Kolkata offers a rich mix of Hindu, British, and Bengali culture that you won't find anywhere else in India. Once the capital of the British Raj, it has enough to keep you busy for weeks—or a single day, if that's all you have. Read on to find out how to spend a perfect morning, afternoon, and evening in this sprawling city.
India Travel Advice
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From the famously erotic temple carvings at Khajuraho to star-crossed lovers in today’s Bollywood films, India is in love with romance—and it has the honeymoon spots to show for it. The country rolls out the red carpet to honor the newly betrothed, so even if you didn’t have a destination wedding, you can still have an Indian honeymoon.
One day just isn't enough to cover everything in sprawling Delhi—but you’ll find that 24 hours is plenty of time to fall in love with this beautiful and surprising city. Discover the Indian capital on a whirlwind tour of historic temples, chaotic bazaars, and aromatic street food stands.
With delicious food, rich cultures, and stunning scenery, India has plenty of opportunities for unforgettable family adventures. You can meet rescued elephants in an animal sanctuary or celebrate cultural festivals like Holi or Diwali. From the misty tea plantations of Darjeeling to the colorful markets of Mumbai, this vibrant and diverse country makes for an awe-inspiring destination.
When to visit India
India in January is cool and dry. While some regions, like the mountainous Himalaya, experience freezing cold nighttime temperatures during this month, most of the country is only a few degrees cooler than usual. Winter provides a respite from the blazing heat of summer and the wetness of the monsoon. For this reason, it’s often considered an ideal time to visit.
In February, winter in India is nearing its end. Most of the country is reasonably cool and dry at this time. While the weather is pleasant in February, there are fewer visitors than in December and January, making this a good month to beat the crowds.
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.
By April, the peak travel season is over in much of India. Temperatures are rising in North India and Tamil Nadu, and rain in Kerala is increasingly frequent. However, there are still some great places to visit this month—high season is just beginning in the Himalaya, Mumbai is still pleasant and dry, and it’s an ideal time for tiger-spotting in India’s national parks.
The month of May is firmly in the middle of India’s blazing summer. Temperatures in both North and South India are at their peak, so it’s a good month to retreat to the mountains and escape the heat. While there won't be many foreign travelers to compete with, this is summer vacation in India and there's a spike in domestic tourism—you'll want to book your hilltop retreat in advance.
June is the off-season in India: Delhi and the north are hot, while South and Northeast India are experiencing heavy rains. If you don’t mind braving the heat or the damp, this can be a good time to take advantage of reduced crowds and lower prices. Plus, there are cultural festivals in Kerala, Varanasi, and elsewhere to enjoy throughout the month, rain or shine.
July is India’s off-season due to the rainy and wet weather. Across most Indian states, the monsoon is in full swing; rain falls every few days at this time of year. This is a good time to visit some of India’s drier areas, such as the historic cities of Rajasthan or Tamil Nadu's ancient temples.
Across most of India, August is firmly at the heart of the monsoon season. With hot, wet weather in both the north and south of the country, crowds and prices will be low at this time of year. To avoid the rain, you can travel out to the desert of Rajasthan, or head up to the high mountains of Ladakh for a cooler, drier respite.
By September, the monsoon is starting to dry up in parts of India. With light rain in Delhi and Rajasthan and fewer crowds than in the winter, this is a great month to visit the attractions of the Golden Triangle. Hot spots like the Taj Mahal will be quiet, with great visibility, and you can expect shoulder season prices in most of the country.
October is the beginning of peak season in most of India. Falling temperatures and less rain make this a good time to visit Delhi and the Golden Triangle, before the heavy mist of December and January. The rain is also receding in Kolkata and West Bengal, and the attractions of Rajasthan will be pleasant and dry.
November is well into peak season in India. At this point, the monsoon rains have cleared, and the mists of December and January haven’t yet set in around Delhi. West Bengal, Rajasthan, and parts of South India are also cooler and drier than usual, making this a great month for sightseeing all over the country.
Although some areas, like the Himalaya, are freezing cold at night in December, the climate elsewhere ranges from pleasantly warm in Delhi to quite hot in Mumbai and Kerala. In Tamil Nadu, the Northeast Monsoon will be winding down at this time; pack a raincoat if you plan to travel there. And if a celebratory atmosphere is what you're after, there's no shortage of festivals, including the Tibetan Lunar New Year.