The much-awaited monsoon season is finally here, bringing some respite from the summer heat. And if you thought this isn’t the season to travel anywhere, you couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, monsoons are considered off season for several places and for reasons like schools reopen but rains enhance the beauty of certain places and you just can’t afford to miss them. So, pack your bags and head to any of these must-visit monsoon destinations in India.

1. Coorg

Photograph courtesy: Anthony Pratap/Creative Commons

Photograph courtesy: Anthony Pratap/Creative Commons

Also known as the Scotland of India, Coorg is one of the rainiest places in India. Situated in the southern part of Karnataka in the Western Ghats, it has become a popular monsoon honeymoon destination. You could visit one of the many coffee plantations in Coorg. Fields and forests covered in spectacular greenery, gurgling streams and the Kodava populace offer enough incentives to take a stroll. Other attractions in Coorg include River Kaveri, the Talakaveri pilgrim Center from where Kaveri originates in the Brahmagiri Hills, Omkareshwar  Temple and the Nagarhole National Park.

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2. Mandu

Gardens Mandu

Resting on the crest of the Vindhya Range, Mandu stands on a rocky outcrop planted amidst a bed of green. The fortified city is also home to the love story of Rajput princess Rani Roopmati and the last Sultan of Malwa, Baz Bahadur. The architectural ruins attract day-trippers from Ujjain and Indore throughout the year. But it is during the monsoon that the rustic facades of the city’s mahals and darwazas attain a rich red tint. You could take a history lesson and visit the country’s first ever marble monument, the tomb of Malwa’s second king Hoshang Shah.

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Don’t forget to visit the courtyard of Roopmati’s Pavilion which reverberates with romance and its front lawns look its best with peacocks and kharmours roaming around. The several minarets and domes of Mandu may be lost in time, but find themselves gracefully whenever it rains.

3. Spiti Valley

Spiti

A desert mountain valley in the Himalayas, Spiti is dotted with Buddhist monasteries and is often called the Middle Land or Little Tibet. Between July and October is pretty much the only time you can go to Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, given the weather and road conditions.

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All the houses are white washed and have black painted windows and door frames to keep the houses warm and safe from rain and snow. The entire district is full of natural scenery where you can imbibe its natural grandeur. The customs, myths and beliefs of the simple people is another unique feature of this border highland.

4. Valley of Flowers

valley of flowers

The stunning landscape of the Valley of Flowers, in Uttarakhand comes alive with the rains. July and August are the best time to see the wildflowers in full bloom. It is the perfect destination if you love hiking and exploring nature, as it requires a 15-17 km trek up a steep mountain trail to get there.

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The high-altitude Himalayan valley has around 300 different varieties of flowers which appear as a bright carpet of color against a mountainous snow-capped background. Carpeted with red potentillas, geraniums, delphiniums, blue corydalis and wild roses the national park is a sight not to be missed.

5. Goa

Goa beach 3

Goa surprisingly has a lot to offer than just its beaches. Take a walk through Goa’s colonial past, sit in a restaurant and enjoy Goan food. Though beaches would be out of action for quite some time, discover the other treasures of Goa. Don’t forget to witness the feast of saints Peter and Paul celebrated at the end of June. Locals sail on rafts while performing plays and songs.

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Head towards Divar Island, off the coast of Panjim where you can experience the traditional Bonderam flag festival. It is more of a violent festival involving mock fights and commemorates the protest by locals against the Portuguese. The festival is held towards the end of August.

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