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places to visit in sep

If you are planning to take a trip in September, bookmark this page as we give you a lowdown on the best destinations to visit in September based on their season and the cultural happenings in the region. You will also find the must-do and must-visit attractions for each destination to make your trip a memorable one. From the Ramleela in Varanasi to the Ziro music festival in Arunachal Pradesh, we have it all covered for you to plan a wonderful in September. So, where will you go?

1. Mumbai

Mumbai-Bandra-Worli-Sea-Link

The city of dreams, the city that never sleeps, maximum city: Mumbai has many a different names given to it by its people who are known for their never-say-die spirit. Mumbai is a lot of things and like any other metro, you will find different shades of Mumbai in every nook and corner. You have tourists coming from all over the world to visit Dharavi, Asia’s biggest slum, and then the Taj Mahal Hotel where one of the suites costs Rs 9 lakh a night. Both these places coexist in the same city and that is what makes Mumbai a traveler’s dream. This year, September is a great time to visit Mumbai for the sheer madness you can experience around the biggest festival in the city, Ganesh Chaturthi. Falling on September 5, the 10-day celebration continues throughout the city and ends with Ganesh Visarjan when idols of the elephant god are immersed in the sea. The entire vibe of the city changes during this time and you can only experience it to really know what it is. September is also a good time because the rains are not as torrential and you can explore Mumbai’s streets and tourist spots. Here’s what you can do in Mumbai in September:

Visit Lalbaugcha Raja: The biggest and most popular Ganesh idol in Mumbai, Lalbaugcha Raja is visited by over a million people every year who stand in queues since morning to get a glimpse of the elephant god during Ganesh Chaturthi. On the first day, you can expect one to stand in the line for more than five hours also to see the idol. The Ganesh idol is kept at Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganesh Mandal, Lalbaug Market. The area is centrally located and tourists can reach here via several routes. Get off at Lower Parel station if you are on the Western line, at Curry Road station if you are on the Central line and Cotton Green station if you are on the harbor line. Brace yourself to stand in a queue.

See Ganesh Visarjan: Another unique Mumbai experience is the Ganesh Visarjan on the last day of the festival which is called Anant Chaturdashi. The entire city is packed with people on the roads walking, dancing and taking the idol to one of the beaches for immersion. The people bid adieu to their favorite god and ask him to come soon the next year. The madness is evident everywhere with people applying colors on each other and dancing to the beats. The procession begins around noon with the idol being taken to different water bodies, the biggest one is at Girgaum Chowpatty in south Mumbai; and ends early next morning. If you want to witness Ganesh Visarjan, head to Grant Road station by 2 pm on September 15. From here, you can join the procession.

You can also contact Reality Tours and Travel (91 9820822253) or Grand  Mumbai Tours (919167472957) who conduct Ganesh Chaturthi and Ganesh immersion tours and take you around town to experience this phenomenon in a safe way.

ALSO SEE

 2. Ladakh

Ladakh

The land of high passes, Ladakh is a barren land with some of the most striking landscapes in the world. Situated in the north of India in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh has a charm like no other and is a place that is every photographer’s delight. It has the highest motorable road in the world, it is a place where you can witness extreme temperatures in a single day and it is a place that tests your limits and rewards you with vistas of its breathtaking beauty. September is your last chance to see the raw, natural splendor of Ladakh as after that it becomes inaccessible for months due to the extreme weather conditions. September is also the time when the Ladakh Festival takes place. You need to keep a handful of days aside for Ladakh as you need a couple of days to get acclimatized to the high altitude and weather. There are two different routes you can take to explore Ladakh, one being via Srinagar and the other one through Manali.  Bikes and jeeps are available on rent or you could also board a JKSRTC bus to reach Ladakh. Here’s what to do in Ladakh in September.

Attend Ladakh Festival: All the villages in Leh celebrate this annual festival that begins on September 20 and ends on September 26. The villages come alive and you can witness the local people’s festive spirit during the Ladakh Festival. From colorful, traditional dresses to masks, the festival is a riot of colors and pleasing to the senses. Concerts, troupe dances and processions mark the six days of the festival. It begins in Leh with a huge procession through the Leh market and ends at the Polo ground. Not just dancing and singing, archery and polo are also part of the Ladakh Festival. Since it is spread across Ladakh, you can witness the festival in any part of the region.

Stay in a monastery: Ladakh is home to several monasteries that preach the Tibetan way of life. You will find monks going about their lives here. Thiksey monastery is one of the biggest one and resembles a palace in Tibet. When in Ladakh, experience this culture by staying in one of the monasteries. The accommodation cost is nominal and you will be served some yummy local delicacies in addition the unforgettable experience you will have living here than in a hotel.

