Chasing Rains at offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

Since 7:00 am, we both are glued to our chairs in the hotel’s room Balcony with tea mugs in our hand. You know why? Because it has been raining since early morning and we can’t miss gazing at the formation of the raindrops, swaying trees, moving clouds, dancing flowers and that cool misty breeze on the face. You might think, we are crazy. Yes! We are because we love seeing, getting wet and jumping in rains at different places. So, as soon as monsoon set it foot, we start planning a trip to one of the offbeat monsoon destinations in India. Till now, we have covered many monsoon destinations in India and in this post, we will be covering our favorite ones.

Chasing Rains - Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

With the onset of the rainy season, mother earth wakes up from hibernation and starts rejuvenating. The downpour provides relief to everyone and everything from the scorching heat and the whole nature just turns magical. In hills, the clouds engulf the mountains and landscapes, the dried-up patches turn lush green, waterfalls soar up, and the silent rivers turn ferocious. Not only this the rhythmic rain sound, earthy smell, and misty fragrance further adds fuel to the soul. So, it’s our favorite time of year for traveling.

Vagator Beach - Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India
Vagator Beach – Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

And, if you too are someone like us who wants to enjoy these perils of nature in its purest form, then you must travel in monsoons. So, pack your bag and get ready to explore these offbeat monsoon destinations in India.

Chakrata, Uttarakhand

Chakrata, the cantonment area at an elevation of 7500 feet, in the Garhwal Himalayas in Dehradun district, is a hidden gem of Uttarakhand. The hill station was developed by British rulers as a summer retreat for the high executives, exactly like all other cantonments of India.

Chakrata in Monsoons
Chakrata – Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

In monsoons, Chakrata looks extremely dramatic. The roaring, hanging clouds in seconds descend down on the ground, reducing the visibility to zero. You can’t predict when downpour will begin here and if it starts it won’t stop that easily. Rains make the landscapes look crystal clear and lush green. Waterfall howl in full volume during monsoon season and there is a fragrance of fresh air throughout.

Must Visit – Tiger Fall, Deoban, Chilmiri Point, Kanasar and Budher Caves

How to reach Chakrata

Chakrata lies 89 kilometers from Dehradun city and 323 kilometers from Delhi. From Delhi it can be reached by car, bus, train or cab. The nearest airport and railway station is at Dehradun. From there one can hire cab or take a bus to reach Chakrata.

According. to AllGudThings, the best way is to take a self-drive road trip. There are two routes and we opted for route 1 because it is a highway and to avoid heavy traffic at Meerut and Saharanpur.

Route 1: Delhi – Panipat –Karnal – Yamunagar – Ponta Sahib – Chakrata

Route 2: Delhi – Ghaziabad – Meerut – Saharanpur –Dakpathar – Chakrata

Condition of Roads: Excellent, fully graveled highway roads. The steep roads start only after Ponta Sahib

Binsar, Uttarakhand

Binsar, located at 7913 feet is a hidden sleepy place in the Kumaon Himalayas of Uttarakhand. Indeed, it is a less traveled forest, encircled by a vast wildlife sanctuary spreading up to 46km2. And today it is home to many rare animals, birds, and wildflowers.

As soon one enters the Binsar wildlife sanctuary the blanket of green hangs all around. The rocks are covered with unusual moss and ferns, and flowers and shrubs foliage is seen sprouting out of every conceivable nook and corner of the hillside. The entire place looks from a different era. It seems time never touched this place and it has been similar since years. In monsoons, Binsar becomes too exiting. If one moment, there is a heavy rainfall followed by pitter – patter of raindrops than other moment it will be misty with floating clouds in the valley.  Overall the place is adorable throughout and looks super green, fresh, foggy and smells earthy.

Must Visit –  Zero Point, Bineshwar Mahadev Temple, Kasar Devi Temple,

Binsar in Monsoons
Binsar in Monsoons

How to reach Binsar

Binsar lies 95 Kilometers from Nainital, 35 kilometers form Almora, and 423 kilometers from Delhi. It can be reached via air, road or rail. The nearest airport is Pantnagar airport and the nearest railway station is at Kathgodam. Further from both the stations, distance to Binsar can be covered by taxis or buses.

