The southwest monsoon reaches the coast of the southern state of Kerala at the beginning of June year by year. It usually reaches Mumbai approximately 10 days later, arrives in Delhi by the end of June, and covers the rest of India by mid-July. Every year, the date of the monsoon's arrival is the subject of much speculation. Despite numerous predictions by the meteorological department, it's rare that anyone gets it right though!
The rain season starts with light showers and it is more heavy every day. Its actual arrival is announced by an intense period of heavy rain, booming thunder and plenty of lightening. This rain injects an amazing amount of vigor into people, and it's common to see children running about, dancing in the rain, and playing games. Even the adults join in because it's so refreshing.
After the first initial downpour, which can last for days, the monsoon falls into a steady pattern of raining for at least a couple of hours most days. It can be sunny one minute and pouring the next. The rain is very unpredictable. Some days very little rainfall will occur, and during this time the temperature will start heating up again and humidity levels will rise. The amount of rain that's received peaks in most areas during July, and starts tapering off a bit in August. While less rain is usually received overall in September, the rain that does come can often be torrential.
Unfortunately, many cities experience flooding at the start of the monsoon and during heavy downpours and this is more uncomfortable and disturbing than the rain itself.. This is due to drains being unable to cope with the volume of water, often because of rubbish that has built up over the summer and hasn’t been properly cleared.
The strongest rain out of the major cities in India are reported in Mumbai and Kolkata (Calcuta).
The eastern Himalaya region, around Darjeeling and Shillong, is one of the wettest areas in not just India, but the whole world, during the monsoon. This is because the monsoon picks up additional moisture from the Bay of Bengal as it heads towards the Himalaya range. Travelling to this region should definitely be avoided during monsoon time.
On the other hand Chennai doesn’t receive much rain at all during the southwest monsoon, as the south of India (the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala) gets most of its rainfall from the northeast monsoon, from October to December. The rain there can be very intense during this time.
Areas that receive the least rain and are most suited for travel during the monsoon include the desert state of Rajasthan, the Deccan Plateau on the eastern side of the Western Ghats mountain range, and Ladakh in far north India.
Monsoon time can be a great time to visit India as tourist attractions aren't crowded, airfares can be cheaper, and bargain rates are up for grabs at hotels throughout the country. You’ll also get to see another side of India, where nature comes alive in a landscape of cool, lush greenery. Your decision, however, should be taken carefully and you should compare the benefits and disadvantages on your own.
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