Go to Khardung La: The highest motarable road in the world, to ride on Khardung La is every biker’s dream and when in Ladakh you must experience it for sure. It is at an elevation of 18379 ft and is a pass 40 km away from Leh. The feeling of being on top of the world with some amazing views of the valley, winding roads and clear blue skies is simply priceless. You will have to obtain in Inner Line Permit from the District Commissioner’s Office in Leh to cross this pass. After a point there is barely any proper road and more of gravel that you drive on. You will not find any accommodation options here and if the weather gets bad, you either have to head back to Leh to spend the night or pitch a tent on your own. Carrying food and water with you is recommended.

These are just a few of the many experiences you can have in Ladakh. For more information, ALSO SEE PLACES TO VISIT IN LADAKH

3. Kerala

houseboat in Kerala

Kerala is rightly nickanamed god’s own country for its sheer natural beauty that you will seldom find in any other part of the world. The coconut groves, serene backwaters and lush greenery are a treat for the senses. But what makes Kerala even more splendid are the various festivals that are celebrated here with great pomp. This September, Kerala will not only host the Aranmula Snake Boat Race, it will also celebrate Onam, its harvest festival. If you always wanted to experience Kerala’s uniqueness, September is the perfect time for a visit thanks to these festivities. Here’s a guide to enjoy it all.

Witness Athachamayam in Kochi: 10 days before Onam, Athachamayam begins to mark the beginning of the harvest festival. Held in the historical town of Tripunithura, it is also a celebration of the victory of the legendary king of Kochi. Even today, the procession takes place in this town where people perform the folk art forms of Kerala. You will also find decorated elephants in this parade. This year, Athachamayam falls on September 4.

Celebrate Onam: If you want to witness traditional Onam celebrations, you should visit Kerala in September. The state comes alive offering tourists some of the best cultural experiences. Places like Thrissur, Kottayam and Tridvandrum see the most activities. From eating the Onasadhya (or Onam lunch) on a banana leaf to admiring the flower decoration in front of houses, there is a lot to do during Onam. This year, Onam falls on September 14 but the celebrations begin much in advance and continue for a week after Onam. On September 16, you can see the Onam Pulikkali Tiger Play in Thrissur where men dress up as tigers and dance to the beats of musical instruments.

Watch the Aranmula Snake Boat Race: One of the many snake boat races in Kerala, Aranmula takes place in September along the Pampa River. While most of the boat races are a competition where a grand prize is offered to the winner, Aranmula is more of a celebration thanks to Onam and marks the time when Krishna crossed this river on a boat. The Aranmula snake boat race takes place on September 18 this year. The nearest railway station is Chengannur that is 10 km away from the Pampa River.

Apart from attending these festivals, go to Alleppey for a houseboat cruise on the backwaters of Kerala and visit some of the best beaches in the country like Varkala and Kovalam. Here’s a four-day Kerala itinerary in 60 seconds.

4. Arunachal Pradesh

11travel-arunachalpradesh2

One of India’s most serene places is also one of its most underrated ones. Arunachal Pradesh is a protected state where even Indians are required to submit an Inner Line Permit and a state that is perfect for the traveler wanting to go off the beaten path. Getting here can take more than a day but once you are here, its enthralling beauty engulfs you and shows you why it was worth all the effort. From Tawang to Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh is one of India’s hidden gems that every traveler must visit at least once in a lifetime. September is one of the best times to visit Arunachal thanks to the Ziro Music Festival that place here. The weather is pleasant and you are surrounded by some of the best music artists in the midst of nature. If you are planning a trip to Arunachal in September, here’s what you should do.

Attend the Ziro Music Festival: If the idea of an outdoor music festival in one of the country’s remotest parts excites you, head to Ziro Valley between September 22 to 25 for this festival. Bands from around the world come here to perform and if you love indie music, this one is just for you. Artists from northeast India also enthrall the audience with their folk songs. You can camp in tents provided by the music festival organizers or stay in a homestay near the festival grounds. The shortest way to reach Ziro is to fly to Guwahati and take an overnight train to Naharlagun. From here, hire a cab or hop on a bus which will take you to Ziro in about four to five hours. You can contact the festival organizers for any more information and tickets at 919862250702.

Try the local cuisine: Indian cuisine is varied and changes every few hundred kilometers. But food in Arunachal Pradesh is something that you probably wouldn’t find anywhere else in the country. Rice beer and bamboo chicken are local delicacies you should relish and for the adventurous soul, there are rat and silkworm dishes too.

