India is a tropical country with several climate subtypes. A tropical monsoon type (Köppen climate classification Am) in the Western Ghats couples with a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen Aw), in much of central and south India. Hot semi-arid (Köppen BSh) climatic patches in the southern interior culminate into a hot desert (Köppen BWh) in the extreme northwest. Much of the north and northeast displays a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa, Cwb). The climate is alpine (Köppen ET) in the Himalayas and the northern mountains and is of cold desert type (Köppen BWk) in the trans-Himalayan belt of the north. The Himalayan mountain range, the Thar Desert, monsoon rains, proximity to large bodies of water, and tropical to subtropical latitudes, chiefly influence the climate.
India lies in South Asia and shares land borders with six countries. It is a land of diverse geography, with a topography that ranges from high mountain ranges to fertile plains, deltas, coasts, wetlands, rivers, and deserts. The major rivers like the Ganges and Bramhaputra from the Himalayan north and the Godavari, Kaveri, and Krishna from the peninsular south drain eastward into the Bay of Bengal. The Narmada and the Tapti flow westward to meet the Arabian Sea. The Indian Peninsula covers a vast coastline of 4671 miles that touches the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and the Bay of Bengal. The islands of Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep, and others have hundreds of miles of coastal land. The highest point in India is at 8586 meters in Kanchenjunga in Sikkim along the Nepal border. Nanda Devi is the highest peak at 7816 meters that lies entirely in India. The Himalayan mountain range protects India from the cold Central Asian katabatic winds. The Western Ghats and the northeastern rainforests rank high as global biodiversity hotspots.
Summers are hot and dry in India, while winters are mild and bright in many regions. The daily high temperatures are often between 37.8°C (100°F) to 46.1°C (115°F) in the summer season. The average temperatures in Pune in western India soar up to 31.7°C (89.1°F) at the peak of the hot season. The mountainous regions, like the Ladakh Plateau, have pleasant conditions in the summer. The southwest monsoon arrives between June to September in much of the country and forms the rainy season. The average temperatures in Gangtok, Sikkim, are between 17.2°C (63°F) to 22.2°C (72°F) at the peak of July, with 635mm (25") of rainfall. The hot and cold desert regions receive less than 254mm (10") of rainfall. Winters are usually pleasant with less rain. The average low temperatures in Goa drop to 20°C (68°F) in January. Snowfall is substantial in the northern mountains and highlands in the winter. The southern regions receive plenty of sunshine in the cold season. Microclimatic differences rank India very high among the climatically diverse countries of the world.
India receives ample annual rainfall that ranges from 609.6mm (24") in the arid northwest to over 1778mm (70") near the coasts. The northeast is the wettest, followed by the south, and lastly, the northern regions. More than eighty percent of the annual precipitation occurs during the rainy season from June to September. Cherrapunji, Meghalaya, receives the highest rainfall of 11785.6mm (464") in the country. The northeast monsoon brings rainfall mostly to Tamilnadu in the south in October and November. Pre-monsoon and post-monsoon showers bring moderate precipitation. India receives abundant sunshine that ranges from 2100 hours in the east to 3000 hours in the west annually. The sunshine is intense in much of the country except for the winter. The humidity is high on the western, eastern, and southern coasts and peaks during August in the rainy season, while it is lowest in May at the peak of the summer.
The highest temperature on record for India is 51°C (123.8°F), set in Phalodi, Rajasthan, on May 30, 2019. The record for the lowest temperature is -60°C (-76°F), set in Dras, Ladakh, at the peak of winter.
The best time to visit India
The best time to visit India is from November to February in the mild winter, with comfortable temperatures in the plains and hills. The summer is the best time to visit the Himalayan region and Jammu and Kashmir. The end of the rainy season lowers the humidity and temperatures and generally brings pleasant conditions. Nights are cozy in most regions except for the extreme north, where they occasionally drop below freezing. The harvest season brings joy, as the lush green landscape and beautiful nature catches the imagination of the tourists. Deepawali, the festival of lights, in the winter season, is a great time to explore the Indian culture. Misty mornings and temperate days with clear skies are perfect for visiting national parks, archaeological sites, and mountains.
