1. Leh, Ladakh
If you want to completely avoid the monsoon rains, then Leh in Ladakh is the perfect place to go. This area of India is in the utmost northwestern corner and is bordered by two of the world's largest mountain ranges. Because the mountains block the monsoon clouds, Leh stays completely dry during the monsoons and the weather is cool and crisp with temperatures around 10 to 20째C.
Leh also has quite a few beautiful festivals during the monsoon season including the Hemis Festival in July. Besides taking in the mountain views travelers can explore the mud-brick buildings of the town, visiting Buddhist monasteries, and also try out some of the area's great treks like the Phey Nimo route and Kang Yatse Trek.
2. Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Spirit Valley is also a great destination for travelers wanting to avoid the monsoons entirely. Located in Himachal Pradesh near Ladakh, Spiti Valley is a more off-the-beaten-track version of Leh. This area is up high in the mountain and only accessible from May to October. Like Ladakh, Spiti Valley is sheltered from the monsoons by the mountains, although you may face rains on the way there.
Some of the most popular things to do here include yak safaris, exploring and volunteering in local villages, visiting monasteries and temples like the beautiful Dhankar and Tilokinath, and going on world-class treks including Baralacha Pass, Kunzum Pass, and simple treks between mountain villages.
3. Udaipur, Rajasthan
The state of Rajasthan is an overall good monsoon destination because it contains the Thar Desert and is one of the dryest areas in India. Udaipur does receive some rain during the monsoons, but much less than the rest of the country with around 637 mm (25 inches) over the entire 3 months.
Udaipur is often described as a fairytale city full of palaces and lakes with the Aravalli mountains in the distance. During the monsoons, these lakes fill up and become more beautiful, especially Lake Pichola from which travelers can take in the City Palace and Jag Mandir.
Another great spot to check out this time of year is the Monsoon Palace which looks like a shining white pearl sitting atop a hill. From the palace, travelers can get panoramic views of the 'City of Lakes' below.
4. Valley of Flowers, Uttarkhand
The Valley of Flowers is located in Uttarkhand which is a northern state that contains part of the Himalayan range. The Valley of Flowers is a high elevation Himalayan valley that can only be reached when the snow melts from June to October. Although the monsoons do cause rain in the valley, they also bring about the main attraction which is 400 varieties of flowers.
The Valley of Flowers is a UNESCO World Heritage site and national park that sits at 11800 feet above sea level. Getting to the valley requires a trek from the nearby Gangharia town which acts as a base camp. The trek is around 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) and takes a total of 7 hours roundtrip. The valley itself is around 6 kilometers long and ends in a beautiful glacier.
5. Mount Abu, Rajasthan
Mount Abu is one of the most popular spots in Rajasthan to visit during the monsoons because it receives just enough rain for it to come to life with lush green vegetation and beautiful lakes. Typically, Mount Abu gets less hot and humid during the monsoons. Although the area receives light showers, the temperature stays between 21 and 28 degrees C.
Here travelers can visit the beautiful Dilwara Temple, go boating on Nanni Lake, visit the wildlife sanctuary, and climb up to Guru Shikhar, the highest point in the Aravalli Hills. At Guru Shikhar, you can explore some interesting temples and also take in the view of the hills and city below.
Kerala is a beautiful state in South India that has become a sought after destination for travelers looking to experience the thrill and magic of the monsoons in India. Although Kerala gets plenty of rain during the monsoon season, the hills and tea plantations of the state turn a lush green creating beautiful scenery around every corner.
This is a particularly popular place to go if you are interested in Ayurvedic treatments. The monsoon season is actually considered to be one of the best times to get holistic health treatments because the humidity opens up the body and makes it more receptive to natural medicine.
If you aren't interested in natural medicine, then there are still plenty of other things to do including visiting Periyar National Park (one of the few that stay open during the monsoons), watching the Onam festival celebrations, relaxing in the Munnar hills surrounded by tea fields, and watching the snake boat races.
7. Kaas Plateau, Maharastra
The Kaas Plateau is located in the central Indian state of Maharastra. Like Kerala, this area receives plenty of rain during the monsoons but the showers make it even more beautiful. The Kaas Plateau is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Western Ghats that blooms with thousands of wildflowers during the rainy season.
The Kaas Plateau is often called Maharastra's Valley of Flowers and is much easier to reach than the valley in Uttarakhand. The Kaas Plateau is only a few hour's drive from Mumbai and Pune and contains more than 850 species of flowering plants.
Because the lifecycles of wildflowers are so short, the valley is known to change colors almost every week. No matter how many times you go, the view likely won't be the same.
During the monsoons in Goa, travelers won't be able to enjoy the sunshine or spend time on the beach, but luckily this once Portuguese colony has plenty of other interesting activities for travelers even during the rains.
