Tag Archives: India

Weather in India in July
Weather in India in July

AN OVERVIEW OF JULY WEATHER IN INDIA

In July half of the year has passed and India has seen all possible climates already: from snow to heat to rain, from dryness to humidity and from cold and hot temperatures. By end of June the monsoon covers the most of the country with a thick and wet blanket of clouds and weather in India can be called nothing else but wet. From Kerala in the south to the Himalayas in the north, from Rajasthan in the west to Sikkim and Darjeeling in the east, it rains regularly and heavy in all regions. Find out more about the effects of the rain season and how it can impact your travels in this blog.

Most locals will be still quite happy with the weather as the hot summer months are finally over and the rains provide a cooler and fresher air to breathe. Temperatures drop between 5 and 10 °C on a monthly average. Rivers, waterfalls and lakes fill up and therefore the agricultural industry becomes busy. It is a great time for farmers but also for trekking and tropical nature enthusiasts.

SOUTH INDIA IN JULY

Kerala faces slightly less heavy rain showers in July compared to June but it rains more often and long-lasting in this month. It is a great time for trekking and national park visit but we aware of the blood-sucking ledges. But if you prefer less wet holidays with lots of sun July might not be the best time to visit Kerala.

The constant rain can also cause interruptions for travels and activities. In Goa many resorts, restaurants and shacks will be closed from May to September, similarly at the beaches of Kerala. If you find a resort that stays open though you can catch great discounts on stays, even at luxury stays. And both Goa and Kerala offer lush greenery in the countryside.

If you still decide to travel despite the humid and wet weather we would recommend to concentrate on the Western Ghats, a 1600km long mountain range listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site parallel to the coast of the Arabian sea. The region is covered with national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, forest reserves as well as charming hill stations. You can’t just find various wild and unique flora and fauna species in those hills but also endless fruit, tea and coffee plantations. And in July they offer cooler temperatures and less stuffy air than in the cities and plains of India. Wayanad, Munnar and Thekkady are such places but also the Dudhsagar Waterfall Hike in Goa. Ooty in Tamil Nadu is very popular amongst domestic tourists to flee the annoying conditions of the cities in the monsoons.

Tamil Nadu doesn’t face the entire power of the rain season in July yet as the monsoon hits this region later from August to November with the wettest month being November. But even here it can be quite cloudy and therefore cooler in July. Tamil Nadu tends to be very hot in the rest of the year (except winters) so it might be a great time to visit, especially if you come mainly for the sightseeing of temples and religious monuments.

NORTH INDIA IN JULY

By end of June and beginning of July the monsoon has also hit Rajasthan and the other central and northern regions with full power. All the popular cities of the North like Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Varanasi, Rishikesh and Amritsar face the highest precipitation and number of rainy days in July and August.

Even though the sun doesn’t shine often through the heavy clouds the temperatures just drop slightly and the humidity increases. Travelers who prefer humid heat to dry heat should come to Rajasthan now but it will leave you feeling exhausted if you are physically active.

The cooler regions at the foothills of the Himalayas seem like a good escape but don’t underestimate the power of the monsoon when it hits the mountains and cloudburst appear. The regions of Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarkhand have experienced many such extreme weather events when suddenly a huge amount of water was dropped in very less time. In 2013 thousands of residents, tourist and pilgrims were killed near the holy temple of Kedarnath when a landslide caused by such a cloudburst came from the mountains and carried away everything in its way. Even though that happened in June, cloud bursts and landslides are more common in July so keep this in mind if you want to travel and trek in the mountains despite the rain.

If you want to escape the heat and the monsoon all together and enjoy stunning landscapes in the mountains, Ladakh or Lahual Spiti might be the best destination in India in July for you. The state in the most northern part on India in the midst of the high mountain ranges of the Himalayas offers breathtaking views and great opportunities for hikes. Ladakh is also called the cold dessert for a reason as the precipitation is very low up here. In July the temperatures are at its maximum high for this region but rarely reach higher than 30°C. But it is also the main tourist season for this part of India so be prepared that it won’t be as tourist-free as the rest of India.

The east stream of the monsoon winds hit the north east of India by beginning of June and some regions like Meghalaya get an intense amount of rain. Rather plan a visit to this region after October.

July certainly offers a rather difficult weather in India. It rains a lot, it is humid and it might get hot. The sun shines rarely and flooding and landslides are common. But while the cities might be less hospitable due to the dense infrastructure and lack of drainage systems, in the rural areas and especially the hill stations will welcome you with lush greenery and strong impressive waterfalls. . The very north of India in the Himalayas offers the best choice of travel destinations in June as the temperatures are moderate and the precipitation low.

Plan your trip to India in June with us now and we will suggest the best places to enjoy during this travel time.


Weather in India in October
Weather in India in October

An overview of October weather in India

October is what we call ‘in-between-month’: the monsoon is over but it can rain at times. It can be hot but the winter slowly starts at the end of the month. The tourist season hasn’t started yet but the room rates are rising. October brings also a sheer variety of weather zones to India. While the retreating Monsoon hits Tamil Nadu and Kerala, it starts to snow in Ladakh and Uttarkhand in North India. While it can get hot in central India and Rajasthan, the cold takes over in the hill stations up north. So if you are planning to tour all over India you better pack onion-style: many layers which can be removed.

