Tag Archives: South India

Best time to visit India – Kerala
Best time to visit India – Kerala

When shall you go on a Kerala Holiday?

India has a very distinctive climate and a different concept of seasons. While the winters are mostly pleasant with moderate temperatures and almost no precipitation the summer months of April, May, October and November can get unbearably hot. From June to September the wet monsoon covers almost the entire country and brings lots of rain and humidity. Therefore, one needs to especially consider the climate to specify the best time to visit Kerala. But also festivals play an important role to decide when to travel. Get in touch with us if you want to know where to go at which time of the year in Kerala.

Munnar in the Western Ghats is famous for its tropical mountain climate as well as the tea plantations Munnar in the Western Ghats is famous for its tropical mountain climate as well as the tea plantations

Weather in Kerala around the year

Kerala is situated in a tropical climate zone which means that the region faces the typical humid to wet weather conditions like most of the planet’s rain forests. The annual average rainfall is higher than in most of India and the air feels often more humid than elsewhere. Due to the proximity to the equator and the warm dry winds from the north it should actually be very hot in Kerala but fortunately the high mountain ranges of the Western Ghats prevent the temperatures to rise much higher than 35 °C. All together the temperature in Kerala doesn’t vary much but it is of course cooler in the hill stations of Munnar, Wayanad or Thekkady than at the coast or in the cities of Kochi, Trivandrum, Thrissur or Calicut.

Winter starts by end of November and ends around end of February and beginning of March. The temperature rises rarely above 30°C and it rains very less to never. In the mountain ranges of Wayanad, Munnar and Thekkady you should definitely pack some warmer clothes as it can get quite cold in the morning and evening hours. You will definitely not require air-conditioned rooming. Since it is the best time to travel to this region it is also the main season for tourism. Be prepared for crowds at some of the sights.

Marari is a little untouched village at the beach with only a few hotel resorts. Perfect in the winters! Marari is a little untouched village at the beach with only a few hotel resorts. Perfect in the winters!

While other popular places to visit in India like Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Madhya Pradesh get very hot in the summer months from March to end of May, the heat stays moderate in Kerala as the Western Ghats stop the hot winds and the Arabian Sea offers a constant cold breeze along the coast to enter the state. If it rains it usually comes with a lot of thunder and lightning and flooding is not rare but the water dries up quickly. The only issue is the high humidity which makes physical activities seem very exhausting. If you prefer to share the sights, mountain treks and national parks with less other tourists and want to stay at top-end accommodations for lower prices this season is perfect for you.

The monsoon hits Indian land first in Kerala around end of May or beginning of June. Kerala faces 85% of its annual rainfall from June until end of September. Since the wet and heavy clouds hit the western Ghats first in Kerala the precipitation is extremely high here and the humidity strong. If you do enjoy the tropical climate and rather explore nature in this weather than in the bright hot sun, then this is the time to come to Kerala. However, you might also get stuck indoors when the rain gets too heavy. On nature treks you will encounter a couple of blood-sucking ledges but locals always know how to prevent that. Due to landslides and floodings roads and train tracks might get blocked so that even your travel plans could come to a halt. So be prepared to be flexible.

South India faces another phase of monsoon from October to November and sometimes even until mid-December. The North-East-Monsoon doesn’t bring as much wetness as the earlier South-West-Monsoon but it can come in heavy with strong downpours, thunder and lightning. It gets as warm and humid as in the summer months of March to May.

Due to the climate conditions in Kerala there are more international tourists in winter than in the rest of the year. However, Kerala is a popular destination for domestic tourists, especially honeymooners all year around. And Indians do love the rainy season so even during the monsoon they will travel to the region around the Western Ghats.

Between May and September, the beaches turn empty. The current of the sea is too strong to swim and the wind and weather doesn’t allow you to sunbath either. Many resorts and restaurants close down for multiple months. The popular Backwaters are in season all year around but in the summer months of April and May you might not be able to explore as much of the river and lake landscape as the water levels are too low to explore all areas.

