When is the best time to visit India?
Generally speaking, the best time to visit India is from October until March. Most parts of the country will feature comfortable climates during this time, but the best time to travel to India does vary somewhat depending on what region you go to. After all, India is a massive country!
The best time to visit southern India is from December until February – it’s then when you’ll find the most comfortable temperatures and the least precipitation. When it comes to visiting northern India as well the west coast, then the best time would be to go between October until March. The humid south-west monsoons are a massive influence on the weather during the summer. The storms bring heavy rainfalls and sweltering temperatures. In order to visit the Himalayas, I would recommend the months from July until October, otherwise, you’ll be putting up with the chance of heavy snowfall. Want to learn more about India’s climate? Then simply read on – I’ve put together loads of handy information to help you plan the perfect holiday to India.
The best time to visit India by region
|North||October – March|
|South||December – February|
|West Coast||October – March|
|The Himalayas||July – October|
- Information about India
- Best time to visit for certain activities
- What is the weather in India like?
- The best time to visit India – my verdict
- More information about India
- The best time to visit certain destinations
General information about India
India is situated in South Asia, and with an area of almost 3,300,000km², it’s one of the largest countries in the world. It’s also the second most populous country in the world after China. It borders six countries – Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, China, Bhutan and Myanmar. Due to its varied climates, the country features diverse fauna and flora, with landscapes ranging from rainforests and mangroves to deserts and the tallest mountains in the world, the Himalayas. The vegetation is home to wildly different animals, with a huge amount of biodiversity and numerous species of birds, fish, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Tigers and peacocks – the country’s national animals – rhinos, kingfishers, king cobras, chameleons, snow leopards and Ganges dolphins are just a few of the different species you’ll find here. One of the most popular destinations in India is the state of Rajasthan, home to the Thar Desert and the city of Delhi. Kerala and Goa are also popular amongst tourists. However, it’s the Taj Mahal, situated in Uttar Pradesh, that draws the most visitors.
What is the best destination in India to visit?
Depending on what you want to do while you’re in India, the best destination to visit will look different! Winter sports fans looking to hit the pistes somewhere a little more exotic than usual will love India. The country is actually fantastic as a skiing destination and is well suited to everyone, whether you’re a beginner or experienced free rider. You might even spot some monkeys or snow leopards during your tours! The best time for a skiing holiday in India are the months from October until February.
The Backwaters in the south of India are a popular destination. Situated in the state of Kerala, this system of lagoons and lakes can be explored by canoe and many tourists choose to spend the night in houseboats known as a kettuvallam. You could even use the public ferries to get around as well. The best climate conditions for exploring this part of India can be found from October until March. If you’re planning a trip to India during these months, then I definitely recommend booking yourself a boat tour through this beautiful region. It’s a really unique experience!
If you’re looking to go trekking in the Himalayas, then I recommend going at some time from July until October. Normally it’s advised not to travel to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, but since Ladakh is so popular with tourists, it’s considered the safest area in Kashmir. Travel between July and October to Ladakh and enjoy the heavenly nature. Outside of these months, it’s recommended to not come here between November and June – many parts of the region experience heavy snow and loads of hotels and apartments will be closed.
If you love nature, then the best time to visit India is during the rainy season. The plants will be in full bloom and the colours are incredibly vibrant. The wildlife will also be benefitting from all the extra water and food available, so if you’re wanting to go and observe animals and explore the nature, this is the best time to do it. But it’s not just nature and beaches that attract the most tourists. The ayurveda system of medicine also draws visitors, and there’s a growing popularity of the philosophical teachings involved in yoga. The best time to travel for an Ayurveda holiday is during the monsoon season. The higher temperatures and air humidity opens up the pores and allows you to better absorb the beneficial minerals in the oils used in treatments.
The best time to visit India (by activity)
- Ayurveda holiday: June until September
- Ski holiday: October until February
- Nature: June until September
- Backwaters Tour: October until March
- Trekking in the Himalayas: July until October
What is the weather in India like?
