When to visit India
Traditionally most people would travel to India in the winter months, between October to March. This makes sense for the better-known regions, such as Rajasthan and Kerala, as they fall in the tropical rainy and desert weather zones. However, much of the Himalayan region is wonderful in April and May, and for Ladakh, the best season to travel is May to September as it tends to get snowed in all winter! It can be confusing, so we’ve tried to simplify it below in a quick guide to the best time to travel to which regions.
India is a fascinating destination and has much to offer at any time of year. We’ve put together an overview of climate region-by-region below.
Best time for Golden Triangle & Rajasthan
Traditionally the best months to travel to Rajasthan and the Golden Triangle are October to March. October and March will have warm days and evenings, though the evenings can cool a little in rural regions. November and February are still lovely and warm, but evenings will require a light sweater. In December and January, a light sweater might be needed during the day but a jacket for the evenings. Remember, if you are going on safari: pack layers as mornings and evenings in an open jeep with the windchill factor can be cold. September is a beautiful month, with everything refreshed from the monsoon. Ranthambore National Park remains closed on Wednesdays.
Best time for Kerala, Goa & the South
The best season for South India and Goa as a general guideline is October to April. Being more tropical, this region doesn’t get the range of temperatures that the north of India does. Still, Goa and Kerala, in particular, start getting humid from late March onward to the monsoon in June. The monsoon time can be a magical time to travel, the rain mainly comes in the afternoons, and the monsoon season is traditionally the best time for Ayurveda. It is worth noting that Kerala and Tamil Nadu have different monsoons, and when it rains in Kerala in July and August, Tamil Nadu is likely to be dry. Kerala can have a late monsoon in October and November, but these tend to be very brief showers in the late afternoons and can be quite refreshing.
Best time for Mumbai & Central India
The best time for travel to Central India is October to April. October and April can be hot, particularly on safari; November through March are cooler and even a little chilly at night. On morning safaris, we recommend packing plenty of layers. If you are traveling to the National parks, October is just after the monsoons, so the jungles look beautiful, verdant, and green. However, this can also make sightings more difficult. For wildlife enthusiasts and photographers, if you can stand the heat, April to June is the best for sightings as the foliage has died down and the water holes are drying up. Mumbai is fun to visit at any time of year; it is humid from April – June, but avoid the monsoon as the roads, with the heavy rains, can become impossible.
Best time for the Himalayas
The best time to visit the foothills of the Indian Himalayas is from October, November, March, and April. For those who don’t want to brave the winters, these are the ideal months to catch the views of the snow-clad Himalayas while the surroundings are still green and attractive. The snow views in March are still spectacular, though they become more elusive in April. There is often snowfall from late December to early February in hill stations such as Shimla, Mussoorie, and Darjeeling. May and June are lovely months in the hills but can be very busy as this is when most of Delhi is escaping the heat of the plains. July and August, when it rains in most of the Himalayas, should be avoided. However, Ladakh and Kashmir lie beyond much of the monsoon rains, and their warm days and cool nights are peak season.
Best time for Calcutta & Northeast India
The Northeast of India experiences three main seasons – summer, monsoon, and winter. However, there are temperature variations, being vast and with varying topographies, from the plains to the hills. October to March is the perfect time to visit every region of the Northeast. The weather ranges from pleasant to freezing depending on the month and altitude. Some of the higher parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Nagaland get snow. October and March are milder, with December and January being cooler; warm clothing will be required. Most wildlife sanctuaries re-open to the public in November. April to May is an excellent time to travel, depending on your tolerance for heat and destination. The plains will be hot & humid, though naturally, it will be cooler in the hills. As with most of India, the monsoons come from June – September bringing plenty of warm rain, which means spectacular waterfalls and green landscapes. However, this is the time to avoid the plains due to flooding, and the wildlife parks are closed.
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