While the weather surely plays an important role to choose the best time to travel to India another factor demands attention too: national and cultural festivals. And October has lots of them which we will explain below. But first let us dig into the different climates zones in India in October

North India in October

 October is the perfect time to hit the mountains up north and north east. But don’t go too far in: the high altitude regions in Uttarkhand, Himachal Pradesh and in Ladakh (Jammu, Kashmir) get already very cold, might even face snow and many roads and villages will be cut off due to the weather conditions. But you can visit Rishikesh, Shimla, Manali, Dharamsala and surroundings without issues and even enjoy great hikes and clear views. But pack some warm clothes too as it can get cold at night and in the morning and evening hours. Read more about fun filled travel routes in the Himalayas here.

In Rajasthan it can be very hot in the day time, up to 35°C and higher. It usually doesn’t rain in October in Central India but it can occasionally happen. In the night it cools down by a big margin so pack a sweater and some socks for dinners outside or an optional overnight-camel-safari. Find some popular travel routes for Rajasthan here.

The main tourist season starts around  mid-October so even though the room rates aren’t hitting their maximum like they do in December and January the prices aren’t as low anymore as in the previous month.

South India in October

Kerala receives a good amount of rain in October as the retreating Monsoon from the north east (the second monsoon hitting India every year) arrives. It is not as much as it was in June or July but it is more than in September and can come with heavy downpours and long lasting storms. It is again not the best time to visit the beaches but it is fun in the mountains. The landscapes are still coloured in a lush green and the lakes, rivers and waterfalls are filled with streaming water. It can get quite warm in the lowlands and cool in the mountains with temperatures varying from 16 to 30 °C. So even here you would need to be prepared for every weather change possible: from drizzle to storm, from cloudy to sunny, from hot to cold. See four popular routes for Kerala hereKarnataka’s climate is almost the same as Kerala’s but there is less rainfall. We have a suggestion for a backpacking tour in South India for you here.

Tamil Nadu’s main rain season starts mid-October and lasts until mid-December. The region receives less rain fall in the south-west monsoon from June to September and therefore gets really wet in the last quarter of the year. It’s better to avoid the east coast with places like Pondicherry, Mahabalipuram and Chennai in October.

In Goa business is slowly picking up by middle of October with many resorts and restaurants reopening for the new season. South-Goa is still slow and won’t be very hospitable until November but you can definitely already have a good time at the beaches of North-Goa. It can be hot and it might storm and rain on some days but that should be a rare occasion.

Festivals in India in October

So while the weather can be quite unpredictable in October we are 100% certain that you can experience at least one great Hindu festival in October. Probably even the biggest of them all: Diwali, the ethereal festival of light (19/10/2017, 07/11/2018, 27/10/2019). In many parts of the country the festival lasts five days and people travel far to visit relatives and friends. Many consider it as a new year celebration with fireworks and crackers. It’s a magical time to be in India and it would be definitely a great idea to stay at a homestay with a Hindu family who will invite you to participate in the ceremonies. Plan your trip with us and we make sure you can experience the an authentic and exciting Diwali festival.

This time has a major drawback though: since many locals are travelling to visit home or relatives train and flight tickets are very expensive or even booked out long in advance. So it is better to travel in one region in the week before and after Diwali. You might be able to catch cheap flights on the day of Diwali but definitely not around the day if you are more of a spontaneous traveler. Good news: Hotels are often cheaper during Diwali as domestic tourism is low.

Other Festivals:

  • Ashura Festival. A Muslim festival that celebrates the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet. A large procession happens every year in Udaipur. (01/10/2017, 21/09/2018)
  • Navaratri & Dusshera. A nine-day long festival celebrating all forms of the mother goddess. People fast in the day and dance and fest at night. On the 10th day Dussehra, the victory of good over evil, is celebrated. The biggest celebration happens in Kolkata (Durga Puja), but you can also observe the ceremonies all over Gujarat, Rajasthan, in Delhi, Varanasi, Mumbai, Mysore and in the small town of Kullu in Himachal Pradesh. In 2017 it will be in September but in 2018 again in October.
  • Rajasthan has many fun local events happening in October like the Marwar Festival and the Rajasthan International Folk Festival in Jodhpur and especially the Pushkar Camel Fair (28/10-04/11/2017, 15-23/11/2018), one of the biggest folk festivals in India and biggest camel fair in the world. The first days are all about camel trading, races, music and folk art while for the last days many pilgrims flock to the small town for the religious part of the event. In the final full moon night Hindus bath in the holy lake to free themselves from all sins and light up the town with oil lamps and fireworks. It would be very crowded and it is hard to find available accommodations, prices raise 5-10 times as high as the usual room rates in the rest of the year. But it is surely a great experience. We can help you plan a visit to Pushkar during the fair well in advance but might not be able to find a place to stay for the spontaneous travelers.

