It's not just the weather man who keeps an eye on the sky for the rain-laden clouds that bring the life-affirming monsoons to the country. From little children to farmers and bankers to the finance minister all heave a sigh after the announcement of a normal monsoon.
The clouds travel from the Indian Ocean to reach the coasts of Kerala and from there the monsoon starts its four-month long season to typically cover half of the country by mid-June, and the entire country by mid-July.
Here we attempt to map the monsoon as it travels its course to quench parched lands and souls:
Last year, the monsoon arrived on June 6, a day after the forecast and five days after the usual date, and the season ended with deficient rains. This year the much-awaited rains began its journey from Kerala on June 5, five days later than expected. Southwest monsoon quickly covered northeast India by the next day.
Its progress over the interiors of peninsular India was a little sluggish in the initial phase. However, the monsoon current gained strength as the cyclonic storm Ashobaa moved away from the Indian coast. The entire coastal Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were drenched on June 13.
On June 14, as the southwest monsoon advanced further entire Maharashtra, south Gujarat, central and south Madhya Pradesh, parts of Chhattisgarh and south Odisha were drenched in the rain. It also covered sub-Himalayan West Bengal.
Heavy rains lashed west coast with Mumbai, Honavar in Karnataka and Panaji in Goa on June 15. On the east coast, parts of Telangana and Rayalseema region recorded moderate to heavy rainfall. Several places over east and central India witnessed heavy pre-Monsoon rains, showing favourable weather conditions for the further advancement of the monsoon.
On June 16, several parts of Gujarat, central Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal witnessed moderate to good rainfall. It remained active along the west coast, particularly over coastal Karnataka, Konkan Goa and coastal Maharashtra that were witnessing moderate to heavy rains. South Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh also received moderate showers.
It was on June 17 that the weather man predicted the fretting and fuming in Kolkata is likely to end soon with the monsoon currents on the right track and hit the city in next two-three days. Heavy rains in Bhubaneswar is also expected in the next two days. In one go, the monsoon may cover Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and parts of Bihar by the weekend.
In Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state Gujarat too the wait will be a little longer with Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad and Vadodara expected to get rains between June 19-21.
According to Skymet, while areas like Gorakhpur and Varanasi in east Uttar Pradesh will receive rainfall between June 20-22, Lucknow, Kanpur and Allahabad will have to wait till June 22-24. And, by the end of June it will cover the entire state.
Making its way further north, while rains are expected to reach Uttarakhand's Mussoorie, Dehradun and Nainital between June 28 and 30, Delhi and Haryana are expected to get drenched between June 28-July 2. Himachal Pradesh too will receive rainfall at the same time. Between July 2-4, Jaipur and Kota will be the first places in Rajasthan to experience showers this year.
Then comes the turn of states like Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan which will be the final destination of the rain-filled clouds between July 3-15. In Chandigarh, Amritsar, Srinagar and Jammu, the monsoon is expected to reach between July 3-5. Only days later, Jodhpur in western Rajasthan and Bikaner in the northwest of the state are likely to see monsoon clouds hovering over them between July 7 and 9. Jaisalmer and Barmer will be the last post for the monsoon to have covered the entire country between July 10-15.