5 Tranquil Monsoon Destinations In India

From beaches to hills and temple towns, bookmark these places for the perfect monsoon break
The clouds come down on Malshej Ghat
The clouds come down on Malshej Ghat

Take a train (like the Kirandul Passenger) from Vizag to Araku Valley at least one way&mdashits scenic route is an engineering marvel in the Waltair Division of the East Coast Railway. And a joy to experience during the monsoon. Incidentally, Shimliguda station, perched 997m above sea level, was the highest in India till J&ampK&rsquos Qazigund was built, though it remains the highest broad gauge station. It&rsquos old-fashioned rail travel with passengers cognisant of the season and countryside (plus 58 tunnels and 84 bridges) making it a fantastic introduction to monsoon in the valley. Most of Araku&rsquos numerous pretty waterfalls spring up nameless in the rains, but you should be able to easily ask your way to the gorgeous Thatiguda, Katiki and Chaaparai cascades.

There&rsquos Hampi and then there&rsquos Hampi in the rains, when every stony nook and old crevice explodes in sprightly green, the kalyanis (water tanks) brim over to rippling gorgeousness, and the Tungabhadra rises swiftly and breathtakingly. Once the Sanapur reservoir nearby fills up and the river floods its banks, some guest houses are forced to shut shop, daily ferries stop plying, and Virupapura Gadde and Anegundi can only be reached by road. It helps that the key sites and monuments are on easily accessible level ground (no bouldering, hikes, or hilly drives). Even better, only a handful of people are around to enjoy these stunning vistas. 

The MTDC resort at Ganapatipule is a triumph of location&mdashsimple and tidy rooms set upon a palm-fringed beach, which offer unstinting views of the sort of water-sky interplay that only the monsoon can deliver. It&rsquos hard to photograph (and describe) the power of this seascape as low-hanging clouds advance in minutes over the water, there&rsquos a heavenly display of light and shadows over breaking waves, and the mood of the sea darkens visibly as we watch from the safety of the pristine shore. When the drenching begins, retreat to your room, leave the door open, pull back the curtains, and call for chai-pakoras.

Mumbai celebrates the monsoon like no other Indian metro, and this love has expanded to include rainy day fun spots like Matheran and Lonavla, which are lovely no doubt, but fewer folk visit Malshej Ghat, especially from the start to the middle of the season. Waterfalls and smaller rivulets of cascading fresh water are already forming at every turn of the road, their ebb andflow by turns soft and roaring, depending on the quantum of rain. The Konkan Kada overhang, shaped like a serpent&rsquoshood, looks positively mysterious in the mist. And the swirling clouds and dropping temperature are best enjoyed with a hot omelette whisked at a roadside stall,washed down with a cup of steaming tea.

Coorg, being a hilly district, is often perceived as a classic summer getaway. But many people land up to discover that it&rsquos disconcertingly warm, with temperatures from March to May going up to 35 degree Celsius. In the monsoons, the plantations get misty, and there&rsquos a distinct nip in the air, the Abbey, Mallali and Irupu falls swell up dangerously, and fireplaces get stoked when the weather doesn&rsquot let up. The roads are variable, but this doesn&rsquot deter bikers, cyclists and hikers from making the most of the seasonal solitude that brings them here. Hot idli-sambhar and filter coffee add to the experience.

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