When travelling to India, the timing can depend on what you most want to ‘take home’ from your adventure. So, the best time to visit for you could be when you have an opportunity to attend an iconic festival or experience one of the country’s unforgettable national parks at its most fertile and colourful.
Also, keep in mind that as the Indian Subcontinent is so vast and diverse, different parts of the country offer ideal climate conditions at different points in the calendar.
For that reason, our guide to the best time to visit India focuses on different areas and the peaks in their rich cultural and natural offerings.
Dry, sunny but cooler weather can make exploring India’s capital city a great deal more enjoyable. The months when that's most likely, are between October and March.
You will certainly want to visit when you can spend time outdoors in Delhi, to soak up its breathtaking mix of ancient and modern architecture and its incredible natural landscape.
Keep in mind though, that Winter holidays to India that Delhi will involve cold (potentially even freezing) nighttime temperatures. You may need warmer clothes for travelling to dine in the city’s world-famous restaurants.
In contrast, April to June in Delhi can bring searing heat, and in July you will experience the intense humidity that comes with the southwest monsoon.
Similarly, summer rains that can last anything from a day to a week make exploring Kerala problematic. Whereas October to March is when you are most likely to experience easy-to-manage temperatures with plenty of sunshine.
This makes it a great time to enjoy Kerala’s beautiful lagoons and canals, aromatic plantations and vibrant forests. A breeze can make your safari or boat trip a great deal more pleasant, too.
You still have those crisp night-time temperatures, though!
Incidentally, winter months can shroud the Kerala region's rolling hills and water bodies in stunning morning mists, adding to their mystique.
One of the best ways to cover a lot of ground when exploring India is to travel by luxury train. This includes the globally acclaimed Maharajas' Express, which provides magical routes across the northern state of Rajasthan (it also takes you through Central India).
The various Delhi to Mumbai rail journeys on the Maharajas' Express are only available between October and April.
In climatic terms, the most stable weather and best temperatures for travel around Rajasthan occur between November and February. This area does tend to be relatively dry year-round, but summers can be scorching in this part of India, making trips to its medieval forts and palaces far more appealing in the cooler winter months.
Winter – and particularly December to February – is the best time to visit Kolkata to enjoy its unmissable architecture and charming culture. That includes enjoying the culinary delights of street food in Kolkata and walking in the footsteps of some of India’s most famous literary figures.
Being dry and relatively cool can also make it possible to experience India’s only operating tram network, which runs through historic and fascinating parts of Kolkata.
You can learn about India’s top festivals further down, but it’s worth mentioning that one of the best is Sur Jahan, a three-day music event held across Kolkata and Goa.
It’s traditionally held in early February with good reason, as December to March provides the ideal climate for being outdoors and enjoying life in Goa. Of course, Goa is well known for its exciting evening music, dancing and food experiences, including its famous nightlife you can enjoy when it's cooler.
Goa is also brilliant for glorious Indian beaches and abundant watersports, making sunny winter days with manageable temperatures a great advantage.
KASHMIR & LADAKH
Kashmir and Ladakh are famous for its stunning natural landscape and ancient monasteries nestled in the Himalayas. This part of Northern India is one of the most sparsely populated regions on the planet, making it vital to choose the right time of year to explore. It’s certainly not somewhere you’ll want to be at the height of the monsoon season or when the extreme heat will sap your energy!
The Monsoon rains tend to arrive with local variations, so the best time to visit Kashmir is April to July, while you should aim to time your Ladakh adventure for May to September
Winter is also the best time to visit Varanasi, especially from November to March.
You will get relatively cooler temperatures then, but that can make it far more comfortable to explore some of India’s more famous landmarks, including soaking up everyday life, religious rituals and awe-inspiring sunrises along the banks of the river Ganges.
Being away from the harsh summer climate can also make it easier to sit on the famous ghats (river landing steps) and contemplate their incredible history, or to attend frequent holy ceremonies, festivals and fairs in this ancient, spiritual location in India.
If you’re planning a trip to Western India, then a similar timeframe to the above recommendations applies in that, the ideal weather conditions in Gujarat are generally October to February.
Not only will the climate be pleasant for exploring the famous hill stations – like Saputara - the local landscape will be green and colourful. Making it a good opportunity to see attractions like the Pavagadh Hills, Thol Lake Bird Sanctuary and Maine National Park at their best.
If you do opt for July and August visits to Gujarat, you may still avoid monsoon rains on holiday in India, as this area doesn’t have as much rainfall as other destinations on the subcontinent.
Central India and South India are blessed with a tropical climate in the summer months, but that can be unpleasantly hot and sticky for many travellers.Which means November to March are a good time to visit,especially to enjoy cool weather when visiting elevated attractions, such as wild sanctuaries and hill stations.
You will also be able to explore ancient monuments in Central India when the air is clearer and the landscape is greener in winter.
Best time to visit India for Festivals
One of the most popular events in India is the colourful and energetic Holi Festival of colour, which happens in March. It is one of the highlights of one of our unforgettable guided group tours
Many travellers consider October and the festival of light, Diwali the best time to visit India.
An incredible place to throw yourself into this celebration is Udaipur. You can see for yourself by embarking on our group tour Rajasthan: Taj, temples and tigers,.
Or, you can explore the breathtaking coastline of Gujarat if you time your stay in India with Diwali the festival of light.
Niche festivals linked to the rich culture of India also include November’s Pushkar Camel/Cattle Fair that is also part of our wonderful guided Rajasthan tour.
Visiting India in October-November also opens up the possibility of seeing the remarkable Chandrabhaga Cattle Fair, which features on our India in Slow Motion group tour itinerary.
If you dare to brave the higher temperatures of an Indian summer, July’s Hemis Monastery festival in Ladakh is awe-inspiring, and a highlight of our High Road to Kashmir tour.
December and January have plenty of seasonal highlights in India too, including the visually stunning Hornbill festival in Nagaland, which takes place in the first few days of December.
Best time to visit India for wildlife
Seeing Indian tigers in their natural habitat are certainly high on many travel bucket lists. Good months to visit Central India National Parks for tiger spotting are March through to mid-May. You will get high temperatures during those months, but increase your chance of tiger sightings in India.
Wildlife tourism in India is booming, so keep in mind that if you opt for a trip to Gujarat to see Asiatic lions or visit national parks that house the biggest one-horned Rhino herds in the world, you won't be alone! You need to book early for the most popular months for wildlife safaris and national parks in India.
Best time to book a holiday to India
Of course, the best time of year to visit India may depend on your own schedule, especially if you are planning an Indian honeymoon, or a family adventure with the kids. We’ve been arranging holidays to India for over 20 years, so we like to think we know what we’re doing.
Whether you are a solo traveller or a couple looking for a small group tour to India we have the right adventure for you. Our small group tours offer a sense of the real India while showcasing the iconic sights.
Our travel experts are here to help you plan your own tailor-made India adventure, whether you're looking for a luxury India holiday, a romantic honeymoon, a fun a family adventure or your first taste of India. Before we begin any trip, we get to know you and discuss your needs. Our team of regional experts and our personal knowledge combine to ensure that your dream trip is tailor-made to your needs.
Hotel options range from five-star luxury palaces to family-run, boutique hotels where you're welcomed like an old friend. It is important to us that you feel completely confident we have made the right decisions for you, so we are happy to plan out your options with you.