In Delhi and its surrounding areas, August is a rainy and humid month. The rain cools the air slightly—highs are at 93°F, with lows at 81°F. The weather is similar in Kolkata and West Bengal.
In Rajasthan, August is one of the rainiest months of the year; however, the desert climate makes this one of the driest parts of India at this time. Cities in the Thar Desert, like Jaisalmer, only get a few days of rain in August.
Kerala, Mumbai, and Goa are very hot and wet during August. Tamil Nadu is drier, but is beginning to experience more rain at this time. While the monsoon is in full swing in the eastern Himalayas (Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, etc.), Kashmir and Ladakh are relatively dry.
Keep in mind that the rain tends to attract mosquitoes in India. These insects can carry malaria, so if you intend to visit a rainy area during the monsoon, it’s a good idea to see a doctor about malaria prevention before your trip. Bring boots and a good raincoat to get the most out of your vacation.
Crowds & Costs
Due to the weather conditions, few international tourists visit India in August, and domestic tourists are likely to stay home too. While some international tourists may have vacation from school or work at this time, this is definitely the off-season, meaning you’ll find thin crowds and low prices.
Where to Go
The monsoon doesn’t preclude all travel to India in August. During the wet season, rain is often sporadic, and clears up for long enough during the day so you can sightsee. In tropical places like Kerala, the lush, green foliage and misty air can make monsoon travel a fascinating experience.
Dry and desert-like places will have less precipitation in August, and you’ll be able to take advantage of off-season deals and discounts. For example, this is a good time to visit Rajasthan. Tamil Nadu also has quite reasonable weather in August, with the most intense rains not arriving until October and November.
The northern Himalayas are warm at this time of year, and parts are easier to get to than usual. The highway from Manali to Leh typically doesn’t open until June, when rising temperatures and reduced snowfall make this part of the area more accessible. If you do intend to visit this region, it's a good idea to keep an eye on the security situation, particularly in the Kashmir valley (where Srinagar is located).
What to Do
To avoid the rains, head out to scorched Jaisalmer for a camel tour of the Thar Desert. You’ll ride camels through golden sand dunes before settling down for a night of sleeping in the open, under the stars—an unforgettable experience. The town of Jaisalmer is also home to many intricately-decorated havelis (historic mansions).
In addition, this is a good time to tour the temples of Tamil Nadu. There are famous temples in Trichy, Madurai, and Chidambaram, among other places. Tamil Nadu’s temples are designed in a unique style, featuring a monumental gopuram (entrance tower) decorated with ornately-carved, painted figures.
If you decide to visit Ladakh, you’ll have the chance to visit Buddhist monasteries and stupas (domed mounds containing relics). Trekking, biking, and motorcycling are also popular activities during the warmer months.
Events in August
Despite the weather, August is still busy with plenty of events. Here are some of India’s top celebrations during this month:
Indian Independence Day, India’s most important national holiday, is celebrated on August 15th. This is the date that India attained independence from the United Kingdom in 1947. Banks and some shops may be closed on this day. The main Independence Day celebrations take place in Delhi, including parades and speeches by the President and Prime Minister. Children also fly kites to celebrate the holiday.
In Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, there is also a civic holiday that takes place in August. Madras Day celebrates the founding of the city on August 22nd, 1639. Chennai was originally founded as “Madras” by the East India Company. It began as a fortified settlement, called Fort St. George, which was later expanded into a city. This holiday is celebrated during the week of August 22nd with heritage walks, exhibitions, lectures, and poetry readings.
As in every month of the year, there are also many religious festivals that take place in India during August. One of the most interesting is Jhapan Mela, a snake festival that takes place in Bishnupur in West Bengal. The festival is a tribute to the goddess of snakes (Manasa Devi) and is celebrated with elaborate performances by snake charmers. Check before traveling to confirm exact dates.
Traveling to India in August? Check out these great itineraries.
Highlights of Rajasthan - 21 Days Explore Rajasthan with this 21-day tour which thoroughly covers the highlights of the state, plus Delhi and Varanasi.
Tamil Nadu Temple Tour - 10 Days This tour introduces you to Tamil Nadu’s most famous and impressive temples. Enjoy seeing the architectural marvels of this South Indian state.