“I’m traveling to India in July and August, where can I go to avoid the monsoon rains?
Unfortunately for sun seekers, the time when most people in the UK, Europe and America have their big Summer holidays coincides with the monsoon season in India. I get many emails from readers asking if they should come to Goa in July, wondering what it will be like to travel in India during monsoon or asking for the best places to travel in India in July and August to avoid the monsoon rains.
So I thought it was about time I wrote a few posts about traveling to India in monsoon to answer some of these frequently asked questions…..
So should you travel India during the monsoon?
While monsoon may put alot of people off traveling to India there are advantages to traveling during the monsoon in India, for example:
- It’s off peak season so attractions are less crowded
- Prices are lower
- The rains are an important respite from the summer heat and wash the dust away leaving the countryside gorgeously, glistening and green
Some people would say monsoon is one of the most beautiful times to visit Goa or travel India, however monsoon travel in India is not without it’s challenges!
Whilst some people, including the locals, enjoy the rainy season (if that’s you check out the best destinations to visit during monsoon in India) , in my honest opinion I don’t think monsoon is the best time to travel around India – perhaps this is just because I’m British and I see so much rain that I really don’t want to fly half way around the world for more rain and for it to potentially disrupt my travel plans.
But as I live in Goa I’ve experienced the rains a few times now. There are pros and cons to visiting Goa during the monsoon, come if you like it quiet, luscious and green but you need to be aware that most of the beach shacks, markets and parties are not open during the rainy season, the sea can be too rough for swimming and there are alot of long power cuts so stay somewhere with power back up. The 5 star resorts in Goa often have discounted monsoon deals!
When’s the best time to visit India?
The best time to visit (the majority of) India is in the winter months, between November and March when the weather is sunny, dry and cool (by Indian standards) perfect to enjoy sightseeing. April and May start to get pretty hot ( a good time to escape up to the mountains) and in June the monsoon starts to arrive in South India.
The monsoon usually arrives in Kerala around 1st June and sweeps its way up the country. The rains should hit Goa about a week later, then Mumbai and usually reach Delhi by the start of July. July and August are the wettest months in India and the monsoon tends to get less heavy the longer it goes on.
What’s the monsoon in India like?
The arrival of monsoon is a relief and the first thunderstorms are really dramatic. It can be quite fun to watch the locals welcome to start of the monsoon as children run around and everyone dances in the rain because its such a refreshing change from the heat, humidity and dust of summer. Goa even has a really fun festival called Sao Joao at the end of June where the locals jump into wells!
However, unlike the monsoon in Southeast Asia where the rains usually pour heavily for an hour or two in the afternoon or overnight and needn’t disrupt your sightseeing plans too much, the monsoon in India is heavier and unpredictable.
It can rain for days without stopping, especially at the start of monsoon, which can cause dangerous flash flooding and the thunderstorms mean long power cuts which can disrupt your travel and sight seeing plans, but still, it doesn’t rain non stop for 3 months and when the sun comes out it’s so beautiful, fresh and green.
July and August are the rainiest months in India but India is a huge and diverse country and not everywhere receives the same amount of rain – Mumbai, Kolkata (Calcutta) and the North East see the most rain but other places see less. Tamil Nadu, on the east side of India, gets most of it’s rain later in the year while some places in India, like Ladakh, don’t receive the monsoon rains
The Best Places to Travel in India in July and August to Avoid the Monsoon
There are alot of beautiful places to visit in India to celebrate the coming of the rains, but, if you really can’t visit India any other time and don’t like the rain here’s some ideas for where can you go to avoid the worst of the monsoon:
If you’re traveling to India in late June or early July then head up to the mountains of Himachal Pradesh and visit Dharamshala, Manali, Parvati Valley, Shimla as they receive the monsoon last and are a great escape from the heat but half of India will also be heading to the mountains and popular hill stations can get crowded.
Kashmir is also an option. Just don’t go to the North East India and the eastern Himalaya region, around Sikkim and Meghalaya as these are some of the wettest places, not just India, but in the world!
August is the perfect time to travel to the surreal and beautiful town of Leh and region of Ladakh. It’s a remote and out of this world beautiful place in the Tibetan plateau of the Himalayas with an alpine desert, dry barren landscape and interesting, historic Buddhist monasteries.
Popular Leh has a very short tourist season as it’s only accessible by road from late June till early October and the absolute best time to travel to Ladakh is July and August. Ladakh escapes the monsoon rains entirely but you won’t be the only one there – this is peak season and it can get pretty crowded but its a unique place to visit and well worth it! Check out My Ladakh Itinerary and Travel Tips
Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh also offers a similar high-altitude desert landscape but with fewer visitors.
The desert state of Rajasthan with it’s rich heritage, flamboyant palaces and imposing forts doesn’t see as much rain as some areas of India and traveling here in monsoon time is an opportunity to see some of India’s most enchanting sights without the crowds and stay at some fine heritage properties, even palaces, for less.
While the rains are lashing Kerala and Goa, on the South East coast Tamil Nadu, a state of interesting ancient temples and culture, sees less rainfall in July and August as it gets most of its rain from the northeast monsoon in October to December.
The Deccan Plateau on the eastern side of the Western Ghats mountain range also sees less rain and is home to interesting sights like the Ellora and Ajantha Caves, the cities of Hyderabad and Bangalore and also in Karnataka popular Hampi plus some more off beat historical places like Badami, Bidar and Bijapur.
The Valley of Flowers, in Uttarakhand is a stunning high-altitude Himalayan valley that most of the year is covered in snow but has over 300 different varieties of flowers that comes alive with the monsoon rain in a spectacular show of colour. It’ll be rainy but it will be worth it!
So there’s my suggestions for the best places to travel in India in July and August to avoid the monsoon rains! Hope it helps!
FAQ – Should I come to Goa during monsoon – Hippie in Heels
9 Reasons to visit India in monsoon – CNN Travel
Have you travelled to India during the rainy season?
Do you have any more suggestions for the best places to travel in India in July and August to avoid the monsoon?
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