With its charm, exotic atmospheres, ancient history, spicy cuisine and traditions, India offers sensational and unforgettable travel experiences. And do you know when the best time to visit India is?
It is a country rich in varied landscapes, from modern and chaotic Mumbay and New Delhi to the imposing peaks of the Himalayas, passing through the paradisiacal beaches of the southern coast, with the tropical forests, villages and rivers of Kerala and then remain enchanted by the splendors of Rajasthan.
India is one of those places that can fulfill the dreams of all: nature lovers can venture into the jungle and mountains or simply relax in the bays overlooking crystal clear waters, those who are passionate about history and culture can visit the great palaces and lively bazaars, while those who want to take a dip in the local flavors can taste the spicy dishes at the stalls or in local restaurants. India is also the home of yoga and today there are many holiday packages that combine visits with yoga courses.
Considering the vastness of this land and the great variety of landscapes, it is not surprising that the climate of India is very different from one region to another. It may happen that while the far south is affected by tropical rain, in the north the cities are buried under a blanket of snow. For this reason the choice of the best time to visit India must be made essentially in relation to the region you want to visit.
The climate of India
In general, India’s climate is characterized by three seasons: a hot and sultry summer (from March to the end of May), the monsoon season (from June to the end of October) and a cool and sunny winter (from November to the end of February).
The monsoon rains do not appear all at once, but are preceded by sporadic thunderstorms which become increasingly frequent and abundant. In some cases floods are also generated which cause a lot of damage.
For those who want to make a complete tour, the best period to visit India from the point of view of the weather is winter, because in this season the best conditions are found in almost the whole country, while if you are interested only in a specific region it is good to check what is the most suitable period to visit that particular region. Of course, you must also take into account your preferences: in summer the humidity reaches very high levels, so if for example you can’t stand the heat, opt for other periods if you can.
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The seven climatic regions
India is divided into seven climatic regions, so if you need to know when is the best time to visit your favorite Indian area, here they are:
The Himalayas climatic region
Includes the regions of Darjeeling and Shimla, winters are cold and snowy, particularly in December and January, when temperatures fall below zero at night and during the day they do not exceed 10°C. Despite the cold weather, however, many travelers who love snowy landscapes and winter sports choose this period to go to India, because these are regions that lend themselves to being visited all year round, but keep in mind that some roads may be impassable in case of heavy snowfall. If you travel at this time of year, bring heavy clothing, ski jackets to keep you warm and don’t forget your scarf, gloves and cap. Summers, on the other hand, offer a cool climate with temperatures ranging between 13°C and 19°C.
Those who travel during this period are advised to bring heavier clothing but also accessories to protect themselves from the sun (sunscreen, sunglasses and hat) especially if you venture into the high mountains. Summer is the best time to visit India in this area, while it is best to avoid the rainy season: Darjeeling has heavy rainfall from June to September and Shimla from July to the end of August. If you can’t choose any other time of year, wear waterproof shoes and a rain jacket. It should be said that between these two regions Shimla offers more pleasant temperatures all year round than Darjeeling.
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Delhi climatic region
The best time to visit this northern region of India, where the city of New Delhi is located, is in winter (October-March), when temperatures are moderate during the day (around 20°C) from November to February, while in March and October they can be as low as 30°C. However, there is a considerable temperature range between daytime and evening, when temperatures can drop as low as 8°C, so I suggest you also pack heavy clothing for the night. May and June are instead characterized by intense heat, with minimums around 26°C and maximums that can reach 40°C. Protecting yourself from the sun and also from mosquitoes is very important in summer: pack a high protection sun cream, insect repellent spray, a hat and sunglasses.
The hot and dry climate then leaves room for moisture and heavy rainfall in Delhi from July to September; during this period, always wear a rain jacket or umbrella at hand and wear waterproof shoes. If you are planning to visit the Taj Mahal mausoleum in Agra, choose the best time to visit India according to the season for better visibility: from November to February there may be some fog in the early morning hours, so it is best to opt for late morning or afternoon; in the rest of the year the best hours are the evening sunset, when it is less hot and there are fewer tourists around.
Rajasthan climatic region
This region has a climate similar to the neighboring Delhi and Agra, but being very large it has some differences inside, with a western part with a warm and dry climate and an eastern part characterized by the rainy season between July and August. To the west Rajasthan includes a large part of the Thar Desert, where temperatures reach 45°C in summer, while around the district of Udaipur the summer climate is pleasantly cooler.
In the area west of Aravalli Hills and Jaisalmer district there is a much drier climate throughout the year, with low rainfall and lower humidity, in contrast to the eastern areas where the climate is more tropical and rainfall is more abundant, especially in July and August. If you are travelling during these two months, take everything you need to cope with sudden thunderstorms: pack a jacket and waterproof shoes. The best time to visit this region in India is from October to March.
Calcutta climatic region
In the eastern part, India has a warm tropical climate all year round, in which there are mainly two seasons, the dry season and the rainy season. In December and January temperatures reach almost 30°C during the day, while at night they can drop to around 10°C. So don’t forget light clothing and accessories to protect you from the sun during the day, but also pack some heavier clothing for the evening. From February, humidity and temperatures start to rise progressively, exceeding 35°C by far.
During this period it is important to protect yourself from mosquitoes, which are more numerous with high humidity, so always carry a repellent spray with you. The rainy season is between June and September: rainfall is abundant and frequent, but there are also sunny days. It is therefore advisable to be prepared for all eventualities, bringing with you both light clothing and waterproof shoes and jacket or cape.
