India's climate is greatly affected by its location in Southeast Asia and near the Himalayas. The Himalayas play a large role in India's climate and their high peaks stop the cold winds from China from reaching most of India. This is the reason that most of the country stays warm all year round.
While you can expect most of India to be warm when you visit, the climate of India changes depending on the region. The different types of climates within India include the dry deserts in the west, the cool mountain regions in the north, and the humid tropical areas in the center and south.
While October to March is generally the best time to travel in India, it isn't the best time for every destination.
Because India is located closer to the equator than most western countries, it's seasons are different from the typical spring, summer, autumn, winter.
India's seasons include winter, the hot season, the monsoon season, and the post-monsoon season. Indian winter can also be called the cool season, as the temperatures are comfortable and the weather is clear and dry in most of the country.
The only areas of the country that get snow in the winter are the far north Himalayan regions.
Click here to see India's Weather of the Year with the main tourist cities' average temperature and precipitation.
Visit India in Winter: December to February
Winter in India lasts from December to February and is often regarded as the best time to visit the country. This is the peak season for tourism in India because most of the country experiences cool and comfortable weather.
In winter, South and Central India are warm and dry making it the perfect time to explore the countryside and hit some beaches. The golden triangle cities of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur also experience great weather in winter.
Winter is the time of year with the best temperatures for travel.
The coolest weather is seen in December and January when temperatures in the northwest are around 10-15°C (50-59°F), but get warmer as you move southward with an average of 20-25°C (68-77°F) in the southeast.
February sees temperatures slightly warmer than December and January.
What to See
Winter is a great time to be in India. More than 90% of the country experiences pleasant weather at this time, so you can explore multiple different regions and see as much as possible.
This is also considered to be the best time to visit the golden triangle cities of Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra. It's also a great time to see the Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal
In winter, destinations in southern India like Kerala and Goa are warm and pleasant places for beach holidays and the central Indian cities such as Mumbai and Kolkata have comfortable weather for exploring markets and temples.
There are also quite a few gorgeous festivals that take place in winter.
Beach in Goa
The Sankranti Kite Festival occurs every year around January 14th. This festival makes for beautiful phots with skies that are filled with colorful kites. The festival also has a tradition of kite fighting which is a game where people try to cut the strings of another's kite. The last kite flying wins.
Bikaner Camel Festival takes place every year in late January in the city of Bikaner, Rajasthan. This festival includes many camel events from races to colorful dance displays. The purpose of the festival is to honor camels as an important part of life for desert people.
Bikaner Camel Fair
Jaisalmer Desert Festival is another celebration held in Rajasthan. This festival celebrates the local culture and heritage of the desert people with activities like camel racing, turban tying, and facial hair competitions. This festival takes place in February every year.
What to Avoid
The only area of the country that can't be visited in winter is the far north of the country near the Himalayas where the weather is cold and conditions too icy for safe travel.
Places in Jammu and Kashmir such as Leh cannot be visited at this time. The states bordering the Himalayans on India's eastern side including Assam, Sikkim, and Jharkhand should also be avoided because of the cold.
Click here to see more Festivals and Celebrations of India.
- Winter is the most popular time to visit India, so it is essential to book hotels, tours, and transportation well in advance.
- It’s also important to remember that although most of the country experiences good weather, it can get very cold in parts of rural India and in places at a higher elevation.
Visit India in the Hot Season: March to May
The hot season or summer in India takes place from March to May when many other countries experience their spring. In India, the months of March to May are known for their very hot and dry weather.
Hot Season Weather
You've probably seen horror stories in the news about how truly hot is can get in India during the summer. So you might be wondering...
How hot can it really get?
Well, the hottest temperature ever recorded in India was 51°C (124°F) in Rajasthan. But these temperatures AREN'T normal.
Normally, in the hot season temperatures reach up to 40°C (105°F) and the weather is often dry and dusty.
What to See
The hot season is an especially great time to visit the far northern states which are untouched by the heat due to their closeness to the Himalayas and higher elevation.
Places like Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand are great places to visit for trekking, adventure sports, and beautiful views. In northeast India, the hill stations in Darjeeling and states of Assam and Sikkim are beautiful destinations this time of year.
View of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh
The hot season is the best time to see wildlife in the national parks of Central India. Because of the high temperatures, many animals such as tigers, elephants, and rhinos are easier to spot as they leave the dense forests in search of water. Our favorite national park is Ranthambhore National Park.
