Climate of India

Winter Season:
India is a large country – about a third of the size of the USA, and includes vast plains like the Ganges valley and also the world’s highest mountains – the Himalayas. The wide variety of terrain leads to a wide variety of climatic conditions. These range from permanent snowfields to tropical coastlands; from areas of virtual desert in the north-west to fertile, intensively cultivated rice fields in the north-east.

India has hot tropical weather with variations occurring region to region. While the coolest months are from November to mid-March, hottest are from April to June. From mid-July to September one can experience Monsoon rains. Winters in India are pleasant with plenty of sunny days. Most of the North India remains dry, dusty, and unpleasant during the summer months. As a tourist one can explore India in all the seasons, but you will have to be selective about the destinations.

Hot Desert Climate:
The Indian topography comprises a large number of landforms such as mountains, hills, plateaus, plains, deserts, rain-forests, etc. and different water bodies like streams, rivers, lakes, seas, bays, etc. Other than these India has a coastline, which extends up to 7,000 km and its peninsular region enters the Indian Ocean while it is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on the southwest and the Bay of Bengal to the southeast. The coastline also gives rise to gulfs such as the gulfs of Kutch and Cambay to the west.

The geography and climate of India are both inter-related in such as way that the climate influences the geography and vice versa. For example, snow capped mountain ranges are seen towards the north of India due to higher temperatures at that latitude and also as a result of the high altitudes of the young fold mountains in this region. Also, areas with higher rainfall tend to have more forest cover with tropical rain-forests predominating and the vegetation cover in turn influences the evaporation and humidity, etc, hence affecting rainfall and climate.

Rainy Season:
The Indian climate is dominated by the great wind system called the Asiatic monsoon which is totally unlike any other country’s prevailing wind system. The monsoon reverses direction at certain times of the year. From June to October India is influenced by the moist rain-bearing monsoon from the south-west and on some mountain ranges facing the sea, rainfall can be very heavy indeed. The coolest, driest period over most of India is from December to February when light northerlies bring clear skies and virtually dry weather. From March to May the climate becomes very hot and the drought continues. Usually, the monsoon reaches the south during late May or early June, reaching the north about six weeks later. In some years the rains are torrential, but in other years they will only be light. The monsoon is then reckoned to have failed, leading to disastrous crop-growth problems.

India can be divided into seven climatic regions: the northern mountains, the northern plains, the Rajastan Desert, the Deccan plateau, the west coast, the south-east coastlands and the extreme north-east.

The northern mountains region includes the Himalayas and their foothills. Some rain can occur all year round and in winter light snow is brought by disturbances from the west.

Coastal Climate:
Extending from the State of Punjab to the Ganges delta, the Northern Plains are a low-lying region, and are hot and generally dry from March to June. Occasional thunderstorms do occur at this season, especially in the east. When the monsoon arrives in July, temperatures drop slightly in the cloudier weather but the high humidity makes this season almost as unpleasant as the preceding hot season. Average rainfall decreases from east to west, and north-west of Delhi conditions are virtually desert.

The Rajastan Desert has annual average rainfall figures as low as 250 mm (10″) in places. This area is one of the world’s hottest places from May to July, and the arrival of the monsoon makes little difference to the temperatures.

The Deccan peninsula is a low plateau with a different climate from the coastlands. The three main seasonal divisions apply equally well here, but rainfall is generally moderate or low. During the hot season, temperatures can approach those of the northern plains.

The west coast consists of a narrow coastal plain backed by a steep mountain barrier (the Western Ghats). Rainfall is abundant and heavy during the monsoon season, and the heat can be very oppressive because of the humidity. Some hill stations in the Western Ghats have a pleasant climate during the hot season, but are very wet and cloudy.

In the southern coastlands, the main rains occur in October to December, and are often associated with cyclones or tropical storms developing in the Bay of Bengal. Because of the lack of cloud, the period of the south-west monsoon from June to September can be very unpleasant since temperature and humidity are very high.

The North-east part of India is almost detached from the rest of India by Bangladesh. It is a region of plains and mountains and has a similar climate to that of the northern plains and Himalayas, depending on altitude. Significant rainfall can occur from March to May, but the main rainy season (June to October) is very wet indeed. Cherrapunji (altitude 4,300 feet/1,300 m) receives the highest rainfall in the world.