“My heart was a desert when you came as a drop of rain”. That’s a line from one of my teenage poetry and cringe-worthy is an understatement to describe it. Rains are romantic. They can be a nuisance too, but there is nothing more beautiful than the first splash of rain giving the much-needed relief from the scorching heat of Indian summer. So I made this list of the best places to visit in monsoon in India. Because there are so many mesmerizing monsoon destinations in India, that you’d be spoilt for choices. I have been to most of them during monsoon while some of them are still on my bucket list.
Monsoon strikes first in peninsular India in the second half of May and retreats in September. It begins in south India and then penetrates to the north. South India also receives post-monsoon rainfall in November. It is a beautiful season to take a break. The summer vacations are over and most tourist places are less crowded than usual. However, this season has its own challenges when it comes to traveling in India. Many hill stations in the Himalayas are prone to landslides causing trains and flights being delayed. Some roads are in horrible condition, not at all suitable for driving. Big crowded cities like Kolkata and Mumbai look rather dirty during rains, dirtier than usual. Here in Bangalore, the drains overflow into the roads every year during the rains. So I would not fancy going to any of these big cities during monsoon. While the Himalayas look beautiful, it may not always be feasible because of the terrain.
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The Western Ghats of India offer the best views and easy accessibility during monsoon. The roads are in good condition and the hills are not prone to landslides like the Himalayas. Last year there was a tragic flood in Kerala, the worst in thirty years. That, however, was an exception and it is not likely to happen every year. The other places that are pleasant to visit during monsoon are the areas which receive relatively less rainfall and tend to remain too hot or too cold in the rest of the year. These are the places like those in the interiors of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh. For the sea-lovers, the Konkan coastline has its own allure. So without much ado let’s get going with my favorite picks for the monsoon. So without delay let’s get to this countdown of my favorite monsoon destinations in India.
Maharashtra has some beautiful hill stations in the west which attract people from Pune and Mumbai during the monsoon. I visited Malshej Ghats back in 2011 when I was living in Mumbai. The pictures captured in my mobile camera that time don’t do justice to the raw natural beauty of Malshej ghats. The Pimpalgaon dam, Malshej falls, Harishchandragad fort and Ajoba hill fort are the best places to visit in Malshej ghats. Harishchandragad fort is a 6th-century monument located 1424 km above sea level. You can also find old Hindu temples and Buddhist caves in the trekking trail to the fort. There are other forts as well like Jivdhan Chavand fort and the 17th-century Shivneri fort located 40 km away from Malshej ghats.
Trivia: Many scenes of the Bollywood movie Raavan was shot in Malshej Ghats
How to reach?
Located mid-way between Mumbai and Pune (125 km from both places), you can reach by car or by MTDC buses.
Other similar Maharashtrian hill stations with more developed tourism sector are Lonavla, Khandala, Panchgani, and Mahabaleshwar. Hill forts, waterfalls and lakes are the top attractions of these hill stations. They are amazing weekend getaways from Pune and Mumbai.
While the whole of Western Ghats is a dreamland for monsoon lovers, Kaas Plateau (aka Kaas Patthar) needs a special mention. Located in the Satara district of Maharashtra it is one of the 39 spots recognized as UNESCO natural heritage sites in the Western Ghats. The plateau is filled with colorful wildflowers in August and September making it look like a carpet. The Kaas lake which is a natural source of irrigation adds another dimension to its beauty.
Situated at an altitude of 1200 meters above sea level, Kaas Pathar attracts tourists mainly in the monsoon. To preserve the biodiversity the number of tourists is restricted to 3000 per day – a welcome move I’d say. When in Satara you can also explore the waterfalls and Kanher dam.
How to Reach?
It is located 30km from Satara city and 300 km away from Mumbai. You can take a bus or train from Mumbai to Satara and then hire a cab.
Where to stay?
Book your hotels in Satara.
While winter is the most preferred time to visit Rajasthan, some places are great to be explored during monsoon. Rajasthan is known for the Thar desert, the land of little rainfall. Mount Abu is an exception though. It is the only hill station in Rajasthan and received frequent light showers from July to September. The lakes are brimful at this time so get ready for boating in the Nanni Lake.
