India Climate - Guide to Indian Weather & Temperatures
The large subcontinent of India has as much diversity in its geography as it does its culture with everything from enormous plains to high mountain ranges. Like the geography, the climate also is highly diverse making for a huge variety in climatic conditions. Some consider these climatic conditions violent, with sudden and intense change with high possibilities of flooding, erosion, storms and extreme temperatures. You have to admire the large agriculture sector with the constant challenge of changeable and unpredictable weather conditions.
With such regional diversity, from the height of the Himalayas to the coast, it is difficult to nominate a general climate to this vast country, though many claim it is of a tropical climate. So it greatly differs as to when you should travel. Typically the best time to travel in South India is January through to September, while north-eastern regions are best travelled from March to August and from May to September is the best time to explore the mountains.
Differing from our summer, autumn, winter, spring season classifications, India has a winter, summer, monsoon, and post-monsoon cycle. December and January bring about the coolest months of the year for the general population, where once the monsoon temperatures fall, temperatures in the evenings can drop to a mere 2°C. On the other extreme, summer temperatures can reach a literally killer 50°C during the hottest months of May through to July. Coinciding with the hot weather is the start of the monsoon. The Bay of Bengal is usually the first to be hit in late May then travels inland for the beginning of June then the rest of the sub-continent by the end of June.
For the best of the extremes, the northern plains of India are where you will find them. With hot and humid summers, freezing winters and a tonne of rain during the monsoon months July to September, it really does its best to persuade you not to come. But don’t let it put you off, in fact the winters can be quite pleasant, generally October through to March, if you time your travels right. Some of the most beautiful places to visit are situated in northern India such as the Himalayas and the communities surrounding them. Actually it is because of this diverse topography, from Himalayan Mountains, deep valleys to vast desert land that spur the differing climatic conditions. By large, these areas have been highly untouched by tourism until recently, making the environment fresh and cultures undisturbed and uninfluenced by other cultures.
The Western Himalayas are best experienced in the summer months as winter can be unforgiving. Winter often isolates the Western Himalayas with heavy snowfall making it inaccessible. With many treks, temples and mountains to take on, summer provides a great platform to explore and enjoy the incredible beauty of the Himalayas.
The East Indian area tends to succumb to a humid subtropical climate, with the north-east area in particular receiving generous precipitation. East India is a hugely popular destination for tourists as well as Indian families on holiday with stunning areas of Darjeeling and Guwahati as well as the highly popular city-that-never-sleeps, Kolkata. Although temperatures and climatic conditions vary with the landscape, East India’s climate is generally in the more tolerable range with the exception of the thick of summer. Again, if you plan well, you should be able to enjoy all East India has to offer in comfort, the temples, nightlife, architecture and wildlife to name a few!
Central India experiences hot summers but cools right down in winter, with temperatures at night falling drastically in some regions. During the months July through to September the rains will deter most visitors but all in all the temperatures are considered moderate in Indian standards. So long as you avoid the monsoon, travelling to the Central Indian states such as Goa, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra as beyond will likely be very pleasant.
Western India is known for its heat, and the prolonging of it. Even in winter, temperatures do not drop too significantly. Therefore winter is definitely the time to visit West India to avoid the extremity of the summer climate and miss the rains of the monsoon between June and September.
With a tropical climate, South India’s summer and winter climates have very little difference. Generally days are hot but cool down at night to a comfortable temperature. During winter, temperatures stay above 20°C making it the best time to visit. In the summer, many escape the heat by heading to the nearby hill stations.
Did you know…
Did you know that the state of Meghalaya in south-eastern India has the world’s highest statistic for average yearly rainfall? A good 10,900mm of rain falls on average in this region!