Best time to visit India

The best time to visit India is in the winter (December to early March). It tends to get very hot from April onwards, and most regions experience the summer monsoon from June to September. That being said, India is a huge country with diverse climatic regions, and there are incredible places to explore all year. We’ve put together a guide to the best time to visit some of its most popular destinations.

When to visit

Two motorbike tourist traveller hiker in india Himalayas mountains
When’s the best time to visit the Indian Himalaya?

The best time to visit the Indian Himalaya is from November to February. This is the driest period, though January and February are very chilly at the higher altitudes. In the eastern Himalaya, in places like Gangtok and Darjeeling, the monsoon brings heavy rainfall from June to August and, to a lesser extent, in the shoulder seasons. It’s best to avoid this area in the summer.

Woman in the misty skies of Delhi
When’s the best time to visit Delhi?

Delhi experiences a subtropical climate with a mild, sunny winter, a scorching summer and a wet, humid monsoon season from July to September. The best time to visit is from November to February to avoid the rains and the intense heat between March and June. Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located, experiences a similar climate.

Local food being prepared in Goa , India
When’s the best time to visit Goa?

Goa is known for its beaches and laid-back vibe. The monsoon arrives in late May through September and brings very intense rainfall. It’s best to visit Goa in January and February when it's warm (average maximum of 32°C) and dry. March, April and November are still technically part of the dry season, but it can be hot and sticky and there’s a risk of cyclones.

The Victoria Memorial is dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria, Kolkata,West bengal,India.
When’s the best time to visit Kolkata?

The best time to visit Kolkata is during the dry winter from mid-December to February. The temperature increases from March onwards and the heat can get quite intense. The monsoon rains tend to arrive towards the end of May, with October and November seeing an increased chance of cyclones, tropical storms and flooding.

Traveller with guide looking out over the rooftops of Mumbai
When’s the best time to visit Mumbai?

The best time to visit Mumbai is in January and February when the weather is dry but not too hot. March, April and May are generally dry, though the heat can be overpowering. June, July, August and September see the worst monsoonal rains, but cyclones are still possible in November and December.

Travellers on a house boat in the backwater of Kerala, India
When’s the best time to visit Kerala?

In Thiruvananthapuram (formerly known as Trivandrum), at the southern tip of Kerala, the rains – from April to late November – are less intense but last longer. The high season in Kerala runs from late November through late March, when it’s relatively dry and not too hot.

The blue doors and buildings of Jodhpur Rajasthan India
When’s the best time to visit Rajasthan?

The state of Rajasthan, which includes Jaipur and Ranthambore National Park, is most enjoyable in December, January and February. That said, it’s not a bad place to go outside of these months as the monsoon usually has a smaller impact than in other regions.

Locals in Varsani, India
When’s the best time to visit Varanasi?

The best time to visit Varanasi is from November until early March before the heat intensifies. April, May and June are extremely hot, with the monsoon arriving in July until the end of September.

India by month

Beautiful Goa province beach in India with fishing boats and stones in the sea

Best for: wintry magic in the Himalaya, hitting the beach in Goa, cruising through Kerala.

January is one of the driest months in India. It’s cold up north, but it’s a magical time to travel through the foothills of the snow-topped Himalaya, learn about Tibetan spirituality in Dharmsala or sip hot chai in Rishikesh’s cafes. For warmer weather, head to Goa’s golden beaches or to Kerala to cruise the palm-fringed backwaters on a houseboat.

Indian landmarks - Gadi Sagar temple on Gadisar lake -  Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, north India

Best for: exploring Rajasthan’s regal sites, Jaisalmer Desert Festival.

Winter nears its end in February and temperatures start rising across the country. It’s a fantastic time to explore Rajasthan’s majestic Maharajah forts and palaces or journey into the Thar Desert without melting in the heat. You could even align your trip with the Jaisalmer Desert Festival to witness the colour and opulence of Rajasthani culture. Expect elaborate camel processions, folk dancing, turban-tying competitions and traditional food.

close-up partial view of young people holding colorful powder in hands at holi festival

Best for: Holi Festival, the Golden Triangle.

March is the last month before scorching temps take hold, which makes it a great time to tick off the Taj Mahal and Amber Fort in the Golden Triangle. But the biggest reason to travel to India in March is, of course, Holi! It’s not every day you can take to the streets with hundreds if not thousands of people and throw colourful powders over each other in the name of love. The date changes based on the Hindu calendar, but usually occurs on the last full moon in March.

