The monsoons are a great time to head out and explore nature’s beauty. The landscapes are a dozen shades of green, and the weather, too, is a welcome change from the oppressive heat of summer. While treks aren’t associated with monsoons, they are gaining immense popularity.
Here are some treks you absolutely must do in the monsoons, to see a different side to nature.
Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand
A corner of the Bhyundar Valley in the Garhwal Himalayas in Uttarakhand comes alive for a few weeks during the rains for a few weeks in July and August, and blooms with hundreds of varieties of Himalayan flora. It is popularly called “Valley of Flowers” and was designated as Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO in 1998. This is a popular trekking trail especially in the monsoons. The nearby Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib, the highest Sikh temple in the world, is also a popular destination with trekkers and pilgrims alike.
Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
This cold desert mountain valley is located in the Himalayas in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Every year for six months, the Himalayan valleys of Kinnaur and Spiti emerge from a thick cloak of snow to reveal a different secret world to man. Rivers start to flow with unseen fury, the earth turns a swathe of colour, mountains unlock secret doorways and local inhabitants come out in celebration of itself. At dizzying heights of 2600m to 4200m, the experience is almost surreal. This is your journey of discovery in the lesser known Himalayas. The Chandra tal (lake) is a big draw in this region and boasts of some of the best landscapes in the region.
With a name that literally translates to ‘the abode of clouds’ it couldn’t be far off from monsoon. The stunning valleys, waterfalls and lakes are at their full flow during the monsoons. Places like Mawsynram and Cherrapunji are known around the world as two of the wettest places, and it is a whole different feeling in chasing the monsoon amidst the lush greenery. High mountain plateaus, dense forests, narrow valleys with gushing rivers, mighty waterfalls and an intricate network of limestone caves. This amazing variance in landscape also makes it the ideal playground for the adventurous.
This state has a lot of opportunities for monsoon treks. Two of them are: Duke’s Nose, Khandala and Umberkhind Trek, Lonavala.
| Read all about trekking in Maharashtra in the rains
As one drives up to Khandala, Duke's Nose is hard to miss. It is the prominent rock structure which looms to the right--the very top of this is our destination. Legend has it that it was named after the Duke of Wellington whose nose allegedly resembled the shape of the cliff. The trek starts at Kurvande village, after which the walk becomes slightly steeper stepping over craggy rocks to scale the top. This is a beautiful trek especially when accompanied by wind and rain.
The Lonavala trek is steeped in history. It is in these ravines or "khind" that Shivaji Maharaj defeated the Uzbek general Kartalab Khan by trapping, ambushing and attacking his armies from all sides in the dense forests. The trek starts from Umberkhind, where we cross meadows and streams and climb to reach the plateau below Duke's Nose. A trek combines all kinds of terrain and makes the most of the rains!
The writer is founder, Countryside Adventure Holidays