When to go to India?

In general India has three climatic seasons: the hot, the wet and the cool season. The absolute best time to visit India is from November to February, during the cool season. This is the time of the year when the temperature in India is the most comfortable and the humidity the lowest. Almost all regions of India can be visited during this season, especially the beach areas. The dry hot season is from April to June, this is a good time for a trekking in the Himalayas, this also applies to the month November.

Try to avoid traveling to India during the monsoon season from July to September, if this is your only opportunity to visit India, try to visit the higher altitude Himalayan regions in the north. The Himalayas face snowfall from December to February, don't go here during this cool season, unless you want to go skiing!

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The best time to visit India

The absolute best months to visit India are the months November to February. Most of the country remains cool and the humidity is the lowest of the year. Most regions can be visited during this time of the year (except for the east coast in November and December). The temperature throughout the country during daytime varies between 50 to 77°F (10 to 25°C). The cool season is a perfect time to visit the backwaters in the south of the country, or spend some quality time on the sandy beaches on the western side of the country. The Himalayas face snowfall from December to February, don't go here during this cool season, unless you want to go skiing!

A large number of festivals get held during the winter months (cool season). The ‘Diwali festival’ (festival of lights), is celebrated all over the country (around October/November). The 'Pushkar Mela' (Pushkar Camel Fair) is an annual five-day camel and livestock fair, held in the town of Pushkar (October/November). In December, Christmas is celebrated with pomp and glory as in other parts of the world. In January, the Indians celebrate 'Makar Sankranti' (the Harvest Festival), which is known by different names in different states of the country of which the ‘Pongal’ in Tamilnadu is the most famous.

The neutral months to visit India

The ‘shoulder season’ to visit India is the month October (transition from the rainy to the cool season) and the period from March to May (the hot season). Especially, the hot season period can be suitable for people that want to avoid the high season and can handle the higher temperature.

In October the four day ‘Durga Puja’ festival is celebrated, followed by ‘Dussehra’, which is one of the most important Hindu festivals and also takes place in October. The 'Festival of Colors', or 'Holi', gets celebrated in the month of March throughout the country. People are spraying colored water and aromatic colored powder on each other.

Better not to go to India

It can be advisable to avoid traveling to India during the monsoons. The country has two monsoons namely the South-West monsoon and the North-East Monsoon. The North-East Monsoon occurs during the months of November and December and affects the east coast of the country more than the rest. The states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala receive the maximum rainfall during this period.

The South-West Monsoon is the primary Monsoon season that brings heavy rains to the country. It starts over the Indian Ocean below the Arabian Sea on the West coast of the country and moves up to cover the whole country within a matter of a few weeks. It hits the western shore of the country in early June and by mid-July the entire country experiences the rainy season.

Farmers wait for these monsoons with eager anticipation as their crops can flourish due to the rain it brings with it. But the country faces its most challenging time during the monsoons, as massive flooding occurs in many parts of the country. Roads are washed away creating problems in transportation. Electric poles cause disruptions in power distribution when they are either washed away or knocked over by high winds. Food shortages occur due to the breakdown of the transport system, and communications can get held up. It may rain continuously for days on end to upset the best well-laid plans for sightseeing and traveling.

The Himalayas face snowfall from December to February, don't go here during this cool season, unless you want to go skiing!

Weather and seasons of India

The weather varies throughout India at all times of the year. It is the world’s seventh largest country of which almost half lies above the ‘Tropic of Cancer’ and the other below it.

India primarily has three climatic seasons:

  • Winter (cool) season: October to March
  • Summer (hot) season: April to May/June
  • Rainy (wet) season: June/July to September

The peak of the summer season occurs during the months of May and June, when the temperatures in most parts of the country soar to great levels. The hill stations located in the mountainous portions of the country are the most sought-after destinations at this time of the year.

The rainy season starts with the Monsoon rains that arrive at the end of June and continues up to September. Travel during this period may become difficult sometimes due to floods and too much rain.

The winter season starts as early as October after the monsoon rain has provided relief from the heat and dust. This season stretches up to the beginning of April, when the weather begins to get hot again. The temperature during this winter (cool) season is the coldest in the northern regions of the country, with snow falling everywhere. The temperature goes up as you travel from the north to the south of the country. The southernmost part of the country experiences the most comfortable weather of the year (cool and dry).

India experiences two monsoons during the year:

  • South-West monsoon: early June to September, impact the whole country, starting in the west of India
  • North-East Monsoon: October to November, has the most impact on the east coast of India

The weather overview pictures below (both °F and °C) perfectly show that

Temperature and precipitation overview (°F) Temperature and precipitation overview (°C)
Weather of India (°F) Weather of India (°C)

Map and current weather of India

Drag the yellow iconStreetview iconto a location on the map for the "Google streetview" mode.
Click on the weather icon to see the forecast for the next days.

