By Nikhil Borker:Â
Are the daily traffic jams making you go mad? Fed up of treading through waterlogged streets? Depressed seeing the raindrops trickling down the window of your office cabin? What you need is a break from your daily routine. Now that Monsoon has made its presence felt throughout the country, it definitely calls for a refreshing holiday after a draining, hot summer season. The first question that would come to mind is how we can enjoy sight -seeing when it’s raining cats and dogs everywhere. Wouldn’t it be a humdrum experience just sitting in a hotel room gazing out of the window? My friend, you got it wrong here. With the vastness of our country comes the climatic variations. There a few places where the weather is at its best during this time of the year. I will be giving you a sneak- peek into what you could expect from these perfect monsoon destinations.
1. Leh Ladakh
This is the best time to be visiting Leh due to the warm moderate temperatures(15-25 deg Celsius) and lack of rainfall during these months. The Buddhist monasteries and historical monuments are the major attractions for tourists. The ones which stand out are the Sanchi Stupa, located on the outskirts of the town. In the heart of the town stands an 800 year old Kali Mandir housing a beautiful collection of masks. The jewel in the crown is the Leh Palace, built in traditional Tibetan style, provides an enthralling view of this picturesque town. The adventure freaks can choose to experience the thrills of hiking from Likir to Temisgam or from Markha valley to Spituk. Another option is paragliding in the Zanskar Mountains. If you are lucky enough you can get to see the two day Hemis festival which takes place at the Hemis monastery to commemorate the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. The celebrations include vibrant displays of colourful masked dances, handicraft fairs and traditional music. If that’s not enough you could go on a yak or double humped camel ride through the deserts and valleys.
We head down south to Coorg in Karnataka where you will be welcomed by fog covered forests, intermittent drizzles and the typical smell of coffee. If you are a nature lover then Coorg just offers exactly what you need. You can lodge at any of the small resorts on the outskirts of this small town where you will be served with traditional spicy curries, hot idlis and steaming coffee. Moreover the view of the green forests blanketed by fog is enchanting. Near these resorts are a number of waterfalls. Meditating here can be a once in a lifetime experience as the sound of water hitting the rocks brings about a sense of calmness in the mind. Expansive coffee estates are ubiquitous in this area. Some of them hold guided tours for visitors explaining them the techniques used in farming and the processing done after the coffee beans are collected. Another attraction is the Nalknad Palace. It hardly bears a palatial look. Nevertheless its beauty lies in its simplicity. Coorg is also home to many unique birds such as the magpie robins, red whiskered bulbuls, sun birds and flower peckers. Their numbers peak during the monsoon season and thus can be seen everywhere.
3.Â Shillong And Cherrapunji
Known as the “Scotland of the east”, this town is a reminiscent of 19th century British architecture. The weather during this time is mild and there are occasional rain showers. It is a pleasant experience to walk through the lush green forests against the cool breeze. The Shillong Peak is the topmost point from where you can get a perfect view of the entire town and can get a photograph of yours clicked wearing traditional Khasi attire. The British era churches are a must watch. The Elephant Falls are abundant with water during this season. Wards Lake and Golf Links are the places to visit for recreation. A 2-3 hour bus journey from Shillong gets you to Cherrapunji, once famous for recording the maximum annual rainfall in the country. Even though the place doesn’t boast of such a record anymore but the monsoon experience here still remains the same. Those who are interested more in sight-seeing should not come here as it is ideal for those who want to spend the afternoon relaxing on a bench reading a book and enjoying the sound of rain striking the roof.
4.Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand
This place is well-known for its fascinating landscape which can be experienced only during the monsoon season as it remains covered in snow during the rest of the year. The valley boasts of around 300 different varieties of flowers against a background of white snow clad peaks. The experience is pretty demanding as reaching here itself requires a steep mountain walk of about 15 km. However the gift awaiting you at the other side will soon make you forget all the strain endured by the body. The serenity of the valley will replenish your soul. Moreover the taxing walks will help you shed those extra kilos!
5.Ayurvedic Resorts And Spas
Ayurveda is said to be the most effective in treatment of stress related problems and other metabolic conditions. Monsoon is the best time to visit ayurvedic resorts and spas as the cool climate accelerates the treatment process .This is because the body pores open up making the body more receptive to treatment. One can find many such resorts, especially in southern parts of India(primarily Kerala, Karnataka and Goa) where medicinal herbs are found in abundance. The treatment includes provision of a natural fat free diet every day, different kinds of massaging after application of various herbal oils and then covering the body with herbal leaves and powders. The only drawback is that you will have to be prepared to shell out Rs 50,000 for a day to Rs 6 lakh for a month making it an expensive affair. However, the deal is worth it as the treatment entirely rejuvenates mind, body and soul so that you can start with work afresh.
Now you might be feeling tempted to leave all work immediately and head out .Why not?.So pack your bags and get ready to set sail. I’m sure you will have a fun-filled and enjoyable monsoon tour.