For years now I’ve watched my rain-loving friends with envy. These are the type who enjoy creating a ruckus on Holi and don’t complain when hell pours down on a crowded Dadar station in the month of July and puddles form at ticket counters (yuck). But not everyone enjoys getting drenched, and that’s okay too. You can skip ‘offbeat Goa’ and spare yourself smelly socks in Cherrapunji by heading to one of the following destinations instead.
1. Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Jaisalmer is considered one of the driest places in India because of its geographical location in the sub-tropical high-pressure belt. Which means you can feel like a king at dirt-cheap off-season prices and also walk around feeling dry and high (there’s lassi too, remember?). If you feel like seeing monsoon in limited doses, head to nearby Jodhpur where you can witness dramatic skies and dust storms.
2. Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
The Trans-Himalayas fall in the rain-shadow area, so you can rest assured that no wet surprises are in store. The mountains hold back the monsoon from arriving in regions like Spiti Valley. Yup, and you can even ride your bike here like a stud without carrying a windcheater.
3. Ladakh, J&K
Things have been different since a cloudburst hit Leh in 2010, but still the humidity levels are lower than most parts of India. Ladakh is swarming with tourists, and there are a number of reasons for that including the blue sky and the lavish Buddhist monasteries underneath. Not to forget turquoise lakes.
4. Bhatinda, Punjab
Why would I put a place called Bhatinda right after the spectacular Ladakh? Well because some of us do mind crowds and the monsoon is also peak season in the mountains. Bhatinda gets fairly little rainfall and has the historic Qila Mubarak Fort. Bhatinda also has a Sufi shrine that shares a wall with a Sikh Gurudwara and another with a Hindu temple (bravo!). The name, by the way, comes from the Bhati kings who ruled here.
5. Hisar, Haryana
I’m not pulling a fast one on you. Bear with me, give this central Indian anomaly a chance. How about the fact that this is amongst the country’s ancient cities? Archaeologists have found evidence of pre-Harappan civilisations here. It has since been ruled over by the Mughals and the British alike. And it rains awful little here. There are a few farm stays to pick from, and this lovely WelcomHeritage kothi too.
Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar