Best Time to Visit India
The best time to visit India is between November to March when the weather is at its best. Visiting during the monsoon rainy season can make travelling difficult and even dangerous due to possible flooding, so it is best to try and avoid it during this time. Delhi, a city of extremes, often reaches very high temperatures from April through to June, and is damp and cold in December. The five days of Diwali, one of India's biggest festivals, fall in mid-October and mid-November so it is best to book well in advance if you're visiting during this time or around Christmas.
December - March. The year's coldest months are December and January, when temperatures average around 10–15 °C (50–59 °F) in the northwest and rise as you move towards the equator, peaking at around 20–25 °C (68–77 °F) in southeast India.
Summer or pre-monsoon season:
April - June. In the western and southern regions, the hottest month is April; for northern regions, May is the hottest month. Temperatures average around 32–40 °C (90–104 °F) in most of the interior.
Monsoon or rainy season:
July - September. The season is dominated by the humid southwest summer monsoon, which slowly sweeps across the country beginning in late May or early June. Monsoon rains begin to recede from North India at the beginning of October. South India typically receives more rainfall.
Post-monsoon or autumn season:
October - November. In north western India, October and November are usually cloudless.
Flights & Getting Around to Major Cities
Travelling through India by car ensures that you don’t miss out on any of the smaller villages or temples that you may not get to experience when flying between the major destinations. When in the cities you will manage to get around by either taxi or traditional rickshaws. Trains are also available between most major tourist destinations, but you will often find that the buses are faster and hive better schedules than the trains.
Visa & Passport Requirements
Everyone travelling to India needs a visa to enter India, unless you hold an Indian passport or are a citizen of Nepal or Bhutan. This applies to children and infants as well.
It is advised that you make copies of your passport and keep it separate to your passport should it get lost or stolen.
You must enter and leave during the specified time period, and your passport must have a remaining validity of at least six months. If for any reason you need to extend your visa, you will have to go to the Foreigners' Regional Registration Office in one of the major cities. But please note that the Indian government makes it extremely difficult to extend a visa for any reason, and if you overstay your visa, you may be required to get clearance from India's Ministry of Home Affairs to leave the country.
If you are visiting India from the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom, no vaccination certificate or inoculations are required. If you are entering via certain parts of sub-Saharan Africa, you will need proof of inoculation against yellow fever.
It is advised that you visit your local doctor or travel clinic at least 3 months prior to travel as they will be able to inform you of the latest health requirements.
In areas where malaria is prevalent it is advised that you make use of mosquito nets, insect repellent and light clothing that protects the body from mosquito bites. It is a good idea to take malaria prophylactics before and during your visit.
India's unit of currency is the rupee. Because of governmental regulations, it's against the law to take rupees in or out of India, so you must obtain your rupees from an ATM on arrival. It is advised to always carry some rupee bills, because credit cards are far from universally accepted unless you are staying at or dining at high-end hotels and restaurants. When paying for small items, keep in mind that many shopkeepers will have difficulty breaking large bills so it is best to carry smaller denominations.
As with tipping in most countries, it is not compulsory, but much appreciated. It is at your discretion how much to tip someone for their service, but you should work on a 10 – 15% average for restaurant bills. Always trust your instincts and reward good service accordingly wherever you are.
Tips are usually given by means of cash and at some large luxury hotel chains, tips to individuals are not encouraged, but they ask you to leave one tip at the end of your stay, which management then divides among staff.
What to Pack
It is advised that you pack loose, breathable clothing when travelling through India. Pants are better than shorts as they protect from the sun and shorts are inappropriate when visiting most religious sites. Women should opt for pants, skirts or dresses that go below the knee. Pack light but sturdy walking shoes that are easy to take off as you will need to do so when entering temples and places of worship. Don’t forget to pack a high SPF sunscreen to prevent sunburn.