When to visit India

The best time to visit India

The most popular time to visit India is between October and March, when the weather in most places is likely to be warm, sunny, and dry.

In October and November, you’ll enjoy the lush greenery and the freshness left behind by the summer monsoon.

By mid-November into December and January, most areas start experiencing their coldest weather, which in South India is very pleasant compared to European winter weather.

Regional Travel Guidance

North India

The best time to visit is October to April.

December and January are the coldest months. The higher Himalayan areas can be very cold and can see snowfall, but offer clear mountain views. In the plains, fog can be an issue, mostly in the mornings, but at times persistent throughout the day. Severe fog may cause some travel disruptions.

By mid-January, fog clears to leave bright days with pleasant daytime temperatures.  

Temperatures start rising in April, but there are bargains to be had and great wildlife sightings if you can withstand the heat.

The monsoon lasts from June to September, but in drier areas like the Golden Triangle, Rajasthan and Gujarat, rains have usually receded enough by end August for you to grab a great bargain holiday before the Joneses arrive in October.

Ladakh

Ladakh, located in the far north is an excellent choice when the rest of the country experiences the monsoon.

The best time to visit is May-September, although the peak tourist season is June-August.

The air is crisp, blue and visibility is high. Temperatures are pleasant and perfect for sightseeing, adventure sports or trekking.

There is a short monsoon in July, when whatever little rain dry Ladakh receives is in heavy but short-lived downpours.

Winters are extremely harsh and unforgiving, with places like Kargil experiencing lows of -50°c.

South India

Karnataka and Goa are excellent from October to April. The weather is perfect for beach, wildlife and cultural holidays.

April-May gradually hot up to the arrival of the first monsoon on peninsular India in June. Rains last until end-Sep.

It is a good time to escape on a mindfulness, yoga or ayurvedic spa for an idyllic holiday, as the sensory experience of rain and lush green landscape aids rejuvenation.

Unlike the rest of India which has a single summer monsoon, Kerala, the eastern half of South India and the Andaman Islands receive two annual monsoons, the second, shorter monsoon making November a wet month. Therefore, the best time to visit here is from December to March.

Regional Travel Guidance

Monthly guide for travelling

January sees mild temperatures and very little rainfall, making it the perfect time to visit India.

The mountainous regions may see snowfall, so wrap up warm and savour the gorgeous mountain views while holding a warm cup of chai.

Some morning fog may linger in North India but most days are sunny and dry, perfect for sightseeing. Nights can get chilly so come equipped with clothing layers.

South India is at its best, with warm sunny days and pleasant evenings.

Any remaining Fog and mist clear up in North India. Nearly the whole country is warm and sunny.

March is great time to travel for both great weather and the popular festival of Holi, the colourful Indian festival celebrated by throwing coloured water and gulal (powder) at participants.

Temperatures start rising across India, making the first half of April one of the best times for some international visitors to spot tigers.

This is a great month to venture into Himalayan India, as snow starts to melt, providing excellent hiking and trekking opportunities. It is also perfect time to explore the wildlife of these regions. It’s a good time for visiting Sikkim and upland West Bengal.

May sees high temperatures and humidity across most of India, except the Himalayan regions where it’s pre-monsoon trekking season.

If you are a keen wildlife photographer, and can endure the consistently high temperatures (42°C+), this is the best time for wildlife sightings in the Tiger reserves of North and Central India. Safaris are undertaken early morning and evenings, avoiding exposure to the intolerable mid-day heat.

The increasing popularity of tourism in Ladakh has made the idea of visiting India in summer slightly less barmy. Ladakh offers sunny and dry days with pleasant temperatures.

The rest of India sees high temperatures and humidity in preparation for the monsoon, which arrives sometime in June or July sweeping from south to north, bringing heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. In the Northeast, the monsoon arrives a few weeks earlier than the rest of India, and is in full force by June.

This may be a good time to experience mountainous regions due to the slightly cooler temperatures but heavy rains bring risks of landslides and travel disruptions.

July and August are ideal for exploring Ladakh.

At the peak of the Monsoon season, most of the country experiences frequent, heavy rainfall that may affect travel.

The monsoon is a good time for history and city breaks if you don’t mind occasionally getting soaked in warm tropical rain. Lush greenery envelopes the land, and with very few tourists, you may find historic monuments all to yourself, and perfect for photography if you like your skies to be moody.

The monsoon season is also suited to a meditation or rejuvenation retreat.

Until the monsoon recedes, conditions remain similar to those in June and July. This is prime time to visit Ladakh.

August is also a great time to explore the Western Ghats (Karnataka, Kerala or Goa), as it rains only for a few hours a day. Conditions are perfect for keen naturalists and macro photography to go on lush green trails looking for frogs, spiders and snakes.

Rainfall gradually becomes infrequent, interspersed with sunny days, making September a great time to visit Delhi, Rajasthan and Gujarat, where the rains end earlier than the rest of North India. The second trekking season begins mid-September in the Himalayas and runs through October.

Ganesh Chaturthi, the joyous celebration of the birth of the much-loved god Ganesha, is celebrated particularly enthusiastically in Mumbai. Clay idols of Ganesh are paraded through the streets before being ceremonially immersed in water bodies.

October marks the beginning of the main tourist season with warm and sunny days for most regions, although parts of South India still get occasional showers.

Wildlife reserves, which remained shut during the rainy season, open in the first week of October. Sightings are less frequent than in April-May but the jungles are dressed up in their lushest, greenest foliage.

Dussehra is celebrated throughout India in various forms. Mysuru’s Dussehra (Dasara) carnival is famous for its night-long celebrations and parade of richly decorated elephants.

Bengalis all over India celebrate Durga Puja, particularly in Kolkata, where idols of the goddess are displayed then ritually immersed in water bodies.

November is one of the best times to visit most regions of the country, with comfortable temperatures for sightseeing. However, the southern monsoon sweeps though Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Rajasthan’s Pushkar Fair is a unique event to witness with thousands of camels and goats, along with thousands of spectators and pilgrims, descend on the holy town of Pushkar.

Diwali, the festival of light (exact date may fall during October or November) – India’s largest festival, Candles, light decorations and firework displays make this a special time to be in India.

December is the perfect time to visit South India, with lots of sun and pleasant weather making it perfect for sightseeing.

The mountainous regions will see snow and cold temperatures, whereas the northern plains (around the Golden Triangle) will offer lovely daytime temperatures, with mornings and evenings getting chilly and frequently foggy.

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