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India is a vast country with varying terrains, from the snow-capped mountains of the north to the stunning white sand beaches of the south. Unsurprisingly the weather can vary significantly from one region to another, however it is primarily a tropical country with four main seasons – ‘winter’ from December to February, ‘summer’ from March to June, ‘monsoon’ from July to September and ‘autumn’ from October to November.
(Delhi, Lucknow, Agra, Varanasi, Ramathra, Bandhavgarh National Park, Panna National Park, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodpur, Kanha National Park, Khajuraho)
September to April is the best time to visit Northern India. The days are warm, the nights are mild, and there is very low humidity and no rain. Please just bear in mind that in March-April and September-October it can get exceptionally hot during the day, making sightseeing difficult. Evenings in Delhi and in Bandhavgarh, Panna and Kanha National Parks can be cool and you’re advised to take a jumper or lightweight fleece, plus you’ll need a sun hat, sun cream and sunglasses.
From December to February Northern India gets very cold. It can drop to near freezing in the early mornings and evening, so you’ll need to pack warm clothing such as fleece jackets, gloves and a scarf.
(Cochin, Munnar, Kolkata, Madurai, Chennai, Kerala Backwaters, Marari Beach, Mumbai)
The best time to visit Southern India is during the dry season from October to March as the days will be hot, but not unbearable, and the nights warm. Average daytime temperatures are typically between 21ºC to 30ºC and night temperatures are between 6ºC to 20ºC. In the hills it is considerably cooler and you can expect temperatures to drop to just a few degrees above zero at night. Rainstorms can occur throughout November, however the storms are usually short and the sun normally comes out quickly afterwards.
In April it starts to get very hot and humid in Southern India, and then the monsoon rains strike the coast of Kerala in late May or early June. Temperatures are in excess of 35 °C from May-September and there’s heavy rainfall throughout the day, therefore these months are not a great time to visit southern India.
January is a good month to visit Delhi and Agra - you can expect the weather to be relatively dry with daytime temperatures around 20°C. The nights can be quite cold though so you should ensure that you pack warm clothes.
Southern India is warm, dry and sunny in January with average daytime temperatures of 25°C.
This is one of the peak times to visit Kerala so if you plan to travel during this month you should book well in advance to ensure that you get availability at your preferred hotels or on a houseboat if you wish to enjoy a backwater cruise.
February is another great month to visit Delhi and Agra - daytime temperatures are typically around 20°C, however the nights can get quite cold so you should pack warm clothes.
This is also a good month to visit Kolkata as the temperatures are still moderate and the humidity is relatively low.
The temperatures in southern India in February are bearable and it is not too humid, making it a good time of year to discover Kerala’s palm-fringed beaches and serene backwaters.
Temperatures in Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan can reach up to 30°C which can make sightseeing difficult - you might want to consider early starts, followed by long lunch breaks back at your hotel in the middle of the day before you venture out again the late afternoon.
You can expect pleasant temperatures in Kolkata during March and it is a good time to visit, before the heat and humidity becomes unbearable in April.
The southern state of Kerala starts to get hot in March, but it won’t be as hot and humid as April or May.
The heat and humidity increases throughout India in April which means that sightseeing can be challenging.
Temperatures in the cities of Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Udaipurcan reach more than 40°C. It also becomes very hot and humid in Kolkata and Mumbai.
Kerala is unbearably hot in April and you may want to avoid visiting this beautiful state at this time of year unless you feel that you can cope with temperatures in excess of34°C.
If really you do want to visit southern India during the summer we recommend the hill station of Munnar where temperatures are more bearable.
Temperatures in the cities of Delhi, Agra, Varanasi,Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer andUdaipurcan reach 45°C in May making sightseeing in the middle of the day very uncomfortable.
Ideally you should plan early starts and take long breaks back at your hotel during the afternoon before heading out for early evening sightseeing excursions. It is also very hot and humid in Kolkata and Mumbai.
