Are you planning a break soon but wondering if the rains are going to play a spoilt sport? Not necessarily so. Contrarily, rainstorms are a welcome respite from period-long sweltering heat of the Indian Summers (the tropical clime of the Indian sub-continent is killing!). It is common to go vacationing in summers but how about monsoon breaks? Avid travellers and outdoor souls are game to excursions in off seasons when others are usually returning to work grudgingly after a rejuvenating summer break !
‘Monsoons’ mean ‘wind’, but such winds are commonly accompanied by ear-splitting thunderstorms and furious downpours during the season. But despite the downside , it’s a compelling need for the free-spirited amongst us to take short wild trips through these cloudbursts and enjoy nature at its inimitable best! Can anything give more pleasure than the smell of wet earth, collecting soft dews on the palms of our hands, watching the rains splash and the fiery winds pound against our window-panes and doors with intrigue? But such leisurely activities are usually an indoor treat; picture backpacking in one of the most exotic travel locales during the magical monsoons! The hot picks of the season could be extensively ranging from the mountainscapes of Darjeeling, Leh and Ladakh to lush green forests of the coastal land; the grandeur of Uttarakhand flower valleys to virgin beaches of Goa and Puducherry to popular getaways of Maharashtra like Lonavla, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani.
Travel industry has, however, witnessed a boom in offbeat tourist places against the more popular picks, in the recent past; the unconventional choice of destinations is mostly because they are less crowded and offer competitive packages that are pocket-friendly! Some of the lesser known places are Chaukhutia and Askot in Uttarakhand, Bhandardara and Koyna in Maharashtra, Ukhrul in Manipur, Digha in West Bengal, Thenmala in Kerala, Yelagiri in Tamil Nadu,etc.
The mountains are a sight to behold as they prettily sit amidst the lapping greenery. Rains in Dalhousie, for example, are light and the weather remains ideal for trekking or hiking. This, however, may not stand true for other hill-stations where rains are customarily heavy and may obstruct movement. It serves to gather information before one sets out touring a place.
It is common knowledge that Monsoon months are between June and September and rains are heaviest in the north east parts of India. Other heavy-rain areas are the coastal regions of Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, parts of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa; the higher altitudes usually experience sporadic but light cold showers with winds; rains are unpredictable in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar; Rajasthan is hot and humid and one state where one gets the unique opportunity to see raging sand-dunes against the backdrop of dark grey skies!
Forests:The rivers, streams and waterfalls donning the southern forests are full and roaring! The forests come alive with the sights and sounds of birds, insects, animals and reptiles of variety. Some forest resorts are also open to tourists.
Backwaters and Luxury cottages of Southern India:Allow your imagination to run riot with your chosen one whilst you two cruise in the houseboats of Kerala backwaters for example. Kerala – God’s own country ! It is globally known for its spell-bound beauty and is a perfect lounging station for the tired souls yearning for ayurvedic and holistic spa holidays!
Beaches:High-tides are not as common in some beaches like those of Goa and Puducherry as they are elsewhere. They are also comparatively cleaner.
Things to keep in mind:
- Decide where to vacation – hills, forests, valleys, beaches, or plains and in which part of the country.
- Decide the lodging – city or the countryside. It makes sense to choose the latter over the former as cities are notorious for their street-floods, drain-clogging and blocked traffic; overall they are a messy picture during a deluge! Contrarily, the country-side is a bliss! Sparse population and jaw-dropping natural beauty are the USP of any country hotspot.
- Keep a checklist and carry the following: warmers, rain shielders like umbrella and rain-coats, medicines ( in case you catch the seasonal flu), extra sets of clothes and shoes (drenching is common in monsoons and you sure cannot resist the urge when you see the first showers in your favorite monsoon destination), light-fabric wears that dry early, spiked shoes, carry-bags, zip-locks to keep your electronic gadgets safe from incessant rains, torch, trek tools, and others as one may deem necessary to keep on person. Much would depend on who your fellow-travellers are – friends/family or solo trips? You get to travel light if you are going solo. You will have to do some brain-work if you are travelling with family, especially with seniors and kids. You will have to exercise caution and carry the extra bit when you are travelling with the junior and senior-most in the family!
You pick from a plethora of choices as our country is never wanting in monsoon getaways! The tall and short of it is you will spend a fabulous monsoon vacation if your travel plans are fool-proof.
Soak in the monsoon magic and come back a changed You!