Considering also the Himalayas, it is said a little emphatically that in India all the climates are found, but in most of the country the climate is tropical and affected by the monsoon regime, so that there are a dry and a rainy season. The rains are more or less intense and long depending on area, but generally the wettest period is from July to September, except in the southeast, where the retreating monsoon continues until the end of the year. The hottest period generally runs from April to mid-June, before the arrival of the monsoon: so the real summer corresponds to the calendar's spring. Winter lasts from December to February. In the north-west the monsoon is shorter, while in inland mountains of Kashmir the monsoon doesn't arrive at all. Along the coast it's hot all year round, especially in the centre and south, but the heat is tempered by the breezes.
Let us now analyze the different climatic zones of India.



India, climate of Himalaya
At the highest altitudes of the Himalayas, the climate is mountainous. The temperature decreases with altitude, besides it's higher along the southern slope, while it's lower in inland areas and in north facing slopes. The rainfall amount is high on the southern slopes, while it becomes scarce in inland areas, particularly in the north-west, where we find the Ladakh Plateau, which is arid because it's closed between the Karakoram and the Himalayas (see Leh).
On the slopes of the Himalayas, especially in the west, in winter there may be some rains.


In Srinagar, at 1,500 metres (5,000 feet) above sea level, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, where it is said that the tomb of Jesus is located, the climate is slightly continental.
Here are the average temperatures.
Srinagar - Average temperatures
Min (°C)-2-137111518181360-2
Max (°C)581419242930302822159
Min (°F)283037455259646455433228
Max (°F)414657667584868682725948

Being sheltered from the monsoon, Srinagar in summer is quite sunny, although it experiences some thunderstorms in the afternoon. In winter it can rain, and frosts and snowfalls are possible; spring is the rainiest season, but without the excesses of the monsoon areas. The rains in winter and spring are due to the passage of weather fronts of Mediterranean origin, which can affect this part of the north-western Indian territory.
Here is the average precipitation.
Srinagar - Average precipitation

In Srinagar the sun does not shine often in winter, while in summer all in all it shines quite often.
Srinagar - Sunshine

Above 3,000 metres (9,800 feet), in Kashmir winter gets cold, and it is snowy along the western slopes: in Drass, at 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) it can snow in winter, while summer is dry. On the contrary, in inland areas the climate becomes desert: in Leh, located in the Ladakh plateau, at 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) of altitude, precipitation remains below 100 millimetres (4 inches) per year, therefore the landscape is desert.
While Jammu and Kashmir is sheltered from the summer monsoon, this does not apply to the mountains that lie to the east, ie west of Nepal (see the states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), and even less to those that lie in the north-east (which at high altitudes are almost all situated in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh).


In Gangtok, Sikkim, at 1,400 metres (4,600 feet) of altitude, the average temperature goes from 8.5 °C (47 °F) in January, to 19.5 °C (67 °F) in August: so it's milder than Srinagar, which is located further to the north.
Gangtok - Average temperatures
Min (°C)4691214161717161296
Max (°C)131418212222222222211814
Min (°F)394348545761636361544843
Max (°F)555764707272727272706457

Summer in Gangtok is so cool because the monsoon rains occur almost daily, and the amount of sunshine in this season is poor. Already in May, 525 mm (20.7 in) of rain fall, and in July even 630 mm (24.8 in). Total annual rainfall amounts to even 3,535 mm (139 in). The only period in which there is little rain goes from November to January. Although here winter is not too cold, November is preferable, because it's milder.
Here is the average precipitation in Gangtok.
Gangtok - Average precipitation

In Gangtok the sun shines often in winter, while in summer it does not shine very often.
Gangtok - Sunshine

In Darjeeling, West Bengal, at 2,100 metres (6,900 ft) above sea level, where the British colonists came to spend the summer in order to escape from the heat, the average goes from 5 °C (41 °F) in January, to 17 °C (63 °F) in July and August. Hence, the British found a cool summer like in England, but much more rainy, in fact more than 400 mm (16 in) per month fall from June to September, and the rains occur almost daily. On the contrary, winter is quite cold, but dry and sunny.