The worst time to visit India
The worst time to visit India is from May to September in the hot and humid summer season. Peak temperatures often soar up to 46.1°C (115°F) during May, and the intense sun rays are unbearable for people from temperate regions. Temperatures routinely remain above 37.8°C (100°F) during the day, with oppressive sunshine due to the heat waves that lash many places. The monsoon rains peak during July and August in much of the country, which is the period of heavy precipitation, high humidity, and sticky heat. Substantial and prolonged showers make roads hazardous, with a risk of landslides and avalanches in the hilly ghats. Overcast skies are generally not suitable for photography.
India is susceptible to weather hazards, such as floods, droughts, wildfires, cyclones, and earthquakes. The northeast region receives heavy rains over 2540mm (100") in many places that bring the danger of floods and mudslides. The southwest monsoon brings seasonal floods in the river basins of the north, northern plains, and the east, and ruins crops. Droughts are frequent in the deserts of the northwest and interior regions in the central and southern parts of the country. Wildfires frequently occur in the dry summer when the dry deciduous vegetation quickly catches fire. Tropical cyclones routinely occur in the Bay of Bengal, from the Ganga-Bramhaputra Delta to the southern coasts. The Arabian Sea brings cyclonic storms to the coast of Gujarat. Seismic activity and earthquakes mostly occur in the Himalayas but also along many other fault lines.
Weather in January
January is pleasantly cold in much of India, with short days and temperate sunshine. The southern regions are particularly pleasant, and it is a great time to visit beaches from late mornings. Snowfall in Himachal, Uttarakhand, and Jammu and Kashmir is substantial, with deposits of over 3 meters at high altitudes above 3000 meters. New Delhi, the capital, has misty mornings, with average daily temperatures in the cold 7.8°C (46°F) to mild 21.1°C (70°F) range. The sunshine lasts for 7 to 8 hours in much of the country. Pune, in the Western Ghats, enjoys temperatures in the comfortable 11.1°C (52°F) to 30°C (86°F) zone that invites trekkers to the beautiful hills and forts in the region. The central-eastern and southeastern regions are moderately cold, and the temperate sunshine is perfect for exploring the numerous tourist sites in the absence of summer cyclones. Herbal drinks in the warmth of local households and cafes are an excellent remedy for cold. Western tourists find January temperatures much to their liking in India.
Weather in February
February is cold and dry in India, even though the temperatures begin to rise gradually. Freezing temperatures occur only in the northern Himalayan States, northern West Bengal, and a few parts of the northeast, which receive heavy snowfall in the winter. Frost is standard on the Indo-Gangetic Plains but less notorious than the fog. Fog disrupts daily life through short distance visibility and often disrupts air travel in the north. The hinterlands of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra are cold in the south, and day temperatures are enjoyable. The Kashmir Valley assumes a white cloak of snow and the frozen Dal Lake gives the feeling of a winter wonderland. Late morning is a good time to visit the Taj Mahal and Red Fort of Agra, where average temperatures register in the 10.6°C (51.1°F) to 25°C (77°F). Layered clothing is necessary to counter cold in the extreme north. A sweater is usually enough to withstand February nights in the rest of India.
Weather in March
March opens a short window of spring in the far north of India. The rest of the country experiences a departure from the cold of winter. The average temperatures in the temple town of Varanasi in the north are in the mild 16.1°C (61°F) to hot 33.3°C (91.9°F). Kohima, in the east, is mild between 12.8°C (55°F) to 22.2°C (72°F). The skies are bright, and the daylight lasts for at least 12 hours. Snowfall is significant in the high mountains of the north. Tourists find a bang for their buck in the snowy northern towns, which are short of visitors in March. Snow lovers enjoy late-season flurries in the off-season of tourism. Loose cotton clothing is suitable during the day on the plains. Warm jackets are desirable in the mountains. Kanyakumari, the southern tip of India, as well as Kerala, are excellent destinations when the temperatures are mild, and rainfall is moderate. Expect a rise in the number of hot days by the second half of March in India.