If you are thinking about travelling to India in October, plan your trip with us and we make sure to create a trip experience of a lifetime for you and your family and friends.


Weather in India in March
Weather in India in March

What’s the weather like in India in March?

India in March signals the end of the winter season and the beginning of the excruciatingly hot summer. It’s still more likely to still be pleasant than April or May, though.

Where should you go in India in March?

It is a good time to visit parts of North India apart from Rajasthan. That means Amritsar, Rishikesh, Dharamshala. Anywhere in Himachal Pradesh, Shimla and Manali are also very pleasant. Hill stations were invented exactly for this reason. So climb those mountains and beat the summer heat!

South India starts getting hot in March.It won’t be as pleasant as January or as hot as April-May. The beginning of off-season means that it’s a lot less touristy and easier to travel. That means cheaper accommodation and travel and empty beaches. It’s not a good time to see the temples as it may get too hot.

Last but not least, the North East. It’s a great time to discover these off-beat states. Green , blossoming and bursting with culture. The food is delicious and the people lovely.

Festivals in India in March

March is also when the festival of Holi is celebrated and that’s an unmissable Indian experience. Colour, fun, food and just a little bit of intoxication. What more could you want?


Weather in India in August
Weather in India in August

AN OVERVIEW OF AUGUST WEATHER IN INDIA

India has three seasons: Winter, Summer and Monsoon. Unfortunately, August falls right in the rain season which lasts from beginning or middle of June until end of September. This means that there can be heavy durable rainfall in most regions across India in August.

But even though it’s mostly off-season for tourism in India, it does not mean you can’t travel. India has more than one climate zone and one needs to differentiate between them. Furthermore, there is no such thing as bad weather, as my PE teacher used to say. There are only wrong clothes and an unsuitable attitude.

The main advantages of this time of the year:

  • You can get off-season bargains for hotels, even in the luxury section across your stay. Great time for backpackers!
  • You can enjoy most places to yourself with minimal number of tourists so your experience can be more authentic.

SOUTH INDIA IN AUGUST

Kerala and Goa usually receive very heavy rain during the monsoon. It does dampen plans of exploring the state of Kerala or relaxing on the beaches of Goa. When it rains, it will rain for hours, it will be heavy, and it may rain for an entire day. Then it can clear up for a couple of days and not rain at all.

However, the countryside comes alive during these months. It is gorgeously green and the rivers and lakes are teeming with water. Since it can get still pretty hot and especially close to the seaside very humid, the hill stations become popular destinations among domestic tourists. Wayanad, Munnar and Thekkady in Kerala offer lush green nature and mesmerizing views.

The rocky surroundings of Hampi where you can explore ancient temple and palace ruins of an empire long gone, might be worth a visit as it can get very hot and dry in central India during the rest of the year. Check out a a possible trip route to Hampi here.

But  try to avoid visiting the state of Tamil Nadu in August. The rains during the first monsoon – Tamil Nadu faces a second phase of Monsoon in December –  have been rather weak here over the last years so it can get still very hot and humid without the cooling effects of the rain.

Visit Goa and Kerala in August if you want to enjoy off-season discounts, stay at a lovely luxury resort for less than half the cost and enjoy having the place to yourself. Having a swim in the ocean might be a little dangerous due to the strong currents coming with the south-west monsoon but many of the discounted resorts have pools.

In the Backwaters of Kerala there are many snake boat races all over the summer but the biggest ist the Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race happening every year on the second weekend of August in Alleppey. At the end of August the Onam Festival starts. This is a harvest festival and the most important celebration in Kerala. On the first day you should visit Tripunithura, near Ernakulam in Kochi where a parade with decorated elephants, music and colourful dressed locals would be happening (25/08/2017 and 15/08/2018).

Goa becomes very hilly and lush the further you travel away from the coast.Here you can hike to the Dudhsagar Waterfall which is amongst the five highest of India but definitely the easiest accessible.

NORTH INDIA IN AUGUST

While Delhi, Agra, Varanasi and Rajasthan also receive rain during the month of August, the intensity is never the same as in South India.

Especially from the foothills of the Himalayas in the north down to central India below Delhi and Agra the showers are not as heavy and do not last as long. The temperatures cool down during the rains when it is cloudy and overcast and the countryside turns green.

In the Thar dessert of Rajasthan there might not be any rain at all. If it rains it is strong but doesn’t last long. After a couple of very hot months during the first half of the year the monsoon months bring some cooling moments to the region.

August can actually be quite a nice month to visit North India. It isn’t extremely hot thanks to the rains, there are off-season discounts for most accommodations and services, less tourist crowds and the pretty lush countryside. But every rain season is different and sometimes it can rain more and in some years droughts become an issue. It’s definitely more humid than in the winters.

The bizarre festival of Krishna Janmashtami happens in August or September (14/08/2017 and 02/09/2018). It involves people building human pyramids by climbing on each other. The biggest events happen in Mumbai and Mathura, close to Agra, where Krishna was born and grown up. 