Some of the major draws to Goa are the area's beautiful national parks like the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary with its impressive Dudhsagar Falls and the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary which stay open even during the rainy season.
Besides national parks, travelers can explore the spice plantations near Ponda or take in the beautiful colonial heritage buildings and churches of Panjim. This is also a great time of year to get affordable prices on yoga retreats.
9. Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh
Dharamshala is another perfect option for travelers who don't mind experiencing some of the monsoon rains during their visit. Located in the Himalayan foothills, this city turns beautiful shades of green during the rainy season and is especially beautiful around McLeod Ganj, the Buddhist center of the city.
Dharmshala is most famous as the current residence of the 14th Dalai Lama and is home to many other Tibetans. As such, the area is a major hub for people, both Indians and foreigners alike, who want to learn more about Buddhism, yoga, and meditation.
Dharmshala is a great place to spend time in an ashram for travelers interested in spirituality and connecting more with their inner self.
10. Lonavala, Maharastra
Lonavala in Maharastra is known as one of the best places in the country to enjoy and take in the beauty of the monsoon rains. This hill station is full of green forests and rivers that surround this quaint town in natural beauty.
Although Lonavala gets plenty of rain during the monsoons, trekking is still a popular activity and more than possible if you don't mind getting a little damp. Take the scenic trail to Tiger's Point to get great panoramic views. While there, you can also check out the Karla Caves which were built by Buddhist monks in the 3rd century BC.
Other points of interest include the Bhushi Dam, Pawna Lake, Tungarli Lake, the Rajmachi Fort, and Tikona.
11. Coorg, Karnataka
Coorg is a large district of the South Indian state of Karnataka which is full of such beautiful green fields that it's sometimes called the 'Scotland of India'. Like Kerala, Karnataka receives the full wrath of the monsoons with rains falling around once a day for a few hours. But as long as you bring a raincoat and umbrella, this area is an incredible stop.
In Coorg, you can visit the bright green tea and spice plantations, take in the Irupu falls, see the peaks of the Brahmagiri mountains from Bisle View Point, or go rafting down the Barapole River.
Hikers can try out the Chelavara Falls Trek which is a 13 kilometer journey that ends at the Chelavara Falls, one of the most beautiful sights in the region.
12. Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh
Gandikota in Andhra Pradesh is sometimes called the Grand Canyon of India and is a large red rock canyon sitting at 320 meters above sea level (1050 feet). This area of India doesn't get much rainfall and is actually best visited during the monsoons because the weather is slightly cooler and more comfortable than the dry heat of the spring.
Taking in incredible views of the canyon from Gandikota Fort, visiting the Madhavaraya and Ranganatha Swamy temples, kayaking on the Pennar River, or trekking to the Pennar River Gorge View Point are just a few of the things to do here.
13. Bundi, Rajasthan
Out of all the popular cities in the dry and arid state of Rajasthan, the peaceful town of Bundi is the one that receives the most rain during the monsoon season. Although this sounds like a bad thing, the rain actually makes Bundi one of the most scenic and sought out monsoon destinations in India. The rains not only add power to waterfalls but also fill up scenic lakes and ancient stepwells.
Bundi is famous for its many beautiful stepwells which in ancient times were not only used to supply water but also as casual meeting places. The most famous stepwell is the Raniji ki Boari which extends down three levels and is decorated in carvings of elephants and Lord Vishnu.
Other things to do here include hiking to the ancient Taragarh Fort, exploring the Bundi Palace, and enjoying the local Teej Festival.
14. Hampi, Karnataka
Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular travel destination that contains the picturesque ruins of a 15th-century city full of old temples, palaces, and forts.
Hampi is not only popular for its ruins, but also for the slow and rustic local lifestyle of this historic town that mixes surprisingly well with the hippie vibes of the traveler section.
Hampi gets less rain than other areas of Karnataka during the monsoon season making it a great place to spend a few nights exploring. Make sure to check out the impressively tall Virupaksha Temple and the Hanuman Temple which sits on a hilltop and offers great views of the surrounding ruins.
15. Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu
If you are someone who loves monsoons, then there's no better place to spend your time than in Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu. Kodaikanal is often called 'The Gift of the Forest' for its scenic beauty and rainforest-like qualities. Visiting this hill station during the rainy season is the best way to avoid the crowds while also having the chance to see the waterfalls, lakes, and forests at their most beautiful.
Take in the bright flowers on a stroll through Brynt Park and Coaker's Walk or embark on a more serious trek like Dolphin Nose, Pillar Rocks, Pambhar Falls, and Kurunji Andavar. Kodaikanal is also famous for its waterfalls, some of the most incredible of which are the Glen Falls, Fairy Falls, Bear Shola Falls, and Silver Cascade.
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