Best time to visit India
When to go to India
Visiting India in January
Often India’s coolest month, January is perfect for getting active and exploring without the hot sun to slow you down. Visit the historic sights of New Delhi, Gujarat and Rajasthan with fewer crowds. You can even indulge in winter adventure activities in the Himalayan states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. Yet India is large; the further south you go, the warmer it’s likely to be. The coastal cities of Kochi and Chennai are great places to enjoy warm weather by the sea. Andaman and Goa, too, are tempting options if you’re seeking a beach vacation.
India’s calendar is brimming with festivals, and January is no exception. Witness the Kochi-Muziris Biennale – India’s largest contemporary art exhibition; Lohri folk festival in the Punjab; the International Kite Festival of Gujarat and the Mamallapuram Dance Festival in Tamil Nadu.
January also marks the harvest season in the beautiful vineyards of Nashik – India’s most famous wine-making region.
Visiting India in February
The mist and fog often present in December and January are beginning to clear by February, and sunny days are becoming more frequent. In the north, wildlife watchers may spot the elusive snow leopard creeping down to lower altitudes of the Himalaya in search of prey. Kutch offers a balance of intriguing ancient sites, beaches and fun cultural excursions.
In Rajasthan, India’s hottest state, winter is the best time to enjoy active exploring. The World Sacred Spirit music festival takes place in February, in the ‘Blue City’ of Jodhpur.
Visiting India in March
This is a very popular month to travel to India, with great weather and a huge variety of experiences on offer. Visit India’s national parks and track down predators such as tiger, leopard and Asiatic lion. In the north, Leh and Mashobra are wonderfully picturesque at this time of year. Explore the natural world at its most enchanting.
This is the month when cruises on the mighty River Brahmaputra begin – visit verdant tea gardens, enjoy barbecues on deserted islands, peep into local craft workshops, watch local cultural performances and much more.
If you’re a yoga aficionado, join in the limb-bending activities at the International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh. Here you can seek nirvana amidst the serenity of the Himalayan foothills.
Visiting India in April
April is a warm month with fewer visitors at the national parks and landmark attractions. This is one of the most comfortable times for visiting the Indian Himalaya or tea-producing regions such as Darjeeling, Shimla and Dharmshala. Alternatively, embrace the sun in Tamil Nadu, which offers a blend of cultural discovery and beautiful beaches.
This is the month of the Baisakhi Festival – a sacred occasion for Sikhs. Gurdwaras across India mark the day, but you’ll witness the biggest celebrations at the famous Golden Temple in Amritsar. Further to the north, take advantage of the clement weather with a visit to Dharmshala’s monasteries. You can meet with monks for an experience of the deeply spiritual Tibetan culture.
With the advent of summer, dwindling water sources draw wildlife out into the open. That makes April one of the best times for spotting Bengal tiger at India’s national parks.
Visiting India in May
Often the hottest month of the year, May is a great time to either head to the breezy beaches or explore the temperate mountain regions. Visit the source of the Ganges and bathe in its sacred waters as part of the Ganga Dussehra festival. Sample the unique cuisines, visit beautiful monasteries and indulge in a workshop of local crafts – all while admiring stunning Himalayan vistas. This is also the month to soak in the scenery of Sikkim, which lies within the vast Himalaya in the country’s northeast.
Explore the highlands of Kerala, Karnataka, or Tamil Nadu. Here, visit tea estates, coffee and spice plantations, as well as trek along the hills discovering lovely hillscapes and sylvan delights.
Visiting India in June
June is another scorching month where it’s coolest in the north or by the sea. Discover Ladakh to the northwest, beyond the Himalaya, both geographically and culturally close to Tibet. This time of year, the region sees a host of festivals being held in the numerous monasteries dotting the region.
With the seasonal monsoons approaching, you may experience occasional storms and humid days – but the rainfall is by no means constant. Immerse yourself in Agra or New Delhi and discover the colours and flavours of these vibrant metropolises. Enjoy the blissful beaches and tropical waters of the Andaman Islands. Experience Ayurvedic rejuvenation at its best in Kerala.
