(Last Updated on : 02/05/2013)
The climatic conditions of India can best be delineated in terms of a yearly cycle of seasons. Four main seasons may be discerned, namely the cold weather, hot weather, advancing monsoon and retreating monsoons.
The cold weather in India refers to the winters. Once the monsoons subside, average temperatures eventually fall across India. The temperatures change by about 0.6 °C (1.35 °F) per degree of latitude. December and January are the coldest months, with mean temperatures of 10-15 °C (50-59 °F) in Indian Himalayas. In northwestern India, almost cloudless conditions prevail in October and November. Heavy snowfall is experienced in Jammu and Kashmir, blizzards occur regularly, disrupting travel and other activities. The rest of North India, including the Indo-Gangetic Plain, almost never receives snow. In South India, particularly the hinterland of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, parts of Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, somewhat cooler weather prevails, around 10 °C (50 °F).
The hot weather in India of the cycle of seasons, refer to the summers that usually lasts in northwestern India from April to July, and in the rest of the country from March to June. The temperature in the north rise as the perpendicular rays of the Sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer. The hottest month in the cycle of seasons for the western and southern regions of the country is April or May. Temperatures of 50 °C (122 °F) and higher have been recorded in parts of India during this season. In cooler regions of North India, temperatures are moderate and near the coast the temperature hovers around 36 °C (97 °F), and the proximity of the sea increases the level of humidity.
The advancing monsoons in the cycle of seasons last for a four-month period, when massive convective thunderstorms dominate India's weather. The southeast trade winds originating from a high-pressure mass centered over the southern Indian Ocean, the monsoon torrents supply over 80% of India's annual rainfall. The southwest monsoon arrives in two branches: the Bay of Bengal branch and the Arabian Sea branch. The monsoon typically breaks over Indian Territory by around 25 May, when it lashes the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal. It strikes the Indian mainland around 1 June, close to the Malabar Coast of Kerala. However, Northeast India receives the most precipitation. By the end of November, monsoons have left the country. The rains reduce temperatures and refill groundwater tables, rivers, and lakes.
The retreating monsoons of cycle of seasons, during the months of October to December, the northeast (or "retreating") monsoon, brings dry, cool, and dense Central Asian air masses to large parts of India. Wind spills across the Himalayas and flow to the southwest across the country, thus bringing in clear, sunny skies. Average daily maximum temperatures during this time range between 28 °C and 34 °C (82-93 °F). The northeast monsoon, which begins in September, lasts through the post-monsoon seasons, and only ends in March, carries winds that have already lost their moisture while crossing central Asia and the vast rain shadow region lying north of the Himalayas.
It is said that the best time to visit India is during the winters. The winter, summer months (November to February) have bright, sunny days and are pleasant throughout India. Beach holidays are particularly energising and a place like Goa on the western shoreline is throbbing with tourists. Rajasthan, also extremely popular in the winter months, follows a similar temperature pattern. It is the time for winter sports and a white Christmas in the hill states of Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir and the hills of Uttar Pradesh. In Maharashtra, south and east India, December and January are pleasantly cool, never very cold. The cycle of seasons in India is magical occurring of the nature that changes the color and charm of the environment in passing months.