Route to Binsar from Delhi – Delhi- Ghaziabad- Hapur- Moradabad- Kaladungi- Nainital- Almora – Binsar

Condition of Roads- Gaveled single lane tortuous roads and at places expect detours due to landslides

Registration Fee for Binsar Wildlife SanctuaryRs 150 per person and Rs 250 for vehicle

Thanedar, Himachal Pradesh – Offbeat Monsoon Destination in India

Thanedar, a small offbeat town in Himachal Pradesh is located at 7700 feet, near Narkanda. It is well known as the home to the first apple plantations of the country. Along with apple, the fertile land and good climate conditions too helps in cultivation of plums and apricots and today this belt is referred as a Food Bowl of Himachal.

In monsoons, Thanedar and its surroundings look completely heavenly. The whole of the valley is lush green and submerged in clouds. There is pin-drop silence except the chirping of birds and roaring clouds. And when the clouds clear or valley lifts up its veil, one can see the apple trees in full bloom, laden with clusters of pink-tinged white flowers. So, overall this place is enough for a sensory explosion and we time.

Narkanda Thanedar in Monsoons
On the way Narkanda Thanedar – Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

Must Visit – Tani Jubber Lake, St. Mary’s Church, Apple Orchards, Sutlej River, Harmony Hall also known as The Samuel Stokes stone house, dedicated to the man who started apple cultivation in this belt and later who changed his name to Satyanand, Stokes Farm and Narkanda

How to reach Thanedar

Thanedar lies at a distance of 445 kilometers from Delhi, 80 kilometers from Shimla and about 15 kilometers from Narkanda. It can be reached via air, road or rail. The nearest airport is the Shimla airport located in Jubbarhatti and the nearest railway station is at Shimla. Further from both the stations, distance to Thanedar can be covered by taxis or buses.

Route to Thanedar from Delhi – Delhi – Karnal- Kurukshetra- Zirakpur- Shimla- Narkanda- Thanedar

Condition of Roads- Highway with fully gavelled roads except few bad places. Also expect jams due to work in progress

Sikkim

Sikkim, is the least populous and second smallest mountainous state in North East India. The state is further divided into North, South, East and West Sikkim. The state has around 28 mountain peaks and also host the highest peak of India i.e. Kanchenjunga. Around 35% part of the entire state is covered by Kanchenjunga National Park & its capital is Gangtok.

Sikkim in Monsoons
Sikkim – Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

Sikkim in Monsoons won’t be on anyone’s radar because of the incessant rains area receives. But believe us, if you want to see the beauty of the real nature, then this is the best time. Paths get lined up with ginormous ferns and wildflowers, forests turn green & dense and fog in between make it look mysterious. The river starts flowing in full swing, the waterfalls become exuberant, the blanket of clouds continuously hover over the landscapes and the whole nature smells earthy. Everything looks extremely dreamy and just imagine having that lone house standing grand in the middle of the glistening field, swathed with the layers of mist. Isnt that the best feeling. Also, the place turns to a chirpy heaven and one can even spot the rarest species of the birds at this time.

Must Visit – Gangtok, North Sikkim (Gurudongmar Lake, Lachen, Lachung, Katao), Rumtek Monastery, Zuluk, Pelling, Yuksom, Ravangla, Rabdentse Palace Ruins, Kanchenjunga National Park and waterfall, Khecheopalri Lake

How to reach Sikkim

Sikkim (Gangtok) lies at a distance of 1601 kilometers from Delhi, 671 kilometers from Kolkata, 123 Kilometers from Bagdogra and 30 kilometers from Pakyong. It can be reached via air, road or rail. The nearest airport till 2018 was Bagdogra Airport but now the nearest is Pakyong Airport. The nearest railway station is at Siliguri. Further from here, the distance to Gangtok can be covered by shared or private cabs or buses.

