When to visit - India

When is the best time to visit India?

When is the best time to visit India?

India is almost a continent in itself, and as such has a wide variety of regional climates. Broadly speaking the best months to travel are in line with wider south and south-east Asia: October through to early April. During this time temperatures are pleasant across most of the country, and there is very little rainfall. This is a fine time to travel country-wide: the climate is ideal for outdoor activities, cultural exploration, and amenable whether you are up in the hills or sat on the beach. Wildlife sightings tend to be at their best in national parks at this time too. See our pick of the best experiences in India.

What are the best months to be in India?

What are the best months to be in India?

Heat begins to build up throughout April and May onwards, with extremes touching 50 degrees in rural Rajasthan. At this time Indians are quite literally praying for rain, and the monsoon becomes the number one topic of conversation! However, if you are happy with heat, this can still be an excellent time to travel as rates and tourist numbers are at their lowest. Rajasthan and the Gangetic plains of north India are scorched at this time, but the heat can still be bearable in the south and in any areas at elevation. These spring months are also a particularly excellent time to travel in the Himalayan regions in the far north, when temperatures are ideal for hiking and the valleys are carpeted in spring blossoms. 

When is the monsoon in India?

When is the monsoon in India?

India’s climate (not to mention its art, poetry, folklore...) is dominated by the monsoon. The southwest monsoon generally arrives first in Kerala at the beginning of June, then splits into two heading up the western and eastern coasts. The rains tend to arrive in Mumbai around 10 days later, in Delhi by the end of the month, and climax with intense downpours in the Kolkata and the far North-East in late summer. With such intense rainfall, most will see this as a time to completely avoid travel to India. However, for some the monsoon time can be a fine time to travel: a time of celebration, lush tropical landscapes, and low prices!

See our full range of holidays to India.

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Central India Weather Information (Bhopal)

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Max Temp °C262934384137302930312826
Min Temp °C111318222726232322181311
Hours Daylight111112131314131312121111
Rainfall (mm)13592810035535922930913

October – March: The states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra enjoy long, dry sunny days from October through to March. These months are the best time to visit the bustling city of Mumbai, the photogenic temples and palaces of Orchha, or track tiger in one of Madhya Pradesh’s prime National Parks: Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench and Tadoba. Anyone with an interest in classical Indian Dance should visit Khajuraho in February for the annual Dance Festival, which highlights the richness of Indian classical dance styles such as Kathak, Odissi and Kathakali. Mumbai’s vibrant Catholic community and numerous churches makes it one of the best places in India to spend Christmas. Diwali can be enjoyed in the large cities of the region, such as Bhopal, but the festivities are unlikely to be as grand as those further north.  

April – September: Central Indian summers tend to be hot and very wet with most of the region’s rain falling between June and mid-September. National parks close during the monsoon months, but diehard wildlife enthusiasts may wish to brave the very hot temperatures to maximize their chances of spotting wildlife in April and May – a period when water levels are at their lowest and the animals tend to congregate around the last remaining waterholes.

Northern India Weather Information (Delhi)

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Max Temp °C182328363937343333312721
Min Temp °C7111522222727262419138
Hours Daylight91011121212889111010
Rainfall (mm)231813887418017311710310

October - March: The best time to visit Rajasthan and the other states of the northern and western plains – broadly Punjab, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh – is during the dry season between October and March when days are warm, dry and sunny. Diwali usually falls in October and November and is celebrated with beautiful candle displays throughout the country. Some of the grandest celebrations take place in this part of India, with the most memorable found in Varanasi, Jaipur and Udaipur. A variety of cattle fairs take place in Rajasthan in the months of November and February, but none are more famous than the Pushkar Camel Fair, which usually falls in October or November. December and January tend to be peak tourist months so travelling either side of this in November or February is recommended. Note that the whole region can be chilly in January and December, especially early morning and late at night, so a jumper or jacket will be required. Holi, the spring festival, and a celebration of colour and mischief usually falls in March and festivities are particularly vibrant in Rajasthan. The uninitiated may find the revelries in the larger cities overwhelming, so we recommend joining the celebrations in a rural homestay property in a thoroughly authentic, yet not overpowering setting.