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Mumbai climatic region
Located on the west coast of India, has a favorable climate from October to May, when temperatures are not too high and there is almost a total absence of rainfall. During the winter temperatures range from 15°C to 29°C, while during the summer the heat increases and there is an average between 26°C and 33°C. If you think the winter is the best time to visit India, dress in layers so that you can walk around in lighter clothes during the day and cover yourself in the evening when the air gets cooler, while if you travel in the summer, wear large, lightweight clothes and wear everything you need to protect yourself from the sun.
Don’t forget a scarf and a jacket to wear in air-conditioned places so as not to suffer from temperature changes. From June to September there is the rainy season, which is more abundant in July and August, when unfortunately it is difficult for there to be entirely sunny days. Most of the time, however, these are short, passenger thunderstorms, so it is important that you have a waterproof jacket or umbrella with you if you are caught in a sudden downpour.
Goa climatic region
The tiny state of Goa is famous for its beaches and with the exception of the rainy season (June-September), where a visit is not recommended due to the abundant and almost incessant rainfall, the rest of the year each period is ideal to go to India and relax on the beach. From December to May, the minimum temperatures are around 22-24°C, while the maximum reaches over 30°C. So pack your swimsuit, flip-flops, sunscreen, sunglasses and beach towel!
Kerala climatic region
The south of India has high temperatures throughout the year and they rarely fall below 20°C in winter, while in May and June they reach as high as 35°C. With the exception of the rainy season, which lasts from June to the end of August, every time of the year is perfect to discover this magical land, take a boat trip on the rivers that run through villages and forests or simply relax on white beaches, similar to the most beautiful beaches in Spain.
Pack your swimsuit, flip-flops, sunscreen and hiking shoes and trousers if you are planning excursions. From September to December there may be sporadic but intense thunderstorms in the evening, so if you are traveling during these months, pack all you need to protect yourself from the rain, such as a jacket and waterproof shoes.
The best time to visit India month by month
After a detailed overview of each India climate region we see month by month which are the most interesting events and places and what is the best time to visit them in India.
March – April – May
From the end of February temperatures slowly start to rise throughout India from the north of the country, reaching 40°C in many places in May. In the south temperatures are slightly lower but there is a higher humidity, which anticipates the arrival of the rainy season. Those who do not suffer from the heat could opt for this period to visit India in a quieter atmosphere, considering that the high season ends in February / March, so there are few tourists around and at the same time the rainy season is avoided. This is also a good time to save money because hotels and flights are starting to lower prices.
Where to go during this period
It is the best time for hiking and trekking in the hills and mountains in the Himalaya region and to visit the national parks. At high altitudes the air is fresh and nature offers incredible spectacles with green and flowery landscapes. From April, when temperatures rise it is easier to see animals such as tigers and elephants roaming around in search of water.
Holi Festival (March). There is nothing better than celebrating the arrival of the Indian summer with a festival entirely dedicated to colors! One of the best festivals around the world takes place in various locations around the country where people gather in the open spaces to have fun in colorful powder fights.
June – July – August – September – October
In the south and throughout western India June marks the arrival of the rainy season. Although traditional Ayurveda medicine claims that this is the best time for therapeutic treatments, it is difficult to recommend visiting India during this period, although it is a low season, it is certainly a good idea to save money, as the torrential rains could make the roads impassable and prevent connections; there is also the risk of flooding.
Where to go during this period
If there is one place that is not touched by monsoon rains, it is Ladakh, in the far north of India. Here the winter is longer and the snow covers the roads until June before melting and discovering the extraordinary beauty of this isolated but very popular region, also known as Little Tibet.
Rajasthan International Folk Festival (October). It takes place in Jodphur and consists of a series of traditional dance and music performances in which artists from various locations in the country perform.
Diwali (October or November), the Hindu Festival of Lights, is one of the best places to visit in India. It lasts five days and thousands of candles or lamps are lit in all places; it is certainly an unmissable and exciting event.
November – December – January – February
In November the rains are now a distant memory in almost the whole country, except for a few areas on the east coast. The sunny days and mild temperatures welcome visitors during what is considered the high tourist season. Certainly, prices are higher than at other times, especially during the Western Christmas and New Year holidays, and a greater influx of tourists is synonymous with longer queues at the attractions, but on the other hand this is also the time when the main events and festivals take place.
If the Indian climate is harsh in the north, in the south it is time to go to the beach!
Where to go during this period
In general this period is great to visit practically the whole Indian country! Many tourists flock to the beaches of the west coast, especially in the state of Goa, famous for the beauty of the landscape and night parties. It’s also the best time to visit the far south (Kerala) because in the other months the climate is always humid and there are more or less frequent rains.
It could also be the ideal time to visit Rajasthan, staying away from the hot summer heat. The Himalaya area is covered by a thick blanket of snow, which certainly gives a magical scenery and attracts winter sports lovers, but it is not the best time to go trekking or other activities!
Kite Festival (January). It is one of the biggest events in Gujarat; on this occasion the sky fills with a myriad of kites.
Bikaner Camel Festival (January). A colorful festival dedicated to camels that take place in the city of Bikaner, in the Rajasthan desert. You can attend parades, camel rides and competitions, as well as traditional music and dance shows.
Republic Day (26 January). On this day, which celebrates the birth of the Indian constitution, festivities, parades and shows are held all over the country. Kerala Temple & Elephant Festival (February to May). Kerala is full of temples and this festival, which is repeated several times during this period, has as its main activity the parades of elephants at the various places of worship.