Weather in April
April is a hot and dry summer month in India, with clear skies amid plenty of sunshine. The average temperatures rise sharply to register in the warm 22.2°C (72°F) to hot 40.6°C (105.1°F) range. Nights are mild in Himachal Pradesh and adjoining Himalayan states where the summer is yet to reach its peak. The lack of humidity gives rise to hot winds that blow in the interior lands during the day. The skies are mostly clear as the daily sunshine lasts for more than 9 hours in April. Light summer clothing is suitable day and night in most regions. Pre-monsoon showers occasionally occur to reduce the heat. A boat ride on the waters of a calm lake in the evening is an excellent way of relaxation. Beach lovers find early mornings and evenings to their liking when the temperatures are mild, and there is a mild breeze. Expect the heat to be rise with each passing day in April in India.
Weather in May
May is usually the hottest month of the year in India, with the average high temperatures in the 29.4°C (84.9°F) to 42.2°C (108°F) zone on the plains. Heatwaves frequently occur in the interior, with temperatures exceeding 46.1°C (115°F). The dryness is exasperating and unbearable at times. Visitors from cold countries, as well as locals, crowd the numerous hill stations in a bid to escape the heat. School vacations see a large mass of people on the move during the peak tourist season in May. National parks, such as the tiger preserves, receive a humungous response. Many tourists arrive in May to witness the animals in the wild. Wear sunscreens, goggles, and large hats for protection from the blazing sun. Avoid outdoors, if possible, in the afternoon. The snowline above 4500 meters in the Himalayan north is a challenge for explorers all over the globe. Summer offers a short window of relatively quiet weather for trekkers to scale the mountain peaks. Avoid the heat of May in India.
Weather in June
June is hot, humid, and wet in India, as the monsoon arrives in most parts of the country. The average high temperatures register in the range of 29.4°C (84.9°F) to 40.6°C (105.1°F) on the plains. Kolkata in the east registers average temperatures in the zone of 26.7°C (80.1°F) to 33.9°C (93°F). Vacations in Northern India receive plenty of responses due to the moderate rainfall in the region in June. Trips to the extreme northern regions of Leh and Ladakh regions are popular due to scanty rain and moderate temperatures. June has the longest days of the year, but the sunshine lasts for 7 hours at the most. Mornings are humid, with a probability of showers almost every day. Wear light summer clothes, but carry an umbrella for cover against rain and shine. Sea temperatures are above 26.7°C (80.1°F) on the western, eastern, and southern coasts. The second half of June in India is an opportunity for budget travelers to take advantage of fewer crowds.
Weather in July
July is the wettest month of the year in India as the southwest monsoon bestows abundant rainfall on the country. The Western Ghats are at the height of natural beauty, with roaring waterfalls, gushing streams, a green landscape, and the sweet smell of soil. Even the usually dry regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan receive 203.2mm (8") to 254mm (10") of precipitation. Local mountaineering clubs organize expeditions in the valleys and mountains of the Sahyadris. The average temperatures are between a hot 23.9°C (75°F) to 35°C (95°F) range, but the average humidity of more than eighty percent adds to the heat index more than the heat. The cloudy skies keep the daily sunshine to less than 5 hours a day. Thunderstorms frequently occur, and lightning strikes pose a risk in the hilly areas. Expect heavy and continuous precipitation for many days in the northeastern region. The far north provides an escape from the rain where the mountains pose as barriers. Umbrella and raincoat sales are at their peak in July in India.
