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Best places to visit in India month by month

Here’s our guide to the best places to visit in India month by month, based on the best weather, the Indian festival calendar and the must-visit cities and attractions.

Best places to visit in India in January

The Jaipur Literary Festival is one of the most popular events in India, making January a great month to visit this wonderful city. There’s a huge program of events featuring authors from across the world, but tickets sell out early so make sure you don’t miss out. The weather in January in Jaipur is also perfect for exploring some of the city’s best sights, including the 1799 Hawa Mahal (the Pink Palace) in the heart of Old Jaipur. You can explore the distinct building with its honeycomb windows but be warned, it gets busy and hot. The city is also home to one of the country’s best forts (and there’s a lot of contenders!), the Amber Fort which is built in white marble and red sandstone and has a beautiful mirrored ceiling in the Jai Mandir. There’s also some wonderful markets and bazaars in Jaipur, as well as some excellent museums and galleries such as the Albert Hall Museum and the Modern Art Gallery.

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Jaipur Pink Palace

Best places to visit in India in February

February is arguably the best time to visit the Taj Mahal, with cooler temperatures and long days. Due to its status as one of the most famous buildings in the world, there’s never going to be a “quiet time” to visit unless you want to brave the scorching summers. Located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, the UNESCO World Heritage Site attracts a huge 8 million visitors each year and a lot of these are Indian nationals; avoiding any sort of public holiday would help keep the crowds down. It’s best seen at sunrise or sunset, and there’s a chance you’ll see fewer people at sunrise due to the early start! The building was built as a mausoleum for Mumtaz Mahal, late wife of Shah Jahan the Mughal Emperor in 1632. At the time of writing, the Taj Mahal is free of any scaffolding or cleaning projects, but there’s nothing to say it won’t pop up later in the year so it’s best to check before you plan a visit. We recommend flying to Delhi and hiring a driver to take you on to Agra.

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Taj Mahal

Best places to visit in India in March

The Andaman Islands are a different sort of India vacation, and often overlooked by tourists. Havelock Island is the biggest of the archipelago and offers some of the best dive sites and beaches in South Asia. Most beach hotels will offer dive and snorkeling packages, as well as tours inland to the jungle. There’s not a huge amount to do on Havelock but it’s a cheap destination to have a luxury beach break. You can catch the ferry over to Havelock Island from Port Blair.

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Image by Milan (Bondi) Aggarwal

Best places to visit in India in April

The weather in India in April makes it best time to visit the tea plantation district of Darjeeling, in West Bengal. As well as visiting the plantations and learning everything there is to know about the world’s most popular drink, there’s the Khangchendzonga National Park, trekking at Singalila Ridge (one of India’s best places to trek), riding on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and shopping at the town’s markets which are stuffed with goods from around the Himalayas. The weather in Darjeeling in April is usually up to around 17 degrees Celsius (it’s in the mountains, remember) so it’s one of the most popular times to visit and hotels get busy early. Fly to Bagdogra and be prepared for a 3 hour car ride to Darjeeling city.

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Image by Kristina Cook

Best places to visit in India in May

May is hot in Goa, but because it’s a beach and water region it’s very do-able (unlike cities like Delhi and Mumbai which are sweltering in May). While it’s a popular time of year with foreign and domestic tourists, there’s a great atmosphere and it doesn’t spoil the fun. You can either book a beach hut and spend a week on a sun lounger with a good book, or consider booking a yoga or meditation retreat which usually offer affordable week-long packages including food and drink. As well as doing very little, there’s plenty of water sports, markets and architecture to explore with average temperatures of around 30 degrees celsius.

Read more: Top 10 attractions and things to do in Goa

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Goa Beach

Best places to visit in India in June

You’ll need to head north if you want to visit India in the hot summer months. The higher altitudes make it more lush, drier and most importantly, cooler. The ex-Buddhist region of Ladakh is breathtakingly beautiful, especially in June and July. The mountains are dotted with temples and gompas (monasteries used by Tibetan monks) and there’s some excellent hiking and motorbike tours. Leh is the most populated town, and close to the 17th Century Leh Palace, one of the most popular places to visit in India. The town itself is also worth a visit, especially the Leh Old Town alleyways behind the Jamia Masjid mosque. There’s lots of hotels in and around Leh which take advantage of the stunning views and lush landscapes.

