1. Weather in India & Advise:
October – March: winter for India. A great time to travel most of the continent as it is much cooler and more comfortable to travel. Temperatures average 20 degree Celsius and can get cooler in the evenings. In the Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir region, it is even colder with much of Kashmir under snow over these months.
Advise: Peak Season. Hotel Rates & Air Travel are at the peak. Bookings should be made at least 3 – 6 months in advance. Supplements apply during Christmas & New Year.
June – August: monsoon for most of India. Little humid and rains throughout the country. Mild showers in Rajasthan & parts of Gujarat hence one can plan on visiting these places. Despite the fact that it arrives – and can arrive early or late – the monsoon may not conform to an expected pattern you may have a few hours torrential downpour followed by sunshine, or you may have days or weeks of overcast skies and drizzly rain not unlike what you get in northern Europe. Just carry an umbrella at all times and wear leather sandals or sport sandals.
Advise: Off-season. Accommodations and Air travel are cheaper then winters. National Wildlife Parks are closed during monsoons. You can get 5-star accommodations at the price of 3 stars.
April – May: pretty hot across most of India. Good time to visit the Himalaya regions of Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir, and Leh&Uttranchal as the temperatures are cooler than the south. Kashmir & Leh do not have a monsoon season so you can trek all the way through to November. Rajasthan & Gujarat hardly receive any rainfall, hence it is a good time for budget travelers to pack their bags and explore the country.
Advise: Off-season. Accommodation and Air travel are cheapest during this period. Despite the weather restrictions, a lot of tourists visit India during this period as the cost of travel and stay are at a minimum.
2. Visa & Vaccination
To enter India you need a valid passport, visa and an onward/return ticket. If your passport is lost or stolen, immediately contact your country’s representative. It’s wise to keep photocopies of your airline ticket and the identity and visa pages from your passport in case of emergency. There are restrictions on entry for some nationalities. In case the local visa issuing office requires a certificate from a registered organization in India, the same can be requested at the time of booking. Visitors also need a valid permit to visit certain restricted/protected areas. Here is a comprehensive list of vaccinations advised to those visiting India.
Hepatitis A: This vaccination is recommended for all travelers to India.
Hepatitis B: Travelers who may have intimate contact with local residents should take this vaccination, especially if their period of stay is more than 6 months.
Typhoid: All travelers are recommended to take Typhoid vaccination.
Yellow Fever: Vaccination for this is required only for travelers arriving from or passing through any yellow-fever-infected area like Africa.
Japanese Encephalitis: This vaccine is recommended for travelers staying for more than 1 month and traveling to rural areas or travelers engaging in extensive unprotected outdoor activities in rural areas, especially after dusk.
Rabies: Any traveler who may have direct contact with animals should take this vaccination. There are some health risks in India like Cholera, Dengue Fever, Dysentery, Malaria, and Meningitis. Travelers are advised to take precautionary measures against the same.
3. Getting Here
An onward or return air ticket is a condition of the tourist visa, so few visitors buy international tickets inside India. The cheapest time to visit is generally the monsoon (June to August).
Major International Airports in India:
- North India: New Delhi, Amritsar
- West India: Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Goa
- East India: Kolkata, Guwahati
- South India: Chennai, Cochin, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram