There’s a certain kind of excitement to exploring a new place, as it pours cats and dogs. Especially when the clouds loom and the rolls of thunder intimidate with the crashing waves – quite mysterious, no?

From lake towns and beach getaways to mountain trails and tea gardens, pack your hoodie, boots and sense of adventure for these monsoon destinations.

Goa

Sure the shacks are shut and the waters too dangerous to swim in, but inland Goa is a gem in the monsoon. For starters, the whole world and their grandfathers won’t be there. That’s reason enough! Dudhsagar Falls, a four-tiered beauty of the Mandovi in all its glory, is worth the trek up to Sonaulim. Or hit up the wildlife trail at one of the four sanctuaries the state boasts of {Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, The Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary, Mollem National Park and Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary}.

Another treasure is the Savoi Spice Plantation to check out, for it’s 100 acres worth of organic plants. Who needs the beach, right? Oh! Did we mention most star hotels go at a 50 per cent discount?

Closest airport: Dabolim, Goa

Munnar, Kerala

Photo by: Bimal KC

Photo source: Bimal KC

Beautiful all the time, the rains only make Munnar more beautiful. Oh, the rolling mist on tea gardens that gradually turn into pretty little rain drops as the clouds burst – it’s really quite a dream. You can’t really do much because it’s quite a consistent downpour, but if quiet time is what you’re after, head here.

For something different, there’s also the added bonus of being there for Onam for the colour, fanfare and festivities. Other ideal places in Kerala are Kollam, Kochi and Alleppey.

Closest airport: Cochin {110 kms}

Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu

Source: Wikipedia

Photo source: Wikipedia

The princess of hill stations in the South {Ooty is the ruling monarch, you see}, Kodaikanal is really underrated. Nothing quite beats the image of the sun glistening on the rain-soaked trees with the mountains, fresh as can be, in the background. If you’re happy to wear a trench coat and brave the rain, it’s definitely worth it. Just walk in the drizzle, stop for some fresh baked goods to be washed down by Masala Chai, along the lake.

Or, head off to Dolphin’s Nose or Pillars Rock with a flask of tea/whiskey and enjoy the magnificent views.

Closest airport: Madurai {120 kms}

Coorg, Karnataka

Photo by: Kalidas Pavithran

Photo source: Kalidas Pavithran

Coffee plantations, gushing waterfalls, and a few monuments in shimmering glory is what you’ll get in Coorg during the monsoon. We love doing nothing but drinking copious amount of coffee by day, and similar amounts of whisky {as one does in the Scotland of India} at night. But do check out the Nalknad Palace – said to the be the home of the last king of the Kodavas. Abbey and Urupu Falls are wonderful too.

But for a bit of a thrill, the trek down to the Chelavara Falls {near Virajpet} is well worth the excitement. Also, river rafting and kayaking is best when the rivers are full so get cracking on your adventure sports.

Closest airport: Mysore {120 kms}

Andamans

Photo by: Venkatesh K

Photo source: Venkatesh K

You might not get to sunbathe much, but just walking along the shores {we’re thinking Radhanagar beach}, a light drizzle adding to the romantic ambience and solitude is what you’d go to the islands for. Port Blair will have its share of sightseeing {the Cellular Jail and museums} but Ross and Viper islands take on a mysterious and wonderful avatar in the rains. Havelock goes back to being a sleepy town minus the tourist buzz, and just walking the streets seems more magical.

You can still scuba dive, although if the sea is supremely choppy, you’ll need to stick to the closer dive sites. Sunsets are brilliant in the monsoon, with the sun peeping out of dramatic clouds. Instagram away!

Closest airport: Port Blair, Andaman Islands

Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu

Photo by: Gopinath Sivanesan

Photo source: Gopinath Sivanesan

There’s just something about being at the absolute tip of the country. Add to that the confluence of the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, and you’re going to be furiously posting to your many social media accounts. This is the first place the monsoons hit, and it’s eerie yet enthralling to literally watch the clouds roll in over the mighty waters before pouring down on land. Plus, hotels and restaurants offer all-time cheap tariffs and rates, which is always a good thing!

Closest airport: Trivandrum International Airport {67 kms}

Shillong, Meghalaya

Photo by: Binoy

Photo source: Binoy

The capital of Meghalaya, which means Abode of Clouds anyway, is the place to be if you like romancing the rains. Lush green terrain as far as the eyes can see {specifically the Khasi and Jayanti hills}, and whether it’s cloudy or the sun is teasing you, almost every photo you take is worthy of a picture frame. We recommend you put Elephant Falls – made up of three waterfalls, and Barapani lake on your to-do list. Up the adrenalin and trek a part of the age-old and famous David Scott Trail {originally a trail from Assam to Bangladesh} that starts at Mawphlang and Lad Mawphlang.

Closest airport: Umroi Airport {30 kms}

Pondicherry

Usually hot and too balmy to enjoy the wonderful architecture and laid-back vibes, this seaside town is on point for a romantic getaway in the rains. Apart from the museums and the French War Memorial, just meandering through the yellow-hued houses, some traditionally French and others strikingly Tamil, is a fine option. Then, just pick one of the myriad seafront cafes or bars and kick back with beverage of choice, ideally wine. Here’s what is essential to do when in Pondi, come rain or shine.

Closest airport: Chennai {160 kms}

Orchha, Madhya Pradesh

Photo by: Doron

Photo source: Doron

Be it bobbing {OK, not really, we mean haring} down the gushing Betwa river in full force, or wandering the streets with the sweet smell of custard apple in the air, you’ll feel like you’re stuck inside a game of Temple Run. Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary, better known as a bird park, will be at its prime with greenery and full lakes attracting birds such a quails, minivets and even the mighty Collared Scops Owl.

Jahangir Mahal looks more regal during the rains, and the riverside cenotaphs gain a certain air of mystery. Up for some river rafting, monsoon is the best time to catch some grade three plus rapids. Buckle up!

Closest airport: Gwalior {124 kms}

Kutch, Gujarat

Hit up Kutch in the monsoon for a surreal trip. Usually, endless miles of white salt make up the desert, and that’s beautiful. But imagine that, plus most of it submerged under water, with two kinds of surfaces reflecting light, and boom, you have an ace image. Stick around for the full moon as they have most wonderful walks along the Rann. Camel rides are an option, too.

Closest airport: Bhuj {71 kms}

Alibaug, Maharashtra

Photo by: Rakesh Ayilliath

Photo source: Rakesh Ayilliath

You have two options here: Wear your hiking boots and hit the trails, or sit in your patio and simply relax. If you don’t mind the drizzle, walks along the beaches make for some great R&R. But we suggest you wander through the streets, lined with temples and churches.

Just 30 minutes away is Chaul, a charming town with beautiful architecture in the form of Portuguese ruins {try getting an image with lightening in the background}, temples and synagogues too.

Closest airport: Mumbai {95 kms}

Featured photo: Masrur Ashraf