- Benjamin John
The South West Monsoon Effect on Kerala and the Western Ghats
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
"Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rains".
The South West monsoon hits the state of Kerala during the month of June and travels North through the Konkan Coastline (check out this Konkan coastline itinerary). Kerala would be the very first state to get drenched followed by Karnataka, Goa, and Coastal Maharashtra up to areas of Gujarat. The Western Ghats is that phenomenon that blocks the rains from going further east and takes it North. One of the prime reasons why Kerala and all of the South West coastline looks pretty and green is because of these rains. But when the rains go crazy, there is a havoc in some parts of the country, especially the low-lying areas like that of the backwaters. The year 2018, Kerala faced a flood like situation in the backwater areas of Alleppey. The mountains are prone to landslides and the soil becomes more soggy. The scale of the effect depends on how long it will rain. Check out the video of the Monsoon in Kerala. Towards the last part, the real beauty of the drenched Kerala is depicted in the best possible way.
Generally the intensity of the monsoon on an average is very much a controlled phenomenon. In most years, the initial rains will be torrential and later the volume of showers reduce down on a gradual pace. When the rains are continuous for days, things get worse. The coastline is always rough and getting into the shores is out of question. Having said that there have been years, where the coastline received no rainfall at all, which makes it just like the other months of the year. A lot of travellers are a bit skeptical whether to travel to Kerala during the monsoon. This is very much based, on the intensity of the monsoons. Check out this blog about the best time to visit Kerala. I would say, if the rains are pretty much what we call sober and not terrible, then monsoon is the best time to visit Kerala. Most people recommend not to travel, to avoid the situation of the rains becoming unpredictable. So this confusion has brought the "tag" off-season for the months of June and July. Towards the end of June, most years the situation is very much a comfortable one. At the same time the hotels and airline prices are slashed rock bottom, as the tourism season is off.
Having said all the possibilities the rains could bring, there are a bunch of people who take it in the right spirit. A group of paddling enthusiasts conduct the Malabar River Festival, along with an international kayaking championship held at Thusharagiri in the Northern district of Kozhikode in Kerala. The monsoon session has been going on since the last six years and is considered to be the Mecca of Paddlers, with participants form around 25 countries. It is like a celebration, than an event. The local people are very much involved into the theme of paddling and rafting, which was something new, some years back. The above video will give you an idea about how exciting and thrilling it is to be there. White water rafting sessions have been conducted in river Periyar close to Thattekkad in central Kerala (Not far from Cochin Airport). However, it can not be conducted every year, as it is based on the seasonality and the intensity of the rains and also the water has to be really gushing. The Malabar River on the other hand has been conducting the festival every year, keeping up the consistence. There have been other small rafting and kayaking sessions held in Norther Karnataka in the river Kali, which is known to be the Kali River Festival. All of these adventure based events are good enough to celebrate the monsoon in its true way. For some its a havoc and for some, it is a celebration; all happens in the same belt.
"You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. That's part of it." - Denzel Washington