The rugged Aravalli range is covered in green during the monsoon which allures trekkers. You need a moderate level of expertise and good trekking shoes for such terrain as it tends to get slippery. the mount Abu wildlife sanctuary is a great place to visit in the monsoon for the lush greenery. Other places of interest are the Dilwara temple and Guru Shikhar, the highest point of Abu Dhabi.
How to reach?
Mount Abu has located 763 km from Delhi and 757 km from Mumbai. These are the closest cities with big international airports in India. You can take a flight to Mount Abu from Mumbai, or take the BDTS Jodhpur Express train.
Discover a new face of Goa during the monsoon. Goa is not just about the beach parties and adventure sports. It’s also home to the beautiful western ghats, the Dudhsagar falls and UNESCO heritage monuments of Panjim. If you are tired of the winter crowd of Goa and not ready to burn yourself in the summer, go to Goa in monsoon.
Cruise in the Mandovi river, enjoy the breathtaking views from the lofty forts, explore the Latin quarters and the Portuguese churches in old Panjim. If you visit June when the monsoon has just begun you can visit the Dudhsagar falls which will look a lot more beautiful than what you see in the picture below. You can also visit the fairytale hamlet called Castle Rock and take a tour of the spice plantations of Goa.
How to reach?
Located mid-way between Bangalore and Mumbai, you can either fly to the Vasco Da Gama airport or enjoy a road trip from either of these cities. The road from Bangalore to Goa is in super condition. Read more about the driving directions from Bangalore and places to visit in our free Goa itinerary.
Where to stay? Crown Goa
Coorg is a huge district in Karnataka. To explore it reasonably you will need at least four full days or 2-3 weekend trips like I did. The stunning landscape and large green fields earn Coorg the nickname “Scotland of South India”. I have not visited Scotland so I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the nickname, but I can vouch for its mesmerizing beauty in the monsoon. Monsoon is when you can indulge in white-water rafting in the Barapole river.
Trek to Tadiadmol peak and see the cloud beneath your feet. Mandalpatti trek, Raja’s seat, Talacauvery (the source of river Cauvery) and numerous waterfalls are the best places to explore in Coorg in monsoon. You can also visit the Dubare elephant camp near Barapole, the Tibetian settlement in Bylakuppe and the wildlife reserve at Nagarhole national park.
How to reach? Take an overnight KSRTC bus from Bangalore to Madikeri or Virajpet.
Agumbe rain forest is still quite off-the-radar for the travel-freak youth of Bangalore. Often referred to as the Cherrapunjee of the south, Agumbe rain forest is resplendent in the monsoon. An ecological hotspot Agumbe has a rainforest research station for wildlife enthusiasts. They do some rare studies out here of ants, frogs and King Cobra. You can also volunteer with them if you want. The Agumbe lake is a true beauty during the rains. You can also visit the Kundadri hilltop and comfortably sit under the shade until the cloud clears and the panorama unfolds. The Agumbe sunset point is a popular trekking destination but you can drive there as well.
How to reach? It is about 354 km from Bangalore and calls for an awesome road trip.
Where to stay? Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Manipal
Other honorable mentions in the western ghats of Karnataka are coffee-lands of Chikmagalur and Sakleshpur. Both of them are closer to Bangalore (within 250 km radius) and are best known for coffee plantations.
Hampi is one of my favorite places in India. A historic town with hippie vibes, Hampi had been selected as one of the top destinations by travel bloggers of the world for a reason. The ruins of the most prosperous city in the 15th century is like an open history book in 3-D. Check out this Hampi itinerary for 3 days which include road-trip from and to Bangalore.
If you have an extra day you can also do a day trip to Badami, Pattadakal, and Aihole. Hampi and Pattadakal are UNESCO heritage sites. This entire region receives less rainfall compared to the western coastal Karnataka and even Bangalore. It’s very hot in summer, so monsoon is an amazing time to visit.
How to reach? Hampi is 300 km from Bangalore and an amazing road trip is on the cards if you decide to visit.
