The Best Time to Visit Southern India
Southern India by Season
Lying just above the equator, southern India enjoys a tropical climate, with warm weather year round. Having said that, much of the region’s attractions lie along the coast, bringing fresh sea breezes and lowering the humidity. As with much of the rest of India, there are four seasons here, although they are slightly shifted from those in the north. While the drier seasons of summer and winter are the most popular time to travel, to help you make up your own mind, take a look at our climate guide below.
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November to February
The northeast monsoon eases off towards the end of November and winter kicks in. While the season may be called winter, there’s nothing cold about this period, and temperatures regularly hit 30°C or above, although they can hover around 5°C in the elevated hill stations. Days are dry and warm, making this the perfect time to get outside and explore the temples and backwaters while temperatures remain manageable.
Goa Carnival: get down to Goa just before the start of Lent for an extensive parade, featuring colourful floats, dances and costumes, then join in the Red-and-Black dance at this three-day celebration.
Theyyam Festival: held in Kerala in December, this arty celebration, otherwise known as the Dance of the Gods, features hundreds of dance styles, with all dancers decked out in very bright, elaborate costumes.
March to May
As March hits, temperatures increase, and humidity levels rise slightly. On the coast, temperatures hover around the mid-thirties, while inland they can soar above 40°C, making this the ideal time to go to the beach or cruise the backwaters of Kerala. If you don’t mind the heat, this is a great time to visit southern India, but do watch out for occasional thunder and lightning.
Ugadi: Karnataka’s New Year celebration, Yugadi is held in April on the day after the new moon. Look out for houses decorated with fresh mango leaves and colourful flowers.
Wildlife watching in Nagarhole National Park: summer is a great time to look for tigers and elephants as the vegetation is sparse and the dry weather sends the animals to the waterholes to quench their thirst.
June to September
The rains arrive in early June, bringing long periods of torrential rain to southern India. The coastal areas and Kerala especially are very wet, and the river levels rise. Temperatures cool slightly after the summer peak, reaching around 30°C. The plateau regions receive less rain, making this a good time to visit Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Bastille Day: on 14th July, get yourself to Francophile Puducherry for a celebration of France’s national day featuring parades, marches and national anthem La Marseillaise ringing out loud and clear.
Onam: sometime between August and September, Kerala celebrates Onam, the Hindu harvest festival. This involves traditional food, dancing and music for ten days, followed by the Royal Parade.
October to November
The southwest monsoon winds reverse in October, bringing rains back across the region, albeit at a level reduced somewhat from the southwest monsoon peak. With hot and humid days and the possibility of showers in the afternoon, this isn’t a bad time to travel if you come prepared for wet weather. Indeed this is one of the most popular times to visit Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Mysore Dusshera: a 10-day festival held in October in Karnataka, Mysore Dusshera is dedicated to the Goddess Chamundeshwari and features processions and bright decorations, while Mysore Palace is lit up for the occasion.
Diwali: the Hindu calendar’s Festival of Lights falls in October, bringing candles, fireworks and celebrations across the country. See it at its best in Mumbai or Goa.