Monsoon in India is a lifetime experience as the exotic locations leave you spellbound with its beauty. The hills and mountains get carpeted with lush greenery, the lakes overflow with sparkling water, the waterfalls become heavenly to make you fall in love with a place India that is ‘Incredible’.
India becomes more and more beautiful during the monsoon season. It is a rhapsody of bliss, beauty and relief from the scorching summer and is meant to be savoured. So when the monsoon finally arrives, it becomes a grand spectacle.
We help you to plan a quick escape to some of the beautiful places in India to enjoy this glorious rainy season. These are the places where you can truly sense the cool gentle winds, light raindrops and that unforgettable smell of earth.
Agra is one of the best places to visit around Delhi in monsoon. Visit the architectural splendour, splash through the local bazaars in a cycle rickshaw and enjoy local delicacies/snacks with a hot cup of tea. Carry an umbrella or a raincoat and don’t let the rain dampen your spirit of travel.
Taj Mahal : This is one of the greatest tourist attractions in the world and it looks even more magnificent, specially if it’s cloudy. During monsoon, the Taj is all washed up and sparkling, the rains cut down the haze and the atmosphere is pollution free, greenery abounds.
The changing shades of the sky from deep blue to varied shades of grey with great formations of the cumulus clouds, offer a great opportunity to click some excellent pictures. Also, the river Yamuna, on whose banks the Taj stands, get some water flowing during the monsoon.
Taj Mahal’s beautiful calligraphy and inlay work exemplifies the intricacies of Mughal architecture at its best. The walls are intricately patterned with inlaid semi-precious stones, done so perfectly that it looks like they have been painted on. The gardens are beautiful and opulent.
The monument remains open at night for five times a month, on the full moon night and two days before and after that day, except Friday and on month of Ramadan.
There are many other attractions like the sprawling Agra Fort, which was once the centre-hold of the Mughal capital; Shah Jahan’s architectural brilliance reflected in the towering Jama Masjid and Akbar’s ancient city, Fatehpur Sikri, to name a few.
The sweet tale : Emperor Shah Jahan is said to have inspired the making of petha, a famous sweet of Agra, during the construction of the Taj. When the 21,000 workers were slaving away for 22 years to create his masterpiece, he heard that they were about to revolt against their daily food – dal-roti. A holy man, Pir Naqshabandi, is believed to have plucked the recipe out of the air while in a trance and suggested this to the Emperor. Since then, the petha was immortalised.
Shop and Eat : Agra is famous for semi-precious stones, jewellery and handicrafts with inlay marble work. Rugs, carpets and leather goods are other items found aplenty. Home to Mughlai cuisine, one can enjoy kebabs, naans and rotis baked in tandoors and dum biryanis, fragrant with saffron and laden with dry fruits.
GoAir Connect: Agra is 180 km (approx.) from Delhi. GoAir operates direct flights to Delhi from Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Patna, Mumbai, Pune, Goa and Lucknow among others.
Mandu: A tale of love
Perched on the hills of Vindhya, Mandu is the best place to visit during monsoon. Even Mughal emperor Jehangir was an admirer of the place who said, “I know of no other place that is so pleasant in climate and with such attractive scenery as Mandu in the rainy season.”
As you enjoy the fragrance of earth, cool breeze and fluttering birds, the love ballads of Poet Prince Baz Bahadur and his love, the beautiful Rani Roopmati of Mandu, come alive. Mandu was the perfect setting for the doomed lovers Baz Bahadur, last Sultan of Malwa, and Roopmati, a singer. The romance ended in tragedy when Mughals captured Mandu but their beautiful tale of love is still alive in this ruined town.
Mandu, the city of architectural ruins takes on a rustic tint during monsoon and is a pleasure to explore the domes and minarets. The fortified city is dotted with countless bodies of water that fill up in the rains. It has many pavilions for watching the rains fall over hills. It has been said that you can hear the lyrical voice of Roopmati floating over the lakes surrounding her Pavilion. It also houses the tomb of Malwa’s second king Hoshang Singh – the country’s first marble monument.
Things to do : You can walk, rent a bicycle, drive your car or get a car with driver to visit the Tombs and palaces that are spread around an area of 15 km (approx). Hoshang Shah’s tomb is considered as India’s first marble structure, and also one of the most refined examples of Afghan architecture. It served as a template for the construction of Taj Mahal.
Jahaz Mahal, the Hindola Mahal and Roopmati’s Pavilion are some of the other attractions to visit.
GoAir Connect: Ahmedabad is the nearest airport to reach Mandu which is 289 km (approx). GoAir operates daily flights to Ahmedabad from Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune, and easy connections from Chennai, Goa, Patna, etc.
Udaipur: A royal showcase of Monsoon
It has been said that Rajasthan’s royalty was smitten by the monsoon. It seems to be evident from the many special palaces they built to highlight the splendour of the weather. Udaipur truly reflects its glorious past of the maharajas with umpteen number of palaces and bazaars and beautiful lakes. Populerly known as the ‘Venice of the East’, the city comes alive during monsoon with a hint of greenery around its pristine lakes and palaces to give breathtaking views.
Udaipur’s beauty only gets enhanced during the monsoon. This charming city is sprinkled with historic structures all around exuding regal grandeur.
Jag Mandir: Walk in the footsteps of royalty at the Jag Mandir (Taj Lake Palace) in Udaipur, Rajasthan. Built in the 17th century, it has now been converted into a hotel. Feel royal and know the glorious past of the Indian rajas and maharajas, and enjoy the alluring beauty of Pichola lake. It is a beautiful three-storied palace, located on the southern island of Lake Pichola and made in yellow sandstone and marble. It has beautiful gardens adorned with roses, palm trees, jasmine flowers, frangipani trees and bougainvillea which look mesmerising during monsoon.
Monsoon Palace (Sajjan Garh): Situated 1,100 ft high above the surrounding and 3,100 ft from sea level, it offers a panoramic view of the city and its lakes. Surrounded by Aravilli Hills, the palace was built in 1884 by Maharana Sajjan Singh to keep a track of the movement of monsoon clouds. After the light showers, the bird’s-eye views from the Monsoon Palace are remarkable – highlighting the lush greenery and enchanting lakes.
Shilpgram: A rural arts and crafts complex, it is located 3 km from Udaipur. It showcases rural life and traditions from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Goa. Here artisans sell their wares and perform folk dances.
Udaipur, the city of lakes, has been regarded as one of the most romantic destinations in India. This is also a historically significant place as it remained the capital of Mewar for several centuries.
GoAir Connect: Udaipur is 254 km from Ahmedabad. GoAir operates daily flights to Ahmedabad from Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune, and easy connections from Goa and Ranchi, among others.
Written by Neelam Singh