Kodaikanal is the most beautiful hill station in Tamil Nadu but it is overcrowded during summer. By the time monsoon begins in early June, the school vacations are over and the crowd retreats. This is the best time to enjoy the waterfalls, lakes, pine forests and forests of Kodaikanal. Not to mention the bright-colored blossoms that adorn the Coaker’s walk, Bryant Park and Chettiar Park in the town.
How to reach: Kodaikanal is from 515 km from Chennai and 463 km from Bangalore. You can reach by overnight buses or by self-drive.
Related: Kodaikanal travel guide and itinerary.
Other options in Tamil Nadu are Ooty and Coonoor, both of which are less than 300 km from Bangalore. Riding the Niligiris toy train from Ooty to Coonoor in monsoon would be a memorable experience. Valparai is another monsoon destination still on my bucket-list.
Chinnakanal, located very close to Munnar is often included as a part of Munnar itinerary. Compared to the tourist places of Munnar, I find Chinnakanal more beautiful and serene in all seasons. Munnar in monsoon is what dreams are made of. My favorite things to do in monsoon will be the Kolukkumalai jeep safari, walking in the Eravikulam national park and simply driving in the winding roads. Uncountable waterfalls spring in the valley during the monsoon in Munnar.
Munnar, Chinnakanal and Thekkady are gems of the Idukki district of Kerala. I’d recommend at least 4 full days to explore Idukki –3 days in Munnar and Chinnakanal, and 1 day in Thekkady. If I can pick only one place to explore during the whole monsoon, Idukki would be it. Choose boating at the Anayirangal lake instead of the more touristy Matupetty dam.
If you don’t have a lot of time, then visit the wonderful Wayanad, located only 275 km from Bangalore. Another quaint hill station you can visit in Kerala during the monsoon is Vagamon.
How to reach?
Located only 130 km from Kochi and 530 km from Bangalore, this is a great long weekend destination in India. If you don’t live in Bangalore you should take a flight to Kochi and then hire a cab from there.
Where to Stay?
Kasargod is famous for the Bekal fort, which is the largest medieval fort in Kerala. The fort overlooks the Arabian Sea and definitely a must-visit place with family. You can also enjoy a great time on the rocky beach of Bekal. Among the sandy beaches of Kasargod, the Kappil beach surrounded by coconut groves is the most famous. Another highlight of Bekal other than the fort is Valiyaparmba. It is a small island surrounded with trees and the sparkling blue backwaters. The serene beauty of the place makes it ideal for couples and families.
There are many other forts and beaches that you can explore in monsoon in Kasargod.
How to reach?
Kasargod is 380 km from Bangalore and is accessible through many government buses. The road trip through the western ghats is enchanting in itself.
Where to stay?
Read more about our trip to Kasargod and Bekal Fort.
Other amazing places to visit in Kerala during monsoon are Wayanad and Vagamon.
Monsoon is the best time to visit Gandikota – the grand canyon of India. The towering 14th-century fortress is in ruins, but it is still great to explore the structures inside. It is named after the gorge formed by the Pennar river cutting through the Erramala hills. Andhra Pradesh is very hot most of the year, and the river usually dries up in summer and winter. Monsoon is when the light showers will give you relief from the scorching heat and the river will be at its fullest. Kayaking, trekking, ziplining are some of the adventure activities for the adrenaline junkies here. You can also explore the Belum caves, 60 km away from Gandikota, the Kurnool caves and Lepakshi temple at the border of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
How to reach: You can reach by overnight bus from Bangalore or drive down. It is less than 400 km away from the other two big cities Chennai and Hyderabad.
Related: Trip to Gandikota
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Aurangabad is a historic district of Maharashtra famous for the Ajanta Ellora caves, Bibi ka Maqbara and Shivaji museum. The rock-cut sculptures of the Ajanta Ellora caves are on the top of my India bucket-list. It is truly a man-made wonder that is also listed among the UNESCO heritage site. The Kailasa temple is the most famous of all the monuments in Ajanta Ellora caves. Aurangabad is also infamous for its hot summers, so rains definitely bring some relief to its burning soil. Monsoon is a great time to visit this beautiful district. The Aurangabad city in itself houses Bibi ka Maqbara, an Islamic shrine built in the model of Taj Mahal, the Shivani Museum and Panchkakki.