The best festivals in Kerala to visit around the year

Due to its interesting history of colonisation and trade Kerala is home to many religions: Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Therefore, there are many spiritual and cultural festivals to be celebrated but the biggest and most exotic ones are the Hinduist ones.

28451935993_8bb3ae800c_k Thrissur Poraam, a temple festival where dozens of elephants are being decorated and showcased in parades, is one of the biggest festivals of the region. © shankar s.

The temple festivals in Kerala are as colourful and impressive as the temples themselves. The so called Poorams happening in April and May in many temples around Kerala, mostly in the Ernakulam and Thrissur districts, are famous for the loud and exciting processions with dozens of heavily decorated elephants.

In July, August and September traditional snake boat races are happening in the backwaters and the rivers or Kerala. Nowadays it often becomes a political event rather than a religious one but it is fun to watch nonetheless.

Onam is the traditional harvest festival of Kerala celebrated for 10 days in September. It is the biggest fest for the locals so houses get decorated, feasts are being served and games are being played. The quirkiest part of this festival is the Onam Pulikkali Tiger Play, a folk art where men dress up as tigers and their hunters to dance to traditional music. A very funny parade to observe!

The Pulikkali tiger play in Thrissur is definitely the quirkiest festival in Kerala. The Pulikkali tiger play in Thrissur is definitely the quirkiest festival in Kerala. © Felix Francis

Kerala honours every year its spiritual and cultural diversity by even celebrating big Christian feasts and the Eid-Festivals of Islam. Friends of other communities are invited home and traditions are being shared. In a country divided by religion after independence Kerala serves as a role model to religious freedom and peace. But that also means all around the year there is at least one big festival celebrated in some part of the relative small state.

If religious festivals with big crowds are not your thing, maybe the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is. The contemporary art festival held every winter from December to March in Fort Kochi is one of its kind in India. One can find art exhibitions of all mediums all around the city in galleries and open spaces.

If you interested in travelling to Kerala, plan your trip with us now.


South India in May and June
South India in May and June

VISITING SOUTH INDIA IN MAY AND JUNE

To be honest, we aren’t big fans of May and June. It’s hot. As in super hot! And humid! This doesn’t just mean less travelers coming to India but also that our subtle travel expert brains work a little slower than usual. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t travel to India. In fact, it only means that the mountains are calling!

And it’s not only the foothills and mountain ranges of the Himalayas that should get all the attention. From Mumbai in the north to the most southern tip of the subcontinent parallel to the western coast run the Western Ghats, a 1600km long mountain range listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Covered with national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, forest reserves as well as charming hill stations.

As soon as it starts raining in the Western Ghats the waterfalls and lakes fill with streaming water. As soon as it starts raining in the Western Ghats the waterfalls and lakes fill with streaming water.

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 May and June they offer cooler temperatures and less stuffy air than in the cities and plains of India.

As soon as the rains start by beginning or middle of June the nature changes its color from brown-yellow to lush green within a couple of days. Waterfalls appear and rivers and lakes fill up. It’s a celebration of life! The cloudy sky and cooling rain bring a drop in the temperatures and fresher more breathable air.

The most popular amongst the hill stations is Munnar which is reachable in 3h from Kochi and in 5h from Madurai.
It’s more a region than a certain city or village worth visiting. In fact, the city of Munnar is a cluster of shops selling locally harvest products and cheap accommodations. Therefore, we rather suggest to stay in the countryside amongst tea plantations, dense rain forest and high mountain views. There are numerous homestays and boutique hotels meeting every kind of traveler’s expectations and budget.

Things to do range from roadtrips up mountain roads through the breathtaking landscapes, visit tea manufactories and museums and stroll or even hike through the tea plantations and forests. The beautiful Eravikulam National Park is home to the endangered Nilgiri Thar and is located only 35km from the city centre of Munnar.

