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Exploring the 10 best places in India during monsoon

Exploring the 10 best places in India during monsoon
DESTINATIONS

By Soumya Pawaskar

17 Jul, 2023

Monsoon travel in India is perhaps one of the coolest yet most underrated experiences. The hills and mountains flourish with greenery, lakes and rivers rush with sparkling water and the scent of fresh earth fills the air. Yet, for the longest, monsoon has been considered as the off-season for travel due to the abundance of festivals during this time. However, it's actually the best time to explore India's natural beauty.

From the otherworldly view of rushing waterfalls to flowery valleys that blossom in full bloom, here are the 10 best places in India during monsoon that are worth exploring.
 

1. Sao Joao Festival - Goa

Celebrated on the 24th of June, the Sao Joao festival in Goa commemorates the birthday of St. John the Baptist. On the day of Sao Joao, which stands for "St. John" in Portuguese, people celebrate by attending Mass, singing Konkani songs, eating delicacies like patoleos and sanna, wearing floral headgear called Kopel, and most interestingly - jumping into fresh water wells. Why, you ask? Well, the jump is a tribute to the "leap of joy" St. John made inside Elizabeth, his mother's womb, when she met Mother Mary. The Sao Joao festival in Goa is truly unique and worth exploring. 

Locals celebrating the vibrant Sao Jao in Goa at Siolim

Locals celebrating the vibrant Sao Jao in Goa at Siolim

2. Kolukkumalai Tea Gardens - Munnar

Standing at a height of 7900 ft, Kolukkumalai Tea Gardens is the world's highest tea plantation and one of the best places in India during monsoon, which is worth visiting. With misty, cotton-candy-like clouds covering the hilltops, allowing you to gaze down at them. Take a jeep safari over the estate and enjoy the hills, shrubbery and waterfalls, or if you're an adventure junkie - hike up to the viewpoints and catch gorgeous sights of both sunrise & sunset. Take a guided tour of the tea factory, which was started in the 1900s and still produces tea in the traditional way.  

Misty monsoon landscape of Kolukkumalai Tea Gardens

Misty monsoon landscape of Kolukkumalai Tea Gardens

3. Rajmachi Fort Trek - Lonavala

Nestled amongst the robust hills of the Western Ghats, the Rajmachi Fort is a historic fort that is flanked by two fortresses named the Shrivardhan and Manoranjan. During monsoons, Rajmachi fort offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding vistas, making it one of the best tourist places in India in rainy season. The Rajmachi trek Lonavala is approximately 15 km, during which you can see the local greenery flourish under the rain and gaze at the monsoon clouds overhead. If you're a nature enthusiast, this moderately long but comfortable trek is a must-do experience. 

Hikers soaking in the rain kissed sight of Rajmachi Fort

Hikers soaking in the rain kissed sight of Rajmachi Fort

4. Monsoon Palace - Udaipur

Monsoon Palace, also known as the "Sajjan Garh Palace", is a palatial residence that offers a beautiful backdrop to the glistening Fatehpur Sikri Lake. This structure was built so that royals could watch the approaching monsoon clouds and witness the setting sun, perfectly explaining its name. It's hands down one of the best places in India during monsoon if you want to witness the soft grey clouds filling the expansive sky.

Pro tip: Stay here till sunset and witness the palace glowing under a blanket of orange hues.
 

Aerial view of the stunning Sajjangarh

Aerial view of the stunning Sajjangarh "Monsoon" Palace

5. Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary - Chikmagalur

Located in Chikmagalur, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, created as part of Project Tiger, is a biodiversity hotspot and an ideal place to explore during monsoon travel in India. It is home to a large variety of fauna, including tigers, Indian leopards, elephants, jackals, crocodiles, and more, offering clear glimpses of these beasts during the monsoon. It also hosts 300 species of endemic birds, such as hornbills and sparrows, thriving alongside over 120 species of plants. Connect with nature through this unique experience and visit Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the best places in India during monsoon.
 

Tiger spotted in the wilderness of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary - Chikmaglur

Tiger spotted in the wilderness of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary - Chikmaglur

6. Valley of Flowers Trek - Rishikesh

Established in 1980 by the Government and recognized as a UNESCO Heritage Site, the Valley of Flowers is one of the best places in India during monsoon to visit. The trek is about 10 km long and 2-3 km wide. As the name suggests, the entire area is awash with flowers of every colour, shape and size, but only during the monsoons, making it a truly unmissable experience for monsoon travel in India. It is also said to be the place where Hanuman bought the sanjeevani herb - a medicine meant to bring Lakshman back to consciousness.
 

Picture perfect view of Valley of Flowers

Picture perfect view of Valley of Flowers

7. Umbrella Falls - Bhandardara

Formed by the presence of the Wilson Dam, Umbrella Falls is one of the best tourist places in India in the rainy season.Umbrella Falls can be witnessed only when the monsoon causes the dam to overflow. The water cascades down in a shape similar to a semi-circle resembling an umbrella, hence the unique name. The dam is located about 500 ms from the Bhandardara Bus Station, and it is quite the seasonal treat during monsoon travel in India, so don't miss out!
 

Monsoon travel gem - Cascading Umbrella Waterfalls

Monsoon travel gem - Cascading Umbrella Waterfalls

8. Beas River Rafting - Kullu Manali

Want to feed the adventure junkie in you? Head to Kullu Manali for Beas River rafting in the rain and get the adrenaline rush of your life. The bubbling rapids of the Beas River offer Grade 1, 2 and 3 intensity, which means there is something for everyone. Similarly, while the most popular route is a 20 km stretch that begins at Manaki and ends at Jhiri, there are a bunch of smaller stretches as well if you'd like to experience Beas River rafting in the rain, but tamer. Rafting over the rapids of the Beas under the sky of monsoon India, with a gorgeous backdrop of the surrounding flora, is an experience that you have to check out.
 

Thrill-seekers rafting through the roaring Beas river

Thrill-seekers rafting through the roaring Beas river

9. Dal Lake Sunset - McLeodganj

If calmer waters are more your thing, then make your way to McLeodganj for a view of the setting sun in the monsoon in Dal Lake. Surrounded by picturesque pines and deodars, the glistening waters mimic the orange-hued skies as the sun sets and create a view that is like a painter's dream. When it rains, the lake fills up; the sparkling water creates even more of a mirage. The surrounding foliage also flourishes and creates an altogether gorgeous scene. It is also considered a sacred place due to the small Shiva temple that is situated on the banks.
 

A peaceful evening sunset at the Dal Lake

A peaceful evening sunset at the Dal Lake

10. Chand Baori Stepwell - Jaipur

With a depth of 100 ft, the Chand Baori Stepwell is one of the deepest stepwells in India, with 3500 steps over 13 stories. Said to have been built in the 8th-9th century, this massive monument creates a sight to be reckoned with in the monsoon, with deep green waters. Visitors cannot help but marvel at the highly advanced water systems that existed even then, which came alive in the rains. Chand Baori Stepwell still serves a purpose - a playground for local boys who will often frolic in the water that collects. Next to the Chand Baori Stepwell itself, there is the Harshat Mata temple, which was built as an ode to the goddess of joy around the same time.
 

A perfect monsoon travel destination - Chand Baori, Jaipur

A perfect monsoon travel destination - Chand Baori, Jaipur

So, the next time you're craving a monsoon vacation or a rainy day adventure, check out this list of the coolest spots in the country that become even cooler under the clouds. The best part is that The Hosteller is present in all of these cities, so you don't need to worry about finding affordable accommodation. Why wait? Start planning your monsoon getaway today!

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