Trivia: There are 30 rock-cut monuments in Ajanta and Ellora caves which were built between 100 B.C. to 480 A.D.
Orchha is another historic city of India located in central India. Most famous for the old temples and the massive Orchha fort, this sleepy town is a perfect family getaway during the monsoon. The otherwise dry surroundings are painted in green during the monsoon. If you want to experience the beauty of monsoon without worrying about safety issues like in the hills or seas, Orchha is the place for you. The breathtaking temples, that reflect on the brimming river is a sight to behold. So far I have only seen the beauty of Orchha in monsoon in pictures. This is something which I want to experience in real very soon.
How to reach?
The nearest international airport in Delhi. It’s located about 500 k from Delhi. You can take an overnight train or just drive down to Orchha.
Mandu is another romantic destination in Madhya Pradesh in monsoon.
Meghalaya in monsoon is not for the weak of heart. Most tourists will stay away from the state that has the two wettest places of the earth – Cherrapunji and Mawlinong. Monsoon starts in June and continues till October in Meghalaya. But the monsoon lovers will choose this place over everything else to experience walking in the clouds literally. Shillong is the beautiful capital of Meghalaya. I visited IIM Shillong once for an inter-college competition in late September. The beauty was captivating. Crystal clear lakes and waterfalls adorn the mountainous landscape of Shillong. The good thing is that you will find the lakes and the photo-spots devoid of the crowd in the monsoon. Barapani lake, Elephant falls and the air force museum is some of the places you can explore.
How to reach?
Kolkata is the nearest international airport. Reach Kolkata, take a train from Sealdah station to Guwahati and then hire a taxi to Shillong. There are many Jeep services available from Guwahati station to take you to Shillong. Guwahati has a domestic airport with reasonably good connectivity.
Tourists beat the odds of heavy rainfall to visit the valley of flowers in the monsoon every year. This is the flowering season and the rainfalls add the extra color to this paradise on earth. It’s less crowded than the peak summer season which allows offbeat travel seekers to enjoy nature in serenity. This is a UNESCO world heritage site for a reason and another place on my bucket list. Nahar wildlife sanctuary and Naina Devi Himalayan bird sanctuary are two other places of interest in monsoon nearby.
How to reach?
You can reach the valley of flowers by bus from Delhi. If you are not able to trek there are helicopter services available too.
Having lived in Bangalore for five years now monsoon is something I look forward to. The roads stink, the traffic is horror but I look forward to the lakes, the waterfalls, and the road trips. However, there are some things you must keep in mind for a safe monsoon travel season.
How did you like my list? Do you love to travel in monsoon? If yes, what is your favorite part about traveling in monsoon and your favorite destination? If no, why not pick a place off the list and go for a trip now. Share your thoughts with me in the comments. Hope you enjoyed the article. Please share this article if you like it. Subscribe to get weekly updates directly in your mailbox and follow our social handles below, at the end of the article. Wish you a happy rainy season.
I lived in India over 40 years ago and I still remember the smell of the first rains and the fun of splashing on our flat roof that flooded easily! Thanks for the memories. So many unusual and lovely places to go!
What a great list of places to visit during monsoon season. I enjoy traveling off-season which means I’m often rained out. As you mentioned, waterfalls can be spectacular at this time of year. The flowers blooming and the greenery just make it worthwhile. Gia has been on my list of places to visit for a while but I’m not a fan of crowds. This may be the perfect solution.
Such a comprehensive list of places to visit during monsoon! I think it’s a great idea to travel in the off-season to take advantage of fewer crowds, and Valley of the Flowers is a testament to that fact. (The nearby bird and wildlife sanctuaries would be something I would enjoy, too.) Valiyaparmba also sounds wonderful and serene. You’ve presented so many interesting places to choose from when you know which are ideal during monsoon. I wouldn’t have guessed that would be the case. Thanks for opening my eyes to these travel opportunities in India. 🙂
That’s an impressive list. I’ve only been to 3 in your list.
Its high time I plan a trip to Gandikota. Its been in my wishlist like forever.
Kaas Plateau looks like its straight out of France’s lavender fields! Just spectacular!
