The climate of Rajasthan can be divided into four seasons: Pre-Monsoons, Monsoon, Post-Monsoon and Winter.
Pre-monsoon, which extends from April to June, is the hottest season, with temperatures ranging from 32oC to 45oC. In western Rajasthan the temp may rise to 48C, particularly in May and June. At this time, Rajasthan only hill station, Mt Abu registers the lowest temperatures. In the desert regions, the temperatures drops in night. Prevailing winds are from the west and sometimes carry dust storms (we call them andhi).
The second season Monsoon extends from July to September, temp drops but humidity increases making it very un comfortable, even when there is slight drop in the temp (35oC to 40oC). We have about 90% of our rains in this period.
The post-monsoon period is from Oct to December. The average maximum temperature is 33oC to 38oC, and the minimum is between 18oC and 20oC.
The fourth season is the winter or cold season, from January to March. There is a marked variation in maximum and minimum temperatures, and regional variations across the state. January is the coolest month of the year. And temp may drop to 0oC in some cities of Rajasthan, like Churu. There is slight precipitation in the north and north-eastern region of the state, and light winds, predominantly from the north and north-east. At this time, relative humidity ranges from 50% to 60% in the morning, and 25% to 35% in the afternoon.
Temp & Rainfall
January to March
50oF - 80oF
4MM - 7MM
April to June
75oF - 105oF
11MM - 30MM
July to September
70oF - 95oF
100MM - 165MM
October to December
55oF - 85oF
3MM - 8MM
These are average temp and rainfall of Rajasthan, and may vary for each city. The temperature is in degrees Fahrenheit.
Rajasthan Fairs & Festivals
The Rajasthani's love for color and joyous celebrations, music, dance and festivals makes it one of the most colorful desert in the world. We have numerous fairs and festivals of the region. In addition to the festivals celebrated by the Hindus, Muslims and others, there are also the traditional fairs.
We have all sorts of fair and festivals like animal fairs, religious fairs and there are fairs to mark the changing seasons. In fact, celebrations occur almost round the year and are a splendid opportunity for you to gain an insight into the life of the Rajasthani. Other than the traditional fairs, recently established festivals which involve elephants, camel races, dance and music have been specially organized for the tourists. I recommend you to plan your tour in a way that you are a part of any of the following fairs and festival to truly know the rich heritage and culture of Rajasthan:
Nagaur Fair, Nagaur (Jan-Feb.) Essentially an cattle fair, it provides an opportunity to participate in some of the local sports.
Kite Festival (held on 14th Jan of every year) A festival with a difference - as kites take to the sky all over Rajasthan. In the evening, kites with lights in them and fireworks brighten the skies above. The main celebrations are in Jaipur and Jodhpur. If you like kite flying, you should be here.
Desert Festival, Jaisalmer (Jan-Feb.) One of the most popular of all festivals it is a journey into the heart of the desert, the golden city of Jaisalmer that has a charm of its own. A true show on the sands which attracts even the much traveled visitor. Highly recommended. Be there.
Baneshwar Fair, Baneshwar (Jan-Feb.) A religious festival with simple and traditional rituals. This fair is the centre of attraction of a large number of tribal from the neighboring states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat who join their brethren from Rajasthan in offering prayers to Lord Shiva.
Gangaur Festival, Jaipur (March-April) A festival devoted to Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. It is time for young girls to dress up in their finery and pray for grooms of their choice while the married women pray for the well-being of their husbands. This 18-day festival is laced with various activities and culminates in a grand procession marking the arrival of Shiva to escort his bride home. Mewar Festival, Udaipur (March-April) A festival to welcome the spring season. There is song, dance, processions, devotional music and fireworks where almost everybody participates.
Elephant Festival, Jaipur (March-April) A festival to celebrate Holi, this is a great occasion for the visitor to watch several elephant sports and also play this festival of colors. A show is organized with the elephants turning out in their best finery.
