Rain is grace;
rain is the sky descending to the earth;
without rain, there would be no life.
Monsoon getaways come with a promise of lush foliage, iridescent views, and that pleasant breeze that adds a skip to your step. Most parts of India are blessed with a robust monsoon. Travelling hither to experience the splendid season can be thrilling. From rapturous rapids in Coffee Country Coorg to the wettest place on the planet in Shillong; from the splendid waterfalls of Lonavala in Sahyadris to experiencing a magical monsoon in Munnar, #DSSCRecommends top four picks to savour the season.
Sitting amidst Karnataka’s Western Ghats, Coorg adorns a prettier shade of green with the onset of monsoon. It is perhaps this season that gives Coorg the name Scotland of India — massive rainfall and mist kiss the green foliage, making Coorg an idyllic monsoon getaway. Monsoon treks, although tedious due to the slippery surfaces, are gaining momentum. Tadiandamol (Thadiyandamol), the highest mountain in Coorg is one such favoured trekking destination. Fiercely roaring waterfalls such as Abbey (Abbi), Mallalli, and Irpu are a delight to visit. Instagram stories, ahoy! #DSSCTopTip: Carry appropriate rain gear, hoodies, umbrellas, and extra pairs of socks. Vinegar, salt, and lime help guard against leeches that dominate the area in monsoon.
It is also this season when Barapole and Kaveri rivers have the best rapids, and adventure sports such as river rafting, kayaking, and canoeing are particularly enjoyable. Wildlife enthusiasts who may have Nagarhole National Park, Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, or Dubare Elephant Camp on their itineraries should check ahead as some of these remain shut in case of incessant rains. We recommend you book a stay at one of the coffee plantations in the Coffee Country and enjoy at least one Kodava meal for a smashing Coorgi experience.
When: June till August
In North Eastern parts of India the monsoon dances to a different tune. The onset of monsoon showers in Shillong begins as early as May. Adding to pull-factor is the fact that Mawsynram and Cherrapunji — the top two wettest places on the planet are nearby. Tourists who enjoy heavy outpours descend upon Shillong in this otherwise lean period.
Cherrapunji is famous for the living root bridges — a derivant of the bio-engineering practiced by locals on ancient rubber trees. Umshiang Double Decker Root Bridge is one such wonder that warrants a visit. From Cherrapunji, one can indulge in captivating views of the plains of Bangladesh. A famous vantage point is at the top of a basket-shaped rock in Thangkharang Park, situated 12 km from the main town; the plains are also visible enroute the town. The Seven Sisters Waterfall is amongst the best places to visit here; the fourth largest waterfall in India offers a splendid view of water gushing down from a height that soothes the soul and pleases the eyes. The Khasi Monoliths are in proximity of the waterfalls and are built in the memory of ancestors, a treat for amateur and experienced explorers.
When: May till September
Nestled in the lap of the Sahyadris, Lonavala is a sought-after destination both by the locals and visitors, situated just 65 km from Pune and 80 km from Mumbai. What are little trickles of water down the hills all the year round, gain momentum in monsoon and acquire the shape of numerous small and medium-sized waterfalls, making the drive to the final destination musical and scenic. Bhushi Dam built on Indrayani River tops the list of tourists — water gurgles down easily-accessible steps and the natural rocky terrain surrounding it, making for a great place to enjoy the season. #DSSCTopTip: Check for weather warnings before you hit the dam, as access is sometimes denied in case of heavy rain when the dam overflows.
Those who seek peace and solitude can head to the tranquil Tungarli Lake which looks splendid as the rainwater fills it up. Perched on a cliff, Lion’s Point is where one can head for evening and night time trekking — a haven for photographers, nature lovers, and trekking enthusiasts. The twin fortresses of Rajmachi Fort, Shriwardhan Ballekilla and Manaranjan Balekilla, offer majestic views of the Sahyadris. The idyllic Western Ghats and Shirota Dam are visible from here. A trip to Lonavala is not complete without a stop at Golden Vada Pav for delectable monsoon treats such as Vada Pav, Moong Dal Pakora, Samosa, and Jalebi.
Mahabaleshwar and nearby Panchgani are the two other monsoon getaways in Maharashtra worth exploring. The misty mountains, splendid waterfalls, and continuous downpour provide all the elements you need for a perfect getaway.
When: June till September
Kerala is perhaps the best place to enjoy a magical monsoon in India. Munnar in Idukki district has hills carpeted with the emerald-green tea plantations, and mist swirling on hilltops. There are no promises of urban charms but nature is at its charismatic best in Munnar during the rainy season. Ayurvedic treatments are known to work best during monsoon, and one can plan a vacation centred around these. Chances are your place of stay would have a treatment room readily available. Near Munnar, the bountiful Kolukkumalai Tea Estate at an elevation of 8,100 feet above sea level is the highest tea estate in the world. A stroll here is the best way to enjoy the scenic beauty of Munnar.
Just 15 km from Munnar, in Eravikulam National Park, a rendezvous with the endangered Nilgiri Tahr is in order; a treat for wildlife enthusiasts. #DSSCTopTip: This year is special as the Neelakurinji flowers are in bloom, a spectacle that takes place once in 12 years. Don’t forget to make a stop at the Mattupetty Dam built on the Mattupetty Lake for scenic strolls and bird spotting. While driving through the nearby areas, if you are lucky enough you may just spot a herd of elephants roaming in the wild. Round up your Munnar visit with a Kathakali and Kalaripayattu performance at the Thirumeni Cultural Centre.
When: June till August
Embark upon a trip to these monsoon getaways, and come back rejuvenated.