Visiting India in July
During this monsoon month, the rising water levels of the Ganges usher in the river cruise season in eastern India, offering great opportunities for wildlife watching, sightseeing and cultural tours. A picturesque trek to The Valley of Flowers in the northern state of Uttarakhand is a must-do in July, when a myriad of colourful wildflowers springs up. Visit the lush highlands of Karnataka which is especially regal in its vivid hues of green.
Visiting India in August
Many of the national parks are closed in August due to monsoon rains, yet the tea producing regions of Darjeeling and Assam are at their most picturesque. Witness dramatic clouds rolling slowly across the landscape and seeping between the verdant hills. The Eastern Himalaya comprises part of northeast India, as well as Bhutan and Nepal, and is lovely at this time of year. We recommend visiting for the exceptional views of Kanchenjunga and other distant Himalayan peaks.
Meanwhile, in South India, you can visit many stunning natural scenes such as powerful waterfalls and countryside temples. View the historic remnants of the Hoysala Empire in the southern state of Karnataka and try the distinctive blend of tea from the region.
Visiting India in September
Mumbai is starting to cool off, and as well as the city sights, there are nearby attractions such as Elephanta Island and Siddhivinayak Temple to discover.
Madhya Pradesh too starts to cool down with the rest of the country. The region’s historic centres of Orchha, Bhopal and Gwalior are high on our list of must-visit places in September.
Visiting India in October
Now is a great time to discover the unique culture and tropical climate of the Andaman Islands. Go island hopping and sun bathing; snorkelling and bird spotting; trekking through the jungles and kayaking through the mangroves.
Throughout October, Mumbai’s temperature averages 29 degrees Celsius. The high rainfall of the monsoon season has mostly eased off, making it a comfortable time to tour the city.
Each year, Diwali – India’s spectacular festival of lights – falls between October and November. North India is one of the best places to witness the festivities, while atmospheric Varanasi holds its largest celebrations fifteen days before, during Dev Deepawali; see the waters of the Ganges and the steps of the city’s famous ghats illuminated by countless oil lamps as devout Hindus flock to the riverbank to perform rituals.
Visiting India in November
November is a great month for travelling throughout the country. The climate is likely to be dry and warm, but not too hot – just perfect for a little sightseeing. Visit Mysore and discover unique architecture, history and cuisine, or explore any one of the coastal regions. This is also a good time to take a cruise up the sacred Ganges or explore Kolkata off the beaten track.
The heat of Rajasthan is dialled back a little as winter approaches, with highs of 29 degrees Celsius, making it a comfortable time to visit.
Down south, visit the inimitable Hampi and discover the rich history encapsulated by its architecture. Enjoy picnics on the river banks and cruises along the backwaters aboard a local houseboat.
Visiting India in December
India is fantastic winter-sun destination, and a unique place to spend Christmas. Though it can get a little rainy around the Bay of Bengal, the climate in the south is pleasantly warm at this time of year. The national parks are open for business, and the temperature is ideal for wildlife-watching adventures. Spot iconic predators, colourful birds as well as weird and wonderful reptiles. In the northern destinations, you will see clouds of fog dramatically sweeping through the mountains.
This is the coolest time of year to experience the arid beauty of Rajasthan. We also recommend visiting Gujarat for its off-the-tourist-trail delights; Kerala for its coastal charms; Karnataka for its jungles and palaces; Goa for beach bliss and Madhya Pradesh for its temples and tigers.
- Holiday ideas
- Holiday ideas
Ideal for first-time visitors to India, this tour features Delhi, Agra, the pink city of Jaipur, and the country’s most romantic city, Udaipur. Prepare to kick-start your senses as you journey through this intoxicating land
Raas Chhatra Sagar is located in a tranquil corner of Rajasthan, beside a serene reservoir. An ornithologist's paradise, bird-watching tours are arranged by the camp, as are ventures to watch local craftsmen, farmers and villagers going about their daily life
Each of the four spacious cottages at the Flame of the Forest Safari Lodge overlooks the river and forest beyond