Locations: Kerala | New Delhi | Mumbai
When working out when to go on a rail vacation in India, it will often depend whether you are going on a small group tour or independently. Most of them are the former, and avoid the summer monsoon months of Jul-Sep, when roads and railways can become impassable, or timetables are unpredictable. Apart from that, it depends on what you are hoping for en route. Golden Triangle site visiting is boiling Apr-Jun, Goan and Keralan beaches are divine Nov-Feb, and if you want to get some hiking in as you hop off the train, Mar is usually perfect.

When to go on a rail vacation to India

month by month guide

If you want guaranteed sun, then book your rail vacation between October and February, especially if you are heading south.

February through until May are also gorgeous, although more humid, so you definitely want to make sure you have an air conditioned carriage for these travels.

December and January are very busy throughout India and most small group rail tours don't take place during the peak season. Prices are high as well if you are traveling on a tailor made vacation.

If your rail journey takes you through Rajasthan, the best time is considered October to March as days are sunny, not too humid with cooler nights. The desert heat starts to soar April, May and June.

Your journey will be lit the whole way if you travel during Diwali, which falls during October or November and lasts a week. March is Holi Festival, the wonderful festival of colour.

If you hope to visit Ranthambore National Park and go tiger tracking, note that it is closed July, August and September during monsoon season.

If you are traveling by rail in the Ghat Mountains, treat yourself to a quality pashmina between October and February when temperatures can get as low as 5°C.

Similarly, the desert temperatures dip in Rajasthan at night during December, January and February.

Swimming in Goa is not advised between March and May as the winds are strong and the sea is rough. Interestingly, although international tourists avoid it between mid-June until October because of monsoon, this is when local people come out to celebrate. The rains are welcome here. The state's São João festival on 24 June is also a very unique event, celebrated by Goan Christians.

Responsible Travel recommends


Diana Syrett, Managing Director of one of our top Southern India railway vacation suppliers, Kerala Connections: “December and January are really busy in Kerala, so if you don’t want crowds and very high prices, these months are best to avoid. June and July are also a time to avoid because of the monsoon, but really you can go anytime outside those months.”
Photo credits: [Temp chart: Vikramjit Kakati ] [What happens when: Sakeeb Sabakka]
Written by Catherine Mack
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