodaikanalFurther South, Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu is an absolute feast to the eye. Kodaikanal literally means the Gift of the Forest, and if the pictures are anything to go by, it is most certainly aptly named. It is also called the Princess of all hill stations, and when it rains, the Princess is at her prettiest best. The main attraction is the Kodai Lake, though. Surrounded by a blanket of green and rocks, it looks like something right out of an artist’s imagination.
VIII. GoaIt might be renowned as India’s summer holiday destination, but ask yourself this: Is there ever a bad time to visit Goa? While its many beautiful beaches need no introduction, there are actually many monsoon-based festivals you can enjoy. Sao-Joao, Fest of Saint Peter and the Paul and Bonderam Flag carnival are all celebrated during the rains. And if beaches aren’t your thing, a trip to various waterfalls or the river Mandovi won’t exactly be a bad idea. In all honesty, it’s actually our favourite time of year to visit just for the sheer lack of tourists alone. And don’t worry, most of your absolute favourite restaurants.
IX. PanchganiBefore independence, Panchgani was the permanent retirement home for the British. Why? Because it had a pleasant weather throughout the year, especially during the monsoon. Its many “points” offer a panoramic view of some of the prettiest valleys and caves, most notably the famous Devil’s Kitchen. Panchgani is also home to Table Land, which is the second largest mountain plateau in Asia. And of course, on your way back, you can pick up some seasonal jam from the Mapro garden!
X. Valley of FlowersAlthough much of it was sadly destroyed in the disastrous floods last year, the Valley of Flowers still makes its way into the list because it is downright stunning. Come monsoon, the park is a sea of green, filled with fragrances of its many rare flowers. The sight of rejuvenated flowers basking under the picturesque Himalayas is both mentally and spiritually uplifting. It is not just home to over 600 species of plants but also houses the gorgeous snow leopards, musk deer, red fox and brown bear. Although camping overnight is now allowed in the park, the stunning visuals that you will witness during the day will be worth the trip alone.