The clear skies and more moderate weather of March also make it the perfect month for trekking in the mountains. Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir and Uttarakhand in the north are all hiking hotspots, where you can tread the not-so-beaten paths amongst lush greenery and under blue skies. Munnar in the south is a walker’s wonderland, where you can weave your way from Silent Valley through to Top Station amongst diverse habitation and breath-taking landscape. Sleep under canvas below the stars for the ultimate experience.
Visiting India in April
The high heat of April isn’t for everyone, but if you head out on excursions early in the morning, the lower hotel rates and fewer crowds give you the chance to see more of India for less. If you’re visiting with children, take advantage of the Easter holidays if they are earlier in the month rather than later. Head to Goa and Kerala for Easter celebrations, where you can expect traditional prayers and good food.
Ramadan can be an illuminating time to visit India, as it gives you the chance to learn more about faith and traditions, and enjoy the buzz of the evening celebrations after a day of fasting. Immerse yourself in the experience by fasting yourself, or join a community Iftar to try the traditional ‘breaking the fast’ evening feast of biryanis and the lentil dish haleem. Street food enthusiasts will love the freshly fried samosas, pakoras and cholay (a chickpea snack). If you are non-Muslim, you’ll still be able to acquire food during the day, but be discrete whilst eating it.
Buddha Jayanti takes place in most of East Asia to celebrate the founder of Buddhism, Prince Siddhārtha Gautama. This calm but moving event commemorates Buddha’s birth, nirvana (enlightenment) and parinirvana (freedom from the cycle of existence, or passing away). As a visitor, you can sample a variety of vegetarian food, listen to dharma talks, and visit temples and monasteries. The exact date of Buddha Jayanti varies each year but is usually in April or May, or June in a leap year.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi in Karnataka is a collection of ancient ruins and temples and attracts a multitude of tourists and pilgrims from November to March. With fewer crowds and festivals, April is the ideal time to visit, so you can take in the historic sites in your stride. On the other side of the Tungabhadra River, you’ll find the languid town of Hampi where you can rest your feet in an artsy café after a day’s exploring.