When to go

India is divided almost exactly in half by the Tropic of Cancer, stretching from the near-equatorial Kanniyakumari to the Mediterranean latitudes of Kashmir – roughly  the same span as from the Amazon to San Francisco, or from Melbourne to Darwin. Not surprisingly, climate varies considerably and high altitudes further modify local climates.

In most of India, by far the best time  to visit is from the end of the monsoon in October to the end of March. However, there are important exceptions. The hill stations  in the Himalaya and the Western Ghats are beautiful in the hot months of April to early June. Parts of the western Himalaya can be excellent until September though it can be very cold and sometimes wet in the spring.

The monsoon season lasts from  between three and five months depending on the region. If you are travelling in the wetter parts of India during the monsoon  you need to be prepared for extended periods of torrential rain and disruption to travel. However, many parts of India receive  a total of under 1000 mm a year, mainly in the form of heavy isolated showers. Rainfall generally decreases towards the northwest, Rajasthan and northern Gujarat merging imperceptibly into genuine desert.  Tamil Nadu in the southeast has an exceptional rainfall pattern, receiving most  of its rain in the period of the retreating monsoon, October to December. Some of the country’s great festivals  such as Dasara and Diwali (celebrated across India) and Pongal (celebrated in Tamil Nadu) take place in the autumn and winter. In Rajasthan, local camel and cattle fairs  and the Desert Festival among the dunes  are added attractions during these seasons.
This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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