The Indian monsoon season is all about walking through the little drizzles, getting a wee bit wet and enjoying some warm tea and some hot jalebis. The greenery and the freshness of mud add to the serenity of the season. As diverse as India is, monsoons are equally diverse with different colours sprouting up at every corner. While the monsoons may be arriving a little late to the north, the south has already taken out their umbrellas and boots to welcome the rains! But no matter what, it is always better to prepare beforehand to enjoy the rains to their best. Trekking through the bright green patches dotted with flowers and cascading streams from high hills with the dark shaded sky is the best way to appreciate the season.
So if you are feeling a little adventurous this monsoon, here are the best trails you conquer to quench the wanderlust in you:
1. The Valley of Flowers Trek, Uttarakhand
Amidst the snowy Himalayan ranges of Uttarakhand lies the little fairy tale floral land known as the Valley of Flowers. This natural rare botanical park is a trail of pinks, whites and yellows flower patches all the way from Govind Ghat to Hemakund Sahib Gurudwara. Frozen during the colder months, the pristine clear lake waters will surprise you in the monsoon season. The average trek duration is 6 days, with an approximate trekking distance of 38 kilometres and a maximum altitude of 15,696 feet. The best time to trek through this is the between the months of July and September. This trek is definitely perfect for a beginner starting with treks through the Himalayas and ranges from easy to moderately difficult. Don’t forget to search for the little Blue Poppies along the way!
2. Pin Parvati Trek, Himachal Pradesh
This trek is not for the faint-hearted but for seasoned trekkers only. It is a challenging trek given the high altitude, the crossroads and heavy snow for most of the year but you are in for a wonderful treat on this one. The most beautiful part of the trek is the Spiti Valley. The name Pin Parvati Pass is derived after the linking of Parvati valley in Kullu and Pin valley in Spiti. Pin valley Trek is an ultimate stunning trek with spectacular sceneries and views of 11 days long. Icy glacier crest, thick alpine forests, grazing land, glistening lakes and lush greenery, it is a treat to the eyes and to your adrenaline! The famous Kheerganga trek too is a part of this pass. Further to Kheerganga, lies Thakurkuan where trekkers can enjoy the wildlife sanctuary of Kanawar. It is the perfect nature’s gift in the monsoons. The average trek duration is 11 days, with an approximate trekking distance of 110 kilometres and a maximum altitude of 17,500 feet.
3. Kudremukh, Karnataka
Kudremukh in the Chikmanglur district, Karnataka translates to “face of a horse”, getting its peculiar name from the fact that it itself resembles the face of a horse. Take in the natural essence of the UNESCO sighted World Heritage site of the Western Ghats as you walk up the trail. The monsoon season enhances the beauty of the cascading waterfalls and streams along the way making it even more picturesque than it already is. As you reach the top, get ready to catch your breath at the thick green forest below you and the whistles of little birds around. The chill of the breeze across your face makes you feel the essence of the monsoon season. This moderate level trail is just one day hike with just 22 kilometres to and fro. A weekend getaway to Kudremukh is a perfect idea for this monsoon, so pack your bags and get going.
4. Paithalmala, Kerala
Situated in the border of Kerala and Karnataka in the Kannur district, Paithalmala is a breathtaking hill station perfect for a weekend getaway trek. The high slopes are covered with a blanket of dense forests and the clouds sensually touch your lips as you go higher and higher. In the monsoons, you can smell rain-soaked mud and leaves along the wet rocks of the gushing waterfalls. Oh but do make sure to cover your feet with salt water or tea mixed water while crossing the damp forests, they do have a lot of leeches during the monsoons. If you are lucky you might even get to see a few elephants with their babies along the way! A night under the moonlit sky is the highlight of every trekker that comes here. Be sure to carry a tent with you, you wouldn’t want to get soaked if it rained and because of its height you can even touch and feel the effect of mist here. If this doesn’t make for a perfect monsoon weekend getaway then I don’t know what does.
5. Kodachadri, Karnataka
With clouds under you and view of the sun setting in the far of Arabian sea, Kodachadri should be your next on the list for a little monsoon getaway trek! Located amidst the Western Ghats, Kodachadri holds some of the compact forests and waterfalls which are given the status of World Heritage sites by the UNESCO. Furthermore, the peak provides the ultimate view of the painted backdrop to Mookambika temple and Mookambika national park. Under the cloud hovered sky also lies the Shivappanaika’s fort in Nagra. Do not forget to carry your camping gears along and light a bonfire next to the Hidlumane waterfalls. It is just a day’s trip of 14 kilometres trek to these ranges which are 1,343 above sea level. Visitors can also opt for a 2-day guided trip with food and accommodation provided in the camps.
