This vast land that is called India extends from the upper reaches of the Himalayas in the north right up to Kanya Kumari in the south, from the arid deserts of Rajasthan and Gujarat in the west to the northeast states of Nagaland Manipur and Meghalaya. The weather and climate in this vast country called India is as variegated as the land itself, so if you are considering a visit to India the best time to visit would largely depend on what your interest is. The seasons in India are divided into three: winter, summer and the monsoons.
Considering the heat and dust that the summer months throw up, especially in north and central India the best time to visit India would be in the months between October and March when the weather is conducive to sightseeing and travelling around this huge country is a pleasant experience. Winter is definitely the peak season for taking a tour round India whether it be soaking in the culture and colour of Rajasthan, sunbathing on the beaches and enjoying joie de verve of laidback Goa, exploring the ruins of a glorious empire at Hampi and Halebid or simply blending in with local people in the busy bazaars in the bylanes of Chandini Chowk in Delhi..
The Ajanta and Ellora Caves draw in a huge number of tourists who come to view the wonders of the caves and the Taj Mahal in Agra also a World Heritage Site is also best viewed in the winter months when the weather is ideal and allows you to spend as many hours there without wilting in the heat of a summer sun. This is also the best time to visit the ancient town of Varanasi and the temples of Khajuraho or Mahabalipuram in the south.
This is also the best season to visit verdant Kerala and take a cruise in a luxury houseboat and get a peek into life along the backwaters where the waterways are shaded by swaying coconut palms. You can get an insight into the life of the villagers who live along the water, feast on the day’s fresh catch of karimeen for supper onboard your houseboat and capture on camera the amazing art of building a kettuvallom or houseboat! October to March is arguably the best season to visit this part of India.
The early summer months between April and June are the best time to pay a visit to the wonderful wildlife parks where tigers roam free and sightings are common, as the animals come out of their cover in search of water. Most parks have jungle safaris that take place early morning and late afternoon and if you are lucky you may get to see the Royal Bengal Tiger in Ranthambore, a wild tusker at Bandipur Game Reserve or a one horned rhino at Kaziranga in Assam.
The hill stations in north India are best visited at summer time: Shimla, Manali and Mussoorie may be overrun by tourists getting away from the plains, but it is indeed a wonderful time to be here, just going for long walks and breathing in the fresh mountain air. Ooty and Kodaikanal in Tamilnadu are also lovely at this time of the year. There are many hamlets and towns that are undiscovered and yet not tourist ridden, so explore and find them in Himachal and Uttarakhand. Summer is also a peak season to visit India for those who love hill stations and pleasant weather conditions.
The rain gods beat down heavily in India during the monsoon season starting in end May and carrying on till end September. Kerala, Goa and the west coast of India are washed clean with the rains, after which the monsoons advance into central and the rest of the country. This may not be a good time to explore most of India because of disruption of trains and flights and roads being washed away, but it is very pretty in the small hill towns of Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani in the Western Ghats. Ladakh is best visited between June and August because the monsoons haven’t hit here yet and the gompas and monasteries celebrate a lot of very colorful festivals.
The Valley of the Flowers in Uttarakhand is at its stupendous best in the months of July-August and trekkers who make it there will get to see an amazing sight of a carpet of colourful flowers with more than 300 varieties that makes it a stunning destination.
Goa in the monsoons presents another façade – different from sunny beaches and blue skies. The skies are grey and over cast, the vegetation a thousand different shades of green and best of all luxury hotels offering hugely discounted rates!
So as you can see it all depends on your interest and if you plan your India tour accordingly, you will have great experience.
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