March is when temperatures in North India begin to climb. This is the last month of the shoulder season, before the north succumbs to the blazing heat of summer, and South India edges closer to the monsoon. However, the warmer weather makes this a great time to visit the Himalayas, and both Mumbai and Goa are pleasant and dry.

Weather

In Delhi, average March temperatures range from 61°F to 85°F. By April the weather is significantly hotter, with highs of nearly 100°F. This makes March a good opportunity to see the attractions of the Golden Triangle, without the heavy fog of winter or the heat of summer.

In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, temperatures remain tropical year-round. March is only a few degrees warmer than the preceding months, and rain is infrequent.

This is the beginning of peak season for hiking in the Himalayas, as temperatures are mild at altitude. The weather in Manali, for example, averages around 70°F during the day at this time.

Crowds & Costs

March is a somewhat popular month to travel in India, but is not an overly-common time for vacations. Prices are likely to be moderate, depending on where you are. This could be considered part of the shoulder season, providing a good balance between comfortable weather and fewer crowds.

Where to Go

If you’re looking to avoid the winter crowds and take advantage of the reasonable weather, March is a good month to see the famous sites of the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur). East of Jaipur, the rest of Rajasthan is rather hot at this time of year, making winter a better time to visit.

The weather in Mumbai is hot and humid all year round, but March is dry with little rain, so it’s an ideal time to explore the city’s attractions. Further south, Goa has similar weather.

Finally, for those craving tranquil mountaintop scenery, March is also a good time to visit Himalayan hill stations, although some mountain passes and hiking trails don’t open until later in the year.

What to Do

For travelers eager to observe some wildlife in India’s national parks, March is the perfect month to see Bengal tigers in central India. The increasing temperatures dry and thin out the vegetation, making it easier to spot tigers in their natural habitat. Due to the decreasing water supply, tigers also typically congregate around water holes at this time of year. This 13-day Wildlife & Cultural Tour provides a full itinerary of wildlife tracking.

If you’d prefer cultural activities, March is also the month of Holi, a Hindu festival of colors. Celebrated widely throughout India, Holi is marked by people throwing colored powder, water, and paint at each other, as well as dancing and having fun. Jaipur, Goa, and Mumbai are all good places to “play Holi”, with large public parties arranged in each city. Be sure to take care of your belongings during the festival; mornings are usually the best and safest time to celebrate.

Events in March

Besides the major Holi celebrations, there are many other events that take place in India during March.

One is the International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh. This festival attracts enthusiasts and trainers from around the world to practice yoga and hear talks from spiritual leaders. Located in the Himalayan foothills, Rishikesh is on the banks of the Ganges, and is considered a pilgrimage site.

Another celebration is Parippally Gajamela, one of many local temple festivals that take place in Kerala during this time. At the festival, a group of up to 50 elephants wearing colorful costumes parade through the streets, as a tribute to the temple deity.

A more off-the-beaten-path option is Myoko, a 10-day festival of the Apatani tribe in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering Bhutan. The traditional rituals performed during this festival include prayers and animal sacrifices.

Traveling to India in March? Check out these great itineraries.  

Golden Triangle & Wildlife Tour - 10 Days Explore India’s most popular attractions and search for Bengal tigers in one of the country’s largest national parks, all in one trip. 

Cycling Karnataka and Kerala - 14 Days Take advantage of the last few months before the monsoon to explore Karnataka and Kerala by bicycle. This itinerary will take you past historic temples, through spice markets, and across stunning mountainous landscapes.

More Helpful Information

India in February
India in April
When to Visit India
Festivals and Holidays in India
2 Weeks in India - 2 Unique Itinerary Ideas