Other festivals in August:

  • 02/08/2017 and 26/08/2018 Raksha Bandhan. Sisters tie a rakhi (decorated wrist band) around their brothers wrists and receive gifts in return. Good time to stay at a homestay to observe the celebrations.
  • 15/08 Independence Day. It’s a national holiday so be prepared for banks, shops and some public buildings to be closed. Most events happen around the Red Fort in Delhi.

 MOUNTAINS IN THE NORTH

August is a good month to visit Leh and Ladakh as the weather is clear with minimal or no rain. It can already get cold, especially in the second half of August so be sure to pack some woolen clothes.

The rest of Himalayas, i.e. Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Sikkim and Darjeeling  get a lot of rain during the month of August and landslides are very common. Rishikesh, Dharamsala and Manali as the most popular cities in this region often face lots of rain in August so outdoor activities are mostly impossible. If you would like to go to Leh a flight might be a better idea than going by road.

Check out some route options to travel in the north here.

All in all, it is possible to travel in August to India. If you enjoy backpacking with small spending and more authenticity due to less tourists, then August is the time for your adventure. Just pack a rain jacket and gum boots and be prepared to spend some time during heavy rains indoors with some ‘chai’ and a good book.

If you’re planning to travel to India in August, plan your trip with us now and we create the best trip  considering the weather and other conditions. We make sure you will have a great time!


Weather in India in September
Weather in India in September

An overview of September Weather in India 

Most travelers don’t know it, but September is a great month to visit India. It marks the last month of the monsoon which started in June. It usually means lighter rains or heavy rains but only in short spurts. Overall India in September is drier and sunnier than the months of July and August and not quite as hot yet as in October as it is often cloudy. North India is drier than South India. Kerala can still receive persistent showers during the month of September.

It is also the last ‘off-season month’ for hotels in India. Hotels in India offer fabulous discounts during off-season. So you can stay at fantastic heritage hotels and resorts without breaking the bank. In the same time, you won’t need to share the sights, monuments and museums with huge tourist crowds as the season hasn’t started yet.

Before we go into detail about the climate conditions in the main tourist destinations of north and south India, there is one more benefit to travelling in September to India that demands attention: the beginning of the festival season. The whole months there are many celebrations happening all over India:

  • Ganesh Chaturthi. This 11 day long festival for the Hindu elephant-headed god Ganesha or Ganpati is celebrated especially largely in Mumbai. Massive elaborately crafted statues of Ganesha are kept home and prayed to for 11 days before they are paraded through the streets with singing and dancing on the last day of the festival (05/09/2017, 24/09/2018). Then eventually they are submerged into the sea – a fascinating sight at the crowded beaches of the maximum city.
  • Onam. Onam is a 10 days festival celebrated in Kerala. Houses are colourfully decorated, feats are served and games are being played. The biggest events happen in Trivandrum, Thrissur, and Kottayam. (25/08 – 06/09/2017, 15/08-27/08/2018)
  • Onam Pulikkali Tiger Play. One of the most bizzare festivals in India includes 100 of men dressing up as tigers and dancing through the streets of Thrissur. (08/09/2017, 29/09/2018)
  • Navaratri & Dusshera. A nine day long festival celebrating all forms of the mother goddess. People fast in the day and dance and fest at night. On the 10th day Dussehra, the victory of good over evil, is celebrated. The biggest celebration happens in Kolkata (Durga Puja), but you can also observe the ceremonies all over Gujarat, Rajasthan,  in Delhi, Varanasi, Mumbai, Mysore and in the small town of Kullu in Himachal Pradesh. 

North India in September

North India is a great region to visit in the month of September. The rains are usually light and in short spells. The days are sunny and the temperature can vary from being pleasantly warm to hot. Never too cold, even at night. Since it has been raining since June the nature is still colored in lush green, the farmers are still busy working in the fields and the lakes, rivers and waterfalls are still teeming with water.

Off-season rates, low number of tourists and sunny days make Rajasthan a great region to tour in September. It is less rainy than in July and August and less hot than in October so it is actually a fantastic time to visit. Overall, the rains are hardly an obstacle in Rajasthan anyways and more so in the month of September. For tour ideas for Rajasthan read more here.

However, a lot of the touristy activities would not have kicked off yet. For instance, in Jaisalmer you may not be able to do an overnight camel safari as it is still off-season. All National parks in India only open towards the start or the middle of October.

MOUNTAINS IN THE NORTH

September is considered to be the post-monsoon month for the Himalayas, especially in the foot hills around Rishikesh, Shimla, Dharamsala or other hill stations. While the main monsoon months of June, July and August bring dangers like landslides, cloud bursts, flooding and storms, September means clear weather with no or less chances of rain and temperatures that are pleasant without being too cold. Visibility in the Himlayas of the distant peaks is best during the post monsoon months. (i.e. September onwards). September is a great time to relax at a Himalyan hill station or set out on treks.