The climate in India depends on where you are. Due to the size of the country and its geographical make-up, some areas experience a tropical climate whereas others offer a more temperate climate. The south features hot and tropical temperatures all year round, while the north can experience huge differences in temperatures depending on the season – it can be 10 degrees in the winter and over 50 degrees in July! The monsoons exert a large influence on the country’s climate too. This means that the year can generally be divided into three seasons: summer, winter and the rainy season. The summer lasts from March until May, winter from November until February, while in between the monsoon will be there in India bringing large amounts of rain with it. Read on and find out more about the Indian monsoons.
The Indian monsoons
The south-west monsoon takes place during the summer, while in the winter it’s the north-east monsoon that rolls in. The summer monsoon can sometimes bring heavy rain which leads to flooding. As a result, this time of year is considered the rainy season and lasts from June/July until September/October. The areas worst affected by the monsoon are the West Coast and north-east India. Mountainous regions are also strongly influenced by the summer monsoon. The Himalayas and the Western Ghats form a natural barrier against rain clouds, which leads to a lot of rain in the cliffs and foothills. The winter monsoon which comes from north-east brings cold, dry air with it. It essentially cancels out the summer monsoon in September/October and continues on until June/July. This time of year can sometimes see periods of drought in some areas, while the south-east generally gets rain from the north-east monsoon due to the air humidity absorbed from the Bay of Bengal. I’ve included a table with all the important climate data, so you can see at a glance what the weather in each of India’s regions looks like.
What is the weather like in the north of India
The climate in the north of India is sub-tropical. Using climate data for the city of New Delhi, you’ll be able to decide when the best time to go is. The temperature can undergo some drastic changes here. January and December are the coldest months of years – during the day temperatures hover at around 21°C, but during the night it can plummet down to 7 °C! In the summer month of June, thermometres can reach up to a sweltering 39.5°C. The least rain falls in November, with pretty much no precipitation at all. In December, January and April you can expect up to 1 day with rain, while in February, March, May and October there will be at least 2 days. In July there are 13 rainy days, but the actual amount of rain that will fall each time is less than August. April and October also enjoy the most sunshine with up to 5 – 9 daylight hours, whereas July is the darkest month. The best time to visit the north of India is from October until March, which is when the climates are at their most comfortable.
Climate data: New Delhi
|Max. temperature in °C||21||24||29||36||39||39,5||35||34||34||33||28||23|
|Min. temperature in °C||7||10||15||22||26||28||27||26||25||20||13||9|
|Sunshine hours per day||7||8||8||9||8,5||7||5||6||7||9||8||7|
|Rainy days per month||1||2||2||1||2||6||13||11||6||2||0||1|
|Rain in mm.||18||20||16||17||26||71||226||261||125||17||6||11|
What is the climate in the south of India like?
To help you get a good idea of what the climates are like in the south of India, I’ve included a climate table for the city of Madurai below. The 2000-year-old city is in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The climate in this part of the country is tropical, with high temperatures year round. January is the coldest month with maximum temperatures of 30°C and lows of 21°C. The highest temperatures are found in May, with averages of 37°C. Meanwhile, January and February bring the most daylight with up to 9 hours of sunshine per day. There’s also considerably less rain from January until July – the number of rainy days are lower, but the actual amount it will rain during this time is also considerably less too. As the best time to visit South India, I recommend December until February. The temperatures are at their lowest, but at 30°C that’s still lovely and hot! Plus the possibility of rain is extremely limited too. The monsoon only starts influencing the south from August until November. March and July are also dry times of the year to travel in, but the temperatures are extremely hot. If you can put up with the humid, hot nights, then you could also visit southern India during this time as well.
Climate data: Madurai
|Max. temperature in °C||30||32||35||36||37||36||35||35||35||33||31||30|
|Min. temperature in °C||21||22||23||25||26||26||26||25||25||24||23||22|
|Sunshine hours per day||9||9||8||7||6||5||5||5||6||6||6||7|
|Rainy days per month||2||2||2||4||4||3||4||7||9||12||9||7|
|Rain in mm||14||9||16||58||69||40||60||95||109||182||133||61|
What is the weather like on the west coast of India?