The eternal snows in India start at around 4,500 metres (14,800 ft) on average: a bit lower in Karakorum, which lies more to the north, and a bit higher in the Himalayas.


Climate of northern India
In this vast area of northern India, which coincides almost completely with the Indo-Gangetic plain, the climate has the following characteristics: a relatively cool winter, especially in the northernmost part, with average temperatures in January below 20 °C (68 °F), except along the coasts of Gujarat, where it can slightly exceed this value; a very hot period from March to May, sometimes even in June, before the arrival of the monsoon (and in which the rising heat can trigger lightning and wind storms); a summer monsoon from weak to moderate (zones 1 and 2 on the map) or relatively intense (zone 3), however, with an annual rainfall amount lower than 1,400 mm (55 in), and with the withdrawal of the monsoon before the middle of October.

In the north-west of India, on the border with Pakistan (zone 1), we find a vast arid area, which covers the western part of the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat, west of the Aravalli Mountains. This is an area which receives the monsoon rains for a short period, from late June or early July to mid-September, and with moderate rains.

Thar desert

The total annual rainfall is lower than 400 mm (16 in), but usually higher than 250 mm (10 in), which is considered as the limit of the desert climate, except in the far west, where we find the Thar desert, however the rains are concentrated in such a short time, that the survival of vegetation is difficult, except for some shrubs or xerophile plants. Even in the Thar desert, however, here and there we find a bit of vegetation, albeit in a landscape made of sand dunes.

Thar Desert


In Jodhpur, Rajasthan, 375 mm (14.5 in) of rain per year fall, of which more than 100 mm (4 in) per month only in July and August. In the rest of the year the sun usually shines.
Here is the average precipitation.
Jodhpur - Average precipitation

In winter, from December to March, the temperatures are pleasant, with cool or slightly cold nights, around 10 °C (50 °F), and warm days, around 25/28 °C (77/82 °F). Already in March the heat becomes intense, with an average maximum of 33 °C (91 °F), which rises to 41 °C (106 °F) in May. From April to June, before the monsoon, in the hottest days the temperature can reach as high 50 °C (122 °F) in the shade. The monsoon lowers the temperature a bit, to 36 °C (97 °F) in July and 34 °C (93 °F) in August, but on the other hand it increases moisture. After the monsoon, the temperature in September and October rises slightly again, reaching 35 °C (95 °F) in September and 36 °C (97 °F) in October, and then drops again at the end of the year, down to 27 °C (81 °F) in December.
Jodhpur - Average temperatures
Min (°C)101217232728272524201511
Max (°C)252833384140363435363227
Min (°F)505463738182817775685952
Max (°F)778291100106104979395979081

In Jodhpur the sun shines regularly for most of the year, and it becomes less common only in July and August.
Jodhpur - Sunshine

The best time to visit this area is from December to February, but if you can only travel in summer and you still want to visit India, you may choose this area, since it is the least affected by the monsoon, along with the mountains of Kashmir.
It should be noted, however, that the monsoons does not always follow a regular pattern, and in particular, north-western India (along with Pakistan) is more rainy than normal in the years of La Niña, when it can experience flooding, while in other years the whole area can remain almost completely dry (in the years of El Niño, all of India can experience warmer winters than normal, and weaker summer monsoons, though this does not happen always).

East of the first area we find a central area (zone 2 in the map), where the climate is semi-arid, since the annual rainfall is between 400 and 800 mm (16 to 31.5 in). In other circumstances this would not be a low amount, but considering the high temperatures and the fact that the rains are concentrated in a few months, the vegetation which occupies this area is certainly not lush. Nevertheless, in the monsoon season there may be heavy rains.
The capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur, is located east of the Aravalli Mountains, and is therefore rainier than the desert area: here, 610 mm (24 in) of rain per year fall, of which 200 mm (8 in) in August. In Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located, precipitation reaches 725 mm (28.5 in) per year.

