If you always shied away from monsoons to plan your travel fearing that unpredictable rains would disrupt a good holiday, it is time to rethink and re-evaluate your plans. Monsoon tourism is an emerging concept and is getting increasingly popular in India with an increase in the number of domestic travelers wanting to visit offbeat destinations during monsoons to enjoy nature’s beauty which abounds during the season and also to take advantage of the off-season prices. With a lot of Indian destinations and hill stations coming alive with lush greenery that is extremely soothing to the eyes and calming for the mind, the aroma of fresh mud, the cool breeze, the possibility of sighting some of the best monsoon birds, enjoying bathing in the waterfalls or just the thought of relaxing by the window of your luxurious hotel room while sipping some freshly brewed coffee alongside mouthwatering hot pakodas make monsoons an interesting time for travel and throw open a whole new world of experiences.
We present to you some unique yet fulfilling experiences of monsoon travel that cannot be found during any other time of the year along with some handpicked popular monsoon destinations along the west coast for a perfect rainy holiday.

1. Fun @ the Waterfalls – Come monsoon, and it’s time for all water lovers to check out some amazing waterfalls in India especially the ones along the west coast. Most of these waterfalls are in full flow during monsoons with a great increase in the velocity of the flowing waters. Stopping by a waterfall is a romantic sight as one can spend hours just staring at the gushing milky white waters and admire the beauty of nature. For children, young adults and water enthusiasts, this is the best time to get drenched and bathe under the falling waters. Swimming, splashing and just enjoying the fresh waters as they collect in a pool is a great monsoon experience. Some of the waterfalls also offer water sport activities like waterfall rappelling which is a must try for adventure lovers. Also, the nature trail to the waterfalls itself can be a unique experience as you walk through the lush greens and enjoy the monsoon breeze and misty skies. Some popular waterfalls along the west coast are – Jog falls, Karnataka, Bhivpuri falls, Karjat (also good for waterfall rappelling), Dudhsagar falls, Goa, Kune waterfalls, Lonavala, Athirappally falls, Thrishur, Kerala, Meenmutty Falls, Kerala, Lingmala waterfalls, Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra etc.
2. Monsoon Treks – Trekking is a favourite adventure activity adored by nature lovers worldwide. Being blessed with heavy rains, several hill stations on the Indian west coast come alive with lush greens paving way for some wonderful monsoon trekking experiences. Monsoon treks can range from easy and enjoyable trails through nature to challenging mountain climbing involving climbing down some very slippery hill routes. However, sweating it out while enjoying the natural showers that cool you down is a truly unforgettable experience. Not to mention, the brief stops for a cup of tea and the warm hospitality of the local villagers who welcome tourists and trekkers is a heartwarming experience.  Also, the picturesque views from the mountain top, the misty skies that seem to bend down to kiss your forehead, the first streaks of the morning sun through thick clouds and the amazingly cool monsoon breeze, make monsoon trekking a very attractive travel experience.  Maharashtra offers some amazing monsoon trek options. Here are some handpicked ones for you to explore – Nane Ghat, Karjat, Lohagad fort, Lonavala, Kalsubai Peak trek, Igatpuri, Rajmachi Fort trek, Lonavala, Ratangad Trek, Bhandardara, Harishchandra Trek, Malshej Ghat  Ahmednagar.

 3. Natural Rain Dance – Getting drenched in the monsoon rains is an awesome experience. Visiting any of the destinations with moderate to heavy rainfall during monsoons will give you the opportunity to let your hair down and get drenched in the cool showers. It is a welcome change after the hot summers experienced in most metro cities of India. Some popular hill stations that guarantee this experience include Ooty, Matheran, Mahabalshwar, Mt. Abu, Munnar, Kodaikanal, Panchgini etc. Enjoy the picturesque views of nature along with the cooling monsoon showers and treat yourself to a cup of hot steaming masala tea and some freshly fried pakodas thereafter.
4. Just relax and do nothing – A monsoon holiday is just the perfect option if you choose to just relax after a tiring routine and enjoy the scenes and sounds of nature. You could check in to some of the scenic resorts at the best monsoon destinations and enjoy a couple of days just relaxing by the window of your room or in the lobby, sipping a cup of hot freshly brewed coffee or masala tea alongside fried pakodas. The possibility of sighting some rare monsoon birds makes this a great choice if you are looking to rejuvenate flagging energies. You could also opt for some outdoor oil massages at the ayurveda centers in Kerala – Munnar, Thekkady, Kumarakom and Goa. Whether you choose the comfort of your cozy room or decide to relax by the beach, monsoon is the perfect time for a peaceful holiday where you can enjoy ‘doing nothing’.
5. Delight in the Backwaters – A houseboat ride in the awesome backwaters of Kerala is always a serenely calming experience which gets enhanced fourfold during the monsoons. The lush greenery all around the lake, the numerous birds, the fresh monsoon scent and water drops dripping off the leaves, make it a delightful experience that cannot be forgotten. Plan a visit to the backwaters of Kumarakom, Munnar, Ashtamudi or Allepey in Kerala for an ultimate relaxing monsoon holiday. 
Best Monsoon Destinations along the West Coast –
1. Khandala – Lonavala (Maharashtra) – Blessed with abundant green lands, waterfalls and beautiful hillocks, this hill station near Mumbai is a must visit during monsoon. The entire place is lush green with misty skies and fresh cool breeze. Lonavala is a perfect weekend getaway from both, Mumbai and Pune and the drive by road can be equally exciting as one traverses through the spiraling ghats, catching glimpses of several waterfalls on the way. Lonavala is famous for its local sweet delicacy made of peanuts, dry fruits and jaggery (known as chikki) and chocolate fudge, both of which are perfect monsoon treats. For the adventure lovers, several trekking options like the Rajmachi fort trek, Lohagad trek are available that can make you fall in love with monsoon trekking.  