Ladakh’s main tourist season lasts from June until early September but sometimes it starts to snow and get very cold at the end of August already. This is hard to predict and can change from year to year. You can surely fly to Leh and enjoy the views from the small town and some places close by but you might not be able to travel over the passes from Manali to Leh and to the beautiful Pangong Tso or Nubra Valley.

In the North East the rain season get also weaker and the weather clearer with shorter and weaker rainfalls. Due to the weak infrastructure and road conditions though the region requires some time to prepare for the main season so it would be more ideal to visit in October of November.

If the mountains are calling you check out our tour ideas for the Himalayas here.

South India in September

Depending on which part of South India you are touring you will encounter either little or a lot of rain. Kerala is usually still very wet during the month of September. Very pretty as it is very green, but heavy rains are common. But if one enjoys the tropical climate and trekking during in lower temperatures without the strong sun shining this is the perfect month. National parks like Periyar and Eravikulam remain open in the south.

Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are usually dry during the month of September. The days are sunny and hot. The main monsoon in Tamil Nadu starts in November. It is a great time to visit Hampi, the popular backpacking destination in the center of Karnataka. This place can get very hot and dry in the rest of the year so if you want to experience a green and cool Hampi come in September. You can travel then to Mysore and Wayanad and eventually to Kerala, see here.

September is still a very quiet month in Goa. It can be wet, but showers are not as heavy. You can get a week of little or no rain and very sunny days at the end of the month. However, the waters are still rough during the month of September. South Goa is still very dead as the season mostly starts in October and November. North Goa would slowly be kicking into action with shacks, restaurants and activities opening up. But don’t forget that Goa also has a great country side with rain forests and impressive waterfalls. It’s worth a visit on the way from Mumbai to Hampi, see here.

In a nutshell: With off-season rates and a lower number of tourists, September is a great month to tour India. Rajasthan and the Himalayas would be the best regions to travel through. However, a South India tour of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is perfectly possible. Kerala’s and Goa’s beaches should be avoided but the countryside and hill stations are worth visiting.

If you’re planning to travel to India in September plan your trip with us now and we create the best trip  considering the weather and other conditions. We make sure you will have a great time!


Seeing India by train—Five great routes
Seeing India by train—Five great routes

 

India has the largest rail network for a single country in the entire world. Every single major metro is connected and a couple of million unknown villages as well. It costs a fraction of what you’d pay an airline. A space that big is bound to breed a culture of its own and so it does. With its intriguing meal-order system, the instant bonds that spring up with your co-passengers, lining up to spit out your toothpaste in the tiny metal sink in the corridor—it’s all part of the Great Indian Rail Adventure. There’s no better way to watch the Indian public in their element, and you’re sure to meet a lovely family that’ll take you under their wing and stuff you full of their tiffin snacks. You can find out more about the classes and food and planning the route from our other posts.

We’ve put together five Indian travel routes that rely heavily on trains to get you between places. It’s advisable to have all your train tickets booked in advance, and you can feel free to contact us for help with that!

1. Classic North India

Delhi – Varanasi – Agra – Jaipur – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Delhi 

(Route on GoogleMaps)

Start from Delhi, the teeming capital and branch out first toward the ancient spiritual town of Varanasi. From here, you have all f Rajasthan’s vast deserts ahead of you, so a little meditation now will do you good. Meander through Rajasthan’s most beautiful cities, Agra, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Udaipur. Each city is a backpackers dream, and will require a minimum of a few days to explore all their colourful alleyways. The best part though, is sailing through the sand in your (preferably A/C) sleeper car, buying pyaaz ki kachori (onion stuffed fried snack) and tomato chaat from the vendors that pop up outside your window. You can also be sure to meet a lot of fellow travellers long the route, all the better to swap stories with over a game of cards on a long night on the train.

Trains – You have four overnight trains and two short day trains. Jodhpur to Udaipur can also be travelled by bus

When to go – August to April

2. All along the coastline

Mumbai – Goa – Gokarna – Wayanad – Calicut –  Cochin – Varkala 

(Route on GoogleMaps)

This is a slow approach across India’s beautiful western coastline. Your trains will pass over great wide rivers and palm-fringed fishing villages, with all the land to one side of you suddenly giving way to the endless ocean. Make pit stops at some of India’s most famous beaches on your way.

Catch your first train in Mumbai city, a façade of business and bustle that hides a sleepily beautiful history. Next stop, party central! Take your time in Goa making sure to hit all the great raves but to also understand the mysteries of its natural bounties. Take a breather a Gokarna, every bit as beautiful as Goa, but a lot less busy. Finally crawl your way across Kerala from top to bottom, stopping wherever you feel, because you really can’t go wrong in God’s own country. North Kerala is often ignored, but is a beautiful non-touristy region of Kerala. Pristine beaches, hills, and forests.

This route takes you mainly on the Konkan railway belt, one of the most beautiful railways routes in India, relaxed, tropical, hassle-free and safe.

Trains – Can be done with a mix of day and overnight trains. However, it is recommended to take as many day trains as possible as the routes are very scenic.

When to go – October to April to enjoy sunshine on the beach. The monsoon months have their own charm, and the landscape reaches peak greenness in September.