New Delhi

The capital of India, New Delhi is at the edge of the area, since it receives 800 mm (31.5 in) of rain per year, the majority of which occurring from July to September.
Here is the average precipitation.
New Delhi - Average precipitation

Another city located in this area is Amritsar, which receives 480 mm (19 in) of rain per year.

Golden Temple

Further to the east, and also in a thin northern band located at the foot the Himalayas (zone 3), the rains are more abundant, so that they range between 800 and 1,400 mm (31 and 55 in) per year, in cities like Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, but otherwise the climate is similar to that of New Delhi. However, in the far north, in Jammu, at the foot of the Himalayas, in winter some disturbances of Mediterranean origin can pass (which, as we have already seen, affect also the mountainous area of Srinagar), in fact 33 mm (1.3 in) of rain fall in December, and as many as 80 mm (3 in) per month in February and March. From December to February, in Jammu, which is one of the most northerly cities of the plain, sometimes the night temperature may hit freezing (0 °C or 32 °F) or even drop a few degrees below.


Climate of northeast India
In north-eastern India, the climate is more humid and less hot than in the rest of the northern areas analyzed above. Here, too, winter is dry, and is very mild, with average temperatures in January slightly below 20 °C (68 °F); the strong heating from March to May, however, is relatively felt in the area located west of Bangladesh, and not felt at all to the east and the north, because here we are outside the Indian landmass; the monsoon rains are abundant and sometimes torrential, and in any case the total annual rainfall exceeds 1,400 mm (55 in); the monsoon period is quite long, as it runs from early June to early October, and it's often preceded, in April and sometimes even in March, by some thunderstorms in the afternoon, especially at the foot of the mountains.


West of Bangladesh, in West Bengal, we find Kolkata (Calcutta), which is at the limit of this area, given that the average in January is around 20 °C (68 °F), so winter is pleasantly warm, due to the proximity to the sea; here the heating from March to June is evident, although not as strong as in New Delhi, however the temperature can exceed 40 °C (104 °F) in the worst moments.
Kolkata - Average temperatures
Min (°C)141721252627262626241914
Max (°C)262934363634323232322926
Min (°F)576370777981797979756657
Max (°F)798493979793909090908479

The monsoon goes roughly from June 5 to October 15, but already in May, the first showers in the afternoon may occur. The total annual rainfall is 1,600 mm (63 in). From November to April, the sun shines and it almost never rains.
Here is the average precipitation.
Kolkata - Average precipitation

Near Kolkata, the sea is warm enough for swimming throughout the year, although it drops to 23/24 °C (73/75 °F) in January and February.
Kolkata - Sea temperature
Temp (°C)232426282930292929292725
Temp (°F)737579828486848484848177

In the rest of the north-east, the rains are generally more abundant, except in some areas a bit more sheltered such as Guwahati, in the valley of the Brahmaputra, where it rains as much as in Kolkata. In general, however, precipitation exceeds 2,000 mm (79 in) per year, and in some areas, where humid air masses are forced to rise along the mountain slopes, it reaches spectacular amounts. Cherrapunj, at 1,300 metres (4,250 feet) above sea level, in the northeastern state of Meghalaya, is the rainiest place in the world: here 10,866 mm (428 in) of rain per year fall, that is, almost 11 metres (or 36 feet)! Rainfall exceeds 1,000 mm (40 in) per month for 5 months, from May to September, while in June alone it reaches as high as 2,600 mm (102 in). Luckily, here as in the rest of the region, there is little rain from mid-November to February, but already in March, when the first thunderstorms begin to occur, 220 mm (8.7 in) of rain fall, and in April the early monsoon brings more than 700 mm (27.5 in) of rain. At this altitude the temperature is pleasant, since highs are around 22 °C (72 °F) from April to October, while in winter they are around 15/17 °C (59/63 °F).
As already mentioned, the extreme north-east (Meghalaya, Assam etc.) in spring does not heat up excessively, therefore in the plains the maximum temperatures remain around 30/32 °C (86/90 °F) from April to October.