Tiger Family in India

Best for: hiking in the Himalaya, spotting wildlife in Ranthambhore.

The hot, sticky weather begins in April, with temperatures in Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai often hitting 37°C. April’s a great month to spot wildlife in Ranthambhore National Park; the increasingly dry conditions mean vegetation is thin, and animals tend to congregate around waterholes. If you’re lucky, you may spot a Bengal tiger. It’s also a pretty time to hike in the Himalaya which are blooming with wildflowers.

tea plantation in India

Best for: retreating to the mountains and hill stations.

May is one of the muggiest months in India, so unless you can handle the heat, you might find it too hot. Beat the heat in the mountains where a cooler climate and colourful blooms await, or go to Darjeeling for cool breezes and delicious tea. Monsoon rains arrive in southern states in late May, which is a welcome relief from the humidity. While it doesn’t rain all day, downpours tend to be very intense. Don’t forget a waterproof poncho!

Buddhist Monastery and traditional Tibetan houses, Northern India

Best for: exploring northern India, off-season crowds.

The wet season is underway by June and the humidity can be oppressive. Travel in south India is off the cards (unless you fancy getting drenched), so go north to swap beaches and backwaters for mountains, rivers and yoga classes. If you can cope with the heat, it can be a good time to take advantage of off-season crowds and prices.

Detail of decorated gateway. Amber fort. Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Best for: uncovering the magic of Rajasthan sans the crowds.

The south is saturated in July, causing many national parks to close. There’s also a risk of landslides and flooding in lowland areas. Take advantage of off-season crowds and visit the stunning forts and palaces in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer without the crowds. To escape the rain completely, head to the Thar Desert (just bear in mind it’ll be hot).

Beautiful backwaters landscape in Alleppey city with sunrise on background, Kerala, India

Best for: Ganesh Chaturthi Festival, Independence Day, Kerala snake boat races.

August is the wettest month, but if you don’t mind ducking inside during downpours, you’ll enjoy fewer tourists and maybe cheaper accommodation. Plus, tropical landscapes in the south look extra lush thanks to the rain. If you’re in Kerala on the second Sunday in August, don’t miss the annual snake boat races on the backwaters. It’s also a great time to do the Golden Triangle or Varanasi with vibrant festivities for Independence Day and Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival dedicated to Ganesha.

Indian food being eaten

Best for: Krishna Janmashtami, touring the Golden Triangle, foodie adventures.

The rain eases in September. As a shoulder month, it’s a great time to see big ticket sites in the Golden Triangle as they’re not too crowded. Rajasthan is gorgeous at this time of year, with lush countryside and full lakes thanks to the monsoon rains. September also marks one of India’s significant harvest seasons, so why not jump on a Real Food Adventure to uncover the best of Indian cuisine.

Golden Temple Amritsar lit by Diya and fire crackers Guru Purab festival and Diwali

Best for: cycling adventures, Diwali festivities.

October sees pleasant weather across most of the country, so it’s an excellent time to hop on a bike to experience India at a slower pace. A highlight of October is Diwali (though some years it may fall in November). Often called the festival of light, Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Expect to see homes and streets decorated with lights, candlelit ceremonies and firework shows.

camels being led through desert by camel traders near Pushkar in Rajasthan, India.

Best for: pleasant weather, the Pushkar Camel Fair.

The weather in many parts of India is cool and dry in November, and most activities are back on again. But the biggest drawcard is the Pushkar Camel Fair. Every year, thousands of camels (and their owners dressed in their finest garb), villagers and entertainers from all over Rajasthan travel to the holy city of Pushkar to trade and entertain crowds with eyebrow-raising exhibitions – including a much-anticipated moustache competition.

Tropical beach in Goa on a background of palm trees, India

Best for: hitting Goa’s beaches, dodging the crowds in northern India.

The weather is a mixed bag in December, from cold conditions in the north to clear skies and plentiful sunshine down south. It’s one of the busiest months with international travellers arriving in the masses for the festive season break, particularly in Goa, so booking accommodation and activities in advance is recommended. If you’d rather dodge the crowds, head north to watch morning prayers along the misty Ganges in Varanasi, or eat your way around Jaipur on a Pink City Rickshaw tour.

Want to learn more about India? Return to India FAQs

Our India trips