The best time to visit India

Many people avoid India in August as they think it’s still monsoon. In the north, though, it’s so dry that it feels like a European summer.
Generally speaking, the best time of year to go to India is between October and March, with much of the country dry, sunny and pleasantly warm. That said, it’s unwise to generalise about anything when you travel to India, and certainly not the weather. In December you can bask on Kerala’s beaches or boil at the Taj Mahal, yet in the Ladakh mountains temperatures plummet to the minus teens. Much of India experiences a tumultuous monsoon season from July until September, but the sun can be shining in northern India. And you can hike in Kerala’s Western Ghats in winter, but head to the Himalayas and it’s skis, boots and crampons.

What is the best time to visit the Golden Triangle in India?

The best time to visit the Golden Triangle is between October and mid-April, when you can expect temperatures around 22-32°C. Note that December, January and February can be foggy and cold, however. Given that this iconic route linking the treasures of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur often involves a fair bit of walking, you’ll want to explore it before the heatwave of May and June, and the soaking monsoon season that follows afterwards.

A month by month guide on when to go to India

January in India

    Dry, warm weather Chilly nights in northern India Kite Festival
The weather in India in January is typically dry and pleasantly warm, at least in the south, although at higher elevations in central and northern India it can get decidedly chilly in the evenings. There are lots of celebrations throughout India in January, including the colourful Kite Festival in Rajasthan, and the countrywide celebrations for Republic Day on 26 January. January is also one of the best months to visit Kerala, where there’s dry, hot weather, so book early.

February in India

    Golden Triangle busy Warm and sunny across most of India Still very cold high up in the Himalayas
February is a very good time to visit India, with most parts of the country warm and sunny, and the downpours of the summer monsoon still off in the distance. The pleasant weather in India in February makes this one of the best months to explore the architectural marvels of the Golden Triangle that links the capital with Agra and Jaipur. February can be the best time to visit Delhi, as well as Hemis National Park in Ladakh, when snow leopards descend from the mountainous peaks in search of food.

February is a great time for a wildlife watching holiday in Central India

March in India

    Ideal hiking weather Temperatures beginning to climb Holi Festival
March is one of the best times to visit India. There’s excellent weather, particularly for walking, and a major celebration in the Holi Festival. This Hindu festival signifies the victory of good over evil, and is marked by partygoers throwing around colourful paint powder; you’ll want to wear old clothes. This is another good month to tour Delhi and the Golden Triangle, but although India in March is generally lovely, in far northern Kashmir it is typically the wettest month of the year.

March is a great time for tiger tracking in India’s national parks

April in India

    Temperatures climbing Book early for Easter Wildlife more easily seen
The temperatures start to climb considerably across India in April, and tailor made tours will steer you towards sightseeing in the early mornings and late evenings when the heat is more manageable. April is one of the best months for wildlife watching in India. Vegetation is thinner, and elephants and tigers emerge from the jungle in search of water. Easter is a popular time to visit India, so booking early is advisable.

May in India

    Good time for wildlife watching Daytime temperatures can hit 45°C Sightseeing best outside midday
India in May experiences peak summer conditions. It’s extremely hot and often tops 45°C in the daytime, making travel around the Golden Triangle and Rajasthan sticky and uncomfortable. Many Indian people choose to head up into the Himalayas at this time of year. Catch a clear day in May from Tiger Hill in Darjeeling, and you can see Mount Everest, Lhotse and Makalu – three of the five tallest mountains in the world. Early morning and late afternoon game drives are standard in India’s national parks to beat the heat, perfect for observing wildlife lazily stretching in the shade.

June in India

    Pleasant trekking in Ladakh High heat and humidity elsewhere Thunderstorms likely as monsoon approaches
You can feel the monsoon is on its way in many parts of India in June, with the heat and humidity peaking, and thunderstorms likely whether you’re in Delhi, the Himalayas, Kerala or Goa. Rajasthan, much of it made up by the Thar Desert, is particularly inhospitable. By contrast, June marks the best time to visit Ladakh, which is starting to enjoy warmer temperatures and clear days. You’ll want layers, but trekking is truly lovely around now.
March is perfect for hiking, with clear blue skies – the sort of weather where you wake up with your eyes closed and still know it’s a sunny day.
– Rajat Kumar, from our partner ExplorIndya

July in India

    Monsoon rains begin City sightseeing in Rajasthan Peak hiking season in northern Ladakh
The torrential monsoon season arrives in India in July, bringing with it relief and lots of mud. But while rain showers are heavy they’re also sporadic, and if you’re after low prices and few other people around then July is a good time to visit some parts of India. Tamil Nadu, for instance, doesn’t experience its monsoon season until later in the year, while admiring the architecture of Jodphur, Jaipur and Udaipur in Rajasthan isn’t impeded by the odd downpour. The gorgeous peaks and passes of Ladakh in the far north are pitch-perfect for trekking in July.

August in India

    Hot and sunny weather in Ladakh Very heavy rains in many parts of country Some roads around Delhi can flood
The monsoon doesn’t mean all travel to India in August is ill-advised. According to Ayurveda tradition, monsoon is the best season for rejuvenation therapies because the pores of the body open wide, allowing them to fully absorb the oils and therapeutic treatments. Ladakh remains beautiful; desert-like Rajasthan is comparatively dry, and the lush greens of Kerala are steamily atmospheric amid the rains. High water levels make river cruising along the mighty Ganges popular too. Do note however that malaria-bearing mosquitoes are about.