Climate of central-south India
In this area, which includes the whole of south-central India except the western coast and the Western Ghats, the climate is tropical, since the average temperature in January exceeds 20 °C (68 °F), but otherwise there are remarkable differences: in the north and the southern inland areas (zone A) the monsoon lasts from June to October, while along the southeastern coast (zone B) the monsoon reaches its peak at the end of the year, between October and December (called northeast monsoon or retreating monsoon). The rains are more abundant in the eastern part of both the zone A and B.
The heating in the period from March to June is strong in the interior and is also felt on the east coast. In general, in inland areas the summer rains are not more abundant than in northern India, but they are more frequent and in this season the sky is often cloudy, eg Nagpur and Bangalore in July have only 3 hours of sunshine per day, compared with 6 hours in New Delhi.

Now let's start from the A area.
In Nagpur, Maharastra, the average temperature goes from 21 °C (70 °F) in January, to 35 °C (95 °F) in May, to 28 °C (82 °F) in July. The annual rainfall amounts to 1,170 mm (46 in), of which more than 150 mm (6 in) per month from June to September, with a maximum of 340 mm (13.3 in) in July. There is little rain from October to May. Here the best time, as in most of India, is from November to February.
Further south, in Puna, 550 metres (1,800 ft) above sea level, the temperature is slightly lower in the warmest months: the average maximum in May is 38 °C (100 °F), and the rains amount to only 700 mm (27.5 in) per year, because the city is protected by the near Western Ghats. Here, more than 100 mm (4 in) per month fall from June to September, but always less than 200 mm (8 in), and still in October 90 mm (3.5 in) fall: the monsoon lasts a little more because the city is located further to the south. This is one of the driest areas of south-central India, with a semi-arid landscape.


Further south, in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, at 550 metres (1,800 ft) above sea level, the daily average goes from 22 °C (72 °F) in January, to 33 °C (91 °F) in May, to 27 °C (81 °F) in July.
Hyderabad - Average temperatures
Min (°C)151821242624232222201715
Max (°C)293235383935313031312928
Min (°F)596470757975737272686359
Max (°F)84909510010295888688888482

The rainfall amounts to 760 mm (30 in), of which more than 100 mm (4 in) from June to September, and 70 mm (2.8 in) in October, so we are still in a semi-arid zone.
Here is the average precipitation.
Hyderabad - Average precipitation

In Hyderabad, the sky is normally clear in the long dry season, while from June to September the hours of sunshine per day decrease significantly.
Hyderabad - Sunshine

Going further south, in Anantapur, still in Andhra Pradesh, the heating starts even earlier, since already in February the maximum temperature rises to around 33 °C (91 °F); besides, here in May there's some thunderstorm activity which precedes the monsoon itself, but then the monsoon is considerably weakened in the early months, so much so that just 60/70 mm (2.4/2.8 in) of rain per month fall from June to August, although high humidity and cloudy skies make it clear that we are in the monsoon period. The monsoon, however, becomes more intense in September and October, which are the wettest months, with respectively 120 and 150 mm (4.7 and 6). The total annual rainfall is still relatively low: only 650 mm (25.6 in).


In Bangalore, in southern Karnataka, 920 metres (3,000 feet) above sea level, the heat is tempered by the altitude.
Bangalore - Average temperatures
Min (°C)151719212120191919191715
Max (°C)273033343329282828282726
Min (°F)596366707068666666666359
Max (°F)818691939184828282828179

Here in May, already 115 mm (4.5 in) of rain fall, then the monsoon season goes from June to mid-November. The rainfall amounts to 920 mm (36 in) per year. Here is the average precipitation.
Bangalore - Average precipitation

In Bangalore too, the sun shines often in the dry season, and quite rarely in the rainy season.
Bangalore - Sunshine