3. North to South

Delhi – Amritsar – Dharmshala – Agra – Udaipur – Mumbai – Goa – Kerala

(Route on GoogleMaps)

Take it all in in one shot! Right from Delhi, the home of the Punjabis, stronghold of the North, all the way down to beautiful Kerala ripe with bananas, beef and South Indian pride. This will be one of your best opportunities to really compare the often starkly different cultures of the country, and long distance trains have a tendency to get people talking! Watch the scenery unfold from the Golden Temples of Amritsar to the rubber forests of the ghats as you pass through some of the nation’s most vibrant cities. Delhi is only a teaser of the Punjabi culture that will grab you up in a hearty bear hug in Amritsar. Head up to Dharmshala for spiritual guidance as much as for the view. Agra and Udaipur will shower you in gorgeous architecture and Mumbai will hustle you up the greatest food you ever dreamt of. Then it’s a downward spiral through the ever blossoming beauty of Goa into the sunshine soaked-backwaters of Kerala. Give this route time, at least 3 to 4 weeks. You’re going to want to add more stops in between.

Trains – rely mainly on overnight trains, some journeys may last up to 20 hours without a break.

When to go – August to Aprli

4. Heading East

Delhi – Agra – Khajuraho – Varanasi – Darjeeling – Kolkata 

(Route on GoogleMaps)

Follow the mighty Ganges! Hit up the unmissable Delhi and Agra before steeping back in time at the temple town of Khajuraho.Take the toy train up to Darjeeling for some quiet time in the tea capital of the world before moving on to Kolkata. Point of interest—Kolkata is rumoured to have some of the best railway-side fast food in the country. That means steaming hot earthenware cups of chai, sticky, sugary sweets, overstuffed kathi rolls and spicy aloo chat. Take full advantage.

Trains – Again a mix of overnight and day trains

When to go– August to April

5. North India via short day trains

Delhi – Amritsar – Rishikesh – Agra – Jaipur – Jodhpur – Udaipur

(Route on GoogleMaps)

If you’re not up for the overnight long hauls, here’s a way to take in the scenic route in small doses. Each journey varies from 4-7 hours, so it’s a great chance to sneak in some nap-time, too. Most of the cities are in the Punjab-Rajasthan belt, except for Rishikesh. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalyas in Uttarakhand, it’s a deeply spiritual city perched on the banks of the Ganges and a good place to visit if you’re travelling to find yourself.

When to go– August to April


Weather in India in December
Weather in India in December

India in December is laden with festivals and holidays and never a moment to spare in between. As the North gets out its winter wardrobe, the sultry cities of the South simmer down to a perfect temperature. Sunny afternoons are capped off with cool, sweet evenings. Beaches are flooded with soft breezes and the deserts of the north grow cool.

The North-Eastern monsoon will just be weaning itself off the East Coast, so factor that into your plans as well. The first month of the tourist season comes with a corresponding rise in prices. It’s all worth it because of the weather alone. If you’re booking through us, we’ll even ease the price hike.

Places to Visit in India During December

If you want to focus your stay down South, it’ll be very pleasant. Check out some of the beautiful ancient cities like Hampi that lie away from the coast. They can be impossible to visit in the summer.

If you can carve out two weeks for the trip, you can try this route.

It’s also a great time to explore the deserts of Rajasthan. The temperatures can drop quite sharply at nightfall so be warm. If you have something ambitious in mind, like a long trek, now’s a good time. December means not having to worry about dehydration or heat-induced headaches. If that sounds interesting to you, you can read more about it here.

If you still feel the itch to travel but can’t decide if it’s the right time, drop us a line. You can contact us at thinkingindia@indiasomeday.com and we’ll give you all the help you need.


Weather in India in May
Weather in India in May

AN OVERVIEW OF THE WEATHER IN MAY

The Indian Summer begins in mid march and lasts till mid June. Normally the first thought while travelling in India in May, would be that it would be extremely hot. And though that is right for most parts of the country, there are few destinations which are perfect to visit in May.

The golden triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur should be avoided unless you have the spirit to endure 45s (Centigrade). Yes this does mean missing out on the Taj but there is always the next time. The Coastal regions of Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu are hot and humid but for people looking at tanning out in the sun could not ask for a better time. t is also considered off season so you might get a bargain at some of the hotels. The best region to travel would be the Himalayas in the north or North East. The roads to reach  Leh and Ladakh would just about be opening and the mountains have the perfect weather. If you are keen on spotting a tiger and able to bear the heat then the summer months have the best probably.

What to wear in Summer would be light and comfy clothes, cotton shirts and pants or even linen are ideal. If visiting the mountains specially Leh carry a light jacket. Its also best to carry a umbrella, cap and plenty of sunscreen.

SOUTH INDIA IN APRIL

TAMIL NADU AND KARNATAKA

South India is hot and humid for the entire duration of the summer.  the humidity might lead to some rain showers if you are lucky, but the only way to escape the heat is to head towards the hills in kodaikanal or Conoor. The coffee plantations of coorg and the national parks of Kabini are also great during May. Overall the weather can be a little energy sapping but there are enough cities to visit.

