India's Top 10 Places To Visit This Monsoon, Get Wet!
Express Travelworld|May, 2016

India has several destinations that can sell as unique monsoon getaways. All that is needed is a strategy that can turn this lean season into a viable business opportunity

ANDAMAN & NICOBAR ISLANDS

The Andaman & Nicobar Islands, over the years, has developed into a popular ecotourism destination.Andaman & Nicobar Islands features humid weather.The monsoon lasts for around 180 days in a year.The South West monsoon touches the Indian soil first in the Andamans, then proceeding towards mainland India.These islands are blessed with the bounties of both South West, mid-May to September; and North East monsoons, November to January.

During monsoon season, tourists can have more options both indoors and outdoors.The lush green vegetation and scenic beauty of the islands are more predominant in monsoon.Various adventure activities can be enjoyed during this period. Monsoons accompany moderate to heavy rainfalls. Hoteliers in Andamans also offer discounts during monsoon seasons.

One of the major monsoon attraction at the islands is the Music Festival / Monsoon Festival.The Monsoon Festival is organised in the month of August-September in order to provide round-the-year tourism activities to tourists.The festival features music, food kiosks and many more attractions.The Music Festival, alongside the Monsoon festival, is very popular among visitors.

The island also organises Food Festival and World Tourism Day celebrations. Coinciding with World Tourism Day celebration on September 27, the tourism department organises a four-day food festival featuring ethnic food of the islands. Music performances and a variety of cultural programmes are also held during the festival.

How to reach: Veer Savarkar International Airport at Port Blair is connected to Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Vishakhapatnam, Bengaluru and Pune. Passenger ship service is also available to Port Blair from Chennai, Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam.

Accommodation: Silver Sand Beach Resort, SeaShell Havelock, Symphony Palms Beach Resort, Barefoot at Havelock, Fortune Resort Bay Island, Sea Princess Port Blair, Sinclairs Bay View, Port Blair, Dolphin Resort, Hotel Sentinel, Eco Villa Palm Beach Resort and more.

GOA

Situated along the west coast of India touching the Arabian Sea, Goa is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India.The state features partly hilly terrain with Western Ghats in the East.The climate of Goa remains pleasant throughout the year.The period of June to September is South West Monsoon Season, which is most rainy season for Goa. Whole infrastructure of state like agriculture, drinking water and electricity etc depends upon the monsoon season. Goa experiences an average rainfall of about 330 cm annually and about 90 per cent of annual rainfall occurs during this period. However, rainfall is more in the areas which are nearer to the Western Ghats in east parts of Goa. The state receives abundant of precipitation during these monsoon months.July is the wettest month of the year with more than 995 mm of rainfall.The average high stands around 30 degree Celsius, while the low falls to mid-teens. During this time, Goa receives a reduced level of sunshine as July gets not more than three hours of sunshine per day. Locals feel that the state is at its best during the monsoons. Parties and celebrations are held to welcome the rains, and the countryside turns lush and green almost overnight.

Every monsoon the Sao Joao festival is celebrated with grandeur and gaiety. It is dedicated to St. John the Baptist which is celebrated as a feast on June 24.The festival includes villagers jumping into the wells, streams and ponds. This jump is to signify the joy that St.John felt when Jesus was born. During monsoons, the event is the major attraction for tourists. Guests are made to wear crowns made of leaves and flowers called ‘Kopel’. Popular Goan music bands and dancers perform at various locations and delicious Goan delicacies are served.

How to reach: All flights, national and international, to and from Goa, operate from the Goa Airport at Dabolim near the port town of Vasco-da-Gama. Goa has two major railway stations – Margao and Vasco-da-Gama. Goa is connected with all the major towns in India via the National Highways NH4A, NH17 and NH17A.

Accommodation: Deltin Suites; Estrela Do Mar Beach Resort; Vivanta by Taj - Holiday Village, Goa; Taj Exotica Goa; The Leela Goa; DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Goa - Arpora – Baga; Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa; The Zuri White Sands Goa Resort & Casino; Casa De Goa Boutique Resort; Novotel Goa Shrem Hotel among many more.

IGATPURI

Located in the Nasik district of Maharashtra, Igatpuri is one of the most interesting and challenging regions of the Sahyadris range. The beautiful hill station is greeted with a sunrise as the skies are painted with hues of gold, orange and yellow and the lands reflect lush green colour. Situated at an altitude of about 1,900 feet, the place is relatively cool and quiet than other hill stations of the region. The place flourishes with waterfalls as the rain water makes its way through the green hills.

Apart from the scenic hills, the place is also well known for its old forts. Igatpuri is an allseason destination but is best visited from June to September and from November to March.

In the heart of Igatpuri is the first centre of Vipassana meditation in India that offers a Buddhist style of meditation, Dhamma Giri. There is a complete course in the age old traditional art of meditation. The Tringalwadi fort is about 3,000 feet high and offers splendid views of the mountain range from Kumpan to Kalsubai, and the peaks of Utvad and Harihar. The Camel Valley has cascading waterfalls dropping from a height of 1,000 ft, making it a prime spot among tourists. The hills offer the best view during the monsoons when the valley receives heavy rainfall. There are also numerous opportunities for rock climbing, trekking and cycling all through out the year.

Another popular place among tourists is the Ghatandevi temple dedicated to the goddess of the ghats, situated right at the entrance of Igatpuri. There are over five waterfalls at the end of the road that leads to the temple.

How to reach: It takes about 3.5 hours to reach Igatpuri from Mumbai by road. Igatpuri railway station is on the Mumbai-Nasik railway route.

Accommodation: Golden Resort, Manas Lifestyle Resort and Dew Drops Boutique Retreat are few of the options available.

LADAKH

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