We now come to the B area. Here we are on the east coast, where it's hot all year round. While the west coast down to Trivandrum is very rainy, in the southern coastal portion, rainfall is lower than 1,000 mm (40 in) per year, and even lower than 800 mm (31.5 in) per year in the western part. It's the case of Kanyakumari, at the southern tip of the country, in the state of Tamil Nadu, where it's hot throughout the year, since the average maximum never drops below 30 °C (86 °F), while the rains, after an initial period of instability from April to June, with some thunderstorms not too intense, experience a relative break from July to September, with just 40/45 mm (1.6/1.8 in) per month, while the real monsoon is late and limited to the months of October and November. So here we are in the area where the "northeast monsoon" or "retreating monsoon" prevails, typical of the south-eastern coast, but due to the scarcity of rain, only 735 mm (29 in) per year, we are still in the semi-arid zone. In this portion of the southern coast, you can come from mid-December to February, and also in March-April, even though it is the hottest time of the year (because it's not as hot as in the interior). All in all, even the period July-September is generally acceptable, but it is wet, often cloudy, and with the risk of some tropical storm or cyclones (see below).
Moving north along the east coast, we find the Coromandel coast, where the rains are more abundant. The maximum rainfall is recorded in the area of Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, where 1,700 mm (67 in) of rain per year fall, with a peak between October and December.


Even in Chennai (formerly Madras), the late monsoon is pronounced, since precipitation is about 265 mm (10.4 in) in October, 310 mm (12.2 in) in November, and still 155 mm (6.1 in) in December.
Here is the average precipitation.
Chennai - Average precipitation

Even though it is on the coast, in Chennai the heat is intense in the months preceding the monsoon. Here are the average temperatures.
Chennai - Average temperatures
Min (°C)202123262827262625242321
Max (°C)293133353737353534322928
Min (°F)687073798281797977757370
Max (°F)848891959999959593908482

In Chennai the sun shines regularly in the dry season, and all in all it is seen for a few hours a day even in the rainy months.
Chennai - Sunshine

Here the best months are January and February, when it's hot, the sun shines and you can go to the beach.
The Bay of Bengal at this latitude is warm all year round, as you can see from the sea temperatures at Chennai.
Chennai - Sea temperature
Temp (°C)272728293030292929292827
Temp (°F)818182848686848484848281

South-west and islands

Climate of South-west India and islands
Along the west coast and on the islands (Lakshadweep or Laccadive Islands in the Arabian Sea, Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal), the climate is hot and humid throughout the year, with heavy rains for some months, and a dry season in winter, which is longer in the northern part.
Along the west coast it's hot throughout the year, while the monsoon period is gradually longer as you proceed from north to south. During winter, temperatures are particularly high for the season, because in winter the north-easterly winds descend from the Western Ghats, and slightly warm up with a foehn-like effect.


In Mumbai (formerly Bombay) even in January the maximum temperature exceeds 30 °C (86 °F), however, the minimum drops, albeit slightly, below 20 °C (68 °F). From November to May, the rains are scarce and sunshine is frequent. From March to May the temperature increases, but not as much as in the interior: the minimum at night goes up to 24/26 °C (75/79 °F), the maximum reaches around 33 °C (91 °F), even though in the worst moments it can touch 40 °C (104 °F).
Here are the average temperatures in Mumbai
Mumbai - Average temperatures
Min (°C)171821242626252524232118
Max (°C)313133333332303030333432
Min (°F)636470757979777775737064
Max (°F)888891919190868686919390

The monsoon lasts from June to early October and is very intense, especially in July, when 800 mm (31.5 in) of rain fall and it rains very often. In July and August, the sky is almost always cloudy and the humidity high. In Mumbai, about 2,250 mm (88.5 in) of rain per year fall.
Here is the average precipitation.
Mumbai - Average precipitation

In Mumbai the sun shines regularly in the long dry season, while in the two wettest months, July and August, the sky is often cloudy.
Mumbai - Sunshine

The sea temperature in the Arabian Sea is warm enough for swimming all year round, as you can see from the water temperatures at Mumbai.
Mumbai - Sea temperature
Temp (°C)262526272929292828292826
Temp (°F)797779818484848282848279

Continuing south along the coast, the climate becomes even more rainy.