September in India

    Rains start to ease off Ladakh high season ending Clear skies and green scenery in the Himalayas
So long as you’re prepared to accept the occasional shower, September can be one of the best times to visit India. The monsoon rains clear up by the middle of the month, leaving a raw beauty upon the landscapes, while popular attractions in Delhi and the cities of Rajasthan remain uncrowded. India in September is considered a ‘shoulder month’. Peak season is yet to get underway, and the weather is mixed to say the least, so you can often find good deals.

September is a great time for a Golden Triangle small group tour

October in India

    Diwali Festival End of monsoon season Peak season around the corner
October is a magical time to travel to India. The monsoon rains have pretty much dried up in the north, while you’ll still get sporadic showers further south, and everywhere feels fresh. India in October is not as crowded as it is from November, but if Diwali, the Festival of Lights, falls in October then you can expect hotels to be very busy. It’s an important celebration for Hindus, Jains and Sikhs, each for different reasons.

November in India

    Peak season Most of India ideal for sightseeing Diwali Festival and Pushkar Camel Fair
November is one of the best months to visit India. It’s dry and sunny across much of the country but not too intense – a light jacket for mornings and evenings is recommended. In the north, Ladakh is cooler, lively Buddhist festivals taking place at its many monasteries. India in November is festival season: you might catch Diwali, the Festival of Lights, or the Pushkar Camel Fair, where besides the bartering you can also witness events such as tug of war or the longest moustache competition.

November is a great time for a Kerala homestay tour

December in India

    Perfect for a warm Christmas getaway Cruising the Kerala backwaters especially popular Cool and foggy mornings and evenings
India in December is ideal for a pleasingly warm getaway. Keep in mind that, along with January, this is actually the coldest month of the year in most of India. In the Himalayas and central India, especially, temperatures plummet at night, while in Delhi it can be decidedly brisk in the mornings and evenings. Houseboat cruises through the backwaters and homestays are popular in Kerala in December, as it basks in post-monsoon greenery. Temperatures are also perfect for touring the Golden Triangle.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about India or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Kerala Weather Chart

RAIN (mm)

Best times to visit India for festivals & events

Jaipur Kite Festival (14-16 January)

Kite-flying is on the level of a national sport in India, and excitement reaches fever pitch on Makar Sankranti (marking the transition of the sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn). Many businesses in Jaipur close as the sky flutters with thousands of colourful kites, drawing flyers and spectators from across the country. There is also an element of battle, as some flyers will strengthen their strings and even line them with crushed glass to try and cut the strings of their competitors – a practise that has become deadly on several occasions – so it’s best observed from ground level.

Holi Festival (March)

You’ll want to wear old clothes for the major two-day Hindu festival of Holi. Known variously as the Festival of Colours or the Festival of Love, it celebrates the triumph of the god Vishnu over the evil Hiranyakashipu. Revellers celebrate by flinging colourful paint powder all over each other, which is then made to stick by the use of water pistols and balloons for a kaleidoscopic effect. But while foreign tourists love running through clouds of paint, Holi has huge cultural significance for Hindus as it symbolises new beginnings, forgiving and moving on from past mistakes and wrongdoing.

Independence Day (15 August)

India gained independence from Britain on 15 August 1947, bringing an end nearly a century of the British Raj. The Prime Minister hoists the Indian tricolour at the Red Fort, symbolising the rise of a new nation. This is a sombre occasion too, though. This date also marks the partition of India and Pakistan along religious grounds, a move that led to bloodshed, a huge refugee crisis and bad feeling that endures to this day.

Diwali (October or November)

Diwali, a celebration of the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and enlightenment over ignorance, is marked by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs for differing reasons. Taking place over five days in October or November, it begins with Indians cleaning out their homes and businesses to symbolise the renewal that comes with the end of the monsoon. Diwali culminates on the evening of day three when homes and temples are aglow with candles, lamps and fireworks – the reason it is known as the Festival of Lights. Firecrackers are thrown to scare off evil spirits, and the feasting includes veritable mountains of sweets piling up at temples.

Our travellers also ask...

What is the best month to go to India?

The best months to visit India are between October and March. They’re not as stiflingly hot as April and May and fall before the often-torrential rains of the monsoon season, which arrives in June. That said, the rugged magnificence of Ladakh, a popular hiking destination, is at its finest between June and September, while December and January can get foggy and cold in many parts of India.

Which month is hottest in India?

April, May and June tend to be the hottest months in India, marked also by high humidity and the risk of thunderstorms. By June, however, much of India is experiencing the first rains of the monsoon, cooling things off somewhat. While sightseeing is a sweaty business, and it’s too hot for hiking and cycling, April and May are the best months for wildlife watching in India. The vegetation is thinner, and elephants and tigers are much easier to spot as they emerge from the jungle in search of water.

Which is the most beautiful season in India?

In our view, the most beautiful season to visit India is the spring, from February to April. Happily, this is also considered the best time to visit India weather-wise, as most parts of the country are basking in sunshine and mild temperatures. Visiting India just after the monsoon rains is also lovely, with lush emerald scenery and a feeling of freshness everywhere.

What is the best time month to visit Goa?

The best month to visit Goa is January. December and February are also lovely in this laid-back beach destination. The monsoon rains, which arrive in May and linger until late September, can get very heavy, while March and April, though dry, can get very windy. The sea is not great for swimming and the odd cyclone isn’t unknown.

What is the best month to visit Delhi?

The best time to visit Delhi is October and November, or February and March. Indeed, it’s the best time to visit northern India as a whole – outside the scorching heat of summer and before much of the country becomes bogged down by the monsoon rains.
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Uzi Yachin] [Intro: Vinoth Chandar] [Month by month quote: PxHere] [Jaipur Kite Festival: Shoobhgroup]