After the sweltering heat of the summer months, when the first rains lash the earth, nature is awash with joy. The perfect time to enjoy long bike rides to sipping hot tea in the evening along with a plateful of fried goodies, monsoon is one season everyone looks forward to. This issue, we list just the right places to head to during the rains, the season of love and rejuvenation.
The skies darken, thunder calls and streaks of lightening flash across the swelling clouds, the season of monsoon is here and always welcome. With every drizzle and deluge, the rising heat of summer is quickly forgotten. This is a period when one gets drenched in the rain while enjoying the gusty wind; when you go back to being a kid again, jumping into muddy puddles and fashioning paper boats and letting them float amok in swirling eddies. From bright umbrellas to the croak of frogs, rolling mists in the hills to brimming lakes, India during the rains is a feast for sore eyes.
The perfect spot to slow down, relax and soak in the lush beauty of the coastal city and watch the waves dance.
From spotless beach promenades to pristine white churches, vibrant streetscape with bright pop of colours to quaint cafes along the sidewalk, Puducherry has the erstwhile French appeal and Tamil infusion. And when the rains come hither, the region undergoes a fascinating makeover. Peals of thunder, dramatic storms and the heady smell of wet earth makes you breathe in the fresh air more deeply, touching your very soul.
Puducherry offers the perfect destination to kick back and relax. Rid yourself of the heat and clamour of the cities, the stress and drudgery of every day life. When the temperatures drop and a feisty breeze kicks in, and the clouds threaten to let loose, rent a scooter and take off along the narrow lanes of Pondy.
When in Puducherry, missing out on beach fun is close to sacrilege. A crowd favourite is the Promenade Beach, also known as Rocky Beach locally. This 1.2 km stretch has a number of heritage sites along it, and colourful pushcarts offer quick snacks. Serenity Beach, as the name suggest, is ideal for those in search of tranquility. Shimmering blue waters, sandy stretches, clusters of coconut trees and the perfect beach to go swimming – this beach is truly a slice of heaven. Paradise Beach that lies south of the city, is nothing short of stunning. A little on the outskirts of the city, this beach is sans teaming crowds, has soothing shades of blue till the eye can see, and backwaters when the river meets the sea. This beach is bound to take your breath away.
Still retaining much of the colonial charm, Puducherry was a French colony till 1954. With a number of war memorials scattered across the city, Puducherry is a good place to delve into the history of the region. French influence is clearly seen in the art and architecture of the statues and monuments, and even in the elegant design and layout of the Botanical Garden. Situated south of New Bus Stand, it has wonderfully pruned trees, gravel paths and fountains. A man-made lake situated 10 km south of the city is Ousteri Lake, also called Osudu Lake, has mudflats and marsh, with a large catchment of freshwater in the area. Over 40 species of migratory birds reside here. Birders can come across painted storks, tailor birds, golden orioles, spotted owlets and more. Boats are available for hire.
Puducherry is indeed a place to fall in love, especially when you can munch on freshly baked quiches, crepes or steaks, enjoy classic French dishes while staring at the sea. A tourist favourite is the chalky-white Le Cafe in White Town that serves everything from cheesecakes to apple tarts, south Indian organic coffees to burgers and continental specialities.
Did you know?
Auroville, a small township in the Villuppuram district, is another major attraction for tourists. It was founded by Aurobindo Ghose, philosopher, yogi, poet, and his spiritual collaborator, Mirra Alfassa in 1968. People of various nationalities are part of the society here, working to realise human unity.
Trujet connect: Trujet offers direct service to Chennai from Cuddapah and Hyderabad. Puducherry is approximately 155 km from Chennai.
Watch the drama in the skies, the dance of the trees and nature in all her glory.
An important port city of India, Mangaluru is a beautiful destination to head to during monsoon. Ideally located between the Arabian Sea to its west and the Western Ghats to its east, the monsoon here is wonderfully torrential, replete with dancing fronds of the coconut and palm trees and the blissful breeze. Earlier known as Mangalore, this city is one of the cleanest in India.
A Beach Affair
When in Mangaluru, a trip to the beach is inevitable. With a number of beaches in the vicinity, travellers are spoilt for choice. At a distance of 10 km from the city, Panambur Beach is not just clean and safe, but is exceedingly picturesque. Imagine a strip of light sandy beach lined with a thick strip of deep green coconut trees and a lighthouse. A rocky beach that lies to the south of the city is Someshwara Beach which has Somanath Temple to its north. Ullal Beach is another beach located towards the south of the city, and a fisherman’s lane here attracts a number of curious onlookers.
