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About India Climate

In a country where topography varies wildly, climatic conditions are only bound to vary wildly too. Classified as a hot tropical country by many, that is a definition that holds true for most of but not all of India. Exceptions include the northern states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir in the north and Sikkim in the northeastern hills. In most of India summer is hot. It begins in April and continues till the beginning of October. The heat peaks in June with temperatures in the northern plains and the west soaring above 46° C. The monsoons hit the country during this period too, beginning 1st of June when they are supposed to find the Kerala coast. Moisture laden trade winds sweep the country bringing relief to a parched northern India but devastation in the east where the rivers Brahmaputra and Ganga flood annually. Tamil Nadu in the south receives rainfall between October and December, beneficiary of the retreating monsoons.

India’s extensive coastline lies almost entirely below the Tropic of Cancer. The coast is usually warm and moist, prone to heavy rains in the monsoons and high summer temperatures. The eastern coast is vulnerable to cyclones. Winters here are mild and pleasantly sunny.Hill Stations are the happy peculiarity that came up here when British wives and officers needed to flee the oppressive heat and malaria of the plains. Quaint towns that buzz along "mall roads", tucked away in hills all over India, they are now weekend getaways at the height of summer for families and couples from India’s cities.

The plains in the north and even the barren countryside of Rajasthan reel under a cold wave every year in December-January. Minimum temperatures could dip below 4° C but maximum temperatures usually do not fall lower than 12° C. In the northern high altitude areas of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim, and parts of Uttar Pradesh, it snows through the winter and even summer months are only mildly warm. The east receives rain from April to August. September to November is relatively dry and the region only has sporadic showers. There are winter rains in December and January. This abates for two months and then it’s time for the monsoon season yet again. The central plateau has similar climate to the north but the mercury does not dip as low in winter. It rains from mid-June to September.

Your choice of where and when to go will be determined primarily by the weather. India's vastness means that the climate varies greatly from region to region, and sometimes even from day to night, as in the desert regions. The Indian year features six seasons: spring, summer, the rainy season, early and late autumn, and winter, but effectively there are but three -- summer, winter, and monsoon.You'll be better off visiting during the high-season winter months (Nov-Mar), when most of the country experiences pleasant, moderate temperatures (still hot enough to luxuriate in the pool), though cities in the north get chillier days as snow falls in the Himalayas. As a rule, always be prepared for warm to hot days, with the possibility of cooler weather at night. (If this has you worrying about how to pack, remember that you can pick up the most wonderful throwaway cotton garments for next to nothing and a real Pashmina scarf in every color to ward off an unexpected chill.) As with all season-driven destinations, there is a downside to traveling during peak months: From December to January, for example, Goa swells to bursting point with foreigners and city folk who arrive for the sensational beaches and parties. Lodging rates soar during these periods, so you may want to wait until theshoulder season (Sept-Oct, Mar-Apr), when there are fewer people and rates are very negotiable.

Summer (generally Apr-June) sees little traffic, and for good reason -- the daytime heat, particularly in India's north-central regions, is debilitating, even for the locals. This is the time to plan your trip to the Himalayas instead, particularly to high altitude provinces such as Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh in Jammu andKashmir. Ladakh, a magical region in the far north of the country, can only be visited June through September -- the rest of the year it remains a destination that's strictly for hard-core adventurers looking to trek through ultraextreme cold conditions.The monsoon drenches much of the country between June and September, usually starting its season in Kerala. Tamil Nadu and parts of Andhra Pradesh don't get too much rain during this period; instead they get more rainfall from a second monsoon that hits just this region around mid-October and runs through December. InRajasthan, central India, and the northern plains, the rains typically arrive by July and fall until early September. Some of the regions are at their most beautiful during the monsoon, but it can be difficult to move around, and there is a higher risk of exposure to diseases like malaria. Flooding, power failures, and natural destruction are also not uncommon. We have noticed, however, that the monsoon has become increasing fallible and locals will tell you that global warming has had a devastating impact on the rains. These days, it's possible to spend most of June in Kerala and see only a few days of intense showers.

Regarding the question of "when to visit India", the best time to visit India for tourists is the winter season. The season lasts from October to February. It is a pleasure to visit India during these cooler months, when the heat of summer is no more. Around this time, the usually wet areas of Northeast also become dry, making it easier to travel there. Even the hot South India is blessed with cool weather and rain on beaches in this peak season for India.Another reason to visit India in these months is that they coincide with the celebration mood in India. This is the time when maximum well-known festivals of India are celebrated. In October - November falls Dussehra, Durga Puja and Diwali. Also in November is the Pushkar Fair (in Rajasthan), the largest cattle fair in India. In January is the Republic Day of India and Lohri - the festival of Punjabis. In March falls Holi, the festival of colors. Then there is Id, Easter, Christmas and a number of another festivals, each celebrated in totally Indian fashion. You can experience true India, in all its richness, by attending these festivals.The summer months of March to May are very hot and humid. If you are planning to visit India during summers, then the best thing is to go to the hills and enjoy the scenic beauty. If you are interested in trekking or mountain climbing, then, the Himalayas are for you. Months of March to May, September and November are ideal for trekking in the Himalayas.

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