KERALA AND GOA

Kerala is famous for its beaches and backwaters. But in the summer it is better to visit its rainforests (Wayanad) and tea plantations (Munaar). The hotels do offer great offseason discounts, so just picture a warm sunny day, with you sipping a cold drink while lazing in the pool in one of the many boutique hotels in Kerala.There is no better way to enjoy the natural beauty of Kerala. The beaches of Varkala or  Marari are also a good option to get a nice tan this summer.

Goa, is always a good destination to visit, and though the hotels might not be operational and some of the famous restaruatns closed for offseason, goa always has something to offer. The Summer is a great time to explore the rain forests in Goa and even the Dudhsagar falls

HIMALAYAS IN APRIL

The Indian tradition in this time is simple. You should always head straight for the hills.  And by hills we mean the Himalayas. The enormous range is bathed in sunlight and as the snows start melting you will see plenty of waterfalls.  The temperatures are nice and pleasant ranging from 15 to 25 degrees.

Head to Himachal, Uttarkhand, Sikkim or even Arunachal and experience the sweet cool air caress your hair as you climb through scenic hairpin bends. Hardwood-floored homestays will greet you with open arms . You’ll find not only sweet tiled-roof cottages but also local chocolate and wool sweater economies. You’ll find whitewashed chapel and serene Buddhist monasteries at every turn You can even ride a toy train to reach the summer capitals of Darjeeling and Shimla. Escape tourists in quaint villages of Shoja, Kotgarh in Himachal or Itmenaan in Uttaranchal.

You can visit Leh and Ladakh, but the roads to Pangong or Nubra would probably not be open yet as the passes would still be snowed in. Kashmir though is very easily accessible, and it is flower and cherry blossom season.

NORTH INDIA IN APRIL

The temperatures in Varanasi, Rajasthan, Delhi and Agra in general are in the mid forties. We recommend to avoid these regions during the summer as the high temperatures,  these are accompanied with some unpleasant winds. Though in case you wish to stay in the luxury hotels and palaces you can get some fantastic discounted rates.

May is also the ideal for tiger safaris. So Ranthambore or Kanha or Bandhavgarh are national parks worth visiting. As the safaris are often early in the morning or in the late afternoons, you would never really be in the scorching afternoon sun.

TO SUM IT UP

Visit Leh and the Hiamlayas in May. Next look at visiting the tea plantations in the North east  or in Kerala. And let North India (Delhi, Agra, rajasthan) be a destination you visit later on when the weather cools down. Let us know if you are planning a holiday to India this May and we can customize your trip for you.

 


Introducing your kids to India
Introducing your kids to India

India’s a big fan of families. We’ve never been big on individualism and the family is seen as the epitome of our great institutions. Travelling with your pack means that you’re already one step closer to blending in to the culture and you’ll find yourself better equipped to experience a country that is designed for family life. For example, most hotel rooms won’t charge extra for children to sleep in the same rooms as their parents regardless of whether it’s a two person bedroom or not. The same goes for restaurant deals and entrance fees to local attractions. You’ll also be able to avail of endless “Family offers” that basically toss you bulk deals at cheap prices. First you can refer to this excellent series of blogs by Gregor ad Sarah from Canada on their own experience carting three kid under the age of 15 across the country for two whole months. There’s more here, here and here. Beyond that, we’ve listed some tips specific to travel in India:

