The Mountain Monsoons


I understand your concern for safety from landslides and road blockages from excessive flooding, and nothing I write below will justify your leniency. However, something is amiss in the witnessed tourism trends.

We run a boutique hotel in Lansdowne with 100 other hotels open throughout the monsoons. Our supplies include food for our guests and staff brought fresh from the plains almost daily. We haven’t faced a single calamity, god forbid, in all these years. It is, however, a blessing in disguise that we get to spend the monsoons in relative solace. 


The road to Lansdowne is seldom closed for a couple of hours in case of a recent landslide. Only once, a few years back, the road had to be closed for three days. The then checked-in guests stayed back with us like family while we made necessary refunds for all cancellations. 


A person travels to the mountains for better weather, cleaner air, greenery and views. The weather is more pleasant than the famous summers and rains having brought down the pollutants in the air - it’s even cleaner. Sometimes it hails when it rains. The greenery is overwhelming, with its rich colour, seasonal waterfalls, and overgrown grasses, plants and trees. Lastly, clarity in the air brings about superior visibility compared to other seasons, achieving the best scenic photographs. 


Having spent six monsoons in Lansdowne, I have also trekked up to the Annapurna Base Camp ‘ABC’, lived in the jungles of Sariyapani (Kasar Devi/Hippie’s Hill), and attended a rainbow gathering in Kodaikanal, all during the monsoons. 


I still remember that while playing football in my boarding school in Nainital, we would run from the wet end of the field to the dry end while the rain-pouring clouds ran alongside us. 


And the bike ride in Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary! Not a soul on the dirt road or a shade for kilometres on a stretch. Upon reaching the destination, drenched, I immediately unbuttoned my shirt to avoid catching a fever but then stayed shirtless, enjoying the wind moving around my body.  


Waking from nature’s call in Kodai and looking at the rainbow folk running up the hills searching for fresh mushrooms just after the night's pour was a kick like a doppio in the morning. I used to pick up fallen passion fruits and eat them while bathing in a seasonal waterfall!


The wet shoes from day 1 to day 5 of a trek and in them the chills from cold, harsh winds in altitudes above 5000 meters, yet no signs of a Yeti. I smoked a Gudang Garam at 6 am, looking at the 360° view of snow peaks and within 5 minutes had to pack and run down the mountain to maintain my oxygen levels.  


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