Condition of Roads from Bagdogra Airport- Highway with fully gaveled roads except for a few bad patches.

Goa

Goa, the smallest state of India is well known nationally and Internationally for its beaches, parties, sunsets and liberal culture. Just like Old Manali it too is listed under the Banana Pancake trail and is famous not only among the hippies and backpackers but also among the honeymoon couple.

Goa in Monsoons
Goa in Monsoons

During Monsoons, Goa looks extremely different and special. There is a feeling of romance, refreshment and magic. The whole place turns lush green, Palm trees dance and sway to the tune of the winds, the quaint lanes get clean and cleared by the continuous rains, thick grey clouds rule the sky, colorful houses shine bright among the landscapes and waves swirl and bash hard at the shore of the beaches.

Most of the Shacks in Goa gets packed up during Monsoons. Only the permanent structures survive the harsh downpour. So, to enjoy the action and party scenes during monsoons, prefer staying in North Goa over South Goa as most of the Shacks are operational here.

Views of Vagator Beach from Shalai The Cliff resort
Views of Vagator Beach from Shalai The Cliff resort

Must VisitDudhsagar waterfall, North Goa Beaches (Candolim, Calangute, Vagator, Baga. Anjuna, Morjim), Chapora Fort, Old Goa Tour, Divar Island, Spice Plantations around Ponda, Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary, Mollem National Park, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Panjim and Casinos. Also, check for the local Monsoon festivals like Soao Jao (celebrated in June) and Bonderam flag festival (celebrated in August).

How to reach Goa

Goa lie at a distance of 1902 kilometers from Delhi, 603 kilometers from Mumbai, 572Kilometers from Bangalore and 44 kilometers from Dabolim. It can be reached via air, road or rail. The nearest airport is Dabolim Airport whereas the nearest railway station is at Madgaon and Vasco – Da- Gama. Further from here, the distance to Panjim can be covered by shared or private cabs or local buses.

Condition of Roads from Dabolim Airport- Fully gaveled roads with potholes. Also, expect slow traffic due to work in progress.

Tips for Traveling in Monsoons

Remember the itinerary you planned cannot be completely followed during monsoons. Half of the time you will be just sitting in your room balcony, sipping tea, enjoying the rain or you might get stuck at a place for hours. So, keep a buffer day or two in your itinerary. Also, remember to be slow and go with the flow during the rainy season.

  • Rain-proof your entire luggage and your electronic devices
  • Carry an umbrella, raincoat, first aid box, extra pair of clothes, non-slippery floaters and slippers with you
  • Do keep windcheater, light jacket and a pair of socks as the weather gets cool after rains at all these places except Goa
  • Carry torch, mosquito repellants and some packaged food
  • Keep your ID proofs and photographs with you for the permits and a visit to North and East Sikkim
  • Make sure to keep your power banks charged as there are high chances of power failure or cut in monsoons
  • Travel safely as there are chances of landslides in hilly areas
  • Don’t go out if there is an alert by Metrological Department
  • Avoid going to the waterlogged areas
  • Stop if there are a heavy downpour and thunderstorm
  • Keep yourself hydrated and avoid exposing yourself to direct winds
  • In Goa, don’t go into the beach, as the high tides are really dangerous and can push you down hard
  • Don’t run in the hills as monsoons make the trails highly slippery and there are high chances of getting slipped and injured
  • Don’t opt for water activities, although you will see companies advertising and selling them in Goa
Chasing Rains - Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

Tips for Road Trips to Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

  • Get your car wipers, headlights, brakes and tires inspected before you leave. Prefer having the anti-skid suspension tires
  • Avoid taking unknown routes and prefer the highways. Also be prepared for the detours because of the landslides
  • Start early and take the break when showers are over powering and visibility is highly reduced
  • Watch your speed and be really gentle on the curves


19 thoughts on “Chasing Rains at offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India”

  • India is on my bucketlist for sure. Not sure I would want to go during monsoon time. It does however look pretty. I love the different landscapes.

