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Monsoon Bonanza!
Author: Neetha Thomas
Source: www.oktatabyebye.com
Beaches

The Sea!!! The most exhilarating experience when you get soaked by the waves of the sea. The sands tickling your feet and the waves lapping on to the shore; the freedom that you feel by the sea is incredible. The sea mist, the salt water been sprayed on you, endless walks with a special one, playing with your children, building castles….. The list is umpteen.

Bakkhali (West Bengal) is a long and sandy beach that is lapped by the sea waves from the Bay of Bengal. Dense Casuarina groves make for pleasant sight and you may see the numerous Red Fiddler Crabs marching in line on the beach. As you leave behind the traffic, noise and chaos at Diamond Harbour, the cool breeze of the sea pulls you. There is a shift in the air and the scenery outside changes from concrete building to more open spaces and paddy fields. On the way you cross a number of villages and small markets that seem busy in their own tiny cocoon. Another interesting place to visit is the Crocodile Breeding Center.

Imagine a grey sky, a gentle breeze, a streak of lighting, the pitter patter of the rains and the gushing waves ...you sitting on a beach with a cup of hot chai soaking in every moment with a dear one… hoping for this moment to last forever…seems like eternity…doesn't it.Well, experience this monsoon magic dream at the Chandipur beach, Orissa. With its swaying palms, white sand dunes and not to mention a sea that loves to play hide and seek- the sea here recedes upto 5 km everyday at low tide, Chandipur is one of the few unspoilt beaches that is still relatively unknown to many. Another enchanting place surrounded with waterfalls is Deokund (110 km from Balasore).

The tiny picturesque islands of Daman & Diu located on the southern tip of the Saurashtra, Gujarat makes for an interesting monsoon gateway with their beautiful blend of sun, sand and sea. The swaying trees, the gentle intoxicating breeze coupled with the soft murmur of the waves adds up to an out of the world experience. The scenery is even more bewitching during the rains when the waves from the Arabian Sea, gently rocked by the winds crashes on the rocks off the sea coast.These former Portuguese enclaves connected to the mainland of Gujarat by a causeway present a colorful mosaic of cultural diversity with its unique blend of Portuguese and Kathiawadi culture. This along with its temples, churches, forts and beaches make it an ideal tourist destination.

Goa; the destination for sun, sand, sea and cheap booze!!! This is the all time favorite for everyone. The beautiful white beaches and the melting culture pot of all people around the world is something that Goa has achieved! There are so many things to do in Goa that you can’t have enough of Goa just in a day or two. There are the beaches, Old Goa, the churches, the river cruise, food and much more. There are a number of beaches in both South and North Goa and some of the popular beaches are Sinquerim, Candolim, Calangute, Baga, Chapora and Anjuna in North Goa.

Welcome to Pondicherry (now Puducherry) - the erstwhile French Colony, which goes by the sobriquet of Mini France in India. A quiet little town located on the southern coast of India, the association of this beautiful town with France goes way back to the 17th century when the French first set their foot on the soil of India in 1670 (and left the shores in 1954). This unmistakable French connection can be seen in the tree lined boulevards, huge courtyards, the quaint colonial buildings with their hipped roofs and eaves, the gothic churches and of course the cuisine. Listen to the roaring of the waves at the Paradise, Serenity and the Auroville Beach while taking a stroll along the 1.5 km long promenade. Admire the diplomacy of Dupleix as you pass through his statue, take inspiration from the statue of Joan of Arc, remember the brave at the War Memorial and stand tall with your arms spread atop the old light house; Seek blessings as you make your way through the white and brown neo-gothic Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Offbeat

The first thing that comes to mind when one hears 'Chitrakoot' is the place where Lord Rama spent first 11 years of his exile along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman. However, there is more to Chitrakoot than its spiritual legacy. ‘The hills of many wonders’ nestled in the northern spurs of the Vindhyas is home to tranquil forest glades, quiet rivers and gurgling streams all of which gives an heavenly feel during the monsoons as evident from the lovely cry of the cuckoo, the dance of the peacock, the fresh drops of the rain on the leaf and trees that look as if they got a reason to live once again. Hogenakkal Waterfalls has a different character just after the rains. The area looks lush green and there are a number of waterfalls that you may come across.

Ranchi (Jharkhand) is well known for its scenic attractions. It is a fine mix of natural beauty and commercial entities; while on the one hand it has cascading waterfalls that are scattered around, on the other hand there are huge industries. Every year more and more curious travelers are visiting Shantiniketan (Kolkata) to get a feel of the place, which was grown and nurtured by the Noble laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Though, Shantiniketan can be visited any time of the year, it looks lovely in the rains.

Heritage

Orchha (Madhya Pradesh) is certainly a place fit for a traveller interested in history and architecture. And almost all the major places of tourist interest in Orchha are within walking distance. The most popular landmarks in Orchha are Jehangir Mahal and Ram Raja Temple. Small streams overflow and the Betwa River that flows by the town seem to have gained a new lease of life for the season after resembling a dry creek for months. The location of Udaipur (Rajasthan), the numerous lakes which has given the city another sobriquet of ‘the Venice of the East' - something which the city shares with another counterpart in the south (Kerala) and the fabulous Lake Palace in the middle of the Lake Pichola had all but endeared the city to the romantics. No wonder, then the city has in recent times has become one of the most favorite destinations to have a wedding or a honeymoon.

And finally, monsoon time is the perfect time to experience India’s ancient rejuvenating art of ayurvedic medicine. The rainy season is ideal for ayurvedic treatment because the atmosphere remains cool, moist, and dust free. This helps the body’s pores to open up, making it most receptive to herbal oils and therapy. So what are you waiting, go ahead an enjoy in massages by the beach or go treks that you have always been planning to do!

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