Amble through Amboli
A multitude of torrents flow down Amboli’s hillside. Ignoring the pelting rain, people frolic in the waterfalls. Just be careful so that you don’t slip and fall. In between, munch on corn cobs or down a glass of hot milky tea with pakoras at the temporary shacks that spring up near the waterfalls. If you are interested in wildlife, especially frogs and toads, including the Malabar Gliding Frog, you must be here during the monsoon. Amboli is 390km from Pune and 64km from Belgam. http://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/.
Cheer the racing boats of Kerala
As the traditional boats speed through the canals and backwaters of Kerala, the spectators cheer wildly. The pouring rain cannot dampen the spectators’ enthusiasm and you will find some even jump into the water in their excitement. Get ready to get wet or carry protective gear. The Nehru Trophy Boat Race of Alappuzha tops the chart. https://www.keralatourism.org/.
Cruise along Hooghly’s historical banks
Set sail from Kolkata in a luxury boat to see the architectural remains of the European colonies (the Danes, the Dutch, the French, the Portuguese and the English) that once thrived along the banks of the Hooghly River. A typical tour lasts for four to five days and take place during the monsoon when the level of the water rises. http://www.assambengalnavigation.com/; http://vivadacruises.com/; http://www.wbtourism.gov.in/.
Escape to the high Himalayas
The higher regions of the Himalayas such as Ladakh and Lahaul and Spiti are the perfect place to escape the torrential downpour. http://www.jktourism.org/; http://hptdc.nic.in/.
Go on a date with the flowers
The Valley of Flowers in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand and the Kas Plateau of Maharastra are two of the best places to see a profusion of colourful flowers that only bloom for a brief period during the monsoon. The colour scheme changes almost every week as one set of species gives way to another. It rains very heavily so remember to carry protective gear for your camera. For Kas, you have to get advance permit (http://www.kas.ind.in/). http://uttarakhandtourism.gov.in/; http://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/.
Pull the chariots in Puri
The seaside town of Puri in Odisha holds its annual Rathayatra Festival during the monsoon. See the huge wooden idols being carried from the temple to be seated in their respective chariots which are then pulled by the sea of pilgrims for nearly two kilometres so that Lord Jagannath and his siblings can visit their aunt’s house, the Gundicha Temple. In 2015, the festival is of special significance as this is the year of Nabakalebar (when the old deities are buried and new ones made; an event that usually takes places at a gap of 12 to 18 years). http://www.orissatourism.gov.in/.
Reach out to the forts of Maharashtra
Maharashtra has many forts dating back to Chhatrapati Shivaji’s time. Many of the forts are located on the hills and can be approached through trails that range from easy to difficult. The monsoon rains cover the brown hills with a mantle of green and springs merrily flow across the hill sides. Even night treks are possible. If you are searching for a group to join, check http://mumbaihikers.com/. http://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/.
Set sail in a Kerala houseboat
What can be more exciting than watching the monsoon play out its fury from the safe confines of a luxury houseboat across Kerala’s backwaters! The Punnamada Lake is one of the best places to take a ride. Kerala Tourism and private tour operators offer special packages which take care of accommodation, meals and transport. https://www.keralatourism.org/.
Take a train ride to Araku valley
Ride the Kottavalsa-Kirandul Express train from Visakhapatnam to travel to Araku valley of Andhra Pradesh. The journey itself is half the fun as train crosses nearly 80 bridges, chugs through nearly 50 tunnels, goes beneath waterfalls, trundles across hills and valleys, and stops at quaint stations. Extremely popular with tourists, ensure you book your seat in advance. Andhra Pradesh Tourism operates package tours to Araku, which includes one way train journey. Remember, goods trains have the right of passage on this route; so do not fret if your train is made to wait for a goods train to pass. http://www.aptdc.gov.in/vizag-tourpackages.html.
Goa can be visited round the year. But during monsoon, as the vegetation turns a deep green, the rain washes the grime off the monuments, the springs break into mighty torrents and the seaside turns lonely, you can enjoy Goa on a quieter note. http://www.goatourism.gov.in/.