This is an excellent list of recommendations! A friend and I were just discussing Monsoon season in India and wondering about the best destinations- so this is perfect, and I will share it with her! I love history and it sounds like there are several historic city options. I hope to visit soon.
I am loving this list. Perfectly timed just at beginning of monsoons in India.We were recently thinking of planning something for a weekend trip and seems like you have amazing options from Mumbai. Malshej is beautiful and Goa is much cheaper during monsoons. But I am loving your blurb on Kaas Plateau. It looks so pretty and unique.
Monsoons in India are truly magical as there is greenery and misty clouds everywhere, especially on hill stations. I love Indian monsoon and Malsej Ghat of Maharashtra was my favorite monsoon outing when I was living in Mumbai. Even I loved the monsoon of Munnar with clouds floating on green tea garden. Thanks for sharing a beautiful write-up on the most beautiful season of India.
Ah, I wish I would find your post earlier – so I wouldn’t need to experience 47 degrees while visiting Delhi in June! I have never been to India in real monsoon season but I would love to do it one day – I hear its nice without tourist crowds! And another thing I like about travelling offseason is usually better prices of accommodation! Thanks for sharing, will definitely save it for my next India trip!
Monsoon is about to hit Delhi and I’m glad I came across this post while planning for my next monsoon trip. Thanks for listing down these beautiful places. Out of this list, I’ve seen the Goa monsoon and I must say it’s incredible – the greenery, the high tide, the rains and less touristy places. I’ll be choosing Valley of Flowers and Hampi from the list for this monsoon. Hampi has been on my radar for so long and I think monsoon is the perfect time to tick it off the list.
I love that opening line, it might be a bit cringe-worthy but it is also so pure and sweet! I’ve never been to India in monsoon time but my mum has painted pictures of her memories of it from her childhood, I can not quite imagine the experience. I would not have thought about travelling in the time but your list of where is better to go and where to avoid, is super useful. The flowers of Kaas Plateau particularly appeal.
I was talking to a colleague just a few days ago about my plans to visit India. She told me that monsoon was her favourite time to visit India because it reminded her of her school days. She enjoyed going to school drenched. She is from Kochi and was raving about Munnar actually. Reading about it on your post makes me want to see the place even more.
These destinations look absolutely incredible! A little rain doesn’t scare me off 🙂 I often find the places come to life with precipitation and love watching the landscapes transform.
This post is so helpful! It’s great to know what places are the best to visit during India’s monsoon season. Everywhere on this list looks so beautiful! I still haven’t been to India but I will definitely keep this post in mind whenever I do get there.
Super useful post, I have to say! I could never imagine visiting India in these months, so I’m amazed by all the places where it is actually fine to go and with still nice weather. I’m looking forward to my first trip to India even more now!
Such a fantastic list of places! I only visited India once, mainly the north, but I’d love to come back! All the pictures are amazing, but Karnataka looks particularly beautiful! PS Love the entry line 🙂
Loved this post and the photos in it are lovely! India is definitely on my bucket list x
Oh teenage you was truly a wordsmith in the making! You’re right that the rains can be romantic or a total hassle when you’re travelling.
What a great post with so many amazing places to visit in India. I wouldn’t have thought of visiting during monsoon season, but having no tourists, slowing down and the relief from the heat are all good reasons to visit this magnificent country. I’m quite intrigued by Goa and Kerala. I hope to visit the country soon. Great pictures, especially the wildflowers.
You have done a really well written post, thank you for the good read. I know how much time and effort it takes 🙂
I have always wanted to go to India, but I cant really pinpoint where I would want to go, so a roadtrip would be good fit for me. But seeing as I’m a 40 year old without a drivers license, I would have to go by public transportations.
I googled some images of Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand, thats where I would start my trip.
I have ALWAYS wanted to go to India. What a great, comprehensive list for monsoon season! Thank you!
wow! thanks dear for help to find-out places to visit in monsoon. I was thinking about family trip yesterday.
amazing article. such a good picture I love this Indian monsoon good job
Very interesting and very much explored article. It’s really helpful for travellers. Thanks, I really like to visit here. It would be ideal if you stay up with the latest updates like this. Much obliged to you for sharing.
This is helpful article thanks for sharing.