A whole world’s worth of experiences fit into India, where each region boasts a distinctive charm shaped by its diverse topography and climate.
Whether you seek the thrill of mountaintop escapades or the serenity of silky sand beaches, awe-inspiring encounters with powerful yet evasive animals or profound cultural insights, these are the best places to visit by season.
Take a cool city break in the Winter
During the winter months, soaring temperatures drop to milder levels and the humidity wrought by monsoon season disperses, creating a much more comfortable climate for uncovering the secrets of India’s most magical cities.
In Mumbai, take advantage of the dryer weather and find hidden gems within the colorful Colaba Market, see Bollywood splendor in the Bandra West neighborhood and even try a classic Bombay Sandwich. From the Arabian Sea, see the arched Gateway of India and sail to the UNESCO Hindu and Buddhist caves on Elephanta Island.
Alternatively, visit Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India, which blends modernity with rich history and culture. Find the Tudor-style Bangalore Palace, marvel at the Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace and eat your way through the city’s culinary offerings.
Seek out Indian animals in Spring
As the cool winter months come to an end, spring is the best season to go in search of some of India’s most enigmatic animals before many of the parks close for monsoon season.
For a sighting of the elusive snow leopard, famed for its cream-coloured fur and distinctive markings, head to Hemis National Park in Ladakh, where the big cats descend from snow-capped mountains in search of food. Meanwhile, in Manas National Park, mighty elephants flock to the water as temperatures rise. For a flash of those famous orange and black stripes, tigers are frequently spotted in search of water at Bandhavgarh or Kanha National Parks.
Embark on an Ayurvedic journey during the Monsoon
Spanning from June to September, the Monsoon season is believed to create optimized conditions for Ayurvedic practises, making it the best season to discover the benefits of this ancient medicine. Embark on an ayurvedic retreat in Kerala, known as the ‘Land of Ayurveda’, and leave feeling fully cleansed, relaxed and restored.
Summertime is for mountain retreats
Escape the summer heat and humidity at one of India’s famous hill stations, picturesque mountain retreats offering cooler climates and stunningly beautiful scenery.
In Shillong, known as the ‘Scotland of the East, magnificent landscapes are marked by cascading waterfalls, serene lakes and rolling green hills, through which roads wind for a scenic road trip. Here adventurous activities such as trekking, kayaking and rappelling meet interactions with local tribes who share their captivating cultural practices.
Meanwhile in Ooty, nestled in the Nilgiri Hills, towering mountaintops and verdant tea plantations blanket the landscape with opportunities for treks, hand gliding and peaceful boat rides. Exotic and indigenous plants bloom at the Botanical Garden, where the rose garden boasts over 3,600 varieties and colonial-style cottages and fascinating museums populate the hamlet.
Beach breaks under the Autumn sun
With the weather still wonderfully warm, but with the scolding heat of the summer put to rest, Autumn is the ideal time to take a beachy break.
The dazzling Havelock Island, prize of the Andaman Islands, is a luscious paradise of verdant rainforest, fringed by pristine white beaches that melt into the turquoise sea. Spend days lazing beneath the Indian sun, catching sunrises at the spectacular Radhanagar beach, swimming in Neil’s Cove or joining a kayaking expedition through mangroves. The island is also an amazing spot for scuba diving through schools of sharks, rays and turtles.
Image Credits: Valley at Shillong by explorewithinfo © Shutterstock; Gateway to India by Gilberto Souza © Shutterstock; Manas National Park by Akkil Suvarna © Shutterstock; Canoe amongst backwaters of Kerala by Shutterbigtrails © Shutterstock; Ooty mountain landscape by Ashok Rao © Shutterstock; Radhanagar Beach by Vikram W © Shutterstock.