The Indian Monsoons, often harsh and torrential, can be a dampener in many vacation plans. However, there are some destinations in the country whose natural beauty thrives during the rainy season. Some of these places are:
Goa: For most, Goa is a winter destination when one can lounge on the beach and bask in the sun. However, during the monsoons, Mother Nature in her full element and brings a fresh aroma, romance and liveliness to this beach state. Places like the Mollem National Park and Cotiago Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa other than the famous Dudh Sagar falls and the gorgeous spice plantations in Savoi are spectacular in the rains. Those in search of some hard core romance can take a boat ride up the Mandovi River and get a feel of the historic Goan architecture. If you’re looking for some quiet time, you could also just spend hours just watching the rough waters, swelling with rain.
Lavasa: The newest hill station in India, Lavasa is at its best in the Monsoons. Being one of the wettest places in India, Lavasa (at a convenient proximity from Mumbai and Pune) is lush with green, small waterfalls and magical rainbows during the rains. Lavasa is home to a mindboggling variety of bamboo, plantations of which become even more luxuriantly green during the rains.
Leh & Ladakh: Situated some 3505 meters above sea level, lie Leh and Ladakh, one of the most pristine destinations in India and a trekker’s paradise. Sandwiched between two of the world’s tallest mountain ranges and surrounded by alpine forests, the view is breathtaking. Historic Buddhist monasteries like the Shanti Stupa that dot the landscape and the ancient Kali Temple give Leh and Ladhakh a spiritual vibe. The Tibetan style Leh Palace offers an amazing view of the town, something you don’t want to miss and the view of the sun setting from the Thiksey Monastery is priceless. The best time to visit is from May to September since this region receives little rainfall.
Periyar National Park: One of the most famous national parks in Southern India, Periyar is in the beautiful state of Kerala and extends around the banks of a huge man-made lake. It is one of the few national parks in the country that stays open during the monsoons. The safaris here are carried out entirely on boat, providing for a novel experience over and above the brilliance of the surrounding sights. Periyar is famous for its elephants and amazing sunsets over the lake. While the most popular time to visit the park is during the drier and colder winter months (October to February), it has to be said that the place comes alive with captivating fragrances and thick green vegetation during the monsoons.
Pondicherry: A quaint Indo-French town with old world charm, Pondicherry has been blessed with abundant natural beauty, borrows the calming spirit of the Aurobindo Ashram at Auroville and has many interesting cafes, bars and restaurant to visit. In terms of architecture, it streets are lined with colonial buildings and bougainvilleas that give the place an old world charm. Closer to the seashore, are the oldest parts of the town which are simply spectacular. The rainiest time of the year for Pondicherry extends from November to January, wherein just in the case of Goa, the city is overwhelmed by natures elements and the rough waters are fabulous to watch.
Ranikhet: In the charismatic Kumaon range, Ranikhet is a scenic little town that has still managed to preserve its extraordinary natural beauty. Along the Himalayan ranges, this place offers you the chance to enjoy stimulating walks through the cedar and pine trees while experiencing a fantastic view of the of the Himalayas. For those inclined towards adventure, the treks can be the just the right about of a challenge. In the monsoons, the beauty of this place is just magnified.
Shillong: Known as the ‘Scotland of the East’, Shillong is absolutely gorgeous. It is located amongst beautiful pine covered hills and has a moderate climate throughout the year. However, with the onset of the monsoons, the place comes alive. Whistling winds that move through the dense forests seem almost like magical music and numerous waterfalls spring into action. Combined with the many colourful festivals held here during the rainy seasons, Shillong is vibrant, mystical and worth exploring.
The Valley of Flowers National Park: Vibrant during the monsoon season, the Valley of Flowers National Park lights up with 300 varieties of alpine flowers that appear like a sheet of the most beautiful colours in the backdrop of high-altitude snow capped Himalayan Mountains. The park is covered with snow for most half the year, making it accessible only from April to October. The flowers are in full bloom from July to August, just after the first monsoon showers The Valley of Flowers is an ideal destination for trekkers and adventure enthusiasts as one needs to traverse a 15 kilometer steep mountain trail to reach it.
Udaipur: This 16th Century city, founded by HRH Udai Singh of Mewar is located in the southern part of Rajasthan and serves up a slice of royal luxury for tourists. During the rainy season, the city comes alive with many cultural activities and the beauty of this city of lakes multiplies manifold. The view of Lake Pichola with the backdrop of the Aravalli hillsl, on a rainy day, is positively breathtaking.