Up north, the winter snows are finally thawing, while
temperatures are rising across the subcontinent. India in April is
poised on the edge of a new season, and travellers visiting the
country in the spring will have new opportunities to explore its
most picturesque corners, from the Himalayas in the north to the
tropical backwaters down south.
After the snows have thawed,
Darjeeling is an ideal spring destination © Angelo Villaschi/iStock/Thinkstock
Long dreamt of exploring the rugged landscape of the Himalayan
mountains? After months of winter, visitors start flocking back to
the region in April, when it becomes accessible once more. Those
after both a higher intensity trek as well as a fair bit of culture
- and luxury on the side - should visit Darjeeling in West Bengal.
Overlooked by breathtaking Kanchenjunga (don't try climbing this
one unless you're of serious mountaineering stock!), the hill
station will offer pleasant temperatures and clear views in April.
When your legs tire, take a trip on the Darjeeling
Himalayan Railway - or better yet, settle in with a mug of the
region's famous tea.
West Bengal is extra celebratory
in April, to coincide with Bengali New Year © Xahidur Reza/Flickr
Visitors will also find the state of West Bengal uniquely
festive at this time of year, as mid-April historically marks the
Bengali New Year, or Pohela Boishakh. Journey down to Kolkata for
the biggest celebrations of the event, which will be held on
14th April, 2015. Traditional festivities include
everything from vibrant street processions to fairs and lively
While Darjeeling will be comparatively balmy compared to the
snowy months prior, travellers visiting India in April who are
after some serious tropical heat would do well to head south, where
the mercury will be steadily climbing throughout the month.
The houseboats of Kerala
epitomise tropical relaxation © sabirmallick/iStock/Thinkstock
Before the monsoon rains sweep in later in the spring and
summer, temperatures in Kerala will rise into the 30s - ideal for
those who are after a strong dose of sun after many cloudy winter
months. Given the heat, a languorous itinerary is the best bet.
Ayurvedic retreats cater to guests after long and relaxing
stays spent taking yoga classes, meditating outdoors, and indulging
in freshly cooked, local fare; the chance to experience the sensory
pleasures of the region's idyllic backwaters, coconut groves, and
fragrant coffee and spice plantations is also not to be missed. And
if you're after an even slower pace of life, sign on for a
tour of the backwaters, which will have you lazily trawling
along the Keralan waterways.
Tamil New Year will be
celebrated in South India in April © yuliang11/iStock/Thinkstock
Another must-visit destination in South India in April? Kerala's
neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. Temperatures here will be equally
warm, but April is also the month when the Tamil New Year, or
Puthandu, is celebrated. Like Bengal New Year, the holiday will
also be held on 14th April, 2015.
The Meenakshi Temple in Madurai
hosts one of the biggest celebrations of Tamil New Year © saiko3p/iStock/Thinkstock
Traditionally, families celebrate by decorating their homes with
kolams (intricate floor patterns), as well as trays of fruit and
flowers. Large, festive celebrations are also held concurrently
across the state, with the stunning Meenakshi Temple in Madurai the
site of one of the biggest.
Prepare to join in the celebrations, then, if you're visiting
India in April. Head north for slightly colder climes or south for
some heat - and be ready to dive into the local festivities.