6. Harishchandragad, Maharashtra
Another one of the very famous of Maharashtra, located in Ahmednagar, Harishchandragad is one of the natural favourites for both history lovers and experienced trekkers. It’s thick green ranges, streaming waterfalls and prominent caves have been attracting trekkers for years! Of course, there are multiple trails to reach to the fort but the most challenging one is the Nalichi Vaat with its near 80-degree climb with steep rock patches and hence, the favourite of all experienced climbers. Let’s not forget the famous 1423 concave fall of Konkan Kada and the temple of Harishchandreshwar.The peak is just the cherry on the top, the journey in itself is the sweetness of this beautiful hike. The average trek duration is 9 hours and a maximum altitude of 4668 feet. Apart from the treacherous rocky path and slippery valley, this is the best adrenaline rush with the most satisfying of the landscapes and historical content you will have this monsoon!
7. Kashmir Great Lakes trek, Jammu and Kashmir
Kashmir as it is rightly called “Switzerland of India” is a heaven made by two damsel cities of Jammu and Kashmir. There are never enough valleys to trek through over here with the high mountain ranges and pristine emerald lakes. There are a very few treks in the country which cover so many lakes and offer such a visual delight. The monsoon helps make the meadows greener and the route is lined with delightfully blooming flowers. However, the limelight is stolen by the great seven alpine emerald lakes, the likes of which you won’t find in any other trek but here. Then there are the stretches of pines and maple trees along the way coupled with snow-capped mountains. The average trek is a duration is 8 days with an elevation altitude of 13,750 feet. The drizzles of monsoon with white snow, a fusion you won’t find anywhere else! It is a trek through paradise.
8. Sinhagad Trek, Pune
About 25 kilometers away from the main Pune city lies the fort of Sinhagad, one of the oldest forts in the Sahyadri mountain ranges laying at a height of 4,320 feet There are two entrances for the fort, the northeast entrance called as the Puna Darwaza and the southeast entrance, Kalyan Darwaza. The fort has been known to have lived through many mighty battles of the Maratha empire since the 17th century. Along with the historical fort, the surrounding offers serene lush green panoramas with white clouds hovering over it. You can take the trail in the morning with the greens surrounding you or at a night trek through the sweet smell of monsoon. Do not forget to enjoy some naturally sweet water from Dev Taaki situated a little ahead. This one day trek is a must have if you are searching for a way to start your monsoon treks.
9. Dudhsagar Trek, Goa
Honestly, much of natural beauty gets hidden in the shadows of the exotic beaches and clubs of Goa. However, this monsoon make a trip to one of India’s tallest waterfalls, Dudhsagar Falls or the “Sea of Milk”. The only way to get to this trail is through Indian Railway lines along the lines of gorgeously mesmerising flora and fauna while the water falls from a height of 310 metres. It is a two days trek starting at the Dudhsagar station which is about 570 kilometres from Bangalore. It’s about an 11-kilometer-long trek that takes 6-7 hours to complete. So if you think the little rains have ruined the white spread of sand along the beaches then ahead on for this trek, which is easy to make and one of the most beautiful hikes to make in down south.
10. Tadiyandamol, Karnataka
The never ending natural beauties of the Coorg district brings to you its highest peak, Tadiyandamol. Also rightly called “The Broad Hill”, this trek goes on to the altitude of 5,735 feet above sea level. The peak is surrounded by the greenery of the vast Shola forests stretches along with the blues of the water bodies that run through it. Furthermore, it is also of historic importance known to have been built by Dodda Veerarajendra in 1792 to protect his army from the British. A trek of 14 kilometers to and fro, the trail takes you through the heavy clouds of the monsoon covering the high ranges and the fresh blooming flowers. The amount of visible butterflies is an additional delight to the eyes. This trek provides you with a much needed getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city’s traffic for two days. Serenity at your feet people!
Nishani Motte trek, Karnataka
This range is a much lesser known one among the Talacauvery ranges in Coorg. If Kashmir is the “Switzerland of india” then this is your Scotland at your own desi land. Starting at the Bhagamandala forest range then treading through the paddy fields the trek takes you through the famous Coorg coffee estates into the wildlife sanctuary. Thus finally leads to the hilltop giving you the most mesmerising view of the au naturale. The trail towards the end adds a spice of adventure to your hike as the steep gets almost vertical. The monsoon season although fills the path with mud and leeches, the scenic landscape it offers is worth the effort. The peace and calm of the place are restored as the crowd is particularly less in this area. The view of the river Cauvery and bordering mountains of Karnataka and Kerela will definitely leave you speechless. With an approximate distance of 15 kilometres to and fro, this hidden gem awaits to be discovered.
The monsoons aren’t going to wait for you to plan the trips hence enjoy the rains while you can and try some of these breathtaking treks. It need not necessarily always be a hot cup of coffee and a book in your homes, try something new this time. No time to be lazy because you got the nature calling out to you.
Do not forget to share your favourite monsoon trek experiences in the comment section!
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