The climate of Kolkata – and much of west and lowland north Bengal – is at its best during the short winter (Nov–Feb), when the daily maximum temperature hovers around 27°C, and the markets are filled with fresh vegetables and flowers. Before the monsoons, however, the heat hangs unbearably heavily; the arrival of the rains in late June brings relief, but usually also floods that turn the streets into a quagmire. After a brief period of post-monsoon high temperatures, October and November are quite pleasant; this is the time of the city’s biggest festival, Durga Puja.

The best seasons to visit Darjeeling and the mountainous areas of north Bengal are after the monsoons and before winter (late Sept to late Nov), and spring (mid-Feb to May).

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