“I yearn for the flowers that bend with the wind and rain” – Tso Ssu
Don’t we all? The arrival of the monsoon is one of the most anticipated seasonal changes in India. It soaks our forests, rivers, grasslands, and mountains in gorgeous colours and brings out the best of flora and fauna. Moreover, monsoon is held in such high regard across various cultures that there are a plethora of rituals and offerings done just to coax the rain god to come out of hiding and shower the land with blessings.
While monsoon rains bring with them a wave of natural beauty and enriched colours of the wild that cannot be expressed in words, there is also a certain form of yearning to travel that beckons one and all. The question is, how do you pay heed to it? If you want to soak up the beauty of nature in the current monsoon season, surely you need to draw up a list of the best locales across India that are blissful to explore during the great rains. This is where we come in.
If the monsoon wanderer inside you wants to travel beyond the regular places to visit in Delhi or Mumbai or any other city and into the rain-filled wilderness, then we have the perfect list of 4 hotspots in India.
Time to take your monsoon adventure pick:
1. Dachigam National Park, Jammu, and Kashmir
Up north, the valleys of Kashmir are certainly the crown jewels of nature tourism in India. While winters and snow make for the perfect time to visit the area, lovers of monsoon have a great option as well. This monsoon, one of the best places to visit near Srinagar is Dachigam National Park.
Situated 22 km from Srinagar on the famous Dal Lake’s eastern side, Dachigam National Park is a 141 sq. km protected wildlife area that comes into its own during monsoon. The name means ‘ten villages’ in the local language. It never fails to mesmerise tourists with its combination of gently sloping grasslands and sharp cliffs. But most of all, Dachigam will leave you bewildered with its eclectic range of fauna that includes the rare Kashmir stag, musk deer, snow leopard, grey langurs, bears, hill foxes, and even otters. May to November is the best period to visit the national park where the average temperature remains extremely pleasant. However, one needs special permission for visiting the park – which is easily obtainable.
As a side note, while getting accommodation at Dachigam is difficult, one can always put up at The LaLiT Grand Palace Srinagar – a legacy of the Maharaja Pratap Singh with 113 palace guest rooms and 10 stunning cottages with quite the picturesque view.
2. Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu
Talking of monsoon destinations in India, no list can go without mentioning the majestic Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu – a rain-splashed haven hidden among the glorious Western Ghats. Kodaikanal is often called the Princess of Hill Stations – and that moniker is certainly well-earned.
Located 450 km from Bangalore and 135 km from Madurai, Kodaikanal is the monsoon destination for nature lovers in India. The hill station is filled to the brim with its share of enchanting waterfalls, lakes, and misty hills – with green colour popping out in every direction. The fresh, earthy air and moderate rainfall make July to September a brilliant time to visit Kodaikanal. Once you are there, you can indulge your senses with the gifts of nature. Start with visiting the serene waterfalls that dot the hilly landscape, such as Fairy Falls, Glen Falls, Bear Shola Falls, and Silver Cascade. Thereafter, you should also have the spectacular Kodai Lake on your itinerary – a heavenly abode with surrounding Palani hills and a gentle water bed perfect for a boat ride. For more adventure, do check out the freshwater Berijam Lake hidden amongst the forests. One can also indulge in trekking and nature walks to famous points such as Pillar Rocks, Dolphin’s Nose, Coakers Walk, Byrant’s Park, Green Valley View, and more.
3. Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh
The more it is said about Arunachal Pradesh’s breath-taking Ziro Valley, the better! Located in the Lower Subansiri district of the state, Ziro Valley’s claim to fame comes from its local Apatani tribe and their paddy-cum-pisciculture cultivation.
Ziro is included in the Tentative List for UNESCO’s World Heritage Site and is full of pastures and hills, quaint little villages, and bamboo fields. In monsoon, often the best season to visit the region, Ziro is shrouded in extremely pleasant weather and spectacular greenery all over – perfect for short trekking trails. In fact, in September, the famous Ziro Music Festival brings together visitors from all over the world as well. Camping on the lush grasslands, and enjoying local cuisines such as bamboo chicken is a must-have monsoon experience. And if you are in for the long haul, you can always visit nearby destinations such as Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and Meghna Cave Temple.
4. Lonavala, Maharashtra
Getting more and more popular over the years as an offbeat monsoon destination in the country, Lonavala is a stunning hill station near the metropolis of Mumbai. Located approximately 80 km from the capital of Maharashtra, Lonavala offers everything you desire from a monsoon getaway: picturesque hills, lush green valleys, cool and soothing temperatures, the gush of chilly breeze, and beautiful waterfalls hidden here and there.
Lonavala rests calmly in the lap of the Sahyadri range and offers great respite from the daily hustle and bustle of city life, especially in monsoons. The grey skies and intermittent showers make the hill station even more verdant. But you can lap up even more views and visit some terrific local destinations spread across the town. These include the famous Buddhist caves that bring ultimate calm and serenity, hiking trails such as Lohagad and Tung Fort, the romantic panoramic view from Tiger Point cliff-top, or a wet afternoon out at the popular Bhushi Dam.
With that, we wrap up our list of the perfect monsoon destinations in India if you are a nature lover by heart. Which one will you decide to soak yourself in?