When to Go to Delhi
Delhi by Season
Due to its location, sandwiched between the towering peaks of the Himalayas and the dusty sands of the Thar Desert, Delhi experiences extreme variations in weather, with scorching hot summers and cold winters and just about everything in between. When to go depends on your interests and how much you like the heat; to help you decide we’ve split the year into its seasons:
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February to March
Days begin to warm up in February, with bright sunshine and blue skies. There might be occasional rains, and sometimes even hail. Mornings may start a little chilly – perhaps in the teens – and climb to 30°C at lunchtime before cooling down again, so it’s best to dress in layers and be prepared for strong variations in temperature.
Delhi Flower Show: in February, Delhi plays host to India’s most important flower display, showcasing vast numbers of brightly coloured indigenous and international blooms.
Holi: perhaps the most famous Indian festival of all, held in March, Holi involves face-painted locals chucking multi-coloured powders and paints at each other with much joy and frivolity.
April to June
In early April, when summer kicks in, temperatures begin to rise and everyone heads indoors in search of air conditioning. Humidity remains low however, and hot, dry winds blow through the city. This makes it the perfect time to have the sights to yourself, if you can cope with the 45°C plus heat that is. June is the hottest time, when sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and light cotton clothing are essential.
Blossom: in May, Delhi’s trees, including jacaranda and bougainvillea, burst into bloom, splashing the city with colour. See the display in various parks and gardens, or simply along the streets.
Buddha Jayanti: an important date on the Buddhist calendar, May’s Buddha Jayanti celebrates Buddha’s birthday with traditional dress, vegetarian food and a sweet rice pudding known as Kheer.
July to September
As the monsoon winds arrive in July, humidity levels rise, the rains begin to fall and Delhi turns green overnight, with the parks and gardens at their lush best. Temperatures hover just below 40°C, although this reduces slightly in August, the wettest month. If you don’t mind the rain, it’s perfectly possible to visit Delhi at this time. Just don’t forget your umbrella.
Phool Walon Ki Sair: otherwise known as the Procession of the Florists, Phool Walon Ki Sair is held in September and involves floral fans being blessed at Delhi’s Jogmaya Temple.
Independence Day: on 15th August, Indians celebrate their freedom from British rule with flag hoisting and plenty of eating, while the Prime Minister makes a nationwide address from the Red Fort.
October to January
Autumn is the most popular time to visit Delhi. Days are clear and pleasant, with temperatures dropping below 30°C for the first time since March, making sightseeing a joy. By December, the winter sets in, with temperatures plummeting to 2°C or so in January and frost not unheard of. Days remain sunny though, so as long as you wrap up warm, there’s nothing to stop you enjoying the sights. Fog is common in winter, which can severely reduce visibility, although it makes for some wonderfully atmospheric photos.
Diwali: in October, join Delhi’s residents for a huge celebration, known as the Festival of Lights. Candles are lit, fireworks explode, and the whole city is a riot of illumination and colour.
Lohri: also held in January, Lohri is a celebration of fire, and is particularly observed by newlyweds and those who’ve recently had a son. Look out for huge bonfires around the city.