Planning a trip to India's romantic "city of lakes and palaces"? The best time to visit Udaipur is November through February when the weather is cool and sunny—that is unless you want to catch a festival or avoid the crowds, or you have an affinity for the monsoon season.
Read on to discover more. And, take a look at our pick of the top things to do in Udaipur too.
Weather in Udaipur
Udaipur is located in the desert state of Rajasthan, but the city has a semi-arid local steppe climate instead of an extreme desert climate. The temperature peaks at about 100 degrees F in summer (although there can be heatwaves above 104 degrees F!), with lows of 77 degrees F overnight. In winter, the temperature drops to around 50 degrees F overnight but rises to 79 degrees F during the day. Significant rainfall happens only in the monsoon season, from late June to September end. For the rest of the year, you can expect the days to be dry.
Peak Season and Crowds in Udaipur
Vigorous marketing campaigns have resulted in a huge tourism boom in Udaipur in recent years, to the point that some people say the city is losing its charm. The influx of visitors starts in October when the Indian festival and holiday season gets underway. Udaipur remains busy until the heat builds and forces the crowds out in March.
During peak season, you're likely to find popular attractions, including the City Palace Museum, packed full of people, especially on festival days, weekends, and public holidays. Long and disorderly lines are a problem. This can be avoided by going to Udaipur in the shoulder season—the last couple of weeks in September after much of the rain is over or the first couple of weeks in March before it gets too hot.
Hotel rates plummet from March until the end of September. If you're budget conscious or just want to get a fabulous deal, this is the ideal time to visit Udaipur. You'll be able to save up to 75 percent on the cost of your accommodations. For some people, it may become affordable to stay at the authentic Shiv Niwas Palace Hotel (where the James Bond movie "Octopussy" was filmed) or Fateh Prakash Palace Hotel inside the City Palace Complex.
Key Festivals in Udaipur
Diwali is the busiest time of the year in Udaipur, as domestic tourists from neighboring Gujarat flock to Shreenathji Krishna temple at Nathdwara (about 30 minutes north of Udaipur). The town buildings are decorated with Pichwai paintings, featuring scenes from Lord Krishna's life, before Diwali every year. Udaipur is beautifully illuminated for Diwali, and you'll get a spectacular view of fireworks over the lake from surrounding rooftop restaurants such as the one at Jagat Niwas hotel. Locals also attend the Udaipur Light Festival, where there are music performances and food.
An eclectic mix of locals and foreigners gather to celebrate Holi in the streets of Udaipur. For a unique experience, get tickets to the special Holika Dahan event held by the Mewar royal family at the City Palace on Holi eve. It features a royal procession and traditional burning of an effigy of demoness Holika on a sacred bonfire.
The three-day Mewar Festival takes place concurrently with the Gangaur festival in Udaipur. There's a procession of women carrying statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Gauri to Lake Pichola (they're transferred onto boats at Gangaur Ghat), singing and dancing, cultural programs, and fireworks over the lake.
The coldest part of the year in Udaipur extends from December to mid-February, with cool evenings and nippy mornings until about 10 a.m., followed by glorious warm days and clear skies. The nippy early mornings become milder in the latter half of February. Not surprisingly, this comfortable winter weather draws the crowds and bumps up hotel prices, as does the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
Events to check out:
- The Shilpgram Art and Craft Fair from Dec. 21-30 every year. It's attended by 400-odd craftsmen from across India.
- Makar Sankranti kite festival in mid-January.
- The Udaipur World Music Festival in February. More than 100 global artists get together to collaborate and perform.
There's not much change in the weather in the first couple of weeks of March. However, towards the end of the month, the temperature is quick to rise in the mornings and tops 90 degrees F by 2 p.m. Mid-April to mid-June is the hottest part of the year in Udaipur. Expect sweltering temperatures above 95 degrees F from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Since this isn't conducive to sightseeing, most tourists keep away, and rates are at their cheapest. There's a shift in the weather in the second half of June as the monsoon approaches, bringing a refreshing breeze and rain.
Events to check out:
- Holi, the iconic festival of colors, in early March.
- The Mewar Festival and Gangaur Festival, in late March or early April.
Udaipur receives most of its rainfall in July and August, with about eight inches occurring in each of those months. There's up to a 50 percent chance of a wet day then. The lakes fill up, and the countryside rejuvenates. Daytime temperatures reach about 86 degrees F, and nights are a balmy 72 degrees F. Unlike many places in India, fortunately, there's not a lot of humidity in Udaipur at this time of year.
Rain-lovers will really enjoy visiting Udaipur during the monsoon season, and the discounted hotel rates and fewer tourists are a bonus. You'll get the best view of the clouds from the Monsoon Palace, atop a hill in SajjanGarh Wildlife Sanctuary just outside the city. The Mewar royal family constructed it in 1884 for that purpose—watching the monsoon! The rain eases off in September and clears up in the last couple of weeks, leaving an abundance of greenery all around. With only a 25 percent chance of a wet day then, your sightseeing isn't likely to be interrupted.
Events to check out:
- The Teej Festival, dedicated to the holy union of Lord Shiva and his wife, Parvati.
- A local fair celebrating the monsoon, held for two days over Hariyali Amavasya in late July or early August.
- The Muharram Festival, concluding with a taziya procession through the streets on the evening of the last day (Ashura) in August.
The weather in October is pleasant before early mornings become chilly in November. You can expect the daytime temperature to continue to reach 86 degrees F, but the overnight temperature steadily dips to about 55 degrees F by the end of November.
Hotel prices jump at the start of October, as the tourist season gets underway. Domestic holidaymakers begin to pour in around Dussehra, which falls sometime in October according to the Hindu lunar calendar. This isn't until later in the month, so the beginning of October may remain relatively tourist-free. Visitors to Udaipur also increase around the Pushkar Camel Fair in November (Udaipur is only five hours from Pushkar).
Events to check out:
- Dussehra, marking Lord Ram's victory over demon king Ravan.
- Diwali, the festival of lights, in late October or early November.