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It is said that the best time to visit India is the winter. It is true, but only partly. India has three major seasons: winter, summer and monsoon. The winter months (November to February) have bright, sunny days and are pleasant throughout India. Beach holidays are particularly invigorating and a place like Goa on the western coast is throbbing with tourists. Up north, in the capital city of Delhi, the temperature may range between 4 C (minimum on the coldest days) and 20 C. The desert region of Rajasthan, also extremely popular in the winter months, follows a similar temperature pattern. This is also the time for winter sports and a white Christmas in the hill states of Himachal, Jammu & Kashmir and the hills of Uttar Pradesh. In Maharashtra, south and east India, December and January are pleasantly cool, never very cold.

The summer months (April-June) are hot in most parts of India. During this period, hill stations such as Shimla, Mussoorie, Nainital, Kullu and the Kashmir Valley (north), Darjeeling and Shillong (north-east), Ootacamund and Kodaikanal (south), Pachmarhi (central India) and Mount Abu (Rajasthan) provide cool retreats. Adventure sports in the hills, such as trekking, paragliding, angling are also best experienced in the summer. The hills bloom and the meadows are lush. It must, however, be mentioned that should you wish to tour the plains in the summer months, air-conditioned hotels and transport are easily available at most tourist destinations. You will also be able to avail of services at a considerably lower price at this time of the year.

The monsoon is an amazing phenomenon of nature. Sometime in June, the clouds break in the coast of southern India and are pushed up northwards by July - immersing the entire Indian sub-continent in torrents. Everything in sight appears to assume a new colour, as a new life is created after a parched summer and poets go hoarse describing the sensuousness of the Indian rains. Except for the south-eastern region, India receives its major share of rain between June and September. The south-eastern areas receive most rainfall from the northeasterly monsoon between mid-October and December-end. However, the only are which remains dry is the highest desert in the world - the fascinating moonscape of Ladakh. This is the time to trek up here.