Winter Monsoon in India - Help Me Plan

Discussion in 'Asia Pacific' started by Osprey!, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. Osprey!

    Osprey! a.k.a. Opie

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    Hello friends,

    I'm planning a trip to India in October, 2014. I've done some research but haven't found answers yet. Can you help?

    How should I plan my trip for the winter monsoon? It appears there are two monsoon seasons in India;

    Summer Monsoon (May to September)
    Winter Monsoon (October to November)

    I'd love to see Leh and Ladakh, but I believe the high mountain roads may be dangerous or closed in October. On my last trip (train travel), my favorite city was Rishikesh. I like the smaller mountain towns. The hippie vibe with all the yoga studios and ashrams also helped.

    I also love the sea, so Goa is on the list of possibilities. I'm starting to accumulate a list of places to possibly visit on route; Jodhpur, Ahupe, Palolem Beach, Chiwla Beach.

    My current thinking is that I will adjust my travel plans based on weather conditions. My trip will likely be about 6-8 weeks, however there will likely be 2 others with me who will only have 10 days. Based on the places that interest me, could you suggest a few more?

    Oh last question. I'm ethnically Punjabi but born and raised in the US (i.e. ABCD). I can understand some Hindi, but I can't read it. I'm not religious and am an American citizen but I have a Muslim name. Is that going to be a problem for me in places like Kargill, Ladakh, and Leh? I know the region is a flashpoint for conflict.

    Thanks in advance!

    -O
    #1
  2. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    You´re gonna travel how? I once went on a motorcycle to Dharamsala/MccleodGanj at the end of November. Was definitely too cold to ride into the proper Himalayas at that time. Dunno about October, but I fear it would be cold as well, as the roads go very, very high.

    But if you like warm weather and beaches, then the South has its charms as well. It won´t be the Himalayas for sure, but personally I somehow liked the South very much. And climate should be generally quite nice during northern Hemisphere winter months....

    Tea plantations, Western Ghats, near Munnar (December 2004)

    [​IMG]

    Taking a “kettuvallam” boat ride in Alleppey, Kerala (December 2007)

    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. Osprey!

    Osprey! a.k.a. Opie

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    Travel via motorcycle, of course! :lol3

    Starting from New Delhi.
    #3
  4. Witold

    Witold Been here awhile

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    Don't worry about monsoons, worry about warm weather. Even in the middle of Summer, those high elevations get pretty cold. In a few places, I stayed in the set-up tents and it was cold even with all the blankets and lots of layers.

    I'm pretty sure that the rains mostly reach only Rhotang and after that it's mostly high altitude desert. On that side, it's completely a non-issue. (someone verify this for me.)

    Sure, you might run into some rain but most of it is heavy and quick. You pull over, wait a bit, and it passes. In my opinion, this is actually better than the dry season when it's an absolute dust bowl, 120 degrees, everything is dried out and dust flowing in your face. It's like having a hair dryer in your face blowing hot air and dirt. Inescapable. But during monsoon season, those same dust bowl roads turn green and quite pleasant. Incoming rain is predictable and yu should be able to pull over and wait it out. (in my experience.)

    ***

    All of those areas have Muslims, including Ladakh. In Kashmir, it's largely Muslim, and in Ladakh, there's still plenty of Muslims and there is next to 0 turmoil in Ladakh. Plus, all these people are used to all sorts of weird tourists from a gazillion different backgrounds. They've seen everything, probably. I wouldn't worry about it.

    ***

    I hesitate to recommend any places given what you said you like. I personally couldn't stand the hippy tourists and the local opportunists selling them yoga and pot. It sounds like you would like Manali and Jeselmer.
    #4
  5. Osprey!

    Osprey! a.k.a. Opie

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    Thank you!
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  6. EnfieldThunderbird

    EnfieldThunderbird n00b

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    Sounds like a great trip.

    Are you renting a bike? The classic Indian road bike is the Royal Enfield. Made in India since the 50's and serviceable almost anywhere. On an 8 week trip that might be helpful. There's an assortment of Honda and Yamaha bikes (also Indian built) but most are quite small (125-175cc) and not so long-ride friendly. Enfields are made in 350 and 500cc versions. btw - if they recognize you as western, the rental quote is likely twice what it should be:lol3

    Anything above 6 or 7000 feet will be cold and Ladakh for the most part will be extremely cold, if not entirely inaccessible. The Leh-Manali highway to Ladakh is a tough road climbing to around 17,000 ft. I am taking that road myself in June, and snow, mud and freezing night-time temps are still the norm at that time of year.

    So, I'd stay south at that time of year:clap Goa and Kerala are beautiful and the weather will still be very warm. Your Hindi may not be required there either as Goa and Kerala are the most literate states in India.

    As for having a Muslim name - India really does try to coexist. There are after all more than 100 million Muslims living in India.

    Have fun!
    #6
  7. arn

    arn Been here awhile

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    Maybe if you make a tentative "must see" list and a route plan, we'd be able to help you better and suggest improvements and alternatives.
    #7
  8. lazeerider

    lazeerider n00b

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    May-September is when the monsoon hits most of India, If you plan to ride across India, start from the south in October, the rains are almost done by mid October. You can cover, Kerala, parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and head towards Goa and then to the North. Ladakh will be inaccessible by road post September, There are many places you can visit across India, you should make a list and post here, I could help you with a route.
    #8