Get Away in the Rains
Escape to the spots made more beautiful by the monsoons
FOR ME, MONSOON is the most romantic season: dark clouds adding drama to the skies, air fragrant with the unmatched scent of wet earth, getting drenched in the rains or huddling together under an umbrella. Yep, the monsoon makes everything greener and gorgeous. Some places, however, are more beautiful than others during this season and make for great holiday options
This one is for nostalgia. Though recently a neighbouring hamlet called Mawsynram has overtaken it, Cherrapunjee is forever etched in our memories as the wettest place on earth. It may be officially the second wettest place, but that's still a lot of rain to revel in! The best part about Sohra, as it is locally called, is that unlike other hill stations in the northeast, the roads are in good condition and driving in the rains is not a hazard. Spend a few days exploring the area-there are several waterfalls and view-points, including the milky white Nohkalikai Falls, which, at 340 metres, is among the tallest waterfalls in the country.
Get there: You have to account for a day to get there, as you fly into Guwahati and drive four hours to reach Cherrapunjee.
Stay: Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort has consistently received high ratings.www.cherrapunjee.com/
It's the city that welcomes the monsoon into the country, and Kochi is at its greenest this time of the year, thanks to the rain lashing down its shore. The rainy weather means the evenings are much cooler, with a nice breeze making your walk around the old Fort Kochi area more enjoyable. Sit by the window at a seafood restaurant as you relish a mean meenmoilee and watch the rain wash the landscape anew. Slow boat rides on the backwaters become more magical when rain starts to fall on the placid waters around you, stirring the coconut trees and filling the air with romance.
Get there: You can fly to Kochi from most metros and big cities.
Stay: Brunton Boatyard is a good heritage option. www.cghearth.com/brunton-boatyard
Cansaulim, South Goa
Goa in this season is gorgeous-rain-washed and green. Though the beaches are only partly accessible, it's still one of the best times to be there. The rain changes moods all day long, as it goes from a silent and sheer curtain to a thunderous mist crashing into the sea. The waves are high and wild during this time, and a delight to watch from the safe distance of your hotel. We suggest South Goa-away from the bustle of Panjim and the north. But don't let the constant rain stop you from exploring the quiet beaches and some seriously good food. Drive out to explore Old Panjim's beautiful architecture and churches. Rains are also the time that you get the cheapest air-tickets and hotel deals in Goa!
Get there: You can fly to Goa from all metros and big cities.
Stay: Try Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa, Arossim Beach. www.goa.park.hyatt.com
How about some desert rain? This is completely different from any other monsoon vacation you can think of. The USP of Jaisalmer in the rains is its horizon. When there is nothing but miles of sand with no tall structures obstructing it, you get an unbelievable canvas of vast open skies. Now, imagine this sky covered with growly, dark clouds. It's unreal, it's magical, it's all those superlatives you can think of, and yet, it's difficult to describe how beautiful Jaisalmeris when the rain clouds come rolling in. You haven't seen thunder and lightning until you've seen it strike the deserts of Rajasthan. The best part is that the rain is only intermittent, which means you can easily get out to the city for some sight-seeing, and explore the world's only living fort and other charms of the chaotic Golden City.
Get there: Fly or take the train to Jodhpur, and then drive five hours to reach Jaisalmer.
Stay: Suryagarh is a great boutique hotel that also offers fabulous food. www.suryagarh.com/
Gopalpur on Sea, Odisha
This rarely explored coastline along the eastern part of the country, in Odisha, boasts of miles and miles of picturesque and unexplored beaches. However, since beaches are mostly inaccessible during the monsoons, a unique and charming destination near the sea is the quaintly named fishing village, Gopalpur on Sea. Sit on the golden sand and watch the casuarinas sway in the cool monsoon breeze as, every now and then, rain patters down and turns the sea wilder. Walk around the old jetty, chat up the friendly locals, sip from a coconut, and enjoy a few blissful uncrowded days away from your daily routine.
Get there: Fly to Bhubaneswar and drive about three hours to Gopalpur.
Stay: Check out Mayfair Palm Beach Resort. http://www.mayfairhotels.com/mayfair-gopalpur/