The Historical Connect
Mangaluru had a number of rulers, but the British took over the region after defeating Tipu Sultan. Portuguese influence too lingers here as Vasco da Gama, the historical Portuguese explorer, landed at St Mary’s Islands which is near present-day Mangaluru. Almost 4 km from city centre in Boloor is Sultan Battery, the ruins of a watchtower built by Tipu Sultan. Built in the 18th century, it was meant to keep a close eye on not just the coastline, but the neighbouring Gurupura River. The view is magnificent. The sweeping view of the Arabian Sea, from the top of the tower, against the backdrop of dark skies is sublime.
The cuisine of Mangaluru is a collective term given to the many cuisines of the local communities. Seafood is a prime delicacy here. Fish curry is popular, and the residents enjoy a variety of fish such as pomfret, mackerel, etc. Coconut and curry leaves, along with ginger, chilli and garlic, are important. Rice is a staple, and Neer dosa counts as a must try. Made of rice batter, the ‘water dosa’ is light and fluffy, and is eaten with curry, sambar or chutney. Another speciality of the region is Pathrode, a unique delicacy where colocasia leaves are rolled with a spicy rice batter and steamed, and then sliced.
Did you know? Mangaluru airport in Bajpe is known to have a dangerous tabletop runway. Such a runway is located on a plateau with steep edges, and the pilot must approach the runway with extreme precision and caution.
Trujet connect: Trujet offers direct services to Bengaluru from Hyderabad. Mangaluru is approx., 352 km from Bengaluru.
Witness Goa during the rains, a spectacle so profound, it is bound to touch your soul with its ethereal beauty.
The best part about heading to Goa during the rains is not just the opportunity to bask in the wondrous beauty of this beach paradise, but to truly revel in the many perks that come with this destination during off-season. When the rivers are in spate, waterfalls are gushing, roads take a muddy turn and the distant rumble of the dark skies are indication enough of the downpour that is soon to follow. The hills take on a misty veil and the beach enlivens with the rains. Enjoy Goa sans the swelling crowd, enjoy a sense of serenity by listening to the patter of the rain and prices that are more amenable to the pocket.
Rain @ Beach
This time when in Goa, give the usual hangouts a skip. Opt for Palolem, a beach village in Canacona in south Goa. Mainly a fishing village, Palolem is the perfect spot to unwind, and forget the cacaphony of the cities. Almost 1.6 km long, the crescent shaped strip of sandy beach skirted with rows of coconut trees and small shacks, is exceedingly promising. Travellers can simply choose from small huts to tree houses, resorts and hotels, accommodation is varied. A haven for beach bums, travellers can head to the local restaurants, dip their feet in the cool water or even spend the day in the room staring at the landscape as it is smattered by rain – it doesn’t matter.
To Do List
If the weather gods deem fortunate, one can even take a quick trip in a fishing boat or watch dolphins do cartwheels. It’s always an experience to watch the fisherman haul in their catch early in the morning. Crabs, lobsters, squid, prawns and shrimps, the bounty of the sea is staggering. Monkey Island, a secluded island located a little way off, has an ethereal natural beauty. It is easily accessible during low tide, and the beach has a number of nature trails and involves hopping over rocks that can prove quite a challenge for the adventure seekers. Scuba diving and kayaking are also available, but would largely depend on the weather conditions.
Another benefit about vacationing in this state is that a number of attractions are at an easy distance from each other. Beach lovers can head to the neighbouring beaches of Agonda and Colva.
Almost 10 km from Palolem is Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary. Nestled at the border of Karnataka, the sanctuary is lush with deciduous trees and so dense, that just streaks of light can easily slip through the layered canopy here. Established in 1969, one can spot a variety of species of monkeys, flying squirrel, Malabar Trogon, woodpeckers, etc. At a little over two and a half hours, one can easily take a trip to the famed Dudhsagar Falls. This natural wonder literally means a sea of milk, especially due to the extent of froth and mist that surrounds it. One of India’s highest waterfalls, the waters of Dudhsagar come crashing from a height of over approx., 1,000 ft. This is situated in the Western Ghats area of Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and the Mollem National Park.
Trujet connect: Trujet offers direct flight services to Goa from Hyderabad, and easy connections from Nagpur, Chennai, Tirupati, etc.