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If you are planning to travel in the next couple of months and wondering about the options, there are a few obstacles. Most of the Himalayan sites are risky during the monsoons while the jungles remain closed during much of July-August. When we talk about the monsoons, you automatically think about Lonavala – Khandala – Mahabaleshwar or Munnar – Coorg. Well, there’s more. Here are our 7 favorite offbeat monsoon destinations of India. Prepare to have their lush green beauty take your breath away:
Agumbe is a small village located in the Shimoga district of Karnataka. Known as the Cherrapunji of the South, Agumbe is at the heart of the rainforests of South India.
Agumbe is famous for its scenic beauty, gorgeous falls, and mesmerizing sunsets. The Sunset View Point rests on one of the highest peaks of the Western Ghats on the Udupi-Agumbe Road. It is a ten-minute walk from the village. On a fine evening, the sun can be seen to set over the Arabian Sea. Your trip could include treks to the mountains, the waterfalls, valleys, temple ruins among others.
Much of the iconic television program, Malgudi Days, was shot in the quaint village of Agumbe. So, if you are in a mood to take a trip down the memory lane on a monsoon afternoon in a lush green backdrop, head over to Agumbe.
The Kerala backwaters are even more beautiful during the monsoons. The largest freshwater lake in Kerala, Vembanad Lake, is located in Kumarakom and you can definitely spend a day or two bird-watching and be chilling on the backwaters.
In the ancient times of the king of Thekkumcore, the Vembanad Lake was a dangerous place, fraught with chances of boat attacks by neighboring kingdoms. The king of Thekkumcore kept soldiers in Kumarakom and constructed a fort at the entrance of Kottathodu in Kumarakom. The remains of the fort’s wall, six feet broad, can still be seen near the village office of Kumarakom.
The place is best known for its outstanding houseboat experiences. During Onam, slated for August this year, the Snake Boat races of Kumarokam draws thousands of enthusiasts and tourists from around the world. The Aruvikkuzhi Waterfall and its surrounding rubber plantation are a photographer’s delight.
The best time to visit Athirapally is the monsoons. This village in the Thrissur District of Kerala houses the falls by the same name. You can swim at bottom of the falls after a 15-minute long trek. River rafting options are also available for the adventurous souls. The Vazhachal Waterfalls, Chapra Falls, Anakkayam, Sholayar Dam, Valparai and Malayattur Wildlife Sanctuary are the nearby attractions which can be clubbed together in your trip.
The Athirapally Falls are famously Mani Ratnam’s favorite location to shoot at. The movie, Ravanan, was almost entirely shot in the area, as were parts of the movies Dil Se, and Guru.
Goa is the traveler’s paradise throughout the year but if you want to soak in the beauty of the Dudhsagar falls, monsoon is the perfect time. Dudhsagar Falls (literally Sea of Milk ) is a four-tiered waterfall located on the Mandovi River in the Indian state of Goa. The area is surrounded by deciduous forests with a rich biodiversity. One needs to board a train at the Castle Rock station and disembark at the Dudhsagar Stop. The Dudhsagar railway trek has been officially closed for the general public but the trek to the Dudhsagar falls bottom is still open for all.
I have had people complaining about the difficulty of reaching this place only to see a shrunken, underfed waterfall. No wonder they found the place to be over-hyped. But if you visit during the monsoons, you won’t regret your decision.
Yet another waterfall in our list. Probably because monsoons are the best time to visit them. There are nine waterfalls at Courtallam which makes it our favorite monsoon destination. Courtallam, or Kuttralam, is known as the Spa of South India, due to the many health resorts dotting the river banks in the region.
The Kutralanathar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva is located near Peraruvi falls, the largest one of the nine.
Chitrakoot Falls, Chhattisgarh
The Chitrakoot Falls is located on the Indravati River. The free drop of the falls is a sheer height of about 30 meters (98 ft). It is the broadest waterfall in India and is considered to be the Niagara Falls of India, owing to its horseshoe shape. The area around the Chitrakot Falls is highly dense and forested. During the rainy season, rainbows are created with sun rays reflecting on mist from the waterfall.
Local boat facilities operating below and under the falls in a misty atmosphere provide great views of the falls. On the left bank of the Chitrakoot Falls stands a small Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva and several naturally created grottos named “Parvati caves”. There is also a small hut made of straw where Shiva images and rusted images of his son, the god Ganesha are seen.
Santiniketan, West Bengal
A favorite monsoon getaway for the Bengalis, just 160 km away from Kolkata, Santiniketan is mostly known for it’s Tagore lineage. but there’s a lot more to it. People rarely talk about the Sonajhuri forest or the Kopai river, which are at their best during the monsoons. It was, in fact, the Kopai in whose honor the bard composed his famous lyrics,
Amader chhoto nodi chale anke bankey
boisakh masey taar hantu jal thakey
The local name of a sickle-shaped, channel-like curve in the river inspired the title of Tarashankar’s novel Hansuli Banker Upakatha.
The Biswa Bharati university and the Tagore residences are an added bonus for the travelers.
Image Source: https://www.panoramio.com/photo/73038267
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