Urs Ajmer Sharif, Ajmer (According to Lunar Calendar) Held in the memory of the revered Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti, it is an occasion for thousands of believers to congregate at the shrine and offer their prayers. All of Ajmer seems to take on a festive air and several programmes are organized to mark the festivals.
Summer Festival, Mt.Abu (June) Organized in the only hill station of Rajasthan, this is the coldest place at this time of the year. Folk dances and a general atmosphere of gaiety prevails in this tiny hill resort and the tourist has ample time to relax and enjoy himself.
Teej, Jaipur (July-August) A festival to mark the advent of monsoon. Women dressed in bright colors and a lot of merriment prevails during Teej. Essentially a women's festival, it is interesting to watch them enjoying in groups and at various bazaars where they turn up to shop in all their finery.
Marwar Festival, Jodhpur (October) A festival devoted mainly to the music and dance of the Marwar region. This is a festival that allows the visitor to understand and enjoy the folk traditions of this part of the state.
Pushkar Fair, Ajmer (November) The well-known and marked with largest participation of all the festivals of Rajasthan, Pushkar is an important pilgrimage as well as the venue of a mammoth cattle fair. Bazaars, auctions, music and sports are highlight of this event. Recommended.
Camel Festival, Bikaner (January) An enchanting desert city which comes alive with music and dance. It is fast gaining popularity as the visitor finds an opportunity to see some unusual folk performances, camel, race camel dance etc. here.
Hindu lunar months
The months of the Hindus lunar calendar (Vikram Samvat) and their Gregorian equivalents are as follows:
Collect or exchange as much small change as practical, very few people seem to have change, especially in rural areas.
Take a fair amount of small denomination US money for airport (departure) taxes and when you only need to exchange a small amount of money-like when leaving a country. You can also often get better prices in shops if you pay with greenbacks.
In general, cash is better than traveler's checks. Cash can be easier and quicker to exchange and command a higher rate or the commission can be lower. In some places, the larger the denomination of bills, the better the exchange rate. Many merchants will take dollars and their rate of exchange can be higher than the "official" rate.
Refer to your guide book on the existence of any black market for currency exchange and whether to or how to use it. Some countries are more tolerant of black markets than others.
When you exchange money, exchange as much as you think you will need for some time as it can be a real time consuming task or the banks will have odd (and short) hours. You may not be able to exchange money at all in small towns or in the countryside. Money can also be exchanged in many hotels.
Take a personal check and an American Express card. If you need more money, you can go into an American Express office with your card and write a check for traveler's checks. Cash machines are also more common now in arge cities.
Keep money and valuables in a money belt or pouch under your clothes. If you carry a bag for guide books, maps, brochures, etc., use one with a zipper and hang on to it. Leave your wallet and purse at home. Crimes that take place are usually crimes of opportunity, like pickpockets, as opposed to violent crime (unlike in the U.S. According to FBI statistics from more than 80 other countries, only the Bahamas has a higher than the U.S. per capita frequency of robberies and violent thefts).
Unless you have an audience with the head of state, leave all jewelry (and engagement ring) at home.
ALWAYS keep your passport, plane ticket, money and camera with you.
If something doesn't't go right, smile and be persistent in what you want. Getting mad, yelling or fist pounding will only be met with resistance.
As soon as you arrive someplace, arrange your way on to your next stop. trains/planes/("first class") busses tend to get booked up in advance. Travel agencies can usually get reservations for you as they book blocks of seats well in advance.
Arrive early and get aboard early any bus/train/plane etc. They can be oversold and/or fill up in a hurry.
When traveling by regular bus, try to get seated close to the front as they will keep packing people in until there is no room left inside. Additional people then hang on the outside and climb on the roof, when travelling in a ordinary bus.
Always settle on a fare before climbing into an un-metered taxi. If metered, make sure the driver will go by the meter or decide on a price. Make sure the price includes everyone in your party. In some countries, the meters can't be readjusted as fast as the rate of inflation so the fare may be the meter price plus X%. Check your guide ook or ask someone if the driver won't go by the meter. Rates are often higher in the middle of the night and between an airport and town.