Interact with the tribes: Did you know Arunachal Pradesh is home to 26 major tribes? When here, interact with them to really experience how they live. You will find the Apatani tribe in Ziro valley whose people are warm and welcoming and are known for their facial tattoos. You can even photograph them after due permission.

Visit Tawang: If you have more time in hand, you can visit other parts of Arunachal Pradesh like Tawang where you can see the second largest Buddhist monastery in the world and the war memorial.  

All tourists require an Inner Line Permit to enter Arunachal Pradesh. You can get yours from one of their tourist offices or state bhawans. You need to fill out , attach a recent photograph and submit it when you enter the state.

5. Varanasi

varanasi

Considered one of the holiest cities in the world, Varanasi is also one of the oldest continuously inhabited city on earth. The reason that makes Varanasi one of the most religious destinations is its location, on the banks of River Ganga. The several ghats that line the city, the boat ride on the river, taking a dip in its holy waters and attending the Ganga arti in the evening are a few things you can do in Varanasi to feel like a local.  But the reason you should visit Varanasi in September is because Ramnagar Ramleela, the oldest Ramleela takes place. Here’s what you should do when in Varanasi.

Attend Ramnagar Ramleela: The epic story of the triumph of good over evil, the Ramayana, is enacted every evening for a month starting September 15. The Ramnagar Ramleela is the world’d oldest one and started over 200 years ago. Held on the banks of the Ganga River, the story of Rama and Ravana is performed by some very talented actors. You can also visit Ramnagar Fort when here.

Visit the many ghats: Varanasi’s uniqueness lies in the number of ghats it has. Over 80 of them to be (more or less) precise. While you cannot possibly visit all of them, a visit to even a few of them will give you a feel of the place. Assi Ghat is one of the most popular ones. The Manikarnika Ghat is where most people come to perform cremation rituals of their loved ones. Tulsi Ghat is another one that you can visit. These are all pretty close to each other and you can cover the distance by foot or hire a cab.

Witness the Ganga Aarti: The Ganga Aarti in Varanasi in the evening is a spectacle to behold. It will not just give you the goosebumps but also put you in trance with its synchrony. The lights, the reverberating chants and the river flowing on the side is the perfect way to experience the holy city of Varanasi. The arti at Dashashwamedh Ghat is one of the best.

Pay a visit to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple: One of the most popular Hindu pilgrim centres in India, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in the country. Varanasi sees a large number of pilgrims visit this temple especially during Mahashivratri as it is dedicated to Shiva. The temple has been rebuilt several times and the current structure was constructed in the eighteenth century. The Aarti conducted here is also very popular and draws a huge crowd of tourists as well as locals.

Apart from these, do try the local specialties like the lassi, street chaat and sweets available in the local markets. Banarasi paan and bhang are also famous in Varanasi.  Taking a dip in the holy water of the Ganges to wash away your sins is another thing you can do here.

munnar

Located at the confluence of three rivers, Munnar is a quaint hill station in Kerala that is known for its pleasant weather and tea estates. Cardamom plantations are also quite popular here and draw many tourists. Munnar is at an altitude of 6,000 ft above sea level and has something for all types of travelers. There are trekking trails and paragliding for adventure seekers, lush greenery for nature lovers and a relaxed atmosphere for honeymooners and vacationers. You can do many things or nothing when in Munnar but one thing that you must do is visit the tea plantations. Barring the monsoon season, you can visit Munnar any time of the year. But September is a good time as it is not the peak season and you will find less number of tourists and cheaper accommodation than in the peak winter months. Here’s a plan for your trip to Munnar.

Visit the Rajamala Wildlife Sanctuary: About 15 km away from Munnar, in the Idukki district lies Rajamala Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to some endangered spices of animals and birds. Home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahrs, Rajamala also has tigers, panthers, gaurs and deers. You can hire a local guide and go trekking in the sanctuary, go boating or enjoy a picnic as you admire the Rajamala Hills.

Go to Kannan Devan Tea Museum: The first tea museum in India, the Kannan Devan Tea Museum a must-visit when in Munnar. From tea tasting sessions to the process of tea making, this museum houses some of the oldest tea rollers in the country. You can admire the tea gardens and buy souvenirs to take back home. The museum remains closed on Mondays.

Click selfies at Photo Point: One of the most photogenic places in Munnar, Photo Point is the perfect place to go clicking for some amazing shots. With breathtaking views of the tea plantations, streams, blue skies and hills, it makes for an ideal backdrop for your vacation photos. Admire nature’s beauty and get some beautiful shots of your Munnar trip at Photo Point.

