The scorching summer heat will be over soon and the monsoons will make the barren landscapes green once again. If you haven’t already made your plans, here are some of the monsoon destinations that you must head to as the rains create an ethereal experience this season.
Travelling high among the clouds is a dream for many and the hills of Meghalaya are perfect to accomplish it. As soon as you head along the rain-tinged hilly roads, you’ll see the cotton-like clouds floating in the valley below. Stop over for a cup of piping hot tea as the clouds tend to gather around and high amounts of moisture clouds your spectacles. Just a few kilometres away from Shillong exist two of the wettest places of planet Earth: Mawsynram and Cherrapunjee, both of them perpetually wet throughout the year. Visit the Nohsngithiang Falls to enjoy the churning of the water.
Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh
A couple hours drive from the capital Vishakhapatnam takes you to Araku valley, a place filled with a series of natural caves studded with lights that throw a kaleidoscope of colours upon the limestone rocks. Araku also has a tribal museum that offers a unique insight into the tribal culture while the Padmapuram Botanical Garden is a sight to enjoy during rains. The valley itself also turns lush green during the monsoons making for a spectacular drive to the caves.
The aroma of freshly roasted coffee combined with that of the raindrops is quite a majestic one. Filled with coffee and spice plantations, the greens become dotted with a multitude of colours. Although there are plentiful of waterfalls in the area, it is the Dubare Elephant Camp that you must check out as the baby elephants splatter themselves around. Do try out some of the local Coorgi food paired up with a tumbler full of roasted, fresh coffee.
The erstwhile French colony of Puducherry is filled up with cute mustard coloured houses, open tree lined boulevards and a multitude of boutique patisseries that serve some delectable French desserts. During the months of July till September, the cobbled stone streets adorn a fresh look that makes for quite a picturesque frame. Head along the French Quarter to experience a slow pace of life that will have you rejuvenated in no time at all.
Located between the cities of Mumbai and Pune, Lonavla has served as a weekend getaway for many years. Yet, the charm of the lush green Sahyadri Ranges and the Western Ghats remains unabashed as it attracts thousands of tourists every year. Head to the Tiger Point to take in a majestic view of the valley below and relax in tranquility at the Karla Caves before heading to the Bushi Dam to experience the magical sounds of a waterfall cascading down.
Kolkata, West Bengal
Well, all these destinations might have satiated your eyes, but certainly not your appetite. One destination that definitely does so is Kolkata, as the Hilsa takes over the city in a maddening fashion. Known as the king of fish, the Hilsa has quite a unique taste, despite being littered with numerous bones. As soon as the monsoons hit the coast, the egg bearing females head to fresher waters where they are caught and served to the Hilsa crazed fans. Head to Sonargaon at Taj Bengal where the Hilsa festival is in full swing, serving out everything from Hilsa Roe fritters to the classic Machcher Bhaja (fried fish) and every imaginable kind of curry in between.
The author’s views are his own and do not resonate with those of Lonely Planet.