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India Weather And Best Time To Visit India
India is a blend of cultures, languages, religions and ways of life. A thriving democracy that sets itself apart from the rest of the world by its efficient governing of such a diverse population, India is also as varied geographically. It has the hot deserts of Thar to the west, as well as the wetlands of Sunderbans in the east, long stretches of beaches from Goa to Kerala, as well as rugged, rocky terrains of the north. Crowning all this glory are the imposing, snow-capped Himalayas to the north. Hence it is not possible for one particular time to be the most ideal to visit India or its varied parts.
All of India experiences only 3 seasons, namely summer (March to May), monsoon (June to September) and winter (October to March). Hence when it comes to ideal weather in India for travel, the dry months from October to April can be considered the best time to visit India. For convenience though, we divide this subcontinental nation in 5 parts.
Best Time to Visit: Summer (March-May)
Himalayas are the reason India does not freeze in the winters. These chain of mountains stop the icy cold winds blowing downwards from Central Asia. Himalayas are also the birthplace of innumerable rivers of India that make life possible in this land, as well as the crown of what the citizens consider their motherland.
The Himalayas are alpine mountains, with a deciduous vegetation and a cool climate almost all year round. The terrain includes foothills like Darjeeling, Simla, Dehradun etc, rising up with altitude towards the peaks.
Travel to the foothills is possible all year round, and quite pleasant. December and January are freezing with temperatures down to around 10°C. Summers from March to May are pleasant with 13-19°C. Heavy rainfall is experienced between July to September.
As you go higher, the temperatures drop and go on dropping drastically. Summers also start becoming cold and monsoons are non-existent, while snow falls in winter. On an average, the temperature drops by 6.5°C every 1000 m. The heaviest snowfall is experienced in February. Most of Kashmir and Leh-Ladakh come in this belt. Hence the best time to visit the Himalayan region of India is summer, from March to May.
North India and Rajasthan
Best Time to Visit: Winter (October-February)
North India and Rajasthan become the hinterland or heart of the Indian subcontinent. With the descending latitude, these regions come closer to the equator and become warmer.
North India includes Punjabi states like Chandigarh, Amritsar, UP’s Agra and India’s capital Delhi. These places are best visited in winter as they are scorching in summer. The best time to visit Delhi is from October to March when temperatures can drop to as low as 8°C in January. May-June become the warmest at 40°C with high rainfall through July, August until September.
The Taj Mahal in Agra is best visited from November to February, preferably at noon, so that fog does not obscure your view.
Rajasthan is a desert state in the west, embracing hot, arid sands of Thar in its wake. Hence Rajasthan also heats up like the furnace itself during summer, with temperatures as high as 45°C. Winters are cold, dry and very pleasant, with major festivals and cultural celebrations taking place. Temperatures drop to 10°C. Rainfall is scarce and scattered. The best months to visit Rajasthan are from October to February, with Diwali as the biggest festival of lights falling in the month of October, New Year’s Night camps very popular in Jaisalmer sand dunes and Holi (February-March) a major attraction in Nathdwara (a pilgrim town of Lord Krishna near Udaipur).
Western and Central India
Best Time to Visit: Winter, early Summer (October-April)
The Western part of India is a terrain of varied moods. There are Deccan Plateaus, Aravali ranges, Goan beaches as well as the cool waters of the Arabian sea touching Mumbai’s shore.
Mumbai and areas around it are tropical with high maritime influence. It is warm all year round with temperature range of 27-38°C. They experience heavy rains from June to September. Winters are cool and temperatures drop to about 16°C by January. This is the best time to visit Mumbai. The Ganpati festival is one of Mumbai’s most famous festivals and is celebrated over 10 days in August-September.
Moving further down south to Goa, the temperatures are more merciful. Goa enjoys a pleasant weather all year round. The temperature doesn’t vary much through summers and winters, ranging between 24-32°C. Monsoon is very wet and brings 994mm of rainfall between June to September. October marks the beginning of tourist influx in Goa and the season continues until April-May.
The central part of India is another unique mix of culture and geography in itself. Madhya Pradesh makes for one of the most coveted destinations here, with Gwalior, Khajuraho, Ujjain Kaal Bhairav etc. Being surrounded by land and close to the equator, central India is quite hot with temperature between 38-40°C in summers (March to May). Winters are cold, temperatures falling to about 11°C in December. The best time to visit MP is in winter, between November and February. However, some major festivals like Kumbh Mela of Ujjain, are held in the summer.
East and North East
Best Time to Visit: Winter in Tropical destinations (December-January), Summer in Mountainous regions (April-June)
The Eastern part of India includes cities like Kolkata and Guwahati in the tropical belt, with Northeastern sister states of Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya etc on a higher altitude.
Cities of the east like Kolkata are tropical, with a distinct dry and wet season. Temperatures in the summer (February to May) rise up to 35°C, winters from December to January are as cool as 9°C. June to September are distinctly monsoon months, with high rainfall and sunny days. So the best time to visit the East is December-January.
North East is a different ball game when it comes to the weather. It is rather inaccessibly during heavy rains of monsoon (June to September) and peak of winters (December to February). The mountains freeze, roads are closed after snowfall and everything lies suspended. Temperatures range from 7-10°C during winters. Summers are the best time to visit though, with a clear, pleasant sky and 10-25°C temperature range. The tourist season in the North east starts in April and goes on until late June.
Best Time to Visit: Winter, early Summer (December-April)
South India is the closest to the equator, which makes it hot. It is also surrounded by water bodies on three sides (Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea), hence a moderate maritime influence prevails mostly. The best time to visit the South is in winter, when the skies are clear and lands dry, with cool, pleasant temperatures. There are, however, some distinctions depending on the region.
Coastal places like Kerala are best visited between December and February, when it is least humid and daytime temperature ranges between 22-30°C. Hill stations like Munnar are covered with a light fog and much cooler during this time.
Monsoon arrives by June to Kerala and Tamil Nadu, persisting until October-November. These areas generally receive high rainfall and are not very touristy during this season. But it is believed that Ayurvedic treatments are most effective during this season so the south of India sees much influx of tourists. Onam, the famous boat race festival is also celebrated around this time in September, making Kerala quite crowded, while the Rath Yatra of Jagannath Puri and Dussehra of Mysore are also famous festivals.