It’s easy to underestimate the role monsoon plays in the lives of Indian people. We are used to thinking that a rainy season is something melancholic, dull, and quite lifeless, but in reality it’s one of the most important and pleasant periods of the year. Yes, you heard that right! The months before monsoon are impossibly hot, so it‘s always a welcome change of weather. The amount of water India receives during the monsoon varies upon region and monsoon itself, but in general you will see all the nature come to life, becoming lush, green, and rich in colours. Here are 9 facts you need to know about monsoon.
The term ‘monsoon’ is derived from the Arabic word ‘mausim’, which stands for ‘strong wind blowing from a cold place towards the hot one.’ This is exactly what happens during the rainy season. Monsoon is a seasonal change of wind’s direction. It starts blowing from Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal towards the land, bringing all those rainy clouds along. Monsoons are usually associated with tropics and subtropics, but it is also very common in India and neighbouring countries.
Nearly 60% of India’s population depends on farming and agriculture to earn their living. This means that rains are essential for crops and farm animals. Monsoon is the main water source for many farms as it replenishes water reservoirs, while delivering an impressive 70% of all the rains the country needs to water its farms, most of which don’t have an irrigation system.
You will see lightning more than 500,000 times during monsoon. As beautiful as it is, lightning kills around 1,800 people in India each year.
Monsoon lasts from June to September and while it’s certainly difficult to travel during these months, some destinations become available during these times only. Monsoon is a perfect time to travel to the mountains where its effect is not as strong and there’s less snow due to summer season.
Monsoon usually starts during the first days of June in the southern parts of India and by mid-June it spreads inland reaching Delhi and Mumbai. The exact date of monsoon’s start is the subject of much speculation, you can even make a bet and hopefully win some money if you’re right!
The best way to experience the start of monsoon is to go to Kanyakumari, the southernmost point of India. Stay at a hotel with a view of the ocean and witness the spectacular storm roll onto the coastline. Kovalam beach in Kerala is yet another place where you can enjoy the breathtaking spectacle.
Out of all Indian cities, Mumbai and Kolkata are the wettest, while Meghalaya and Darjeeling get the most rainfall in the Himalayas region. They are the wettest areas not only in India, but in the whole world! Ladakh, Rajasthan, and some areas in Western Ghats are the driest places during monsoon.
Monsoon also means that you can explore the biggest tourist attractions without huge crowds of people. Nature becomes breathtakingly beautiful with lush greenery, powerful waterfalls, and layers of clouds draping the valleys in the mountains. With hundreds of different plants blooming, this is definitely an incredible time to travel around India.
But make no mistake – Indian monsoon can be really vicious. Thousands of homes are destroyed by floods and strong winds. There are also dust storms, wildfire, thunderstorms, and significant change in temperature. Cities and small towns also suffer greatly as the drain system usually can’t cope with the tremendous amount of water.