It’s that time of the year when the clouds start to play hide and seek, and random overcast and downpour brings all nature to life. If you are the intense monsoon lover and don’t let the rains stop you from exploring, then keep handy this list of best places to explore in the month of August.
The rolling hills around Munnar, South India’s largest tea-growing region, are carpeted in emerald-green tea plantations, contoured, clipped and sculpted like ornamental hedges. The low mountain scenery is magnificent – you’re often up above the clouds watching veils of mist clinging to the mountaintops.
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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 tranquillity at the Karla Caves before heading to the Bushi Dam to experience the magical sounds of a waterfall cascading down.
Situated amidst the ancient mountains called the Aravalli Range, Udaipur is fondly known as the ‘City of Lakes’ and has five main lakes which include the Fateh Sagar Lake, Lake Pichola, Swaroop Sagar Lake, Rangsagar and Doodh Talai Lake. The city of Udaipur is dotted with magnificent palaces dating back to the 16th century, forts, temples, royal gardens and wildlife sanctuaries.
Cherrapunjee, sitting near the lip of the escarpments, is the obvious base for exploring the undulating spectacular Meghalaya uplands. Thanks to the prodigious monsoon rainfall produced by this geography, Cherrapunjee is among the wettest places on earth. Domestic tourists flock here during monsoon for the cool air, the celebrated rain and waterfalls.
Perched on a pleasantly green, thinly forested plateau, picturesque Mandu is home to some of India’s finest examples of Afghan architecture as well as impressive baobab trees, originally from Africa and carried here on ancient trade routes. The plateau is littered with World Heritage–listed palaces, tombs, monuments and mosques. Mandu is a great place to spend a couple of days exploring grand and beautiful architecture in a relaxed rural setting, easily toured by bicycle.
Kanyakumari lies at the tip of India’s mainland witnessing the confluence of the three oceans- Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. It can feel surreal for at certain times of the year one can see the sun set and the moon rise over three water bodies simultaneously. Providing a respite from the crowds, Kanyakumari welcomes tourists all year round.
Madhya Pradesh’s only hill station, Pachmarhi, is surrounded by waterfalls, canyons, natural pools, cave temples and the forested ranges of the Satpura Tiger Reserve, offering a refreshing escape from steamy central India. It’s quite popular among domestic travellers but few foreign travellers also get here.
Perched high on a forest-covered ridge, this tiny, sleepy village has lovely panoramic views of distant snow-capped peaks, mountain-fresh air and a relaxed atmosphere. Baijnath village, 19km north, has an intriguing complex of 12th-century sikhara-style temples in a lovely location shaded by trees, with other shrines in the nearby old village.
Puducherry (or Pondicherry), is a perfect blend of beach, heritage, adventure and cultural experiences. The tranquil atmosphere of this lovely destination promises peace, because time almost stops. That said you’ll never get bored.
The carvings that swathe Khajuraho’s three groups of World Heritage–listed temples are among the finest temple art in the world. The Western Group of temples, in particular, contain some stunning sculptures. Khajuraho’s isolation has helped preserve it from the desecration invaders inflicted on ‘idolatrous’ temples elsewhere. Architecture lovers can treat themselves here.
Rajasthan’s only hill station nestles among green forests on the state’s highest mountain at the southwestern end of the Aravalli Hills and close to the Gujarat border. Quite unlike anywhere else in Rajasthan, Mt Abu provides Rajasthanis, Gujaratis and a small number of foreign tourists with respite from scorching temperatures and arid terrain elsewhere. The mountain is of great spiritual importance for both Hindus and Jains and has over 80 temples and shrines, most notably the exquisite Jain temples at Delwara, built between 400 and 1000 years ago.