Thekkady can be reached in 3.5h from Munnar. The drive there is quite an experience in itself as the roads are built in several serpentines running up and down the mountains covered in dense forest and more tea plants. Thekkady is a region that accommodates the famous Periyar National Park. Spread across 777 km2, the wildlife sanctuary is home to tigers (no chance to see them though) as well as elephants, bisons and deers who often come to the artificial lake in the center of the evergreen park to drink. Your best chance to get a glimpse is to go on a bamboo boat ride or on a guided safari tour with tribal ranchers.

The little village of Kummily is the closest to the entry of the park and offers many nice restaurants and accommodations. The region is also famous for spice plantations you can visit and learn more the local culinary and Ayurveda secrets.

Wayanad Is a region in the Western Ghats further north of Kerala and due to its bigger distance to the backwaters and the beaches worth visiting it is less crowded and touristy. However, there is a lot to experience and see in Wayanad. The medium difficult hike up to the Edakkal Caves with its prehistoric wall painting dating 8000 years back are a great way to get an overview of the mesmerizing landscape of Wayanad. Or you climb up to the Chembra Peak with views all over the area with pleasant mountain climate to enjoy. Don’t miss out on the Banasura Sagar Dam in Kalpetta. It is the largest dam in India and is the 2nd largest in all of Asia. At Muthanga National Park you can experience exotic wildlife and nature on a half day safari. Kuruva Dweep is a group of unhabituated islands in the river delta of the Kabani River where one kind find an incomparable interesting flora and fauna. You can cross from river island to island on small bamboo rafts which make the visit very adventurous.

The beautiful landscapes of Wayanad. The beautiful landscapes of Wayanad.

Other interesting hill stations are Ooty, Conoor and Kotagiri in Tamil Nadu, all within a 50km radius from each other. Ooty is called the queen of hill stations and was established by the British as a place of temperature relief. You can reach it on a memorable ride with a toy train. Conoor and Kotagiri are smaller but you can also hike and enjoy stunning views from the surroundings of these small villages but do avoid their bustling messy centers.

Coorg is a hill station in Karnataka, 120km north of Wayanad, and famous for coffee and spice plantations. On the weekends domestic tourists from Bangalore flood into this countryside but on weekdays you can enjoy the beautiful nature almost by yourself.

You can find some of the mentioned hill stations in our articles ‘Suggested travel routes for two weeks in south India’, ‘Budget backpacking tour of south India’ or ‘Four travel routes for Kerala’. We can also create a personalized travel route for you to include some or all of the mentioned regions so you can travel from one cool and naturally beautiful place to another.

If you aren’t much of hiking or nature person and prefer luxury travels and relaxation, you could consider travelling to the beaches of Goa or Kerala as well as the Backwaters and stay for a bargain at 4 to 5 stars resorts. Many hotels, homestays and resorts close between April and October but the ones that remain open offer great deals in the hot and rainy season. However, be prepared that it can get extremely hot and many restaurants and bars will be closed.


Tom and Amy’s two week trip to Kerala
Tom and Amy’s two week trip to Kerala

For Tom and Amy’s first trip to India, they chose to tour Kerala and Tamil Nadu in South India. South India is very rich in culture, history and architecture. Kerala and Tamil Nadu are also blessed with beautiful beaches, backwaters and tea plantations.

Here’s what Amy had to say about her trip : “By working with India Someday on our itinerary we arrived in India with a perfectly put together plan which we then executed independently, making the most of every second we had!”

They preferred traveling to two states in the South(parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu). In Tamil Nadu, Tom and Amy wanted to visit Pondicherry (a former French colony). They also visited Tanjore a city renowned for architecture and Madurai which is also the cultural capital of South India.

Tom and Amy also wanted to spend a part of their trip exploring the beautiful state of Kerala and spend some time among the tea plantations of Munnar, the backwaters of Kumarakaom and the beautiful town of Kochi.