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Photos: 12 best monsoon getaways in India

Last updated on: July 5, 2012 16:37 IST

12 best monsoon getaways in India

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Aashish Gupta, Yellowleg.com

With the summer holiday crowds (and prices) in popular destinations waning down, the monsoon season is an excellent time to travel in India.

We've brought you a list of best places to enjoy the rains to the fullest!

Click on NEXT to read on...

Contributed by Aashish Gupta, founder of Yellowleg.com -- The Discerning Traveller's Bookstore.

Want to share your travel pictures? Click here to upload your pictures on Rediff ZaraBol! Post a description of your photo (eg where it was taken, when etc) in less than 140 characters and we will publish your pictures right here on Rediff.com and India Abroad.




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1. Goa

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Goa is beautiful in the rains. The entire state turns a lush green. The air is fresh and tourists are scant.

Sure the sun, sand and surf would be missing, but has its own charm in the monsoons, and one that not many tourists have discovered yet.

Visit the breathtaking Dudhsagar falls, old Goa with its quaint houses, churches and temples, and the acclaimed spice plantation in Savoi.

Nature enthusiasts can check out the picturesque wildlife sanctuaries that are open all year round.

Also read: In the wild: Exploring Goa beyond the beaches


Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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2. Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand

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July and August are the best time to see the wildflowers in full bloom in the Valley of Flowers, in Uttarakhand.

The alpine valleys carpeted with primula, saxifrage, red potentillas, geraniums, asters, gentians, anemones, delphiniums, blue corydalis and wild roses, make it worth the effort.

A word of caution: Since landslides and inclement weather can cause delays, plan for a couple of days of extra time.

Also read:
Autumn in the Valley of Flowers
Stairway to heaven


Photographs: Araghu/ Wikimedia Commons

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3. Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir

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Ladakh is the land of high passes and tiny monasteries.

The remote and tranquil region in Jammu and Kashmir is blessed with nature's bounty -- rugged, snow-capped mountain ranges; the picturesque Nubra valley; the world's highest motorable pass, Khardungla, at 5602 metres; the confluence of the Indus and Zanskar rivers; the crystal blue Pangong Lake; the vibrant Leh Town; the colourful Buddhist monasteries -- a tour to Leh-Ladakh is a treat for the eyes and soul.

June-September is peak season here, but if you head out on a trek from Leh, it is easy to escape the crowds.

Also read:
AMAZING PICS: Stunning Leh-Ladakh landscapes
Driving to the top of the world


Photographs: Motohiro Sunouchi/ Wikimedia Commons

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4. Rajasthan

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This is a good time to visit Rajasthan which turns cooler during the monsoons and it doesn't rain all the time.

Choose your pick from Jaipur, Udaipur, Mount Abu, Chittorgarh, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer - all unique and spectacular cities.

Also read:
Photos: Escape into the wilderness, in leopard land
In a king's darbar


Image: Udaipur
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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5. Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

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July-October is pretty much the only time you can go to the Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, given the weather and road conditions.

A desert mountain valley in the Himalayas, Spiti is dotted with Buddhist monasteries and is often called The Middle Land or Little Tibet.

All the houses, white washed with black painted window and door frames have flat thatched roots, prepared in traditional style, to keep the houses warm and safe from rain and snow.

Also read:
Pics: Driving in the Himalayas, over the highest passes

 


Photographs: 4ocima/Creative Commons

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6. Golden Triangle (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur)

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India's Golden Triangle (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur) is probably the most popular route among travellers and is packed with magnificent historic sites.

Start in Delhi with the Red Fort and Jama Masjid.

Move on to Agra for the most extravagant monument to love, the Taj Mahal and then the Agra Fort.

Head next to the amazingly well preserved Fatehpur Sikri and the birder's paradise of Keoladeo Ghana National Park (aka Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary) en route to the Pink City of Jaipur. Don't miss the City Palace and Amber Fort before heading back to Delhi.

On the way back, catch a night at the painstakingly renovated Neemrana Fort-Palace hotel located just off the Delhi-Jaipur highway.

Also read:
Travel: A road trip to remember
Travel and living: Falling in love with Delhi!


Photographs: Rediff Archives

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7. Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry

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Tamil Nadu stays relatively dry between June and September, but the sapping heat of summer is gone, making it a good time to visit.

Start off from Chennai and hit the East Coast Road (ECR), a scenic highway hugging the coast. Stop by at the Cholamandala Artist's Village before heading on to the World Heritage Site of the ruins at Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram).

Get a taste of French elegance mingled with Tamil flavour when you stop in Pondicherry. Stay in one of the heritage properties in the French Quarter. Hotel de l'Orient and Maison Perumal are our top picks.

Also read:
Escape to the hills: Top 5 getaways near Chennai


Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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8. Mandu, Madhya Pradesh

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Splendidly isolated, Mandu is situated on the stark, never-ending plains of western Madhya Pradesh that overlook the Narmada valley.

It takes a few days to tour the fascinating monuments of Mandu – Jahaz Mahal, Hindola Mahal, Haathi Pul apart from the Rupmati Pavilion.


Photographs: Abhishek Mishra/ Wikimedia Commons

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9. Shillong, Meghalaya

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Although Shillong receives plenty of rainfall, it is also the time when most tourists disappear, the city is clean and there are tons of gushing waterfalls around the region, making it a magical time to see it.

Also read:
Shillong: Nature's pampered child
Travel: The lesser known Himalayas


Photographs: Sarit/Creative Commons

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10. Kutch, Gujarat

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Situated in the North-West of Gujarat, Kutch is famous for its vast expanse of white desert, the Banni grasslands, historic forts, rich handicrafts and the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary.

Also read: Foodie's diary: In search of veg delicacies


Photographs: chinmayi s k/ Wikimedia Commons
Tags: Gujarat , Banni

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11. Kerala

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Kerala is green, fresh and bursting with life during the rains. Because this isn't the peak tourist season there are many good deals on offer.

From Ayurvedic treatments to rice boat cruises, a lot of attractions are available for roughly half of what they cost in winters.

Also read:
A little bit of Kerala in my heart
Travelogue: Experience Backwater bliss in Kerala


Photographs: Challiyil Eswaramangalath Vipin/ Wikimedia Commons
Tags: Kerala

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12. Kashmir

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Busloads of tourists descend on the beautiful towns in the Kashmir Valley in May and June, but during the monsoons most have disappeared, and the towns are less chaotic albeit as hospitable.

Srinagar, Pahalgam, Sonmarg and Gulmarg make for a beautiful trip.

Also read:
A tourist's Kashmir diary
Paradise is not that far away


Photographs: Prasanna Zore

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