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Monsoon Bonanza! - Part 1
Author: Neetha Thomas
Source: www.oktatabyebye.com
Oa La La!!!! The rains are here and let’s plan a gateway. Oh yes, one can plan a trip together with friends , spouses or parents! Many think that since it is raining it is going to be flooded. It is true, but not all of India is getting washed out. Well…. Did you know that Ranchi is one of the best places filled with lakes & waterfalls to visit during monsoon? Read on… let me guide you through the most unique country that I have been to…. India!

First of all when you are planning for your travel you need to be sure on what type of place would you like to visit. Is it a beach or a hill station or a heritage or some spa. Here are few recommendations for visit during the rainy season.

Hill Stations

Monsoons in the hills mean innumerable waterfalls and rivulets that flow tumbling down through the narrow creeks. Rains in the hills also mean uprooted trees, broken roads and landslides but the rainy season also means piping hot chai and pakoras, wood-fried corns and dance of trees. It also means adventure sports like treks, rock climbing & bike rides!

An ideal getaway, Karjat (Maharashtra) wears a refreshing green look during the monsoons. There may be light drizzle or heavy downpour, the area looks stunning and as the rain subsides, nearby hills gets engulfed in the thin mist that blows with the flow of the wind. Some of the places that you can visit are Ulhas Valley, Bhor Ghat, Kondheshwar Temple & Bahiri Cave. Karjat is an excellent place to enjoy adventure sports like trekking. One can trek to Khandpe, Sandshi and Kondiwade villages. Rafting is another popular activity and it’s possible to go rafting on the upper sections of Ulhas River, near Karjat. Since this is purely a seasonal activity (July-September), the rafting trips are rainfall dependent.

Rainy season in Kasauli, (Himachal Pradesh) is a mixed bag of experiences. It may drizzle, pour or it may rain cats and dogs in Kasauli but the experience is simply ethereal. Tucked in the hills of Himachal Pradesh, Kasauli was developed by the British as a healing centre for the adjoining cantonment of Sabathu. Apt for those, who just want to relax, enjoy lovely views and want to have a good time Views, such as Shimla View, have been built at different points — ledges with railings that overlook the Himalayan peaks in the distance but in the monsoons, you’ll have an overcast sky and clouds for company. Christ Church believes to be the oldest (built in 1853) in Himachal Pradesh and is worth to visit.

Munnar (Kerala) is situated at the confluence of the mountain streams Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. And hence the name ‘Munnar’ - means ‘three rivers’. Lying at over 6000 ft height above sea level, Munnar is covered with tea & coffee plantations, crisscrossed with spurting streams and cascading waterfalls. In the rainy season, Munnar becomes a playfield for the streams and waterfalls and offers a fascinating view of low-lying clouds and mist laden valleys that make for a stunning sight. It is often called as mist laden blue hills because of Neelakurinji, the beautiful blue flower bathe the hills in blue when it blooms; though it blooms only once in 12 years. Colonial style churches, luxurious estate clubs and the Raj era buildings add to its picture postcard look. Couples of Tourist circuits are {Munnar - Mattupetty Dam - Indo Swiss Livestock Project - Echo Point - Kundala Dam - Top Station (34 km)} or { Munnar - Devikulam - Lock Heart Gap - Power House Waterfalls - Anayirankal (32 km) or Munnar - Rajamala - Marayoor - Chinnar (70 km)}. Adventure lovers can head to Lock Heart Gap, 13 km from Munnar, which offers fine opportunity for trekking .

Mussoorie (Himachal Pradesh) for its proximity and good tourism infrastructure has always been a favorite among travelers. Mussoorie and the Doon Valley below, wear a different color when rains come tumbling down the hills. Nature looks happy wearing her favorite green color. The innumerable waterfalls come cascading down the green hills and the Kempty Falls is brimming and full of vigor and zest. In fact as you drive up to Mussoorie from Dehradun, , the scenery is breathtaking. As you ascent the hairpin bends and leave the commercial and crowded Dehradun behind, clouds seem to be within your reach. Below in the Doon Valley mists would be busy floating from one end to another.

Mukteshwar (Uttarakhand) in the rains is all about having a good time with a hot cup of tea and being so close to nature that you can listen to the pitter-patter of the raindrops. The Mukteshwar Temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva is the crowning glory of the town as is the mighty Himalayan range that forms a picture postcard backdrop and the various conifer and pine trees which are home to a rich and diverse flora and fauna. Those interested in wildlife, night safari is an exciting activity for sightings of leopards, jungle cats etc. Most of the resorts offer a night safari packages so make sure to ask for it before making your booking. Same is the case with adventure sports like trekking and mountain climbing. One of the best treks is to Lamhanga waterfall located some 5-7 km from Mukteshwar.

Wake up to a slight chill in the air, freshly brewed coffee and misty mornings after a brush of rain at this verdant jewel of a place called Pachmarhi (Madhya Pradesh) - a saucer shaped valley located 3500 ft in the midst of the rocky Satpura ranges that looks like a verdant jewel post monsoons when the deciduous vegetation are in full bloom. So head towards the shallow 'Fairy Pool' which is ideal for kids; the Rajat Pratap or Big Fall - a 10 minute walk over rocks and boulders; the Jamuna Prapat or Bee Fall - a spectacular fall in the stream which provides drinking water to Pachmarhi; Tridhara (Piccadilly Circus) - where two streams meet in a junction and Vanshree Vihar (Pansy Pool) - a cool and shady place full of trees, ferns and semi-tropical vegetation. Adventure lovers can trek down 4 km to reach the base of the Duchess Falls (Jalawataran) to watch this cascading beauty in awe and then can head for a swim at the rocky Saunder's Pool which is 2.5 km from the Duchess Falls.

One of the finest tourist places in Maharashtra (Panchgani) named after the five hills that surround it, was till now lost in the veritable shadow of her more popular cousin Mahabaleshwar. But its idyllic landscape — hills, valleys, rivulets, charming colonial cottages and sleepy hamlets made it a popular gateway for a weekend holiday or for a relaxing break. The rains weave a magical veil of mist that makes the place totally magical. So take a walk through the many small paths while admiring nature’s bounty; snuggle up in your bed with a racy novel or simply watch the rain drench the beautiful landscape of Panchgani.

Known for its scenic vistas and cool climes, Shillong (Meghalaya) aptly fits as a scenic and relaxing getaway in the North-east of India. Situated at a height of 1496 meters above sea level, Shillong is just 3 hours drive from Guwahati. Shillong wears a green gown; trees look rejuvenated and young; the Sun plays hide and seek with the clouds, and at times you may see clouds rushing down to kiss the high rise mountain peaks. No wonder, why Shillong is often called Scotland of the East. Though, the Raj era feel is vanishing by the time, you can still find a few remnants of the British, who are credited to have brought Shillong on the world tourism map.

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