When we start planning a custom made journey to India for our clients, one of the first questions they often ask us is when is the best time to visit India?
The best time to travel in India can depend on different factors. Where are you planning to visit in India – north India, south India, central India or a combination – do you want to avoid the hottest parts of the year or can you handle high temperatures and do you want to avoid the most expensive peak season?
There are many factors that can determine the best time to travel in India. Here are some tips that we’ve compiled from our years of planning travel in India which might be useful for you. They’ll help you plan your holiday in India – so you’ll know when is the best time of the year to visit Rajasthan, or the best time of the year to go to Kerala, or just what India’s weather and seasons are.
India’s Weather and Seasons
Although India’s vast geography and varied topography produce a wide range of weather conditions, generally speaking, India has four seasons. Winter runs from December to February, with mild temperatures and minimal rainfall. Summer is from April to June, when the weather becomes progressively warmer. Monsoon begins in Kerala around the first week of June and gradually sweeps north, bringing heavy rain and relief from the heat in most parts of the country. Rains subside by the end of August. Post-monsoon is the period between monsoon and winter, from September to November. Most parts of the country do not receive substantial rainfall during this time.
When to Travel in India
When discussing the best time to travel in India we need to talk about North & Central India, Far North (the mountains), Kerala and South India separately.
Travelling in North & Central India
The common wisdom is that India’s winter is the optimum time to travel and this is largely true; however it’s worth noting Rajasthan and the North more generally can be surprisingly cool in December and January. Travel in early and mid summer is manageable with a well-planned itinerary. Late summer is very hot and travel is less than ideal unless you are looking for a leisurely holiday with lots of time by the pool or beach. You can travel anywhere in the monsoon if you don’t mind some rain! Rajasthan has a relatively mild monsoon, and seeing the desert come alive after months of oppressive heat is quite special. The post-monsoon period offers green landscapes and warm days and is a lovely time to travel.
Travelling in India’s Far North
There are two periods of the year when the mountains are beautiful – the summer months of March, April and May, when the rest of the country is hot, and post monsoon of September to December. If you want the best views and don’t mind the cold, winter is a stunning time to visit.
Kerala’s Weather and the best time to travel in Kerala
Kerala is essentially a tropical region, with little variation in the temperature throughout the year. It has a protracted monsoon that runs from late May to October, but it is so green and tropical that seeing it in the rain is quite fitting. So long as you are flexible with the timing of day-to-day activities, the rain is more of a backdrop to the beautiful scenery than a hindrance. The post-monsoon from December to February inclusive is when it is coolest and least humid, and consequently the most popular time to visit. The pre-monsoon period of April and May is quite hot and humid.
South India weather & best time to travel
The climate of South India varies from region to region. Tamil Nadu has a hot dry summer extending from April to July, when the monsoon finally breaks. It’s worth considering travelling in August and September, when the rain has cooled things down and before the crowds arrive. As with most of the rest of India, Tamil Nadu is very pleasant from November through to February and consequently this is when it sees most visitors. Large parts of Karnataka are on the Deccan Plateau, which has an average elevation of 600 metres. This gives it a more temperate climate, with more moderate summers and lighter monsoons making travel comfortable virtually year round.
Rates and Seasons
There are many regional and local exceptions to the above and it’s worth checking with us regarding the weather for the particular region you are looking to visit – you might be surprised to find suitable weather at a time of year that you don’t expect it.
Personally my family and I travel a lot in April and September. While these tend to be the times of the year we have commitments in India and the months that fit with our schedules, we also find it a nice time to travel because it’s not so busy with other travellers and the hotel rates are friendlier on our wallets! But that’s our preference – it can also be very hot then, but we don’t mind if we are relaxing by the pool at one of India’s grand heritage hotels!
If you’d like us to create a custom made journey to travel in India taking into account the best time to travel in India, contact us today.