Five monsoon destinations in India
As I am writing this post, the monsoon breeze is blowing right outside the window and the dark clouds have just gathered. I can hear the roll of a distant thunder and can virtually smell the rain from my room. Having lived most of my life in Chennai, I am used to the winter monsoon and the cyclonic storms but it was Bangalore where I fell in love with the pre monsoon rains. Initially I hated to travel in June but then I learnt to soak in the wet mood and I discovered that most of India looks extremely beautiful when the rains drench them.
There is poetry in the earth when it rains in the deserts of Rajasthan, when the forest floor in Valparai comes alive with wild ferns and orchids, when tiny rivulets in Sikkim flood with rainwater, when waterfalls suddenly interrupt you on your morning walk in Chikmagalur,
The green gets greener even if the skies are perpetually wearing a grey look. I have travelled from Kashmir to Kanyakumari in the rains and here are my favourite monsoon destinations.
The first showers of the season drench this state and believe me, it is a joy to be here when the fresh scent of rains tickle your nostrils. Another reason to journey here during the rains is that it is off season – but Kerala being Kerala, the tourism guys know how to market every tiny weeny bit, so dont be surprised if it costs much higher than anywhere else in the country. Get into a houseboat and watch the rains flood the backwaters. Or linger in the forests around Wayanad or sit in the comfort of the resort and see the tea plantations in Munnar in a fresh coat of paint. The snake boat races happen around the monsoons, so you can plan your trip well in advance.
If you are looking for some options, then Airbnb has a few listings in Alleppey or Alappuzzha, the entry to the backwaters .If you are looking for a boutique homestay with a view of the evergreen paddy fields from your room, an overflowing river and the rains, then do visit this bed and breakfast.
Traditional, cosy and rustic, this bed and breakfast allows you to soak in the rustic flavour, while experiencing the backwaters.Get a feel of the real Kerala, outside the touristy resorts by interacting with the locals .
The mist is a perennial visitor and all of Coorg seems to be wrapped in a mystery of sorts this monsoon. When the rains come, the mist unveils the green carpet only to fold it in its white curtain . There is a magic that cannot be explained. Well, if you think the rains are a dampener to your outdoor travel, then sit with a hot cup of coffee or a beer as your mood may fancy and watch the mist and mountains play hide and seek with each other. But if you are an adventurous sort, then go out there and get drenched. After all, it is the monsoons.
Well, every inch of Coorg is filled with resorts and homestays but Airbnb recommends these boutique homestays. A lot of personal attention and warmth is served at D&D Coffee Orchards, located close to Virajpet but nestled deep inside the woods with a natural pond in the coffee plantation. But if you would like a bit of the colonial flavour, step into the old fashioned charm of this bungalow at Kedakkal near Madikeri.
I always thought Goa is about the sun and sands until I visited it in the monsoons and then I realized that Goa is not just a destination – its a state of mind. We tend to stereotype Goa, look at it as the beach destination, but we forget the little sleepy villages, the river that is the lifeline of the state, the cashew and the spicy plantations that lend a green cover and the dense woods, the expansive and wild Western Ghats that is crawling with insects, and croaking with frogs, heralding the rains.
The seas are rough as the rains lash them but sitting in a tree house, overlooking a mango and cashew orchard, sipping some fenny and listening to the rains is an ultimate experience. Do try the Shunya Gor experience through Airbnb.
For a rustic experience in a picture perfect village, where you get to do nothing but chill and drink at the local tavern, visit in North Goa, where a windswept hamlet by the beach side will charm you.
Now this was a complete surprise. Imagine in your wildest of all dreams, being stuck in the desert because roads are flooded with water. There is an oasis virtually everywhere. There is nothing more enchanting than soaking in the desert rain. I visited Jaisalmer and the monsoons gave a green tinge to the golden city. Even the cacti seemed to be gushing in joy. It is not just Jaisalmer, but every Rajasthani city has a rendezvous with the monsoons. The rains lashed around when I visited Jodhour and drenched the capital city Jaipur. But my favourite is charming Udaipur where the rains bring the romance alive.
Coming up are two cosy accomodation options listed in Airbnb. One of them, Mystic Jaisalmer offers you great views of the Golden Fort . Relax in a hammock and take in the surroundings. But if you prefer more romance, then visit Udaipur and stay in this charming home called “Ehi Passika” which apparently means, “Come and Experience.”
They say that there is nothing quite like rains in the mountains. And for a true monsoon experience, head to the Himalayas. If the higher altitudes are a bit daunting, then visit the “rainiest state capital” – Dehradun. It rains and how ! Nestled in the Himalayas, the capital city of Uttarkhand is also a district and offers some fantastic views around the rivers and mountains. The rains here can be heavy and hence it is advised to just relax !
Sitting in this abode and hoping for a view of the majestic Himalayas in between spells of rains, you almost feel like the setting is right out of a Ruskin Bond novel. You can feel the pitter patter on the rooftops as the pines whisper in this retreat called Junyali. It is located in Dehradun district in Chamasari Village barely 14 kms from the city and it is believed that the drive is through the mountains.
Another option would be to lose yourself in a colonial styled bungalow, tucked away in a lush orchard, listening to 19th century tales of the town and its neighbourhood.
So where are you going this monsoons ? The forests, the beaches, the mountains – every piece of natural landscape wears a new natural coat. If you want to visit any of these places or stay at any of these homes, then do sign up on Airbnb using my referral link and get USD 25 (or INR 1482) off on your first booking!
I love my tryst with the rains – how about you ?