Monsoon holidays are a pretty common thing in the country. There is something about the rains that makes people want to go out and explore the country. Perhaps it is to see India’s exotic destinations in a way that you cannot see any other time of the year. Or it could be to explore India’s mountain ranges, which turn lush green during the season. The waterfalls and overflowing lakes and rivers can also fill you with a thirst for adventure. Or maybe people are looking to travel to a destination where it rains less. In any case, people go on monsoon holidays and vacations, and online travel companies Gofro, MakeMyTrip and Kayak have listed out the top leisure monsoon destinations in India. ALSO READ: Monsoon 2017: Fastest-growing International Monsoon Destinations

Ooty

Ooty

The hill station of Udhagamandalam, located around 2,240 meters above sea level, is more popular in India and around the world as Ooty. It grew under the patronage of the British, and was popularized by films and songs shot at the mountain cliffs and gardens in and around the hill station. Today, Ooty is a popular holiday destination throughout the year. During the monsoon, temperatures drop to around 17-20 degrees, and the greenery surrounding the hill station gets even more beautiful. However, moderate to heavy rainfall here could interrupt sightseeing plans.

Manali

Manali

Manali

Located at the north of the famous Kullu Valley, the hill station of Manali in Himachal Pradesh is arguably the most famous place in the entire valley. It lies beside the Beas River, almost near the source itself, at a height of around 2,050 meters above sea level. Extremely popular during the summer and winter months, Manali is also a popular monsoon destination in India, though it does come with some risks. The river gets choppy during the season and landslides are a possibility too. Activities like paragliding and white-water rafting can also get canceled because of the weather.

Mysore

Mysore Dasara

Mysore Dasara, Mysuru

Monsoon is considered one of the best seasons to visit the princely city of Mysore (Mysuru) in Karnataka. The weather is perfect for sightseeing, and there are just so many sights to see here, starting with the Palace of Mysore, a World Heritage Site. In fact, Mysore is called the City of Palaces because of the number of palaces it is home to. And then there is the energetic bazaar district, where you are treated to all kinds of smells from incense to spices. Add to that the schools of Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore, and you will know why this city is called the cultural capital of Karnataka.

Goa

Goa

Goa

Goa is in this list; this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Come hell or high water, Goa is always on everyone’s minds. The scenic little state is a dream destination in any season, and the rains can make it especially beautiful. If you visit Goa in the monsoon, you can spend time exploring the state, with plenty of quaint little villages and little gems hidden away. And there are the beaches, of course, though you won’t find shacks running in many places. With fewer crowds than during the summer and winter months, Goa’s relative seclusion only adds to its charm. ALSO READ: Best Monsoon Beaches in India: Here Are 8 Spectacular Beaches To Visit During Monsoon

Shimla

Shimla

Shimla

Lying at an altitude of around 2,270 meters, Shimla is one of the most recognizable and popular hill stations in the entire country. Thousands flock to the hill station, especially during the summers and in the late winter season. If you’d like to beat the crowd, though, monsoon is a good time to visit the place. While you still have the same risks inherent with any hill station in the monsoon, you get to experience Shimla in a very different way. The place is more charming in a small-town kind of way than it is during peak tourist season, and the heavy rains only add to the positive vibes.

Munnar

Munnar Tea Plantation during Monsoon

Munnar Tea Plantation during Monsoon

Munnar lies around 1,500-1,600 meters above sea level and is one of the most famous hill stations in the Nilgiris. Kerala itself is a paradise during the monsoon, and Munnar can serve as a nice departure from the backwaters and beaches of Kerala. The tea estates and forests give this place a pleasant and cool atmosphere. Monsoon is considered one of the best times to visit the place, and plenty of locals also make the journey to this place, passing through scenic winding roads that offer incredible views of the Nilgiri valleys. Nearby Mattupetty in the Idukki hills and its dam and lake are also great spots in the monsoon.

Kochi

Kochi backwaters

Kochi backwaters

As mentioned before, any part of Kerala is a good monsoon destination in India. For a glimpse into the history and culture of the state, you could explore the city of Kochi, which has plenty of sights to see. You can opt for traveling by road or by boat along its backwaters. Major sights like the massive Athirapalli Falls and the backwaters of Alleppey also lie less than 100 km from the city. Monsoon is also an off season for tourism here, which means you can get reduced rats on activities and hotels. And if you are visiting sometime in August, you could even celebrate Onam in the city.

Mahabaleshwar

Mahabaleshwar

Mahabaleshwar

We’ve covered two hill stations in the southern tip of the Western Ghats, but up north the scenic hill station of Mahabaleshwar is just as popular in the state of Maharashtra. Like Ooty and Munnar, Mahabaleshwar also benefited from the patronage of the British, serving as the summer capital for the Bombay Presidency. Today, it is a crowd favorite, especially during the monsoon when waterfalls begin to flow through the Sahyadris and the forests turn bright green. The view of the hills and valleys from the viewpoints in Mahabaleshwar make a trip to this hill station worth it. NOW READ: Monsoon Holidays 2017: Romantic monsoon holiday destinations in India for couples

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