Kerala continues to feel the heat and humidity in May and if you intend to visit temples you may want to avoid visiting at this time as sightseeing will be challenging.
If you do wish to visit Kerala in May we recommend you head to one of the beautiful beaches, or alternatively you can visit the picturesque hill station of Munnar as the temperatures are more bearable at altitude.
By June the cities of Delhi and Agra become almost unbearable. Hot, dry winds are common and occasional dust storms occur. It is probably best to avoid these cities during June.
Varanasi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Udaipur are also very hot during June with average temperatures rising up to 45°C. Heavy rainfall is expected in Kolkata and Mumbai from June.
June is the last month of the season for wildlife safaris as the national parks close for the monsoon at the end of the month (they remain closed until October).
The monsoon usually hits the southern state of Kerala by the beginning of June. Temperatures are in excess of 35°C and there’s heavy rainfall throughout the day.
To seek respite from the scorching sun and humidity, hill stations are the best places to travel in summer.
The monsoon will also hit Rajasthan and the other central and northern regions by the beginning of July.
You can expect high levels of humidity and heavy rain in Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Kolkata, Mumbai and the cities of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Udaipur in Rajasthan.
July is a wonderful time to visit the ‘city of lakes’ Udaipur as the surrounding Aravalli Mountains are green and lush and the lakes within the city are brimming with water.
Kerala also experiences long heavy downpours throughout the days during July, therefore it is not the best month to visit, although the hill station of Munnar is a good place to escape to.
By August the whole country experiences torrential rains as the monsoon season continues.
The rain can be heavy and persistent in Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Kolkata and Mumbai, however August is a wonderful time to visit the city of Udaipur as the surrounding Aravalli Mountains are green and lush and the lakes within the city are brimming with water.
Kerala experiences very heavy rain during August and this will hinder plans of exploring the temples or relaxing on one of the tropical beaches.
Rather than being short downpours, it can rain heavily for hours, sometimes for the entire day. If you don’t mind the rain, August can be a good time for a backwater cruise.
The cities of Delhi, Agra, Varanasi,Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Kolkata and Mumbai are still very wet in September.
The rains gradually clear by mid-September, however occasional short downpours are still common.
During September the southern state of Kerala experiencesheavy downpours in the afternoons which clear quickly and leave the rest of the day warm and pleasant - if you can avoid the afternoon rains this is a great month for sightseeing in Kerala.
October sees the end of the rains in cities such as Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Kolkata and Mumbai and you can expect warm, sunny days and clear blue skies.
In the tropical southern state of Kerala you can expect torrential downpours most afternoons, however the mornings tend to be warm and pleasant.
The national parks re-open in October, but please bear in mind that they can get very busy due to the domestic school holidays around Diwali which falls between late October and early November.
November is a fantastic month to visit India with the rains well and truly over and temperatures still warm enough for sightseeing.
Delhi, Agra and Varanasi will experience dry weather and clear blue skies, with daytime temperatures around 20°C.
In Rajasthan the days are sunny with moderate temperatures between 15°C-20°C, and in Kolkata and Mumbai you can expect pleasant temperatures and very little rain.
Kerala continues to experience heavy downpours in the afternoons which clear quickly and leave the rest of the day warm and pleasant so if you can avoid the rain this is a great month for sightseeing.
December is a perfect time to visit Delhi and Agra and you can expect clear blue skies and pleasant daytime temperatures,typically around 20°C.
The nights can be quite cold with temperatures dropping to around 8°Cso make sure you pack warm clothes.It is also a great month to visit Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Udaipur and rural villages in Rajasthan.
You can expect dry, sunny weather in Kolkata in east India and Mumbai on the west coast.
December marks the start of winter in Kerala with milder temperature from now until February. The winter season is perfect for visiting the backwaters and the beaches as the humidity is lower and the temperatures are cool and pleasant (average 25°C).