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A practical guide to India

National holidays and celebrations

India celebrates three major national holidays, with the rest of the year packed with Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian events and celebrations creating a rich cultural calendar that's testimony to the country's multi-faith population.

If you'd like to catch a famous estival, such as the spectacular Diwali (also known as 'the festival of lights'), speak to one of our travel advisers. We'll take care of the arrangements and make sure you go at the right time.

National holidays

  • Republic Day: 26th January. Celebrating the constitution of India coming into force.
  • Gandhi Jayanti, Mahatma Ghandi's Birthday: Birthday anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Independence Day: 15th August. Official state holiday celebrating freedom from the British rule.

Religious holidays

  • Milad un Nabi (Birth of the Prophet Muhammad): Muslim festivity observed by the Islamic community.
  • Maha Shivratri:Between mid-February and late March: A major religious national holiday.
  • Mahavir Jayanthi: March or April: Observed by the Jain community in India.
  • Good Friday/Easter Sunday: March/April. Christian event not observed in all states.
  • Buddha Poornima: Late May. Buddhist event commemorating the birth of Lord Buddha.
  • Krishna Janmashtami: Hindu event celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna.
  • Dussehra (Vijaya Dashami): October: Major Hindu celebration. Lasts 2-10 days.
  • Diwali: Between October and November: Hindu Festival of Lights.
  • Christmas Day: 25th December.

Money

The national currency in India is the rupee (Rs) and with the commission charge for foreign exchange in India becoming obsolete, you'll get a lot more bang for your buck.

  • For the most secure way to exchange your money, do so at the airport or at a bank branch such as HSBC or Citibank.
  • ATM machines are also widely available in most major towns and cities in India.
  • Notes in British pounds and euros are always welcome in India and easy to exchange throughout the country.
  • Credit cards are accepted at an increasing number of shops, fine dining restaurants and hotels throughout the country, with MasterCard and Visa being the most commonly accepted.

Eating Out

With a diverse and tantalising cuisine, eating out in India is incredibly rewarding. Indian cuisine is world famous for its aromatic flavours and spices, pungent and bold culinary delights as well as its rich diversity of vegetarian dishes. Dining in India will no doubt be one of the highlights of your trip, adding an authentic and exotic touch to the experience.

Eating out is inexpensive, and budget never gets in the way of enjoying hearty, memorable meals. Most hotels in India serve up a good selection of the most popular and easily recognisable Indian dishes but for the most authentic flavours, venture outside your resort to sample delicious local curries and exotic dishes cooked in a traditional Tandoor oven.

If you don't like things on the spicy side, don't panic as you'll also find plenty of restaurants serving international cuisine in India and most hotels also cater for international palates.

Climate

Overall, the weather in most of India remains hot throughout the year, making it a year round destination. However, as a vast country with a diverse geography, India experiences significant weather variations between regions, so check with our travel advisers before planning your holiday to learn more about the climate of a particular city or resort.

  • November to March brings the coolest weather, with sunny days and refreshing evenings.
  • March to June is less comfortable, with hot, dry and dusty weather.
  • Showers and monsoon storms typically occur in summer in most regions, with the wettest season running between June and early October.

India experiences four official seasons:

  • Winter: December to early April. The coldest season in India sees temperatures averaging 10 – 15°C in the north west. Closer to the equator, temperatures rise to around 20-25°C.
  • Summer: April to June/July. The warmest season in most parts of the country, with April and May being the hottest months. Temperatures average 32 to 40°C in the interior. Central India (Delhi and Madhya Pradesh) sees peak temperatures between 40 to 45°C and in the north west it's even hotter. Coastal regions like Goa have balmy and humid temperatures all year long, peaking at 35°C at the height of summer and 28°C in the winter.
  • Monsoon: June to September is rainy season in most of the country, with southern regions typically seeing the highest volumes of rain.
  • Post Monsoon: October to December. With bright sunshine, drier weather and average temperatures between 28 and 34°C, this is a good time to visit most regions, particularly the north west. The state of Tamil Nadu however receives high volumes of rain at this time of year.

Meterological information

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Average °C 161418232933333131302621
Minimum °C 8811162126282727251913
Maximum °C 232024303740383534343328
Sunshine (hours) 10910111213128891110
Rain (cm) 122214919201310

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