Discovering The Joy Of Indian Summers

Much is said about the Indian summer, about its scorching heat and humidity. About avoiding them for certain travel destinations. However, summers in India have their own charm. The skies are a rich blue against a golden yellow landscape. In much of India, these two colours dominate, highlighted only with a flaming-red flourish of the Palash flowers (Butea monosperma).

In many parts of rural India, summers are also a wedding season. Perhaps that makes a family gain a member, helping them plant crops in the soon to arrive monsoons. Summers are the time for many of the most delicious fruits like mangoes, litchis, jamuns, pani-phals, water melons etc. Traditional non-alcoholic drinks like lassi, chaas, kokum serbet etc are natural coolants. In the coastal stretches of Maharashtra, the abundance of wild cashew nuts in this season makes certain unique dishes possible, like cashew nuts with dried prawns.

Summers are a great time to visit our wildlife sanctuaries. The tourist crowds have dwindled. The deciduous forests have shed most of their leaves, the shrubs have dried up, making sightings of mammals and birds much easier. Thirsty animals hang around the remaining water bodies of the jungle, and this is one of the most certain times to spot the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger.

In central and north western India, summers days can be terribly hot, but nights can be pleasant. Early mornings and late evenings can be a great time for exploring, while afternoons can be spent indoors editing images, or just plain lazy napping after a sumptuous meal of seasonal vegetables.

Cultivation next to a dam waters in the summers of Maharashtra.
A rural dust road. Yellow and blue, the colours of Indian summers.
A burst of red, from the Gulmohar (Delonix regia), a tree originally found in the wild in Madagascar.
Beautiful blue skies against a yellow landscape. Note the lopped tree, fed to livestock, rendering it useless for fruition, and slowly killing it.
Blue skies against the Lake Arthur dam.
Dam waters dry up, leaving a golden barren land, which was once dense forest before being drowned by damming.
Summers are also the time when locals burn forests to clear land, a highly sought after asset.
Hungry and thirsty cattle would have eaten all remaining grass and now depend on lopped branches.
Summers dry up local wells, and village women walk great distances carrying water pots. Note the colours.
This is also the season of weddings. At a village wedding in Maharashtra.
Preparing for a delicious wedding feast.
While the landscape outdoors is gold and blue, home interiors in the villages are painted in a dazzling palette of colours.
Bel Sharbat
A glass of soul satisfying Bel Sharbat, available only in the summers of India.
Summers are also a great time to visit our wildlife sanctuaries. The dry deciduous forests have shed their leaves making sightings more easily possible, like this Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus) in Ranthambhore. Animals are found foraging around the jungle water bodies.

16 thoughts on “Discovering The Joy Of Indian Summers”

  1. Summers!!… it has its own charm, but is very tiring especially if you got to do forest exploration. But, still nice take on summer… seeing India this way is quite real(: a true traveller will love travelling when it is cold, raining or hot. I can’t travel when it is hot but don’t mind when it is cold etc, because I like being outdoors not indoors for long with AC… That bird looks very nice, have you seen a bengal tiger in person doing forest exploration… nice summer colours though(: colourfull and interesting.

  2. Lovely use of words to evoke the smells, sounds and sights of the summer season. Even I have felt in recent years that summer is a greatly under-rated season of India.


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