In Dabolim, in the former Portuguese colony of Goa, precipitation reaches 2,900 mm (114 in) per year, of which even 995 mm in July.
Here is the average precipitation.
Dabolim - Average precipitation

The temperature in Goa is high throughout the year, and even in winter it remains about 20 °C (68 °F) at night.
Dabolim - Average temperatures
Min (°C)202123262625242424242221
Max (°C)323232333330292930323332
Min (°F)687073797977757575757270
Max (°F)909090919186848486909190

In Goa the distribution of the sunshine hours is similar to that of Mumbai, even though the sun shines a little more often (the total is 2,800 hours per year).
Dabolim - Sunshine

The sea temperature at Goa is steadily high throughout the year, and in winter it's a bit warmer than in Mumbai.
Dabolim - Sea temperature
Temp (°C)282828293029282828292928
Temp (°F)828282848684828282848482

Further south, in Mangalore, Karnataka, where the Malabar Coast begins, the daytime temperature is 33 °C (91 °F) even in January, and precipitation reaches 3,300 mm (130 in) per year. Here the first thunderstorms occur in May, while the monsoon runs from June 5 to October 15 or so.
Further south, in Calicut, Kerala, the first thunderstorms occur in April, while the monsoon lasts until November, when 130 mm (5.1 in) of rain still fall.
In Trivandrum, the southern tip of Kerala, the rains are less abundant, amounting to 1,700 mm (67 in) per year, but the rainy season is very long: as early as in April, 110 mm (4.3 in) of rain fall in the form of showers and thunderstorms, and 170 mm still in November. In this southernmost part of the west coast, therefore, the retreating monsoon is partly felt as well.
The west coast is very rainy, because not far in the east there's the mountain range called Western Ghats, which forces the ascent of the moist air coming from the sea. Along the western mountain slopes the rains are more abundant, so much so that in some places they even reach six metres (20 feet) of rain per year! The scenario is very different on the eastern side, where the south-west monsoon penetrates with difficulty, and as we saw the rainfall drops below 1,000 mm (40 in) per year.


During the empire, the British who were in this area, in summer took refuge in Ootacamund (Aka Ooty or Udhagamandalam), at 2,200 metres (7,200 ft) above sea level, 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of the coast of Calicut, where the summer monsoon is still felt, and partly that of autumn (the retreating monsoon), but not too much, in fact more than 100 mm (4 in) per month fall from May to November, with two peaks in July and October. Here is the average precipitation.
Ooty - Average precipitation

In return, during the monsoon period the temperature is cool, with highs around 17 °C (63 °F) in July and August, and about 11 °C (52 °F) at night. Here winter is a bit colder at night and a bit warmer during the day, compared with the monsoon months, because in this season the sky is clear.
Ooty - Average temperatures
Min (°C)6791111111111101097
Max (°C)202122232218171719191920
Min (°F)434548525252525250504845
Max (°F)687072737264636366666668

In Udhagamandalam too, the sun shines often in the dry season and quite rarely in the rainy months, however, due to the position on the mountains, where it is easier for clouds to form, it is a little less sunny than the coast.
Ooty - Sunshine


We now turn to the islands. Here the climate is hot all year round, with night temperatures around 24/25 °C (75/77 °F), and highs around 28/30 °C (82/86 °F); here too there's an increase in temperature between March and May, but it's not remarkable.
In the Lakshadweep Islands, located in the Arabian Sea, from 1,500 to 2,000 mm (60 to 79 in) of rain per year fall, and the rains occur from May to mid-December. Since starting from March the temperature increases slightly, here the best time is from late December to February.
In the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located in the Bay of Bengal, the rains are a bit heavier, since they range from 2,500 to 3,000 mm (98 to 118 in) per year. The rains are abundant from May to November. In Car Nicobar, in the southern islands, the rains continue even in December and mid-January, while they end earlier in Port Blair and in the northernmost regions. So you can go from late January to March in the southern islands, and from late December to March in the northern ones.