2. Matheran – Maharashtra – If you love the scent of mud during monsoons, Matheran is the place to be. This gorgeous and muddy hill station near Mumbai and Pune becomes a haven of peace and natural beauty during monsoons. The most enjoyable experience is in getting to the destination itself by opting for a toy train ride from Neral (which is close to Mumbai). The toy train journey is mesmerizingly beautiful as one gets to see the awe – inspiring sights as the train slowly moves through the narrow gauge railway track. You could choose to go for nature walks in Matheran or just relax by the pool in your resort. Also, there are several waterfalls and springs that allow you to take a dip and splash water around while also enjoying the natural rain showers. All in all it is a perfect place to spend a couple of quiet days during monsoon and experience a tryst with Nature like never before.
3. Goa - Goa, the most popular beach destination on the west coast of India is more than just a party place. Though monsoons are off – season in Goa, it is a great time to visit if you want to enjoy some real solitude and nature in this beautiful territory and also take good advantage of the low hotel/resort rates. While the activity in most North Goa beaches is almost zero during monsoons, the Baga, Calanguate and Candolim beaches remain open and active throughout the year. Also, during monsoons, it can be a rewarding experience to take a bike ride along the green countryside of Goa and interact with some of the friendly locals. Visiting Goa in the monsoons can be a unique experience that is sure to rejuvenate and refresh you.
4. Wayanad, Kerala – Wayanad in Kerala is an ideal destination that has seen an increasing number of monsoon travelers in the last couple of years. With heavy rain showers, stormy winds, the merry sounds of the rains battering the rocks, the lush green plantations and awesome weather, Wayanad is the place to experience a perfect Indian monsoon to your heart’s content. Some major attractions during monsoons include – Pookode Lake, Banasura Sagar Dam, Meenmutty Falls, Eddakal caves, Karapuzha River and much more.
5. Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu – Kodaikanal is one of the most visited hill stations in Tamil Nadu. During the monsoon months, the place is very welcoming with its pleasant climate and the clouds playing hide and seek to give you an experience of the pleasant sun and misty skies. This is also a time when the region has active waterfalls which add to the fun of a monsoon holiday. Major tourist attractions in Kodaikanal include the Berijam lake, Silver cascade waterfalls, Coakers walk, Chattiar park, Kurinji Andavar temple and many others.

6. Coorg, Karnataka - Surrounded by the imposing mountains in Karnataka with a perennial mist, Coorg is one of the most loved hill stations. With its exotic scenery, lush greenery, coffee and spice plantations, forest covers and scope for adventure sports, it is an ideal monsoon holiday destination for every kind of traveller. Some of the must see places in Coorg would include:
• The Abbey & Iruppu Waterfalls
• The Nagarhole National Park
• Raja’s seat
• Bylakuppe - the second biggest tibetan settlement in India
• Coffee & Spice plantations
• A trek through the verdant trails of Brahmagiri peak or Mandalpatti is definitely recommended for all nature enthusiasts.

 7. Chikhaldara, Maharashtra - Situated on the mountain ranges between Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, Chikhaldara with its deep mystic valleys, gorgeous waterfalls, and a bovine lake provides the perfect setting to unwind. And if you are looking for some adventure then the Melghat Wildlife Reserve that borders Chikhaldara on three sides is the place to spot tigers, leopards, barking deers, wild boars and a variety of other animals.
The Melghat Wildlife Project is also home to seven hundred species of plants making it a natural treasure trove. Visiting the Gavilgad fort and camping by the lake Sipna on the outskirts of Chikhaldara would be an ideal finish to your trip.
So pack your bags this July – August and get ready for an ideal monsoon holiday in the Western Ghats.