“Sullen clouds are gathering fast over the black fringe of the
O child, do not go out!
The palm trees in a row by the lake are smiting their heads
against the dismal sky; the crows with their dragged wings are
silent on the tamarind branches, and the eastern bank of the river
is haunted by a deepening gloom.” ~ Tagore
…and as I sat down to pen my wistful memories of rain soaked days spent in the lushful green valleys of the hills and forests of Chattisgarh, dark gray clouds comes haunting the Bangalore sky, thunder rolls could be heard at a distant. Monsoon has arrived and here are my favourite monsoon destinations from all corners of India.
Konkan Coast –
This beautiful picturesque strip of land is bounded by mighty Arabian sea on the west and Sahyadris or Western ghats on the east. Konkan is truly magical in monsoon, the lush green forest and its postcard beaches are sight to behold. From Konkan coast I will choose –
Goa : extremely popular, touristy, over hyped to few and you might want to avoid it. But for few seconds, shift your paradigm from the usual routine of beach parties, nightlife and carnival. Instead, close your eyes and imagine yourself on the long ride on a motorbike crisscrossing through the densely forested hinterland of Goa, feeling the splashes of rains on your face or watching the pink sunsets on its wet beaches all alone, with not a soul nearby. The astounding Dudhsagar waterfall cascading from a height of thousand feet is reason enough to visit Goa. Goa can surprise you in monsoon and as the season is lean, you will get cheaper rates on your favourite hotels too.
Malshej ghats – Ever since some one posted a you tube video of homecoming driving through the Western ghats amidst torrential rains with a background music playing “banwara mann dekhne chala“, every one out there who loves to romanticize rains wants to be in that moment. Some moments are so infectious and deeply etched in heart that you want to be there, no matter what. Overnight Malshej ghat become popular monsoon destination. I am not sure it will entice you the same way as the video shows but definitely an offbeat place to enjoy the rains. The unspoilt and tranquil serene beauty of this mountain pass, Malshej ghat is popular among trekkers, and am sure will enchant monsoon seekers too. Mahabaleshwar, Lonavla and Panchgani are other nearby monsoon destinations from Mumbai.
Far East –
North East the entire stretch from Darjeeling- Kalimpong to Sikkim – Shillong, Assam and Cherapunji, the eastern arm of Himalaya draped anew in myriad shades of green, jeweled with crystal white to pinkish glimpses of Himalayan peaks playing peekaboo from the misty gray clouds that loom large over the hills. Monsoon is beautiful beyond words in this part of the world. At the same time, the roads are tricky and you will need very skillful driver to sail through the border roads, landslides are pretty much common through out the entire stretch. So be prepared for everything.
My personal pick would be Cherapunji and Mawsynram in the picturesque valley of Khasi and Jayanti hills. Meghalaya is truly the “abode of clouds”.
North Sikkim, especially Lachung- Guru Dongmar lake and Yumthang and Yumesamdong valleys that painted the landscapes in shades of yellow and red wildflowers. Hire a cottage or get an accommodation at one of the homestays on the banks of Lachung river and every morning you will be greeted with beautiful views that will keep you enchanted and spent the days exploring the neighborhood that are dotted with numerous waterfalls. Sikkim’s best waterfalls are however in Pelling. Do not miss them.
Up North –
Under the shadows of mighty Himalayas –
Himachal Pradesh – Reminding once again that this list is for those who love lots of rains, who love to chase the monsoon clouds and for those also who wants to enjoy the verdant scenic beauty from the comfort of their homes / hotels sitting next to a bay window and enjoying the rains painting the beautiful Himalayas in shade of blue and greens. So naturally any outdoor activities would be ruled out and also be prepared for the landslides. My personal favourite would be Manali – Shoja village – Solang valley, Macleodganj in Dharamshala and Jalori pass. These are also the best places to capture the scenic beauty of rain soaked Himachal meadows adorned in emerald green.
Valley of Flowers , Uttarkhand – a rare natural botanical garden. The valley comes to life between July-August in myriad shades of all rainbow colored blooms that beautifully painted the valley floor. A serene river Pushpawati glides through the middle of the valley and mighty snow capped mountains borders the valley on other side. A feast for eyes and for soul.
Southern trail –
Karnataka – the state has bittersweet relationship with monsoon. While coastal Karnataka is blessed with copious rains, the north Karnataka in Deccan remains arid though out the year. But where it rains, the heaven opens up in form of mighty Jog falls. The verdant green Sharavati valley, Shola grasslands, pristine rain forests of Agumbe, roaring waterfalls of Shivanasamudra, rolling meadows of Kemmangundi, Chikmagalur, trek through misty clouds of Thadiyendamol, Coorg , Sakleshpur (Mungaru Male fame) and monsoon rains – together they painted a beautiful dreamy sequence.
Kerala – This is where the monsoon planted their very first kiss on its beautiful coasts. Rain is not incessant here but in harmony with sunshine interludes. The entire state has something enchanting to offer to everyone’s delight but nothing beats the charm and magical serenity of Thekkady, the luxuriant green valleys of Munnar and the stunning Waynaad whose beauty heightens in monsoon rains.
The list encompasses some of the best monsoon destinations that I have visited and some are on my bucket list. So, if you are planning to chase the monsoon clouds till the season last, start preparing now.
Do you have any favourites? Let us know in comment.
Enjoy the monsoon with masala chai,
will be shortly back with new stories,