Forest bioluminescence at Chorla Ghats Goa/Karnataka/Maharashtra
On a dark moonless monsoon night, the tiny moss-like mycena mushrooms on tree barks turn neon green like a scene from the film Avatar, but with a ‘Hilltop’ Anjuna vibe. Of the 27,000 fungi reported in India, 50 are bioluminescent. Located at the tri-junction of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, the forests of Chorla Ghats and Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary display this unique natural phenomenon. When the amount of oxygen and moisture in the air is at a certain level—conditions found only in the rainy season—the fungi dispel excess light energy and the forests begin to glow. Go on a night trek in the forest amid the cacophony of Malabar gliding frogs, switch off your torch and witness the enchanted forest come aglow. The surreal experience is at its peak from late August to end September. Stay in a valley view room at Wildernest Nature Resort (wildernest-goa.com), swim in the infinity pool, enjoy sunsets over Chorla Ghats and trek to Chorla and Vazra Sakla Falls.
Getting there Fly to Goa and drive to Chorla Ghats, which is about 55km from Panaji.
Courtship dance of the lesser florican at Sonkhaliya Rajasthan
At dawn or dusk, the female florican emits its whistling mating call and the male reciprocates with its leap of faith. With wings aflutter, he leaps clear off the jowar fields, legs momentarily folded mid-air, neck arched back and the ribbon-like plumes behind its ear-coverts swinging wildly. This dance is repeated every few minutes until the female relents. The smallest of the three bustard species in India, the endemic lesser florican, locally called khar mor, is known for its acrobatic mating dance. This display occurs in the monsoon and the best place to photograph this spectacle is Sonkhaliya near Ajmer.
Getting there Fly to Jaipur and drive 150km to Sonkhaliya via Ajmer.
Dudhsagar waterfall trail GOA/Karnataka
Deep inside Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary straddling the Goa-Karnataka border, the Mandovi River dashes off a cliff as Dudhsagar waterfall which means “Ocean of Milk”. Since it is at its torrential best during monsoon, getting here can be a bit tricky. Two streams flood the jeep road till October and access is via a narrow dirt track. If you like the rush of a monsoon bike rally, take a pillion ride with local bikers who offer an adventure on wheels from Kulem railway station in Goa. The 14km assault course at the edge of rail tracks, is an all-terrain path of ballast, puddles, culverts and raging streams. From the parking lot, trudge 100m over slippery rocks and stream crossings to the base for a picture-postcard sight—a railway bridge slicing through the misty falls in an arc. Alternately, hike along the railway track—a 12km climb from Kulem or a 14km descent from Castle Rock via several tunnels from the Karnataka side.
Getting there Fly to Goa and drive to Kulem, 65km from Panaji and 6km from Mollem via NH-748.
The wettest place on earth Meghalaya
While Mawsynram may have ousted Cherrapunji, as the wettest place in India, the latter still holds the tag of having received the highest recorded rainfall in the world. And what better season than the rains to visit Meghalaya? Set up base at the Ri Kynjai resort (rikynjai.com) overlooking the Umiam Lake. There are numerous monsoon experiences to be enjoyed here. Go boating on the picturesque lake surrounded by the Khasi Hills. Walk on a double-decker living root bridge in Tyrna Village near Cherrapunji. Explore the misty village of Laitkynsew, enjoy the magnificent 1,100ft plunge of Nohkalikai Falls and the multiple cataract of Nohsngithiang.
Getting there Fly to Guwahati or Shillong Airport. Cherrapunji is 54km from Shillong and 148km from Guwahati.
Mandu in the monsoon Madhya Pradesh
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