Reconfirm all airline flights along the way. It is possible to show up for a flight and not have a reservation because you did not reconfirm.
Every time you check in at the airport, check your tickets afterwards and make sure that the agent did not tear out more tickets than she/ he was supposed to.
When you step out the door of an airport, be prepared to become the focal point of dozens of taxi drivers and kids drumming up business for busses. Know what you want to do before stepping through the door. Check your travel guide or ask someone in the airport how much a ride to town should cost and what the choices are.
When you step off the bus or whatever in a new town and need a place to stay, and some kids come up and offer to show you a place, go ahead and use them. You can always take a look and say no. They are just trying to drum up business for someplace and/or a commission for themselves.
When asking directions to someplace, ask several people, and keep asking as you go.
Use a travel alarm clock to wake you up in time for that early morning bus/train/plane.
Medicines of all kinds are usually available in local pharmacies with no prescription necessary. Check expiration dates.
Unless you are in an expensive restaurant, you will be charged for any bread, butter, jam, cheese, olives, etc. on your table that you eat.
Check your guidebook for taxi and restaurant tipping guidelines. In some places the service is included, others it is not, and in still others there is a combination of included service charges and tipping. For tipping 10% of the bill amount is good.
If you wear shoes that can be polished, watch for kids who will sneak up to you, slap some polish on your shoes, then offer to finish the job. Settle on a price first if you decide to proceed.
If you hand out coins to children, you are likely to start a parade.
Above all, use common sense!
Keep a flask of fresh drinking water handy all the times. Top it up each morning before you leave your hotel. This saves you having to drink local (often insanitary) water. Remember most of the diseases out here are water-borne.
Never drink any water (even in restaurants) that has not been filtered, sterilized with water purification tablets or with solution of iodine (made up by a pharmacist),or boiled for at least 10 minutes. Since you will never be sure of this, always take mineral water to drink. Avoid local companies.
With aerated drinks or fruit juices, never drink from the bottle-always ask for a straw. Be especially careful with soda-water:it's often made in somebody's backyard, loaded with typhoid germs.
Always peel your own fruit and vegetables-steer clear of raw vegetables salads, raw sugar-cane or (a big cause of amoebic dysentery) iced cane-juice.
Eat three square meals a day. In hot, dry climates (like Rajasthan) it is common for travellers to go right off solid foods, and to live on a watery diet of fruit salads, curds, and loads of bottled drinks. The inevitable result is diarrhoea. To soak up all that excess liquid, you will have to get back to solids (bananas, breads, biscuits etc.) immediately.
In very dry climates like in Rajasthan remember the best way to quenching thirst is to drink deeply and seldom, not little and often.
When eating with your fingers(indian custom), clean them first-most restaurants have a wash-hand basin. Better, use moistened medicated tissues or (when travelling) orange_skin peeling. You'd be amazed how difficult it is to keep clean in India-though the Indian people themselves are among the cleanest in the world!
Avoid throat and chest complaints-ration visits to (fiercely air-conditioned) luxury hotels and restaurants, and go easy on sun bathing or bathing in cold swimming pools. When travelling in tour buses, always wear a cap or scarf. Walking along the dusty street (cum public spitting!),get in to the habit of breathing through nose, not the mouth.
Keep your medical kit regularly replenished. Before you head off into remote places visit a local pharmacist and stock up on aspirins, diarrhoea tablets, insect cream, salt tablets and other first-aid essentials.
Observing these precautions should see you returning home fitter and healthier than you when you set out. You will almost certainly lose a lot of weight. If illness does strike, remember that Indian Doctors are generally excellent-your hotel should be able to recommend the best local one. Most main cities also have good hospitals and superior nursing facilities. This said, medical treatment abroad is expensive. One poor chap i met had caught typhoid by drinking local soda-water--his doctor's bill for just one week was over 200pounds.This is a powerful argument for taking out decent medical insurance.