Another great reason to visit India in the summer is to experience Holi Festival which takes place every year in March. Holi is often called the Festival of Colors and involves a country-wide colored powder fight to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.
Tiger at Ranthambhore National Park
What to Avoid
Cities in Rajasthan's Thar Desert such as Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, and Bikaner get very hot at this time. Other regions in the northwest can also experience extreme heat.
It is still possible to visit these places in the summer months, but you should be cautious and it is very important to bring lots of water and sun protection. See more Summer Holiday Destinations in India.
- The hot season marks the end of the tourism season so travelers can often find rooms for good rates.
- When in hot parts of the country, make sure to arrange tours in the early mornings or evenings to avoid the hottest part of the day.
- This is a good time to visit the golden triangle if you are okay with the heat and want to see some of the country's best monuments such as the Taj Mahal without the crowds.
Visit India in the Monsoon Season: June to August
After the hot season, India experiences monsoons that last from June to September across most of the country.
Is the monsoon season really that bad?
The answer is sometimes.
Monsoons are bad in a large part of the country, but there are other areas of India that aren't affected or are barely affected by the rains and there's actually plenty of things to do in India during the monsoons if you know where to go.
Monsoon Season Weather
During the monsoon season, India experiences heavy downpours separated by short moments of hot humid sunshine. The monsoons normally start in Kerala and then work their way up the country until they reach the northwest.
Because rainfall is so high in this season, some of the lowlands experience flooding and many national parks close at this time.
What to See
The monsoon season is actually the best time to visit Ladakh which is a beautiful mountainous region in the states of Jammu and Kashmir. While the rest of the country experiences humidity and thunderstorms, Ladakh normally has clear skies with dry cool weather.
Ladakh is a great place to relax while taking in mountain views, hike, or explore Buddhist monasteries. We especially love the quaint city of Leh.
Views of Leh
While Kerala experiences heavy monsoon rains during these months, this is one of the best times to visit the state to join a yoga or Ayurveda retreat. The monsoon season is actually considered to be the best time for healing according to traditional Ayurvedic beliefs.
In late August, you can also experience Kerala's Onam Festival which honors the return of a mythical king with large feasts, parades, and dances.
What to Avoid
Flooding can be very severe during the monsoons so it is best to avoid the lowlands in West Bengal. Kerala has also experienced bad flooding during the monsoon seasons in the past.
Certain areas of India are more likely to be hit by typhoons during this season. These areas include West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.
In general, south and central India are not the best places to go during the monsoon seasons as you will likely see rain every day.
- It's important to continuously check weather conditions when traveling in India at this time. The heavy rainfall also causes landslides in the Himalayas which can cut off certain areas for weeks.
Visit India in the Post-Monsoon Season: September to November
After the monsoon season, India experiences autumn or the post-monsoon season when the weather gets dryer and temperatures start to cool.
This season normally lasts from October to November and is the beginning of the country's tourism season.
Post-Monsoon Season Weather
In October, the rains stop in North India and afterward get less frequent in the central and western states as well. Northwest India experiences the best weather in October and November with clear skies and cooler temperatures.
In the post-monsoon season, most of India experiences temperatures around 20-26°C (58-79°F) although you can expect cooler temperatures in the far northern states as they head into winter.
What to See
October and November are some of the best months to travel as the majority of India experiences nice weather with a small chance of rain.
In September, the rains in northwestern India start to slow. At this time places like Rajasthan, Delhi, and Agra are great to visit because you can get low hotel prices and are not as likely to see bad weather.
September is a good time to visit the Taj Mahal to get great photos of the beautiful structure with fluffy white clouds in the sky.
The Agra Fort
For those who want to observe the daily life of locals, the post-monsoon season is a great time to take a cruise along the Ganges because the river is high from months of rain.
While traveling the Ganges River, visitors will have the opportunity to see rituals being performed, people washing laundry, and others performing yoga asanas along the river's banks.
The Ganges River in Varanasi
In late September to early October, travelers can experience the chaotic Durga Puja celebrations in West Bengal. Durga Puja is a celebration that takes place to honor the goddess Durga. During this festival, every neighborhood in the city builds a giant temple that contains an idol of Durga.
Mumbai's Ganesh Festival also occurs every year in September and is a 10-day celebration full of large Ganesh statues, music, rituals, and delicious treats.