Weather in August
August is a wet month in the rainy season of India, with abundant rain and generally humid conditions. Mumbai on the coast receives 508mm (20") of rainfall, while Konkan and Goa region receives torrential rainfall. The coastal towns and windward slopes of mountains are places to avoid during the monsoon. The greenery landscape, with colorful flowers, roaring waterfalls, and flowing rivers, add to the beauty of the land. The humidity levels reach their peak in August along the coast. Cloudy and dark skies make it challenging to navigate small to medium size boats in the ocean. Sea temperatures are mild, but the overall conditions are not favorable for visiting beach towns. The extreme north, such as Srinagar with average temperatures in the moderate 17.8°C (64°F) to 29.4°C (84.9°F) and 76.2mm (3") of rain, is a destination apt during August. Carry rain jackets and waterproof shoes. Keep an eye on the weather for rain and storms, if a trip to India is unavoidable in August.
Weather in September
September is humid and wet in India, as the monsoon continues progression. The conditions are hot and sticky as average temperatures remain in the 23.9°C (75°F) to 35°C (95°F) range. Much of India receives 203.2mm (8") to 304.8mm (12") of heavy precipitation. Dams reach full capacity as torrential rainfall occurs in the catchment areas. Waterfalls roaring down the steep slopes boost the natural beauty of the mountains. Rain jackets, raincoats, and umbrellas are necessary during the rainy season. Floods, mudslides, and avalanches pose a risk to outdoor explorations in the mountains. Eastern India is cloudier than the rest of the country, yet sunny periods register for at least 6 hours a day. Romantic couples find the conditions to their liking, with warm days and cozy nights. Rainbows display on the green landscape in the mornings. Budget travelers find cheap deals on accommodations compared to the peak tourist season. Expect the precipitation to decrease by the end of September in India gradually.
Weather in October
October ends the reign of the southwest monsoon in India but also sees the arrival of the northeast monsoon in the southern region. The average precipitation in the south ranges from 101.6mm (4") in Hyderabad to 304.8mm (12") in Port Blair. The conditions tend to be hot, with average high temperatures in the 29.4°C (84.9°F) to 35°C (95°F) in the plains of India. The post-monsoon season is hot in many regions, and the danger of sunstroke due to October heat is real. Wear sunhats and avoid outings during mid-day when the sun is overhead. Darjeeling, a famous hill station in the east, provides an escape from the heat, with mild temperatures between 12.2°C (54°F) to 21.1°C (70°F). October is a budget season for visiting Shimla, Srinagar, and other hill stations in the north, which are cooler than the rest of the country. Expect significant temperature variations between day and night in the arid region of Rajasthan, if a trip is on the cards. The temperatures gradually decrease by the second half of October in India.
Weather in November
November is a lovely month in India, with cool and pleasant weather. The short autumn season brings a wonderful drop in temperatures and end of rainfall in much of India. The skies are clear, and the mild sunshine of 7 to 8 hours gives a boost to outdoor activities. The harvest season is in full swing, with a variety of food available to the delight of the population. The vacation season brings joy due to festivities and moderate temperatures. The mildly cold November mornings add to the excitement of Deepawali, the festival of lights. The average daily temperatures are in the warm 15.6°C (60.1°F) to 29.4°C (84.9°F) zone in much of the country. Nights are cozy in the range of 7.2°C (45°F) to 22.8°C (73°F). Avoid Chennai, Puducherry, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands as the northeast monsoon brings more than 254mm (10") of rainfall in November. Carry a sweater for chilly nights. November is one of the best times to visit India but sees large vacation crowds throughout the country.
Weather in December
December is a cold winter month in India, with temperatures that range from mild in the south to icy in the northern highlands. The Himalayan region receives significant snowfall and is usually a destination for snow lovers and budget travelers in the winter. The average temperatures in Bangalore and Mysore in the south are in the pleasant 15.6°C (60.1°F) to 26.7°C (80.1°F), with occasional cold nights. Jaipur, the pink city in the north, registers between 9.4°C (48.9°F) to 24.4°C (75.9°F) and is a charming vacation destination in December. Nights in the deserts are chilly and have significant variations from the day. Sweaters and caps usually suffice to withstand the cold, but tourists find campfires and local food, people, and customs to be equally warm. Christmas weather is usually temperate in Goa, with warm days and cozy nights. Plan for a sojourn in Goa, as hotel rooms are rarely available at short notice during the vacations. December is an ideal time to visit India. [Resources]
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