  • Eat a lot: India has no dearth of diverse snack foods to keep the kids pumped up, but you might want to avoid the spices or the street food in view of their more delicate digestion. Of course, you don’t want your child to completely miss out on what is a big part of the Indian experience, so maybe let them have a small bite, but keep medication handy. Remember that not many restaurants here have a kid’s menu because people tend to order a few common dishes for the table and then share them.
  • Hydrate: Yes, it will be hot. Long walks and museum tours aren’t going to help the situation. Carry bottled water with you everywhere, and always mix in a spoonful of flavoured glucose for the kids.
  • Carry distractions: The chances of you getting bored in India are pretty slim, but who really knows how kids work? Make sure you have books or games to keep them occupied before they wander off.
  • Keep them within your sight at all times: This applies to any sort of travel, but India is exceptionally crowded and often fast paced. Hold hands, and don’t feel ashamed of tying a little string around a littler one’s wrist if it makes you feel safer. Bright shiny objects will call to them from everywhere and you’ve got to be vigilant.
  • Sleep well: Constant travelling means that you can let them drop off on buses or trains between destinations, but this won’t be as restful as a good night’s sleep in a soft bed. In India, the good news is the hot afternoons drive everyone in for a deep nap after a heavy lunch, but the bad news is that mosquitoes and insects rule the night so stock up on repellent.
  • Buy your own groceries: Apart from bottled water, you might want to have some milk and cereal on hand for a tender stomach. India has a lot of trusted packaged brands so you don’t have to worry. Opt for a packet of our beloved Maggi instant noodles after a long day.
  • Be flexible: Leave buffer spaces in your plans in case someone catches a bad cold or wants to hang out at the zoo a little longer. There’s a fair chance they may decide that they just don’t want to see another fort and demand to know where the promised tigers are instead, and you might find that you can actually accommodate that. Don’t rush things.
  • Stroller etiquette: India’s not the best city to bump your baby around on wheels. Pavements are often poorly laid or simply non-existent, and many buildings may not have lifts. Opt for a baby carrier if they’re still small enough.
  • Make a trial run: Take your kids somewhere nearby for the weekend just to determine how they feel about being away from home, how much you need to pack and how travel affects them. If you’re preparing for India, introduce them to some of the foods in the comfort of your own home to see how they react.
  • Encourage them to make friends: Your kids probably want to get away from you after two weeks in the same hotel room so keep an eye out for possible companions. From fellow travellers to local neighbours, it’ll be great for them to see someone their own age for some time, and if it’s a local, they’re more likely to learn about Indian life from them than another tour guide.
  • Don’t abandon the familiar: Do they have a favourite brand of peppermints not available here? Carry them. India can often be a wholly alien and often confusing environment for children so it’s good for them to see something from home.
  • Get a doctor’s opinion: While some visa offices make you take certain shots before you leave, your paediatrician will be better equipped to give you a personal opinion on what you should prepare your kids for. Bring your medication with you along with a copy of the doctor’s prescription in case of customs hassles.
  • Attend workshops: Kids prefer doing to seeing and India can be quite accommodating of this. Not only official workshops but even a street vendor or an auto driver will be quite happy to explain things to children and even may let them try their hand at it.
  • Plan nappy changes in advance: Don’t expect to pull into any highway pit-stop and find a changing station. You’ve either got to improvise or look up restaurants and hotels with these amenities in advance. Shopping malls are usually a good bet, but don’t be afraid to lay your baby down on a clean cloth near the washbasins in a pinch.

Let us know if you’ve had any child-friendly (or not so friendly) experiences that we can add to the list!


Quench your thirst in India this summer
Quench your thirst in India this summer

It can get really hot in India. We don’t even have the luxury of heat waves, we have heat tsunamis. Last year, temperatures soared into the high 40s (that’s a 110+ in Farenheit), and although global warming might have meddled in the last couple of years, it’s always been hot.While most rush for the mountains as the first bead of sweat trickles down their backs, the rest of us must make do with rickety fans and iced juices. And in true Indian over-achieving spirit, we’ve stuffed them full of life-saving goodness.

Nimbu Pani

Also known as shikanji in Noth India, it’s just Plain Jane Lemonade at first. Then you add a little bit of salt with the sugar, soda for bubbles, crushed mint leaves for colour, maybe ginger for flavour (but not in the summer, it has heaty properties) and top off the froth with a sprinkling of chaat masala. This will be your summer staple, particularly in western and northern India. You’ll find it at 10 rupees a glass on every street corner, though we’d recommend going someplace with tables and requesting mineral water be used in the process.

Jaljeera

A further take on the humble nimbu pani, it’s laced with a cumin based mixture that gives it a salty kick. The more posh households will serve it with a topping of boondi–tiny balls of deep fried dough that soak up all the delicious juice and transform into soft, succulent little miracles.

Tender Coconut Water

Available across the country but the pride and joy of South India. Huge stacks of coconuts lie piled up on carts and makeshift stalls on every lazy roadside, a rubbish bin overflows with discarded shells and straws. It’s the healthiest and most delicious option around with the added bonus of slimy coconut flesh to sink your teeth into. The real reason it’s a winner though, is the long and elaborate performance by the Nariyal Paani wallah (coconut-water man). First you’ll be asked to declare your preference–a coconut heavy with flesh or still tender with water. He’ll then swiftly grab at a few in quick succession, tapping with the back of his knife and listening keenly for a nuance that only his finely trained ears can recognize. Suddenly finding the perfect nut, he’ll set it firmly against his thigh and commence slicing through the hard exterior to create a pointy tip, which he will then dramatically behead, stab with a straw and dump in your hands with a theatrical flourish. How can you say no?

Chaas/Lassi

Born from the same humble curds, these brothers are dramatically different on your tongue. The first is buttermilk, watered down curd spiced with salt, chopped up green chillies, mint and coriander, churned to a froth and sprinkled with chaat masala. The second is thick, smooth and sweet, the still heavy curd laced heavily with sugar or jaggery and often flavoured with strawberries or mangoes making it more of a milkshake.

Aam Panna

Born of the flavour of the season-mangoes, this drink captures the cooling properties of the raw kairi before it becomes a fat ripe mango, known to cause heat boils. The assured freshness of the ingredients, combined with the mangoes natural fortification with vitamins gives this drink, flavoured with salt and spices a particularly medicinal edge. It’ll be pressed upon you by well-meaning aunties across the country, fretting at the sweat on your brow and declaring you dead of dehydration without their help. Also rumored to prevent tuberculosis, anemia, cholera and dysentry.