Best Time To Visit India

Unique cultures, colorful cities and breathtaking nature are some of the wonders awaiting you in India. The country has for many decades, been a favorite destination for tourists from all over the world who come to indulge in the pomp, color and cuisine of the land.

Visiting Indiaflickr/Scott Dexter

One characteristic that sets India apart from a lot of other countries is the climatic disparities among different regions. While you may describe a country like Kenya to have a warm pleasant climate in December, you cannot generalize in the same way for India.

This can be a problem for tourists who want to visit the country. If you go to a certain region that is experiencing its high summers, you will get baked in the relentless heat. The rainfalls too can get pretty heavy and disruptive. It is therefore extremely important to know what kind of weather exists when and where in India.

A Guide On The Best Time To Visit India

Winter Season Is The Best (November to February)

While climatic conditions may vary among different regions, a lot of places experience generally cool and dry conditions between the months of November and February. This is the best period to plan your trip when the temperatures are not too high or the weather too wet.

Take advantage of the fair weather conditions to frolic among the beaches of India. The beaches of Goa are in particular famous and will usually be full of other local and foreign visitors relaxing and having fun.

You can also take this opportunity to visit some of the driest places in the country. These include arid desert regions in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab states. Though the temperatures during the day will be pleasant, beware of being outside at night when temperatures can drop drastically due to the desert environment.

Other places to include in your winter itinerary are Central India (e.g. eastern Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh), South India and regions in the East Coast (e.g. Tamil Nadu, Coastal Karnataka, Pondicherry and Kerala) and Northern sub-tropical regions such as Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Bihar.

It is also important to take note of the short but heavy rainy season that occurs in some states in India’s East Coast. This season takes place between November and December. The most affected states include Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.

The Monsoon Seasons (June to October and October to December)

The monsoons are the times when India receives most of its annual rainfall. There are two monsoon seasons. The first one (Southwest Monsoon), occurs from the month of June through to October.
Winds, heavy with moisture blow in from the sea and first drop rainfall in the west coast during early June. By mid-month July, a major part of India is experiencing a wet season. The season is characterized by heavy prolonged rainfalls that can be broken up by days of pleasant sunshine. But don’t be fooled by the sunshine, it can start raining heavily at a moment’s notice.

Safety is of utmost importance as the first monsoon season peaks. Flooding is common in several areas including Bengal and Jungle regions in the northwest. If you are near the Himalayan hills be wary of dangerous landslides that can cause massive destruction. For those traveling, a lot of roads become entirely impassable and communication can be disrupted.

The Northwest monsoon, also called the retreating monsoon, strikes the east coast as the year comes to an end. In October, periodic thunderstorms and light rain rapidly turn into heavy downpours that can last well into December. The skies are however cleared up and the sun shines again before December ends. The most favorite monsoon season destination is Ladakh located in the far North.

Summer (March to May)

Summer is generally considered to be a bad time to visit India except for a few places such as the Himalayans or the tropical areas. The reason for this is the extreme heat that can reach such levels as to pose a danger of heatstroke.

As mentioned before, the hill areas in the Himalayan offer the best escape from the searing heat. Fortunately, the heat doesn’t last so long. As moisture evaporates due to the heat the southwest monsoon starts forming up again. Sings of approaching rain start in mid to late may where thunderstorms and intense winds become commonplace.

Famous Regions and Best Time to Visit them

As a form of summary, here are some of the most popular areas and the best times to plan a trip there.

  • Mumbai – Best time is between October and May when no rainfall is experienced. There is very heavy rainfall in July and August.
  • Delhi and Agra – October to march offers the ideal cool and dry climate conditions for a visit. For those visiting Taj Mahal, note that fog tends to occur frequently between November and February.
  • Kolkata – plan a trip between October and February. From then to April, high temperatures are common.
  • The Himalayas – avoid these areas during the wettest months of June to September. Plan for a summer trip. The coldest months of December and January should also be avoided.
Other Factors to Consider

Weather and climate are not the only factors you should base your travelling timetable on. It is necessary to consider the cost of hotels and other amenities. Predictably, hotel rates can double or even triple during the busiest winter months especially around Christmas and New years. Popular regions such as Himalayans and Goa are most susceptible to these price hikes. Other less frequented areas tend to have a constant pricing.

It is therefore best, if you are on a budget, to avoid the most popular places during high season. You can either choose a less busy time or go to a less popular region.
Finally, the festivals; India has lots of them all year round. If there is a certain festival that you have always wanted to see, catch the time of year it happens and plan your visit accordingly. Some well known festivals include Diwali in November, Rath Yatra in June, Holi in March and Republic Day on January 26.

These festivals provide a good chance to firsthand witness the culture and enjoy the unique cuisine of India.