Visit Mattupetty: Another tourist attraction Munnar is the Mattupetty that is known for its dam and lake. Mattupetty is a small hill town and lies 13 km away from Munnar. Perfect for nature lovers, Mattupetty offers enchanting views of valleys, hills, plantations and streams. The village is known for its raw, natural beauty that makes for a great escape from the busy city life.

Being a tourist destination, Munnar is home to a number of hotels that suit every budget. And if you want a more local experience, you can even live with a local in a homestay setting. Spices, teas and even chocolates make for a good buy in Munnar.

7. Manali

summer-vacation-manali

What can be said about Manali that hasn’t been said before! One of the most popular hill stations in India, Manali invites all kinds of travelers to admire its vistas. September is the last few months before the winters begin and going to Manali becomes inaccessible. A favorite summer holiday haunt, going in this month promises lesser crowd and cheaper hotel rooms. At an altitude of 6398 ft above sea level, Manali offers some of the most breathtaking views and is a Mecca for adventure sports lovers. Not just that, the hippies that came here in the ‘70s have left their mark and even today you can find their influence in some parts of the town. A vacation in Manali promises to be an fun-filled one thanks to the plethora of things it offers. Here’s what to do in Manali.

Drive along Rohtang Pass: This is a pass that one takes to go to Leh, Spiti, etc. 51 km away from Manali, Rohtan Pass is a tourist attraction for the majestic views of the snow-capped peaks. Snow Point at Rohtang Pass is where you should get off and have a fun time playing in the snow. You can hire woollens and skiing gear but do remember to bargain with the vendors. Activities like snow scooter, etc are available here. The weather here is unpredictable to make sure you carry a jacket or sweater along with you.

Visit Solang Valley: For an adrenalin rush, head to Solang Valley, 16 km away from Manali. Known for its adventure activities, Solang Valley attracts lakhs of tourists every year. From zorbing to paragliding, you can try your hand at different adventure sports. Apart from these, Solang Valley is also known for its apple orchards, snow-capped peaks and greenery. You can even hire tents and camp here if you like. during the peak winter season, skiing also takes place in Solang Valley.

Pay your respects at the Hidimba Devi Temple: Over 500 years old, the Hidimba Devi Temple was built by the royal family of Kullu and stands strong even today. A major tourist attraction in Manali, travelers from near and far pay their respects here. But did you know the temple does not have an idol? It only has a stone with footprints on it but people worship it.

Shop and eat: Manali is home to a number of cafes and shopping places. Before you end your trip, savor some delicacies and shop for souvenirs and other knick-knacks in Manali. Local handicrafts and shawls are pretty popular but remember to bargain. In old Manali, you can eat at Café 1947 or Drifters’ Inn.

Take a dip at Vashisht Hot Springs: The Vashisht Temple in Manali houses hot springs that are known to have medicinal values. You can take a dip in its waters which has arrangements for both men and women. They are in the courtyard of the temple and have sulphur content which helps get rid of skin problems.

Manali is a very popular tourist destination and offers all kinds of accommodation options like tents, hostels, homestays, hotels, etc. Here’s a list of and here are some .

8. Gokarna

Gokarna

This town in Karnataka is as popular among devotees as it is among beach lovers. If Goa is too mainstream for you, head to Gokarna which is pretty underrated but has some of the most beautiful beaches. It is also thronged by devotees of Shiva and Mahashivratri is celebrated on a grand scale. For four days, a procession takes place during this festival and the idol is decorated too. September is a good time to visit Gokarna and the weather isn’t too hot and gets cool as the evening progresses. Gokarna is made of two words, gau meaning cow and karna meaning ear. This is because it is believed that Shiva came back to the earth from a cow’s ear. If you are planning to visit Gokarna in September, here’s what’s in store for you.

Om Beach:  This popular beach gets its name from the Hindu symbol Om because it is shaped like that. Being the most commercial beach, you will find plenty of locals as well as tourists here. Visit the Namaste Café, stay in a beach hut or rent a hammock and soak up some sun. Om Beach can be reached by a rickshaw and is easily accessible.

Paradise Beach: Another pristine beach, Paradise is hidden away and is about 30 minutes away from Om Beach. You can reach here on foot or opt for a boat ride. Mostly visited by hippies, Paradise Beach is also a hidden nude beach. Since public nudity is illegal in India, you may not find people confirming the same but don’t be shocked if you find people in the buff here.

Kudle Beach: If you prefer laidback more than commercial, visit Kudle Beach which is a stone’s throw away from Om Beach. It is also cleaner and there aren’t as many tourists here. Though Gokarna does not have many luxury hotels, there is one near this beach. Kudle Beach View Resort & Spa (081309 67666) offers modern amenities and is on a hill offering stunning views of the beach.

