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India’s best monsoon experiences

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We’ve gathered the cosiest, wildest, and dreamiest spaces for you to help brighten up your gloomy rainy months

history / adventure / nature / romance

Goa

Swapnagandha, Panaji, Siolim, Candolim

Lounge around the infinity pool at the Wildernest Nature Resort at Swapnagandha and watch your world turn emerald around you. Visit the Dudhsagar Falls, and check out the Mollem National Park and the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary for a little adventure. Or just bundle up with your partner and enjoy the monsoon from a distance at restored Portuguese mansions like the 350-year-old Siolim House and the Poussa Tauma in Candolim.

romance

Udaipur

Fateh Sagar Lake, Lake Pichhola, Swaroop Sagar Lake, Sajjan Garh, Lake Palace

Udaipur’s three lakes, the Fateh Sagar, Lake Pichhola and Swaroop Sagar give the city a fairytale-like quality in the monsoon. The Mewar dynasty built Sajjan Garh specifically with the intention of watching the storm clouds roll into the city. The crowning glory is the Lake Palace, surrounded by the deep, rich, dark green of the city that’s reflected in the waters. Udaipur in the monsoon blissfully conjures up century-old love stories.

food / drink / health

Pune

Sinhagad Fort, Mulshi Dam, Shillim

A sunrise against a fort, a dam surrounded by dense dark forests, an outdoor yoga session, or ending your day to some good old jazz–the monsoons in Pune pack your days with eclectic activities. Trek up to the Sinhagad Fort to catch a sunrise across the battlements. Mulshi Dam, an hour away, is a gorgeous spot for an impromptu picnic. Better still, check in at the all-villa Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa for rest, relaxation and indulgence.

adventure / nature

Coorg

Madikeri, Kotebetta, Somwarpet, Srimangala, Cheyandane

This hill-station in the Western Ghats, has been likened to Scotland for its awe- inspiring vistas of green. Deep dark forests await trekkers, and the monsoon is the perfect time for river rafting on the KKR River. Trek to the numerous falls in the area (the Abbi Falls near Madikeri, Mukkodlu near Kotebetta, Mallali near Somwarpet, Irpu near Srimangala and Chelavara Falls near Cheyandane). Wild elephant spotting, coffee plantation tours and king-size feasts are Coorg staples.

food / adventure / skill

Puducherry

Auroville, Chunnambar, Paradise Beach

Puduerry’s mixed French and Tamil heritage has lent this town an unusual character in its architecture, food and language. Visit Auroville for its unobtrusive, holistic way of life and participate in workshops–learn to dye clothing, or create your own natural body-care products. Go for walks on the city promenade and drop by the town’s many patisseries to tuck into fresh croissants. Take a boat-trip down the serene backwaters of Chunnambar, or head to Paradise Beach for a picnic.

adventure / luxury

Kerala

Munnar, Periyar, Kappil Beach

The monsoons add delightful dimensions to God’s Own Country. Ibex Expeditions customises cycling tours through the tea plantations of Munnar where you can break for fresh hot tea, before pedalling to the Periyar Tiger Reserve. You can stay at the Spice Village at Periyar or the Windermere Estate in Munnar. For a more conventional stay, head to Kappil Beach, where the luxury resorts against the Kerala backwaters make for an unforgettable experience.

adventure

Ladakh

Pangong Lake, Nubra Valley, Khardung La Pass, the Zanskar

The best time to visit Ladakh is between June and September: great weather and the roads are accessible. This is unlike anything you’ve seen before, from the colours of Pangong Lake, the formidable Khardung La Pass, and the ethereal beauty of the Nubra Valley. It is also a great time to tick white-water rafting off your list. Aquaterra conducts a gruelling 12-day expedition past looming peaks down the Zanskar to Leh. Navigate Grade III and Grade IV rapids and earn your bragging rights.

adventure / romance

Lonavla

The Machan

Waterfalls are commonplace on the drive in – from elegant trickles to massive gushes – and despite the tourist crush on weekends, Lonavla still packs enough charm for a quick visit. To really get away from it all, head to the eco-chic treetop resort The Machan, and sip on chai as you sit suspended over the lush valleys of the Western Ghats, which the monsoons turn into wild nuggets of green abundance. You can also hike around its private paths.

history / culture / adventure

Hampi

Hampi Bazaar, Vithala Temple

Travelling to Hampi is a bit like travelling back in time. Once the capital of an incredible Hindu kingdom, it’s a maze of ruins today. Boulders, perched precariously for centuries, look ready to roll off any second. A six-hour-drive from Bengaluru, this town is full of beautiful ruins of temples, palaces and a once prosperous kingdom. Visit the Hampi Bazaar, the Vithala Temple, the queens’s enclosures, and the elephant stables. Make sure you ride a coracle across the Tungabhadra river.

culture / adventure / drink

Darjeeling

Makaibari Tea Estate, Glenburn Tea Estate, Goomtee Tea Estate, Keventers

If you love starting your day with tea, stay at one of the fragrant tea estates here. Pick your own tea-leaves at the Makaibari Tea Estate, home to some of the best tea in the world. The colonially charming Glenburn Tea Estate offers free standing bathtubs and fireplaces in each room. Stay in a 100-year old heritage bungalow at the Goomtee Tea Estate. Besides the estates, you can also drop by at the many cafes and restaurants for a cuppa – Keventers offers 22 types of tea.