The state of Kerala is the first to welcome the monsoon season in India. Kerala has two rainy seasons – Southwest Monsoon (June to September) and Northeast Monsoon (mid-October to mid-November). What’s unique about the monsoon season in Kerala is that the state does not experience rain continuously. Instead, heavy rains or slight drizzles occur for a few hours and bright sunshine follows. On rare occasions, however, it can rain for a few days but the sun comes out right after. This rhythmic pattern of cool rain and warm sunshine makes the monsoon season in Kerala a magical one.
During the monsoon season, Kerala takes on an unbelievably beautiful charm. The first rain washes all the dirt and dust away making the place shimmer with lush greenery. It is during the monsoon season that you can actually unwind yourself while admiring the graceful charm of the land. Waterfalls are more majestic than ever, premium accommodations offer jaw-dropping discounts and backwaters cruises are as romantic as they can possibly be. The environment becomes ideal for rejuvenating and effective ayurvedic therapies. And since the place is not crowded at all, travelers can have the best of all experiences.
Here’s a list of things you must definitely do in Kerala if you happen to visit during the monsoon season.
Take a houseboat cruise
The backwaters of Kerala look most beautiful during the monsoon season. The serene waters become crystal clear, the coconut and palm groves are greener than ever and the views all over are simply majestic. In this ideal climatic condition, a houseboat cruise offers an unforgettable experience. It makes you feel cosy, comfortable and most importantly, content. That is because the weather is cool, the sound of rain is pleasant and the views, of course, are out of this world. Houseboats are safe during monsoon. Even if the rain or wind gets heavy, the houseboat is steered to smaller canals. So you can still enjoy the backwater scenes without have to worry about the strong winds.
Enjoy a canoe ride
Although a canoe ride can be enjoyed throughout the year, the most adventurous ones can be experienced only during the monsoon. A canoe allows you to explore the deeper sections of the backwaters. These deeper areas display quaint and rustic beauty during the rains. The gratifying earthy scent of rain falling on dry soil, the sparkling greenery in the villages on the shore, fresh flora and the beautiful homes of the villagers make for a truly refreshing environment. It can be somewhat challenging to row a canoe during the rain but that’s what make the journey adventurous. Travelers trying the canoe ride must know at least a bit of swimming.
Note: Avoid open-top canoes.
Rejuvenate yourself with an ayurvedic therapy
Experts on Ayurveda claim that any ayurvedic treatment has most effect on the human body during the monsoon. This period of the year is called “Karkidakam”, a month with great medical importance in ancient times. People would have medicinal food once a day for the whole month, believing that this will keep them healthy the whole year. And during monsoon, there’s no dust in the atmosphere and skin pores open wide thus allowing ayurvedic therapies to have a greater impact. Kerala offers premium ayurvedic therapies. They help to detoxify, boost immunity, alleviate health concerns, shed weight or simply rejuvenate the body.
Stay at a backwater resort
The state of Kerala has many backwaters resorts in the regions of Alleppey and Kumarakom. Most rooms in such resorts offer a sweeping view of the serene backwaters. But, as mentioned earlier, backwaters look most beautiful during the monsoon. So a view of the backwaters from the resort on a rainy day is simply magnificent. If your room has large windows, you will enjoy not only the view but also the pleasant sound of rain hitting the window. If your room has a balcony, there’s nothing better than that. As you sip hot tea and look at the backwaters, you know you’re having a memorable experience.
Visit the hill station of Munnar or Wayanad
Pic Courtesy: Kashinath Tours and Travels
Hill stations in Munnar are famous for their tea plantations, winding roads, majestic peaks, lush greenery and panoramic views. The views of greenery are most refreshing during the monsoon. Even travelling in the car while it’s raining is quite an experience. At higher levels of the hill stations, you will find small bunk shops selling tea and hot snacks. Make sure to stop your car near them. Usually these shops are placed in locations where you get spectacular views. The cool environment, hot tea and the views along with the sound of rain promise an exotic experience.
Note: Stay and travel in the safer areas of the hill station. On rare occasions when the rain is too heavy, there are possibilities of road blocks and landslides. Travelers must exercise caution in such conditions.
Visit the waterfalls
All waterfalls in Kerala are at the peak of their glory during the monsoon. While some of them are unsafe to visit during the rains, most of the waterfalls are safe and become must-visit attractions. One of the most beautiful waterfalls is the Athirapally Waterfall in Thrissur. Apart from that one, there are many more that are spread throughout the land. Since the waterfalls gush with great force during the monsoon, the picturesque view and the roaring sound make for a wonderful experience. Even the area around the waterfalls is quite beautiful because of the perpetual cool spray of water.
Visit the dams
The most famous dams in Kerala are Aliyar Dam, Banasura Sagar Dam, Idukki Dam, Mattupetty Dam and Sholayar Dam. They have a great flow of water during the monsoon and hence, present a spectacular sight. If there is no rain, you could even enjoy a picnic against the backdrop of the dam. But if the rain is heavy, you could just pass them by on the car and still get a great view.
8. Attend a cooking class
The hill station of Munnar and the city of Cochin offer several cooking classes. They usually teach easy methods of cooking the local delicacies. And then you get to taste the authentic flavours of Kerala right after it is made in front of your eyes. Since this activity takes place indoors, you can easily take part in it even during the rains. Cooking classes are fun for the entire family.
9. Watch a cultural show
Pic Courtesy: Yatra
Kerala has cultural centres displaying classical dance performances as well as cultural dramas. With professional artists and elaborate make-up and costumes, the programme is a treat to the eyes. Travelers can also watch how make-up is done on the artists. The show gives you a glimpse of Kerala culture and history.
Note: During the monsoon, it is recommended that travelers avoid beaches. Since the current is too strong, swimming is prohibited at the beach. And sometimes, just visiting the beach is too dangerous. So many beaches are closed. You must also avoid activities like bird watching, photography walks and cycling tours during the monsoon.
What to wear during the monsoon
It is better to wear light clothes because even if they get wet, you can dry them easily. Avoid jeans and thick shirts or T-shirts. Also avoid expensive footwear as the rains can spoil them. Instead, use plastic or rubber footwear. Carry rain coats or umbrellas wherever you go.