Mahabaleshwar Temple: One of the most sacred temples in the country, Mahabaleshwar Temple sees pilgrims from all parts of India coming down to pay their respects. According to mythology, it was where Ravana left Shiva’s idol and got firmly fixed in the ground. This is where the Mahabaleshwar Temple stands today. Built out of granite in Dravidian style, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Gokarna.

Being a religious town, alcohol is banned in Gokarna. However, you might be able to get a pint of beer on the beach. Police checkings for possession of drugs is pretty high so be careful not to carry any illegal substances on you. Gokarna does not have an airport.

9. Nainital

nainital1

The stunning Naini Lake gives Nainital its names and the temples and hills surrounding it add to its splendor. Nainital is a popular hill station in Uttarakhand and is packed with tourists especially during the winter months when the weather gets chilly. September is a good time to visit Nainital as you get there just before the crowd starts coming in and don’t end up spending a bomb on accommodation and travel. Nainital is fondly called the Lake District of India and was a favorite among Britishers as a hill station. With majestic views and pure air, Nainital is a respite for the tired soul and is one of the best places to go for a relaxing vacation. Here’s what to do in Nainital.

Boat ride on Lake Naini: One of the most romantic and picturesque settings, Lake Naini is right in the heart of the city. It stretches over 3.5 km and is one the best places to watch the sunset. On the north shore of the lake, there is the Naina Devi Temple which is dedicated to Shakti, wife of Shiva. There is also Mall Road near the lake where you can shop for trinkets. When here, take a boat ride on the lake in the evening.

Visit Snow View Point: Located at an altitude of over 2000m, Snow View Point is the perfect place to get a view of the beauty of the Himalayan peaks. Trishul, Nanda Devi and Nanda Kot are visible from here. What’s more exciting is the aerial ropeway here that attracts many tourists. You can visit it by road too but this is one fun way to reach here as you admire the view. You can enjoy refreshments here like tea, snacks, etc.

 Boat House Club: For a unique experience in Nainital, visit the Boat House Club which is mostly for members but tourists can also come here by paying a nominal fee. You can enjoy a drink at its bar, play billiards and even try your hand at sailing. The Boat House Club is one of the most prestigious spots in Nainital and do visit it for lunch or evening snacks.

Kainchi Dham: Deriving its name from scissors because of the two sharp hairpin bends, Kainchi Dham is a popular pilgrim town near Nainital. It is well known because of Neem Karoli Baba who established it. There is a temple here dedicated to Hanuman and a Kainchi temple next to it. There is also a cave next to it where the baba mediated. The ashram next to the temple is also popular thanks to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs who visited it.

You will find accommodation of all budgets in Nainital but you should avoid going in the peak season when the prices skyrocket because of the influx of tourists who come here.

10. Gangtok

gangtok

Quite an offbeat destination in India, Gangtok is highly underrated and one of the most serene places in India. A hill resort, it is a popular escape for the people of northeast but not so popular for the rest of India. However, a visit here will change your mind for the amazing views it has to offer. The capital of Sikkim, Gangtok offers stunning views of Mt Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world. The cool climate is another reason to visit Gangtok. In fact, the temperature here is the lower side so you should carry warm clothes with you. It may take some time to get acclimatized here because of the atmospheric pressure but the views will leave spellbound. September is a good time to visit Gangtok when the weather is relatively pleasant and too unbearably cold. Here’s what to see in Gangtok.

Rumtek Monastery: Built by the fourth king of Sikkim, Rumtek Monastery is the largest one in the state and is the seat of Karmapa Lama. It is at an elevation of 5,000 ft and is surrounded by green landscapes. It has a golden stupa where the relics of the sixteenth Karmapa are enshrined. The monastery is about 23 km away from Gangtok but you should definitely pay a visit to admire its architectural beauty.

Himalayan Zoological Park: Himalayan bears, red pandas and civet cats are found in this zoo and it is best to hire a vehicle to see the whole area. If you are tired, you can have refreshments at the café within the zoo premises.

Damodar Ropeway: Get a bird’s eye view of Gangtok by going on a ropeway ride. The cable car starts below the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology and takes you to the Secretariat. You will have to buy tickets for the same near the Institute. People who have a fear of heights or vertigo should skip this ride.

Gangtok has many other monasteries as well that you can visit on your trip here. In order to reach Gangtok, you can fly to Siliguri which has the Bagdogra airport. From here, Gangtok is 124 km away. You can hire a cab to reach here or you can even have a helicopter ride which is available once a day. Bus services are also available.

So, where will you go this September?

Photographs: Shutterstock

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