Tropical cyclones

Areas affected by cyclones in India

Now, let's talk about tropical cyclones. They are more common in the Bay of Bengal than in the Arabian Sea, but they are also possible in the latter. In southern India, towards the tip of the continent, cyclones can penetrate inland and pass from sea to sea; in the eastern part they may penetrate for a few hundred kilometres along a trajectory that goes from the south-east to the north-west; in the north-west they may affect the coast of Gujarat. The map shows the areas that have been hit by cyclones in the past, therefore it is only indicative: nothing prevents a cyclone from following a different trajectory, although it is unlikely.
In the states crossed by the Himalayas, especially the central-eastern ones, cyclones remnants can cause heavy rains in the plains, as well as snow in the mountains.
Cyclones generally occur from April to December, with two peaks at the beginning and at the end of the period (April-June and October-December). The area which is most at risk is that of Bengal, in the huge delta of the Ganges-Brahmaputra, where there is water everywhere and the mainland is flat and located at sea level.

When to go

In India, there are different types of climate, so it is difficult to find a single best period for all the country. However, the best time to visit most of India, at least in plains and hills, runs from November to February. On the south-east coast and the southern islands, the rains continue until December, moreover in this month cyclones are still possible, so you can go in January and February. March is still a dry month, but it begins to be hot, with peaks that during the month can exceed 35 °C (95 °F) in the south.
If you can only travel in summer, you can choose the northwest: in Rajasthan the monsoon is less intense; you will find a muggy heat and some downpours, usually not abundant. The mountains of Jammu and Kashmir can be visited in summer as well, because they are located in a "rain shadow" area. A very different situation is found on the eastern part of the Himalayas, which is affected by the summer monsoon in full strength.
As mentioned, the sea in India is warm enough for swimming all year round. For a beach holiday, the west coast (see Goa) is good from December to February, the eastern coast only in January and February.

What to pack

In winter: in the far north at low altitude (Jammu, Amritsar) and in the southern mountainous areas (Ootacamund), spring/autumn clothes, sweater and warm jacket for the evening.
In the north (New Delhi, Jaipur, Varanasi, Patna), spring/autumn clothes, light for the day, a jacket and a sweater for the evening, possibly hat and scarf for cooler evenings.
In the centre and in inland south-central areas (Calcutta, Hyderabad), light clothes for the day, sweater and light jacket for the evening.
On the south-central coast (Mumbai, Goa, Trivandrum, Chennai, Pondicherry), light clothing, a scarf for the breeze, a light sweatshirt for the evening; on the south-east coast (Chennai, Pondicherry), light raincoat or umbrella still in December.
In the islands (Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands), light clothing, a scarf for the breeze, light sweatshirt for the evening, light raincoat or umbrella until December or mid-January.
For the reef, equipment for snorkeling, water shoes or rubber soled shoes.
In the Himalayas: around 1,500/2,000 metres (5,000/6,500 feet, see Srinagar, Darjeeling), warm clothes, jacket, hat, scarf. Above 2,000 metres (6,500 feet), warm winter clothes, hiking boots, sunglasses, sunscreen. At the highest altitudes, cold weather clothing, synthetic thermal long underwear, gloves, down jacket, hat, scarf.

In summer: in all areas at low altitude, tropics-friendly, loose fitting clothing, made of natural fibres, light raincoat or umbrella, a light sweatshirt and a scarf for air conditioned places; desert turban in the north-west; a scarf for the breeze on the coast, a light sweatshirt for the evening at low-mountain elevations (see Bangalore).
In the southern mountains (see Ootacamund), spring/autumn clothes, raincoat, sweater, jacket.
In the Himalayas: around 2,000 metres (6,500 feet, see Darjeeling), spring/autumn clothes, raincoat, jacket, sweater. At the highest altitudes, warm jacket, down jacket, hat, gloves, scarf.

To enter temples, it is customary to remove shoes, dress neatly and cover a little.
In rural areas, closed-toe shoes may be useful against snakes.

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