In order to give you a quick overview of the climate on the west coast of India, I’ve put together a climate table for the harbour city of Mumbai. The region features a tropical climate, with only minimal changes in temperature during the year. The warmest month of May with maximum temperatures of up to 34°C during the day and 27°C during the night. The coolest month is January, with temperatures between 19°C during the night and 30°C during the day. The number of sunshine hours varies greatly. The sun can shine for up to 10 hours a day in April and May, yet July and August will only see 2 hours of sunshine. Thanks to the Western Ghats, a mountain range in the west of India, the coastal regions are mostly protected from the rain and are pretty much rain-free for most of the year. However, things look very different during the monsoon season. From June until September the monsoon will be in full swing, bringing with it loads of downpours. The worst rain takes place in July, with up to 26 days with rain! As an optimum time to visit the Indian west coast, I recommend the months from October until March.
Climate data: Mumbai
|Max. temperature in °C||30||30||31||33||34||32||30||30||31||33||33||32|
|Min. temperature in °C||19||20||23||25||27||26||25||25||25||25||23||21|
|Sunshine hours per day||9||9||9||10||10||5||2||2||5,5||8||8||8|
|Rainy days per month||0||0||0||0||0||16||26||20||14||3||1||0|
|Rain in mm||0||0||0||2||12||581||791||531||298||69||15||4|
What is the climate like in the Himalayas
Using data from the city of Leh, situated a whopping 3,500 metres above sea level, you should get a good idea of what the climate in the Himalayas looks like. Leh is the capital of Ladakh and a district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. There are strong seasonal fluctuations in temperature. The coldest month is January, with temperatures of -5°C during the day and -14°C during the night. However, in July the average temperature reaches up to 25°C! Sounds nice at first – but remember that since you’re so high up you’ll actually feel the heat even more. If you’re a planning a trip up into the mountains, don’t forget some head protection and sun cream! The first snow starts falling in the beginning of October, and you’ll often find heavy snowfall between November and June. The number of sunshine hours ranges from 6 to 10 during the year. And there’s pretty much no rain at all in Leh. You’re going to get 1 day per month where any rain falls. But don’t rely on this data too much as the weather in this region is often very unpredictable, so always have some waterproof layers as a precaution. The best time to visit the Himalayas is from July until October.
Climate data – Leh
|Max. temperature in °C||-5||-2||6||12||17||21||25||24||21||14||8||2|
|Min. temperature in °C||-14||-12||-6||-1||3||7||10||10||5||-1||-7||-11|
|Sunshine hours per day||6||7||6||8||8||9||10||9||9||8||8||7|
|Rainy days per month||1||1||1||1||1||0||1||1||1||0||1||1|
|Rain in mm.||11||12||14||15||19||27||33||41||12||3||9||10|
The best time to visit India – my verdict
The best time to visit India is during the European winter. Between October and March, you’ll find the most comfortable and temperate climates. If you can put up with the hot temperatures and humid air, then you could even go during the summer as well. But just be aware that the summer months are also peak monsoon season, so be prepared for heavy rainfall.
However, the time between October and March is not optimal for the entire country. While it’s a great time to go to the North and the west coast, it’s actually better to go to to the south between December and February. October in southern India is filled with rain, and March is unbearably humid. You’re best planning a trip to the Himalayas sometime between July and October, which is the best time of year form trekking tours in Ladakh. Even the locals head to Ladakh in the summer to escape the heat in the rest of the country.
Planning on going to India during the rainy season to save a bit of money? Then just be aware that a lot of hotels and apartments close during the monsoon season. You should plan and book your accommodation in good time, just so you’re not caught out. You can also check the India Meteorological Department’s website for any flood warnings or weather developments in mountainous regions.
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