Some people have a strange view on when is the best time to visit India. We knew that the summer months would be very hot and wanted to visit when it would be more temperate.
Looking through various brochures, they all said the best time to visit is mid-october to mid-march or thereabouts. So choosing to visit in January seemed the perfect time.
How wrong we were?
December and January are winter months, when the locals wrap up in hats, scarves and thick coats. They look amazed when you turn up in thin summer dresses and shorts.
It wasn’t until we got back and I started researching the small print that I noticed the warnings.
According to the tourism for rajasthan: –
“During December and January……This is the best time to visit Rajasthan as the desert sun is not as intense and the days are pleasant.”
Wondering what’s behind the dots?
“…….there can be a severe variation in temperatures during the day and the night. In fact, temperatures are known to drop as low as 0°C and below. This is the best time to visit Rajasthan ……”
See what I mean. (The relevant words have been highlighted by me.) The suggested best time to visit Rajasthan is also the time when it can be as cold as 0°C!
Definitely not temperate!
Check the weather charts
So you need to check weather charts and temperatures before you book.
Well, duh. Of course you should check the weather…..And the group of us on the Golden Triangle tour had.
But we’d used weather sites that gave temperatures of around 20°C to 23°C for January. Nice and warm for sightseeing.
We hadn’t realised those were the maximum temperatures nor that there would be such big fluctuations in temperature throughout the day. Some people hadn’t taken winter coats with them and most, like us, only had the one jumper/cardigan that they had to wear for the entire tour.
How about the tour company website?
When I see a chart on a website showing temperatures between 8°C and 20°C, I usually think I may be unlucky and have a bad day that only reaches 8°C. But I hope most of my days will be 20°C.
It does not make me think that that will be the temperature EVERY day. That I will be going out after breakfast in 8°C , having lunch at 20°C and finishing the day back at 8°C.
And worse, if I’m heading off before dawn (which was another surprise when we arrived on holiday) that I’ll be leaving my hotel before its even reached 8°C !
And as for tour reviews?
Hidden in plan sight, quite a few pages into the reviews section, was this comment from a previous traveller:-
I went in February (winter in India).. you need to take a warm jacket.. (fleece) for night time and early morning…. need head covering for early morning trip in Tiger National Park.. cold and windy. ANN
Since then another traveller, who was on a later trip than us, has commented:-
If you do go on this trip in January though please remember to take some warm clothes as we were all surprised how cold it was. SHIRLEY 2019
So now I’m going to have to pay more attention to the weather small print before I commit to a megabucks holiday.