With the south-west monsoon hitting the subcontinent on June 1, we look at places to visit and things to do
As the skies darken and the thunder threatens to deafen you, don’t run indoors and batten down the hatches. Pack your bags instead and head out for a rain-drenched holiday—we assure you, the advantages are plenty.
In God’s Own Country, you are spoilt for choice: lounge in a houseboat in Kumarakom as the rain pitter-patters on the roof; enjoy the lush rainforests in Thekkady and get in some animal spotting on the river safari (trust us, they come out); and in Munnar, go in search of the elusive Thar. On offer: Tailor-make your monsoon getaway with Kerala Tourism’s Dream Deal offer (keralatourism.org/dreamdeals), with discounts up to 30 per cent.
The beach shacks may have downed shutters, but that doesn’t mean the zing goes out of Goa in the rains. Watch young men jump into wells to retrieve gifts as part of São João (feast of St John the Baptist on June 24), while staying dry under your umbrella. Or get soaked testing your white-water skills as river rafting kicks off on the Mahdei River. On offer: Make My Trip has a 4D/3N package (from Rs. 19,999), that covers the beaches, water sports and night life. For river rafting deals: goarafting.com.
Heading to the desert to enjoy the monsoon? This oxymoron works beautifully for Rajasthan in July. As the clouds roll in, join the people as they celebrate the festival of Teej (dedicated to Shiva and Parvati), punctuated by feasts and swings. Also head to Bundi to check out the Bhimat waterfalls and the baolis (step-wells). On offer: In Udaipur, stay at the Taj Lake Palace (`53,000 for double occupancy). In Jaipur, relax at the Rambagh Palace (Rs. 55,000). Details: tajhotels.com
Bypass Mussoorie and Nainital and trek to the Valley of Flowers National Park to take in the alpine flowers and spot a snow leopard or two (walktohimalayas.com offers great deals). Or head to Simkholi, by the banks of the Kosi river, for scenic treks, mountain biking and river rafting. On offer: Kosi Valley Retreat, a home stay, has a monsoon offer of Rs. 4,500 per night.
How can we chase the monsoon and not go to Meghalaya, home to the two wettest spots on Earth—Cherrapunji and Mawsynram. While there, check out their living root bridges, stay in tree houses in Mawlynnong (touted as the cleanest village in Asia), try a spot of fishing (a favourite pastime) and, to stay dry, explore caves. On offer: Get 40 per cent off at Lakkhotaa Lodge in Shillong, with double occupancy starting from Rs. 12,000.
Surya Praphulla Kumar