As autumn begins to set in around October, Rajasthan receives its first batch of travellers. The occasional showers and post-monsoon lushness attracts a number of tourists who want to explore a different side of Rajasthan, minus the touristy crowds and hotel rates. October is also the month when a number of national parks open their gates to wildlife enthusiasts. Ranthambore National Park, Sariska Tiger Reserve, and many others come alive because of the recent monsoon and it’s the perfect time to spot more than a fair share of wild animals.
Rajasthan in November sees an increase in tourist traffic because of the cooler nights and warm days. A number of curious travellers head to Pushkar for the Camel Fair and rightfully so. The town comes alive with the trading of camels (and other animals) and an overall festive atmosphere that includes cultural performances and hot air balloon rides.
Depending on the lunar movements, your October or November trip to Rajasthan could coincide with the exuberant Hindu festivals of Dussehra and Diwali. Make sure Kota is part of your itinerary if you want to witness Dussehra on a massive scale, where towering effigies of Ravana are set alight amidst folk songs and dances. No matter where you are during Diwali in Rajastha, you’re bound to experience Diwali, the festival of lights, in all its glory.
Personally, the best time to visit Rajasthan is in December. Birdwatchers land up during the last month of the year to view flocks of migratory birds that descend at the various sanctuaries and national parks around the desert state. The days are pleasantly warm, making outdoor excursions as enjoyable as possible. Overall humidity is at an all-time low making the nights extremely cool. December is also a great time to plan a camel safari around Jaisalmer and Bikaner. Make sure you carry woollens to keep you warm during freezing open desert nights.
The western winds ensure the night temperatures reach 2°C in some places like Bikaner and Mt Abu, while the daytime temperatures average out at around 15-20°C, depending where you are in Rajasthan.
The first month of the year sees Rajasthan come alive with a number of fairs and festivals. The weather is still extremely agreeable in January and Jaipur’s Makar Sankranti (Kite Festival) is a brilliant experience for the curious traveller. The Jaisalmer Desert Festival is a cultural spectacle spread out across the golden Sam Sand Dunes, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience for January travellers.
The festival season is still in full swing during February in Rajasthan. The weather is pleasant and places like Jodhpur, Jaipur, and Udaipur are beautiful during the shortest month of the year. The Jaipur Elephant Festival is a great celebration to take in first-hand.
March signals the end of the tourist crowds in Rajasthan. The summer is putting feelers out but the days are bearable and you can enjoy your sightseeing without sweating too much. The average temperature starts moving towards 30°C, but the heat is not in full swing. This is a great time for animal sightings as they make their way more frequently to watering holes and tanks in the various national parks and sanctuaries.