Best time to visit specific highlights of India

There are a large number of places of interest which you can visit in India. Below you find a short description and the best time to visit each:

  • Amritsar: this city is the home to famous Golden Temple in Punjab. It is the spiritual capital of the Sikh community and a very busy city. October to March are the months when you can visit this city and spend some time at the nearby Wagah Border and visit the famous site of the 1919 Jalianwala Bagh massacre.
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands: located in the Indian Ocean, it is a string of islands that are on the southernmost part of the country. The weather is tropical, and you can visit the place year-round, except the rainy season when it frequently rains very heavily. Some of the islands are inhabited by one of the most ancient tribes in the world.
  • Dharamsala: is the spiritual capital of the Tibetans who have left their native country to come and live here. It has the largest Tibetan monastery outside Tibet and is the place where their spiritual head the Dalai Lama lives. You can get a lovely view of the Himalayas from the Triund hill near the city or visit the Bhagsu waterfall. The time to visit this place is from October to March, though you can also visit the place during the summer months of April, May and June.
  • Gangtok: It is the capital of the state of Sikkim. The Rumtek Monastery and the Enchey Monastery are the main tourist attractions along with the botanical garden containing hundreds of different kinds of orchids. The Nathula pass on the Silk route is on the Indo-China border very near to this city. The months stretching from October to March are the best time to pay a visit to this lovely place.
  • Goa: the Goa beaches offer great relaxation from the humdrum of daily life. You can visit churches, temples and mosques dotting a vast area and everywhere the influence of Portuguese colonial rule is evident. The best time to visit Goa is the months of October to March.
  • Hampi: is a UNESCO World Heritage sites with the rockiest terrain in the whole of India. Rock climbing and exploration trips to the various ruins of temples dotting the landscape are the main attractions. You can travel to this place during the months of October to March.
  • Jaipur: is well-known as the Pink City because of the color of the stone with which the stucco structures got built. The forts and palaces are the places that will seem very interesting when you explore them. The best time is again the winter months of October to March when the heat is less, and you can move around comfortably.
  • Manali: is famous for the four-story wooden temple dedicated to Goddess Hadimba and the River Beas. It is in the Kullu valley of the state of Himachal Pradesh in Northern India. The climate is freezing in winter with regular snowfalls. You can come here in the months of October to March and enjoy rafting, hiking, Heliskiing, and mountaineering.
  • Munnar: situated in the state of Kerala, it sits on the southernmost part of the mountain range called the Western Ghats. Paragliding, Trekking to the Anaimudi peak and visits to the Eravikulam National Park are the main attractions here. The best time to visit this place is the winter months of October to March, but you can also plan a trip during the summer months April to June.
  • Ootacamund (Ooty): is a hill station located in the Nilgiri mountain range in Tamilnadu. You can visit this hill station at any time of the year as the weather is always mild. The nights during the months of January and December are cold.
  • Sunderbans: the world’s largest mangrove swamp beckons everybody from all over the world to pay it a visit. The preserve of the Royal Bengal Tiger, it is full of rivulets and marshes that you can see in the months October to March. Heavily guarded boats from West Bengals’s tourism can take you to remote locations to enjoy the sight of the most beautiful animal on the earth and bring you safely back so that you can proceed to Kolkatta.

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Skiing in India

Skiing in India is restricted to the northern parts of the country only, where snowfall permits winter sports. Unfortunately, a proper infrastructure is not common in India, though you can enjoy skiing on small areas of the mountain slopes. The other problem with serious skiing in India is that areas, where this sport can be carried out, are very near to international borders. The proximity of the international borders poses a security risk and acts as a deterrent to setting up the proper infrastructure to carry out this sport successfully.

The places where skiing facilities are available are Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir and Kufri and the Solang Valley in Himachal Pradesh are two of the best-known places where skiing in India is possible. Lachung and Yumthang in Sikkim are also gaining in popularity because of this sport.

Skiing is best done, during the cool season, from October to March.

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Pay special attention to

While planning any visit to India, there are a few things that you should keep in mind:

  • Clothing: always wear modest clothing wherever you go. Clothes that may be common in Western countries may not be acceptable in India. Indian clothes are light and inexpensive. Wearing them will help you merge with the crowds better.
  • Permits: special permits are required to visit areas that are near the international borders, and you might get arrested for trespassing if you do not have a proper license.
  • Walking around at night: avoid moving at night as much as possible and do not be over friendly with unknown people. Your over-frankness may get misinterpreted for something else. Ask somebody known to you to accompany you at night (especially for woman).

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Do you have a question about visiting India? Or do you want to share your knowledge of India with other travelers? Please, visit our India forum.

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