Great escapes for the monsoon season
From backcountry explorations in Madhya Pradesh to nature reserves in the Sahyadri mountain range, or slow travelling through Gujarat’s arid landscape, be inspired by these expert-approved monsoon holidays.
There’s a quote by humour columnist and author Dave Barry that goes, “It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent.” We’re almost certain that Barry was talking more about the untimely downpours that hit campers during the off-season and not suggesting a monsoon travel tip, but his saying surely fits both.
In between hunting down beach towns to cool off during the summer and cosying up with staycations during the cooler months, the monsoon season can be a perfect time to experience the outdoors at all its glory. We asked experts: where to travel for a crowd-free escape?
Mandu, Madhya Pradesh
Within this ancient city, rain drenches age-old tales of love and war etched in the ruins. The showers bring a fresh lease of life to the Jahaz Mahal, Rani Roopmati’s Pavilion, and other historical sites. Visitors embark on heritage walks, capturing their journey through photographs. Every corner holds an allure, inviting exploration. As one strolls through this city during monsoon, one steps back in time, reliving legends that the showers rekindle.
Rann of Kutch, Gujarat
During the monsoon, Rann of Kutch transforms. Salt flats turn into a sprawling lake, and the reflection of clouds creates a surreal panorama. It becomes a haven for bird watchers, as migratory birds descend here. Activities include spotting exotic flamingos, riding camels over the hardened edges, and photographing the ephemeral landscape. Monsoon offers an unusual perspective of Rann, one that challenges the usual notion of a desert.
Chorla Ghat, Goa
Perched on the scenic edge of the Sahyadri mountain range, Chorla Ghat ticks all the right boxes for a monsoon-inspired adventure: biblical landscapes, lush foliage and waterfalls at the intersection of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Located at a distance of 50 kilometres from Panaji, bikers and road trippers looking for an into-the-woods kind of getaway can observe the rain awakening waterfalls and nurturing the flora to full bloom. The Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary attracts wildlife enthusiasts with the promise of sighting rare species like the Barred Wolf Snake (Lycodon striatus).
As the second-wettest place in India with an annual average rainfall of 10,871 millimetres, a mid-season trip to Cherrapunji is synonymous with ‘being at the centre of all the action’. Tourists gather to witness the might of the Nohkalikai and Seven Sisters Falls. Exploring the labyrinth of limestone caves presents another thrilling activity. Treks lead to double-decker living root bridges, an astonishing sight amid the downpour.
Note: It is advised to check with the Tourism Information Centre or with a local guide before visiting in case an unusually heavy amount of rainfall is observed in the region.
Often compared to Cherrapunji, Agumbe’s monsoon presents a captivating picture. Take a guided jeep safari and take a detour to Onake Abbi Falls and Jogigundi Falls. Agumbe is often referred to ‘Hasiru Honnu’ which means ‘green is gold’ because of the many medical plant species (Listsaea, Diospyrous, Eugenia) abundant during the monsoon season. The Agumbe Rainforest Research Station is a great pit stop to recentre, gather some information about the forestation before heading to the sunset point for a captivating view.