As I sit hunched over typing this out, monsoon is finally reaching the shores of Kerala. One week too late but be that as it may, monsoons are an eternal source of joy for a rain driven economy like India. The fresh, earthen fragrance of the first rain, the blooms, the rain-washed trees, the swelling water bodies – the visions these torrential rains bring are none less lyrical. Most of all, as the season has long since wound up Kerala is free from the tourists that haunt its length and breadth during the rains. If you are an intrepid traveler, you will be rewarded for braving the rains. Few tips if you are a monsoon chaser.
1) Drive to Munnar
The quintessential tea country of God’s own country is awash with rains. The rain-kissed tea bushes are further embraced by rain carrying clouds. You will also witness rain-fed waterfalls along the way. Take a break at lakescapes when the rain stops briefly and enjoy photo-ops or unpack your picnic lunch.
2) Rent a houseboat
They are not expecting tourists during rains so houseboats will be available for you at a bargain. Hire one but only after you negotiate. While on it, listen to the pitter-patter of rains on the roof while savoring delicious fish cooked by the staff. Or simply sit out and watch the rains fall and splutter into the backwaters.
3) Walk along Kochi’s marine drive
Look out for such aquamarine evenings during the monsoons while walking along Kochi’s marine drive. Carry an umbrella to avoid getting soaked in the rain but if that’s your thing, who am I to suggest otherwise?
4) Take a drive
Agreed Kerala’s city (even small town) roads are not in great condition and monsoons can only spell further doom to the already troubled roads. But get a little far away from the over-used roads and you will see what getting away means. You could even spot viewpoints and when the rains let up, enjoy the view.
5) Watch the monsoon at the comfort of home(stay)/hotel
If getting out of your accommodation proves tiresome, just relax at home over a hot cup of chai watching the monsoons. Or curl up with a book, plug yourself to you ipod. If you are keen enough, you can hear diverse birdcalls once the rains take a brief break. They come out to hunt for insects as soon as the rain is over.
Do you have plans to be in monsoon country this season? Leave a comment and let me know.
All pictures courtesy: Philip Mathew.