  • I love the views of Chakrata and as a sucker for mountain destinations, this place I would love to check out on my mega tour of India when I eventually get round to it. Would love to check out some hikes in this area also.

  • Wow, I’m quite impressed you choose to travel during the monsoon season. Your pictures are lovely and it all looks really lush. I would be afraid of not having so much fun because of potential hazards caused by rain. That said, Goa looks amazing. It’s my top India destination to visit and I haven’t seen this side of it. Keep traveling and inspiring me 🙂

  • I like your style, going boldly to areas people avoid due to the season. The pictures show that it certainly is green due to all the rain! Great tips on how to travel during Monsoon season, they could just as easily apply to traveling around America’s east coast during hurricane season.

  • I’ve been always told not to go to India or Sri Lanka during monsoon season – but after your post, I think it’s an alternative. Obviously, the trip would be totally different, but I really like those dramatic clouds.

  • What a great list of places to go during monsoon season and great tips too! You will find me in Goa I think carrying my umbrella

  • I didn’t realize there are monsoon destinations! I guess it is similar to waterfall season or the desert being in bloom. Binsar looks gorgeous, the deep green with the waterfall peeking out. Sikkim looks equally gorgeous. That looks like an incredible amount of rain in Goa!

  • I would love to visit these places during Spring. But yes for a second or third experience may be during monsoons. Rains do add a lot of charm. Great tips for packing during monsoons.

  • I’d never have thought to travel during Monsoon season – what great ideas. I didn’t realise they take down all the huts in Goa during the rains… it makes sense! I love the clouds hanging off the hills in Chakrata.

  • Wow! India is such an exciting country. Seems like it has everything to offer even in moonsoon season. I haven’t been to the south but I did heard a lot of stories in Goa. Now I can have an alternative. Sikkim looks like paradise too!

  • Oh my gosh I would love to go to Binsar – it looks so calm and peaceful, like the perfect place to connect with nature. I think I’d love it in Monsoon season or any time of year.

  • Wow honestly I had never thought of traveling during monsoon season. However you really showcase how beautiful the land can be during this time. I particularly liked Sikkim. I like the idea of visiting one of the least populous smallest mountainous state in North East India. I like the off the beaten track places and this looks perfect. Oh and so glad you provided all those tips for traveling during that season. I am sure they will come in very handy.

  • Love this idea of embracing the monsoons. Too often travelers think rain means the end of a journey or touring. I disagree although being a photographer, it is more challenging. I so appreciate you giving us a glimpse of India that’s off the usual track. ( I lived in a rainforest for six years in SE Alaska so rain is no stranger.)

  • Suruchi, I should have consulted you 2 weeks ago when I was home with my family in Delhi and wanted to go for the long weekend and they refused saying it was too rainy! These destinations are amazing and I would’ve loved to take them in any one of these. Since we had limited time, Binsar or Chakrata would have made total sense from Delhi. Well, I have your post bookmarked now for next time 😉

  • I would never think of visiting India at monsoon time. So interesting to read this blog post. I can see how a spot like Chakrata would look dramatic at monsoon time. This mists around Binsar certainly would make the monsoon time attractive. Escaping to Sikkim might give us a green oasis. It was good to read the tips for travelling during a monsoon. A good reminder that mosquitos are worse in very wet climates. And driving carefully when the rain is heavy will keep you safe! We often will pull over at the worst downpours.

  • These pictures are gorgeous! India is on my list, I keep learning new , amazing, adventurous places to visit! I think i would be a little too scared to go during Monsoon season! thanks for sharing! xo – kam

  • I agree with your destinations . I rememebr being to Binsar a couple of years back and we had thoroughly enjoyed the stay. (the journey was a different story though). We recently went to Saputara, the only Hill Station of Gujarat but not far from Mumbai. This was truly a surprise for us. Would like to go to Sikkim in monsoon next time. Your photos great as always.

  • I don’t think I would travel to India during monsoon season as I usually travel to avoid bad weather. It looks like the best places to go are either the highland or the beaches such as Goa allow it is not recommended to go in the water as you mentioned.

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