Idol at the Ganesh Festival in Mumbai
One of the biggest festivals of the year, Diwali, happens in late October or early November. Diwali is an ancient Hindu festival that celebrates light over darkness. This is the most important festival on the Hindu calendar and includes beautiful displays of marigold flowers, lit candles, and fireworks.
Another famous autumn festival is the Pushkar Camel Fair which takes place in Rajasthan. This festival is a unique holiday that celebrates the importance of camels in desert cultures and includes many camel events such as the most beautiful camel competition.
Diwali Lanterns (Diyas)
What to Avoid
South India experiences its second monsoon at this time, so it is best to avoid all locations in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh.
The far north regions of India such as Leh and the areas near the Himalayas begin to get too cold to enjoy during the post-monsoon season. If Leh is a place you really want to see, then you should visit India from May to August.
Best Time to Visit India By City and By Month
Now let's break down India's weather by city. Below we have listed some of the most popular destinations in India as well as when is the best time to visit each one.
The best time to visit Agra and the Taj Mahal is from November to March when the weather is cool and the skies are clear and dry.
December and January, in particular, are the months with the most comfortable weather. At this time temperatures average from around 20-25°C (68-77°F). The wettest months in Agra are July and August, but the monsoons start to recede in September.
The hottest months in Agra are April, May, and June. The city can still be visited at this time, but guests will be more comfortable if tours are arranged in the early morning or afternoon to avoid the hottest part of the day.
The best time to visit Delhi is from October to March. At this time, the city experiences the most pleasant weather with the least rain. The months of October, November, February, and March are especially pleasant with average highs between 24°C (75°F) and 33°C (91°F).
As Delhi is located in northwest India, temperatures can get colder from December to February with lows around 9°C (48°F).
Delhi can get high temperatures during the hot season of around 40°C (104°F). The wettest months are July and August.
The best time to visit Jaipur is in the winter from December to February. At this time the weather is pleasant with average temperatures ranging between 20-25°C (68-77°F).
Jaipur is located in the state of Rajasthan which is partially covered by the Thar Desert. In order to be the most comfortable while traveling in this area, its a good idea to visit in the winter or late autumn. The summer months (March to May) are extremely hot in Rajasthan with highs near 40°C (104°F).
Jaipur can still be visited in the summer, but tours should be arranged for the early morning and guests should return to their hotels to relax during midday.
July and August are the wettest months in Jaipur with around 200mm (7.8 inches) of rainfall each month.
Leh is located in Ladakh in the state of Jammu and Kashmir with is India's northmost state bordering Pakistan and China. This area of India is mountainous and at a high elevation, so the weather here is much different from the rest of the country.
The best time to visit Leh is from June to September. While the rest of the country experiences heavy rains, Leh has pleasant weather with cool temperatures and clear skies. From June to September, the average lows in Leh are around 10°C (50°F) and highs are around 24°C (75°F).
Leh cannot be visited from December to February because it is too cold and the snow and ice can block mountain roads making travel dangerous. In winter, the average lows in Leh are around -12°C (10°F).
Goa experiences warm weather all year but often has heavy rains and rough waters from June to August. It is possible to visit Goa from October to May but the most popular tourist season with the best weather is from November to February when the days are dry and sunny.
Temperatures in Goa stay pleasant all year round with lows in December at around 24°C (75°F) and highs in April and May at around 32°C (90°F).
Kolkata is in eastern India and is warm and humid all year round. The best time to visit is from October to January to catch the cooler and dryer weather. In December and January, nights are cool and comfortable while daytime temperatures can reach up to 27°C (81°F).
Kolkata starts to get hot in March with average highs of around 34°C (94°F) and experiences flooding in the monsoon season.
Cochin or Kochi is a city located in Kerala in South India. This part of the country experiences two monsoons so if you want to avoid the rain, you shouldn't travel here during the monsoon or post-monsoon season (July to November).
The best time to visit Cochin or explore the nearby Kerala backwaters is from December to February when temperatures are slightly cooler with an average high of 32°C (90°F).
The nearby hill station of Munnar is best visited from March to May.
The best time to visit Mumbai is from October to February when the monsoons are gone and the weather is slightly cooler.
Mumbai is located in Maharashtra in central India and therefore the temperature here is warm and humid all year round. In winter, the average highs are around 32°C (90°F) and in the hot summer months (March to April) the average highs are around 33°C (91°F).
Mumbai is hit hard by the monsoons from June to August. The wettest month in Mumbai is July with 885mm (35 inches) of rainfall on average.