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Image by Earthstoke

Best places to visit in India in July

Again, if you’re planning a vacation in India over the summer, you’ll need to head north. Sikkim, which was actually a mountain kingdom until as recently as 1975 is very different to the likes of Delhi or Mumbai, and one of the best places to visit in India in July. It’s a very relaxed state with roots in Tibetan Buddhism, and with influences from bordering Bhutan, China, Nepal and West Bengal. The mountains are sharp and tall, while the valleys are green and soft, making it a very popular place with hikers. One of the most popular places to stay in the region is Yuksom, the former capital, which is usually the jumping off point for people trekking to Mount Khangchendzonga, the third-highest mountain in the world. The regional government has taken measures to protect the area from excessive tourism so you’ll need to apply for a tourist permit which is valid for a limited time.

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Sikkim Mountain Valleys

Best places to visit in India in August

If you ignore the climate, there’s never really a bad time to visit Kerala but August is by far one of the best. It’s the month of the Onam festival which is one of the most important in the Malayalam calendar. It’s one of three harvest festivals and is celebrated through martial arts, boat races, tug of war, folk songs, traditional dance, worship and tiger dances, amongst others! The most important days are day one and day 10, which is celebrated with a huge feast of 13 traditional dishes served on banana leaves. Base yourself in either Kochi, Trivandrum, or Thrissur to see the biggest celebrations.

More Kerala travel inspiration: Best things to do and places to visit in Kochi

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Onam Festival

Best places to visit in India in September

Mumbai is one of many cities around India that goes all out for the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, which celebrates Lord Ganesha, the God of New Beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles. The tens of thousands of idols of Lord Ganesha on display on pandals (temporarily put up for the festival) make the city an even more special place to visit than usual. The busiest pandal is in the city’s fish market in the center of the city which attracts thousands of devotees over the 10 day festival. As well as the festival, there’s the usual and favorite Mumbai attractions including the bustling Chor Bazaar, the famous Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the Oval Maiden cricket ground in the Colaba neighborhood. There’s also the nearby Ellora Caves which make a good day trip from Mumbai.

Read more: Beginner’s guide to Mumbai: best places to visit and when to go

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India's Meenakshi Temple

Best places to visit in India in October

Hyderabad is a fun city to explore on foot – wander round Ramoji Film City learning about the world’s largest movie studio which produces hundreds of Tollywood and Bollywood movies each year, or go shopping in the Charminar area which is the city’s main market place filled with shops and stalls selling everything Indian (including the famous Hyderabad bangles), or visit the incredible 21 domed tombs at Qutb Shahi.

To read more about things to do and see in Hyderabad, check out our Hyderabad destination guide.

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Charminar

Best places to visit in India in November

The festivals of Ganga Mahotsav and Dev Deepavali (Festival of Lights of the Gods) are both held in November on the banks of the River Ganges in what is arguably the world’s most crazy city – Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. As well as a packed program of Indian classical music and dance, there’s also the spectacle at the end of the festival when more than a million (we mean literally, more than one million!) clay lanterns are lit and floated down the River Ganges. Pilgrims flock to the area even more so than usual so it’s not a time to visit if you don’t like crowds. The music and arts program usually features some very high-profile and well-loved performers, which make it an even more special occasion. The best bit is there are direct flights to Varanasi from the UAE.

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Image by Alfonso Perez

Best places to visit in India in December

The weather in Delhi in December makes it one of the best places to visit in India over the winter months. There’s a lot to see in the city and most of it is best done when the weather’s cool enough for you to wander around taking it all in. The Red Fort is one of the most famous places to visit in the city, along with Humayan’s Tomb, Qutub Minar and India Gate. It’s also a city with a fantastic culture scene and a fast growing list of galleries such as the Delhi Art Gallery, and funky shops selling local artists’ work and handicrafts. Hauz Khaz Village has popular shops such as Nappa Dori and Boutique.

Read more: Top 10 places to visit and things to do in Delhi

India Gate Delhi

*Published June 2018. Prices correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability.

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