September marks the beginning of a very special weather in India. The scorching sun is no longer scheming to boil you to bits and the chill is yet to freeze you over. As the monsoons bid adieu, ideal temperatures set in to awaken our inner wanderlusts. Here are some places you could visit to satiate that hunger! By Bayar Jain
For travel bugs like us, you don’t really need a reason to explore the nation. But if you couple it with a cool and pleasant weather like that in September is most parts of India, there’s no stopping us! Besides, what better way to enjoy the last showers of the year other than travelling, right? So, pack your bags and prepare for a quick getaway from these major Indian cities.
Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh
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Harmonious living is at the heart of this small hill station in Himachal Pradesh. With a mix of greens, browns, and yellows to add to the splendour of the mountains, Dharamshala is tinged with red and yellow Tibetan flags around every corner. Although the weather here is pleasant throughout summer months, September is ideal if you’re keen on enjoying waterfalls or indulging in trekking amid the lush greens. While the first half of the month can get tricky owing to receding rains, the nights in the latter half of the month start getting slightly chilly. When here, make it a point to visit the many monasteries, which serve as a depiction of the interspersed coordination between divinity and nature.
Must see: Norbulingka Institute, Dalai Lama Temple Complex, Triund Hill, Kangra Fort, Tsuglagkhang Complex, Kareri Dal Lake, Bhagsunag Waterfalls, Masroor Rock Cut Temple, St. John In the Wilderness Church and the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium.
How to reach: If you wish to take a train, get off at the Pathankot station. From here, Dharamshala is just a three-hour drive away. You can even take a flight to Gaggal from Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. Once here, Dharamshala is only 13 kms away.
Valley of Flowers, Uttrakhand
There’s no better time to visit this nature’s beautiful display than September when all the flowers are in full bloom. A carpet of rare crimson-red and glossy pink flowers flourishes throughout the valley with splashes of beeswax-gold coloured flowers to add that extra shine. As the monsoons have blessed the land, the valley is accessible throughout without any disruptions. Rare species such as Blue Poppy, Potentilla, Geranium, and many more add to the trekking experience. Panoramic views of the snow-capped Nanda Devi Parbat with the gushing echoes of the Pushpawati river flowing through the middle adds to the surreal charm of this valley.
Trekking this valley, you’ll be cherishing Himalaya’s most mesmerising panorama of carpets of flowers woven in a riot of tints, shielded by the sturdy snow-capped Nanda Devi Parbat with the gushing Pushpawati River flowing from the middle.
Must see: Apart from the valley itself, visit the Hemkund Sahib and Nanda Devi National Park, as well.
How to reach: Catch a train to Haridwar from where you can hire a taxi to Govind Ghat that is just 300 kms away. From here, you can either trek to the Valley or hire a cab.
Stay in Mumbai
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Right before the October heat sets in, the maximum city turns into a melting pot of cultures and lifestyles. Apart from the European and Portuguese architecture, and the Bollywood glamour visible throughout the city, September becomes even more special due to the fervent Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations here. Statues of Ganesha are installed across the city accompanied with loud singing and dancing on the streets. Culminating in community idol immersions, the 10-day long festivities are a must-experience, irrespective of your faith. Although it tends to rain during this month, take it in your stride. After all, there’s a certain charm about dancing to dhol beats in rains, isn’t it?
Must see: Gateway of India, Elephanta Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Marine Drive, Kanheri Caves, Hanging Gardens, Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Flora Fountain, Basilica Of Our Lady of The Mount, and a whole lot more!
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Known for its Warli paintings, and crafts, Jawhar is a small town in Maharashtra, which is soaked in culture. The erstwhile capital of the Koli princely state, being situated in the Western Ghats makes this cultural hub a picturesque location to unwind in. The presence of waterfalls and dams nearby makes this ideal for a quick getaway from the bustling city. When here, don’t forget to splurge on the traditional warli crafts. Who knows, if you’re lucky the locals could even help you learn this tribal art form.
Must see: Jai Vilas Palace, Hiradpada Waterfall, Jai Sagar Dam, Kal Mandvi Waterfall, Dabhosa Waterfall, Sunset Point, Hanuman Point, Khadkhad Dharan, Bhopatgad, and Shirpamal.
How to reach: Jawhar is only 155 kms away from Mumbai, so a take your car and drive away!
Dooars, West Bengal
Literally translating to ‘door’, Dooars is a gateway to the neighbouring country of Bhutan. Bound by River Teesta on the east and River Sankoshi on the west, these floodplains make for an ideal September gateway from Kolkata. Although in the first half of the month, sanctuaries of the region remain shut, the second half is a haven for wilderness lovers. The pleasant weather here serves as an invitation for migratory birds as well as elephants, bison, leopards, barking deer, and rhinos. If being in the wild is not your idea of vacation, then one can take a leisurely stroll in the tea gardens of the region. History buffs can even head to the Buxa fort where fighters were imprisoned during the pre-independence era. For the more spiritual, the place is home to many temples, as well. In short, at Dooar, there’s a little something for everybody.
Must see: Garumara National Park, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, Rupang Valley, Jaldhaka Dam, Godak village, Chilapata Forest, Samsing and Suntalekhola.
How to reach: Dooars is an overnight journey from Kolkata and a few hours’ drive from New Jalpaiguri or Siliguri in North Bengal. There are regular flights from Kolkata to Bagdogra airport in North Bengal.
Tajpur, West Bengal
Lying in the Purba Medinipur district of South Bengal, Tajpur is easily one of the most hidden beaches of India. Here, you can find red crabs during the day, while seagulls welcome you at the crack of dawn. Patches of forests add to the mystical aura of this quaint beach town. Since sea waters are relatively calm during this period, the beach lights up with water sports, paragliding, and other activities to enjoy. The fact that it is still relatively unknown makes it even more fascinating!
Must see: Mandarmani, Tajpur beach, Shankarpur, and Digha beach.
How to reach: From Howrah, all Digha-bound trains except Duranto Express, halt for a minute at Ramnagar station. From this station, the Digha Kanthi road is only fifteen minutes away. By road, Tajpur is only four and a half hours away from Kolkata.