Rain-drenched images from across the country that’ll inspire you to set off on your own monsoon adventure
Monsoon, in India, is not just a passing of months; not a mere season. Since the ancient times it has been a part of Indian culture, arts, literature, festivals and traditions. From Kalidasa to Rabindranath Tagore, the season of rains has inspired authors, poets and musicians. Epics have been penned welcoming the storm, raagas (classical songs) have been composed to let the clouds drench the earth parched by a scorching summer and rituals have been designed to celebrate the onset of a new farming season. As monsoon turns India into a soothing, green vision, we travel across the country to capture a few poignant moods of a phenomenon that’s often been described as the prana (life) of the land!
For most tourists, monsoon travel is synonymous with lush Kerala or the green Himalayas. But a lucky few get to discover the fragrant beauty of the desert state of Rajasthan awashed by rain. In Jaipur’s old neighbourhood, rain-drenched palaces take on a fresh hue, while the hill station of Mount Abu becomes even more verdant. The drama of the rain clouds, however, unfolds at its spectacular best in Udaipur. The lakes of the city brim over, capturing the reflections of the mystical palaces in their depths. Don’t miss Lake Pichola or the Monsoon Palace, which was designed to let the royal family enjoy the rains! Enveloped in mist, the ramparts of the majestic Kumbhalgarh Fort, near Udaipur, come alive, as the brown Aravallis surrounding it seem to pull on a green blanket. It’s also not the peak tourist season in the state, so expect lesser crowds.
Kerala, God’s own country, as the state is popularly called, turns into a green heaven during monsoon. From the lush tea gardens and spice plantations to tranquil backwaters and beaches, the state is a must-visit during this season. As the rolling hills of the state take on a misty mysteriousness, festivals bring joy and gaiety, welcoming tourists to the region.
Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir
Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir is spectacular throughout the year. With its high mountains, dramatic cold desert landscape and warm people, the region is a tourist paradise. In monsoon, however, its scenic beauty is unparalleled. As dark clouds bring rain to the mountainous region, a play of contrasting colours unfold: white and gold monasteries set against dark grey mountains, which seemingly merge with the ever darkening sky.
In Sikkim, monsoon spells magic. As very few tourists visit this Northeastern state in this season, the mountain roads are empty and the capital city of Gangtok sits in all its pristine beauty. Outside Gangtok, gushing waterfalls seem to emerge out of nowhere to turn into instant rivers, as mist envelopes the rolling hills. Deeper into the heart of the state, towards northern Sikkim, as the forests become denser, and the clouds darker, waterfalls can be heard, not seen, and mountains sensed, not visible!
Ellora Caves, Maharashtra
Dating back to 600 BC, Ellora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. It is one of the largest rock-cut monastery cave complexes in the world, with Buddhist, Hindu and Jain influences. During monsoon, the otherwise arid mountainscape flaunts a green cover criss-crossed by numerous waterfalls. One of the caves, number 29, also called Dhumar Lena, has a natural waterfall described as “falling over Lord Shiva’s brow” ingrained into its sculpture.
Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand
An ethereal valley carpeted with vibrant wild flowers, the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand, is a trekker’s paradise. During monsoon, the valley, surrounded by the Himalayas is spectacular with lush meadows with colourful flower beds.
Dudhsagar Falls, Goa
To locals and regular visitors, Goa is the prettiest when it rains. While the beaches are bereft of the touristy shacks, the water is cleaner and the sands less crowded. The forested hinterland comes to life with numerous waterfalls cutting through the green. One of the most popular among them being the Dudhsagar Falls. Located 60 km from capital Panaji, on NH4A, the falls gets their name from their frothy, milky-white appearance. During the rainy season, the falls grow in size and the amount of water increases exponentially. As the water plummets 310 m, it crashes with an ear-splitting roar.