Seasons & climate

Rajasthan may be one of the driest states in India, but its geography means its climate is more varied than you might think. The arid Thar Desert bordering Pakistan sees little rainfall and experiences extremes of both high and low temperatures, while southern cities like Udaipur are more temperate. Jagging across the state from southeast to northwest is the Aravalli mountain range, which is the source of several cooling rivers.

Temperatures in Rajasthan soar during the summer period between April and June, when it can become uncomfortably hot. The monsoon season (July-September) breaks the heat but is best avoided by travellers, meaning that the most popular time to visit Rajasthan is the cooler, drier period between November and February.

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Month-by-month

The best time of year to visit Rajasthan is between October and March, avoiding both the monsoon and the heat of summer. October and November are festival season, with Diwali, Pushkar Camel Festival and Jodhpur’s International Folk Festival all taking advantage of the cooler evenings. Be aware that the mid-winter months of December and January can get quite chilly, particularly in the villages around the Thar Desert, where night temperatures can reach freezing.

Visit in March to experience the colourful Hindu festival of Holi, when temperatures are beginning to heat up. Join revellers in throwing powdered colours and water at each other in this celebration of the start of spring.

The full force of summer begins in April, with temperatures regularly soaring above 35C. Most visitors avoid the heat between April and June, although the drier climate means tiger sightings are more likely in the national parks as they venture out in search of water. Travellers choosing to visit at this time should spend some time in the Aravalli range, joining locals escaping the heat. Head to the hill station of Mount Abu for some respite from the worst of the heat.

Monsoon season is between July and September, when even Ranthambore National Park closes, such is the ferocity of the rain. Head instead to the Aravalli range, where lush greenery takes over, or to the lakes of Udaipur. The rain means most tourist sites are deserted, which makes it a less crowded — if wet — time to visit.

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Festivals and Events

The cooler months of January and February bring out Rajasthan’s artistic crowd, with the annual Jaipur Literary Festival taking place in January. The festival attracts world-famous authors, poets and musicians. For something slightly different, head to the three-day Jaisalmer Desert Festival (normally falling in February), featuring camel races, puppetry and insights into desert life.

March is all about Holi, the festival of colours which welcomes in spring. Gather around a traditional bonfire to celebrate the demise of the demoness Holika on Holi eve, before joining in the ‘festival of love’ and colour-throwing the next day.

The summer heat of April to June sees the Islamic holy month of Ramadan (dates change each year) and the three-day eid-al-fitr celebration at its end. To escape the sun, climb to the hill station of Mount Abu and its Summer Festival, with traditional music, boat races and carnivals.

The monsoon season sees Rajasthanis retreat indoors, but August 15th brings India’s Independence Day, a celebration of succession from the United Kingdom in 1947. The end of the monsoon in October sees two major Hindu festival — Navratri, which celebrates the goddess Durga, and Diwali, a five-day blowout of gift-giving and fireworks.

If you’re after a festival with a difference, visit Pushkar’s Camel Festival in November, complete with camel races and trading.

Explore Rajasthan

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