April - September: Delhi, Rajasthan, and destinations throughout the northern and western plains become extremely hot in late Spring, with the monsoon arriving in the summer months. Temperatures can get very hot in the spring months of April and May, but this is a great time to head on a safari to snap some photos of India’s top wildlife in either Ranthambore or Sasan Gir as the scarcity of water encourages animals out into the open. The monsoon rains arrive from mid-June to the end of September but this part of the country escapes with relatively mild downpours. During this time hotels slash their rates so this is a good time to grab a bargain.

Kolkata & the North-East Weather Information (Kolkata)

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
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Max Temp °C262934363533323232312926
Min Temp °C131520242526262626231813
Hours Daylight111112131313131312121111
Rainfall (mm)14222851126301375339305141267

October – March: The best time to visit the eastern states of West Bengal, Meghalaya, Assam, and Nagaland is roughly November to March when days are long, dry and warm. The shoulder months of October and April are also pleasant but there will be an increased chance of occasional showers. There are a couple of festivals which any culture seeker should try and time their visit to include: The Majuli Island Festival takes place in November every year and is a celebration of the traditions of the people of the region; The Hornbill Festival, also known as the ‘Festival of Festivals’, takes place every December in Kohima and is an opportunity to experience the food, songs, dance and customs of the various tribes of Nagaland. Wildlife enthusiasts in search of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros in Kaziranga National Park should aim to visit between December and March when conditions are favorable for wildlife viewing.

April – September: The eastern states experience heavy monsoonal rain from June to mid-September making travel difficult. The Kaziranga National Park floods during the monsoon and remains closed. The water level starts to recede from October with the park opening to visitors from November. Water levels in the park are at their lowest in April making this the best month to spot animals but days will be hot and humid so should only be considered by the most ardent wildlife enthusiasts.

Far North & the Himalaya Weather Information (Shimla)

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Cool temperatures
Max Temp °C131519242828262524221916
Min Temp °C581119192122211815107
Hours Daylight101112131414141312121110
Rainfall (mm)6476868172187424407179231117

October – March: Travelling further north towards the Himalayas and the foothills – broadly the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and neighboring hill station Darjeeling, one finds much cooler climes. As one would expect in a mountainous area, the winter months are very cold but hill stations such as Shimla can be very atmospheric at this time of year. The best times to visit the Himalaya regions are during spring and the post-monsoon months of October and November; during these months temperature levels are low, there is little rainfall, and Himalayan views are at their best. Nature lovers should time any visit to Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Darjeeling with the Rhododendron blooms in March and April.

April – September: Like much of India, the monsoon brings heavy rainfall in July and August making views of the Himalayan vistas difficult as the mountains are often obscured by fog and cloud. It is also highly recommended to avoid travel in May and June as the mountain destinations are especially popular with domestic and international tourists retreating to the hills to escape the searing lowland heat.

Ladakh: Ladakh stands apart from India’s other Himalayan states. As the region lies on the other side of the mighty Himalaya its climate is unique – it is largely inhospitable for much of the year, but glorious between June and August making the summer months the best time to visit Ladakh. During these months the weather is clear, dry, and cool, leaving the magical landscapes wide open for outdoor exploration. The region’s monasteries often hold festivals during this period making a visit during the summer months even more attractive.  

Kerala Weather Information (Kochi)

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Max Temp °C323132333229292829303031
Min Temp °C222425262522232222232323
Hours Daylight121212121313131212121212
Rainfall (mm)20303612139570569333034027614035

October – March: As one travels to the southern states of Goa, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu the climate becomes distinctly tropical. These areas are warm year-round, consistently hovering around the high-twenties to low-thirties, but there are distinct seasonal patterns between each. As a rule of thumb, the dry season in December to March is the best time to visit Kerala and the southern states - the guaranteed sunshine and pleasant days should be especially attractive for those looking to kick back on the beaches of Kerala or Goa. Tamil Nadu receives a large amount of its annual rainfall in October and November during the second 'retreating' monsoon so is best visited between December and March. The ten-day Dussehra festival takes place in Mysore each October and involves a variety of colourful processions making it an interesting time to visit the city, although there will be a chance of occasional showers. It is worth noting hill station destinations such as Coonoor and Ooty in the Western Ghats can dip into chilly single figures during winter months.

April – September: There is a marked increase in humidity in April and May before the monsoon arrives. The heavens really open from June to August with large amounts of rain falling on the western states of Kerala and Goa. September is the traditional end of the Monsoon in Kerala, but the pattern has become less predictable recently with rains continuing throughout September in some years. The rains peak in Karnataka in September with the chance of showers carrying over into October before clearing up by November.