The southwest monsoon winds have arrived in India, bringing with it the season of romance. Picture yourself snuggling in with your significant other, a hot cuppa in your hands, watching the rains fall from the heavens and turn the leaves an even brighter and deeper shade of green. Imagine going for a long drive, watching the raindrops fall on the glass and make their way back, or going out for a walk in the rain, holding each other’s hands and sneaking in a few kisses along the way. Have we got you pumped up yet? Good; here are some romantic monsoon holiday destinations in India to consider for you and your better half to go exploring. ALSO READ: 13 stunning photographs that perfectly capture the spirit of monsoon in India

Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

Spiti valley

Spiti valley

May to September is officially ‘Ladakh season’, which means that the region will be flooded with travelers and tourists. If you and your SO love the brutal, barren landscape of Ladakh but would prefer to get away from the crowds, Spiti Valley in northeastern Himachal Pradesh is your best bet. Spiti lies in a rain shadow region, which means that it gets less rain than the region on the other side of the mountains. Spiti has a certain charm in the monsoons, just after the peak tourist season, but keep a few extra days in hand because the rains can cause disruptions in places like Kinnaur and Manali, which you have to pass to get in and out of Spiti.

Kumarakom, Kerala

Kumarakom

Kumarakom

Kerala, blessed with the first monsoon rains, is an ideal destination for the season for everyone, including families, couples and solo travelers. Kumarakom in particular is famous for its backwaters. Combine the beauty of its lagoons with the pleasant monsoon climate and plenty of rain, and you get the perfect setting for a romantic getaway. Rent a houseboat along the backwaters of Kumarakom and watch the rains drench the forest around you. Or visit Vembanad Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the state, which turns even more beautiful during the rains. Bird lovers will also appreciate the sights and sounds that they get to see here, since monsoon is when a lot of bird species become more active.

Shillong, Meghalaya

Shillong

Shillong

Shillong, Meghalaya gets drenched in the monsoons; in fact, it is among the wettest places in India, if not the world. And although traveling to, from and around Shillong gets a little difficult at this time, it is still well worth the visit. This is one of the most underrated romantic getaways in this list, especially for those who prefer to take a break from their usual hectic lives and refresh themselves. Monsoons are when the nearby waterfalls of Shillong are at their most beautiful, so do visit the sights like Spread Eagle and Elephant falls. The Tibetan culture-influenced cuisine of this place is a delight for foodies, and there are plenty of monasteries where you can find peace and tranquility: both rare things in today’s world.

Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh

Araku Valley

Araku Valley

Araku Valley lies in the midst of the Eastern Ghats, around 114 km away from the port city of Vishakapatanam (Vizag), and it is at its most beautiful during the monsoon and winter seasons. For those who prefer fewer crowds, the peak winter season is best avoided. Monsoon, then, is the perfect time to witness the greenery and beauty of Araku Valley at its finest. The train ride to Araku is a spectacle in itself, but the journey may get delayed in case of heavy rains. The winding roads from Vizag to Araku, however, are open and free throughout the year, and the two-hour drive is a great experience. You will find yourself going through deep, dense forests and valleys with the rain and your loved one for company.

Coorg, Karnataka

Coorg

Coorg

The ever-popular hill station of Coorg, which lies some six hours away from the satellite city of Bangalore, has a distinct charm in the monsoon season. It receives plenty of rainfall, which means that there are challenges in getting around. But it more than makes for the challenges by offering visitors incredible greenery. You and your significant other can lose yourselves in the mist that envelopes Coorg during this time of the year, and breath in the fresh aroma of coffee from the plantations everywhere around you. The smells, weather and sights that you see and experience here are unlike any other. If you come here, take a trek around the Mojo plantation in Madikeri, a trip to the Raja’s Seat, and a walk through the many plantations.

Lonavala, Maharashtra

Lonavala

Lonavala, Photograph Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

The hill station of Lonavala lies almost square in the middle of Mumbai and Pune, in the midst of the Western Ghats that run through the two big cities. Its geographic location, proximity to the two cities and excellent connectivity via the Mumbai-Pune exp ressway and old highway makes it hugely popular throughout the year. And it is even more frequented in the monsoons. Despite the crowds, Lonavala is still easy to explore. The monsoons turn the hills nearby even greener, creating waterfalls that snake their way down to the plains. These seasonal waterfalls, the lush green forests and the nearby view points make Lonavala an ideal destination for a short romantic getaway. ALSO READ: 11 clichéd but fun things you must do during Mumbai monsoons!

Bundi, Rajasthan

Cenotaph in Bundi

Cenotaph in Bundi

While most would suggest Udaipur for a monsoon destination in Rajasthan, we would suggest going off the beaten path and exploring Bundi, which lies around 300 km east of the royal city. Bundi is known for receiving the most rainfall in the state frequently. The few barren hills turn green and peacocks begin to dance, as if to celebrate the end of the heat waves. The Bundi Bhimlat waterfall starts flowing once more, spreading over around 6 km. You can spend your days chilling at the waterfall, visiting the famous and expansive Hadoti Palace and other places of interest, including the Nawal Sagar Lake, step wells and Havelis.

Lansdowne, Uttarakhand

Lansdowne

Lansdowne

Lansdowne is a popular hill station in the Garhwal Himalayan mountains of Uttarakhand. During the monsoons, the road to Lansdowne is pretty scenic, taking you through misty hills and dense forests; you may even find wild elephants along the way. And while you may have to stop for a while in case the rain gets too harsh, the roads are pretty well-kept throughout the way. The hill station has a different ambiance in the rains; fog envelopes the region, so much so that you can hardly see each anything a few meters away. And since this isn’t peak season, you get to enjoy a relaxed, calm and peaceful stay at the hill station. All of this, along with the cool weather, are the ideal ingredients for a romantic holiday.

Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh

Tirthan Valley

Tirthan Valley

From the calm and laid back hill station of Lansdowne, we move to the more intense and adventure Tirthan Valley in Himachal Pradesh. The road to Tirthan Valley is breathtaking to say the least, and so is the valley itself. Majestic mountains, fresh and clear streams and the cool mountain air; this is the stuff that wild holidays are made of. But the key word here is wild, because the journey to and around Tirthan Valley is intense and adventurous. You get to go through some rough roads and the famed Jalori Pass, but in the end the experiences that you take along are just for you and your loved one. If any of this sounds exciting for you, take the trip up to the valley.

Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu

Kodaikanal

Kodaikanal

If you are in South India and prefer a more laid back experience without traveling too far, consider Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu. One of the highest and most popular hill stations in the state, Kodaikanal receives relatively moderate rainfall but stays cool and covered in fog and mist. This is great for those who want the feel of monsoon without actually getting drenched or getting caught in the problems associated with it. Best visited in the middle of the monsoon, Kodaikanal offers a welcome break from the humidity of the plains. The weather is pleasant to say the least, and you can find plenty of waterfalls in the Palani hills nearby. The Bear Shola Falls is at its peak during the monsoon, and you also have treks to the pillar rocks of Kodaikanal. NOW READ: Monsoon holidays 2017: Best monsoon holiday places in India for family vacations

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