India’s climate varies greatly across its large landmass of mountains, deserts, plains and coasts. The Himalayas and the Thar Desert direct the weather patterns, particularly the two monsoon seasons.

The southwest monsoon, named for the winds that bring it, arrives in June and lasts until September. Most of the rain falls on the west coast and is crucial for farming. The northeast monsoon pelts the east coast from October through February, with devastating cyclones common. Northeastern India is one of the wettest places in the world, receiving rain from both monsoons.

The south remains warm throughout the year, with temperatures averaging 77°F even during the “winter” from November to January. The north experiences greater extremes with a short spring in February and March followed by the hottest weather in April and May when temperatures average 105°F and above on the northern plains. The south is less extreme, averaging 95°F during summer, but has high humidity.

Best Time to Visit India

India has relatively stable temperatures which make it a good year-round destination. The weather is mildest from November to February. This is also the most expensive time to visit as many countries have school holidays. Festivals take place across the nation throughout the year, but those coming particularly for Diwali should visit in November. Those coming between August and October are more likely to witness the various regional harvest festivals that take place.

April and May are the least popular times to come to India, as the constant heat can be draining. Summer can, however, be the ideal time to visit the cooler hill stations such as Manali. Those who are traveling particularly to spot wildlife will find animals less elusive during this season as their need for water draws them out of hiding.