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Travel during Monsoon Season - Himalayan Footsteps

Have you ever thought about going to India in summer, but been reluctant because of the monsoon season? Fear not – for staying in Scotland could be even wetter than the wettest monsoon city in India, as last weekend showed. The Scotsman reports: “The Inverness area was worst hit, with 50mm of rain overnight into yesterday. Dundee saw similar levels of rainfall, while Edinburgh suffered 32mm and Glasgow 20mm. In Mumbai, where it is the middle of monsoon season, there was 24mm of rain yesterday.” Inspired by these news we want to give some information about what monsoon in India means for travelling:

India is a very large country, and not all parts receive heavy monsoon rains. The tropical south receives most of the seasonal rainfalls. Early in June they start making their way up the western coast of India from Kerala and reach Delhi around end of June. By mid-July most of the country is covered in rain, lasting up to October in some parts. In Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka a second monsoon in November and December is even stronger than the first in summer.

Usually during the monsoon there will be heavy rainfalls for at least a couple of hours every day, but these are followed by pleasant sunshine. Sometimes floods make travel difficult or impossible and most areas will be quite muddy – but there are also up-sides to the monsoon: cool temperatures, seeing nature come to live, few other travellers and low prices for air fares and hotels. Here are some good destinations to visit during the monsoon:

A great destination during the monsoon is Ladakh in the very north of India – the roads there don’t clear from snow before June and it is sheltered from the rains by the Himalayan ranges. In Uttarakhand you can find the Valley of Flowers, that comes to life in a colourful explosion of flowers with the monsoon rains. In Goa you can attend many monsoon festivals and relax in luxurious hotels at a fraction of the regular price while the rain is pouring down, and as soon as the sun is out you can explore the spectacular scenery without crowds of other tourists. South India also boasts many ayurvedic resorts, in which you can get pampered – no time is better for this than the dust-free and cool monsoon season! Rajasthan is very suitable for monsoon travel as well, as it receives comparatively little rain.

The eastern Himalayan regions around Darjeeling and Shillong should be avoided during monsoon, as the clouds pick up additional moisture over the Bay of Bengal before hitting there.

Have you ever travelled to a country during off-season – may it be monsoon or winter or any other “adverse” weather conditions? What were your experiences?