Wondering where to travel this month? Here's a list of five Indian destinations that offer something special in September.
1. Neelakurinji flower bloom, Mandalpatti, Karnataka
Mandalpatti hills situated in the Mahadevpet region of Karnataka's Madikeri district are currently witnessing a bloom of the Neelakurinji flower. This rare event is said to occur once in every 12 years, and it recently took the internet by storm when pictures showing a bed of the scenic blue and purple flowers covering the area, went viral. Belonging to the strobilanthes genus, these flowers are also known as strobilanthes kunthiana or kurinji. Another destination to house this rare species of flower this month is the Shalom hills in the Idukki district of Kerala.
Things to do
Here you can go on a trek from the Mandalpatti base straight to the top. However, make sure to carry edibles and other required materials as you might not find any shops en route. Once you reach the top, you get to experience lush greenery and cool breeze. Just half an hour away from Mandalpatti are the Abbi falls from where you can easily view the Mandalpatti hills. Another nearby place to visit is Makkandur village that houses the Sood Coffee Estate. You can also book a stay at Sood's Coffee Leaf Inn, a vegetarian, alcohol-free, peaceful homestay in the coffee estate.
When here make sure to try the delicious Coorgi cuisine, coffee, and some homemade chocolate. Home to the Kodava community, the place offers delicious Kodava cuisine such as the pandi curry infused with the local vinegar called kachampully.
Abbi falls and Makkandur are two options from where you can trek to Mandalpatti, and enjoy scenic waterfalls and coffee plantations along the trek. You can go on a road trip from Mangaluru, Bengaluru and Coimbatore. Those travelling by train can get down either at the Mangalore Central Railway Station or Subrahmanya Road Railway Station. And, if you are willing to take a bus to the Madikeri Bus Stand then Shivmogga Bus Terminal is a well-connected option you can consider.
2. Kaas Plateau, flower valley of Maharashtra
Kaas Plateau located near Satara city of Maharashtra popularly known as the flower valley recently reopened for tourists on September 1, 2021. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it falls under the Sahyadri Sub Cluster of the Western Ghats. The place houses hundreds of colourful species of fauna, such as Ceropegia, Utricularia and Drosera. While the place remained shut for an entire year amid the COVID-19 outbreak, this year as a safety measure, it has not only capped the number of visitors to 3,000 as per media reports; but has also made it mandatory to register online for booking at kas.ind.in/.
Things to do
When here you can visit the century old Kaas lake, or enjoy a stay at the nearby Kaas Village Resort. Other hotspots to checkout include Vasota Fort, and Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Satara, also home to wild species such as, King Cobra, and Royal Bengal Tiger. The sanctuary is also well-connected to Radhnagari Wildlife Sanctuary and Chandoli National Park.
When in Satara make sure to try local Maharashtrian food such as vada pav, misal pav, and kandi pedhas.
If you are travelling by air, then Pune Airport is the nearest. It takes around two to three hours to drive to the Kaas Plateau. You can also take a train to the Satara Railway Station, or even a bus to Satara which is well-connected to neighbouring Mumbai.
3. Sikkim’s cherry blossoms
As the northeastern state of Sikkim bids adieu to monsoon this month, and prepares for the onset of autumn, it gets covered in a bed of cherry blossoms. This makes September an ideal time to plan a trip to Sikkim. You can witness this species of flower all across the towns and villages of Sikkim during this month. However, the best place to experience the bloom is at the Khangchendzonga National Park in North Sikkim, a UNESCO World Heritage site that houses the native range of cherry blossoms. The place also hosts at least 300 species of birds, such as, snow cock, and falcons. Not to mention some of the rare wild species such as, Red Panda and the Himalayan Black Bear. However, before planning a visit to the park, make sure to arrange for the required permissions.
Things to do
When here, you can embark on the Green Lake Trek from the Lachen village; or the Tholung-Kishong Trek from the Linza village. The place is home to a bunch of breathtaking treks and waterbodies such as, Goeche La, Nathu La Pass, Teesta River, Gurudongmar Lake. You must also pay a visit to Pemayangste monastery in Pelling. In fact, Tholung Monastery in Dzongu, in the buffer zone of Khangchendzonga National Park, is another must-visit place. You can further check out Mangan village in North Sikkim for an amazing view of the Kanchenjunga peak.
When in Sikkim, you can't miss out on its authentic momos and thukpa. Other items from the Sikkim cuisine worth trying, include, kinema curry, chhurpi, and more.
Bagdodra Airport in Darjeeling and Pakyong Airport in Sikkim are the two nearest airports. You can also take a train to Jalpaiguri and Siliguri railway stations. And, if you are travelling by road, there are direct buses to Gangtok from Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri.
4. Valley of flowers, Uttarakhand
September is one of the best months to visit the famous valley of flowers in Uttarakhand that belongs to the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, part of UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Said to have been discovered in 1931, the valley houses more than 600 species of flowers, of which some are rare species such as, blue Himalayan poppy, Potentilla, bloom in this month. It is located at a height of 3,600 metres above sea level and is also home to some rare wildlife species such as, Himalayan weasel, red fox, and the snow leopard.
Things to do
Nanda Devi National Park and Hemkund Gurudwara are two major attractions you can visit on your trip to the valley of flowers. The route to Nanda Devi offers a scenic view of the surrounding peaks of Changbang, Dunagiri, Trishul, and more.
When here, make sure to try some lip-smacking Gharhwali and Kumaoni dishes, such as, Garhwal ka Fannah, Kandalee ka Saag, Dubuk, and Kumaoni Raita.
Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the nearest. You can also take a train from Rishikesh railway station. Or board a bus or taxi till Govindghat.
5. Jungle tea safari, Darjeeling, West Bengal
While one doesn't need a reason to head to the rolling hills in Darjeeling and its majestic tea estates, if you are still looking for one, September is the right time to go visit this picturesque town. A toy train safari to soak in the breathtaking views of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and the hills is just another reason you visit the hills. Thanks to the Northeast Frontier Railway, this hill station now has a new toy train safari. Known as the Jungle tea safari or Toy Train, this service will take you on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway route, near Rongtong station. As per media reports, not only has the state resumed the heritage toy train service from Siliguri to Darjeeling after a COVID induced gap of one and a half years but, it has also re-opened the famous coffee estates of Darjeeling.
Things to do
When here, you can go river rafting in Teesta, watch sunrise at Tiger Hill, pay a visit to the monastery in Kalimpong, buy some woolens from the Bhutia market, or simply take a stroll through the mall road.
Try their authentic thukpa, momos, and of course the famous Darjeeling tea
Bagdodra Airport lies approximately 96 kilometres from Darjeeling. If you are travelling by train, then Darjeeling railway station located on Darjeeling Himalayan Railway – a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- is one option. Then there is the toy train ride from Siliguri to Darjeeling, for some breathtaking view enroute.