India in January: weather and travel tips

The dawn of a new year brings with it the charm of winter in India. While some regions remain shrouded in frosty weather, others invite travellers to embrace the mild and pleasant outdoors. Here’s our guide to the weather in India in January, a month offering cultural celebrations, outdoor escapades, and cosy moments by the fire. 

Is January a good time to visit India?

Escape the cold winter blues and embark on an unforgettable journey to India in January. While the northern reaches may still shiver, southern India welcomes you with open arms and mild, pleasant temperatures.

January is an excellent time for wildlife enthusiasts. Many national parks and wildlife reserves, such as Ranthambore, Bandipur, and Periyar, are open, and the dry season makes it easier to spot wildlife during safaris.

Set on taking a trip to India? Embark on your dream trip hassle-free with the help of our India travel experts.

St Mary's Church in Chennai India © Shutterstock

St Mary's Church in Chennai India © Shutterstock

Air & sea temperatures in India in January

January bestows India with the charms of winter, unveiling cooler air and sea temperatures across the land.

January temperatures on India's west coast

January is the heart of winter along the west coast of India. The air temperatures along the west coast, in places like Mumbai, Goa, and Kerala, typically hover between 20°C and 30°C (68°F to 86°F), providing a comfortable atmosphere for exploring.

Meanwhile, sea temperatures range from 24°C to 28°C (75°F to 82°F), creating relatively mild conditions for beachgoers and water enthusiasts.

January temperatures on India's east coast

On the east coast, including cities such as Chennai, Puducherry, and Odisha, the air temperatures tend to be in the range of 20°C to 28°C (68°F to 82°F).

Sea temperatures along the east coast align with the west coast, averaging around 24°C to 28°C (75°F to 82°F). This offers a comfortable seaside experience during the winter months.

January temperatures in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands maintain a warm and inviting air temperatures in January, ranging from 25°C to 32°C (77°F to 89°F), offering a perfect setting for a tropical getaway.

The sea temperatures in this time are also pleasantly warm, staying at approximately 28°C to 30°C (82°F to 86°F). This makes it a desirable destination for those looking to escape the winter chill and explore tropical waters.

Elephant at the Mudumalai National Park in Tamil Nadu, India © Shutterstock

Mudumalai National Park in Tamil Nadu, India © Shutterstock

Can it rain in India in January?

The weather in India in January is mostly characterised by rain-free skies. However, the northern and northeastern regions might surprise you with occasional snowfall or rain at higher altitudes. 

Fortunately, these weather quirks are relatively rare in the more popular tourist areas. January, therefore, emerges as a splendid time for travellers eager to experience India's diverse offerings without the worry of rain.

Not quite sure when you want to go? Read up on the best time to go to India.

What about the crowd & cost?

January is part of the peak tourist season in India, which means you can expect larger crowds at popular attractions and higher accommodation prices, especially in cities like Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur.

However, the experience is often worth the cost, as many tourist facilities are operating at their best during this time. If you prefer a more budget-friendly and less crowded experience, consider visiting less touristy destinations.

Set on taking a trip this winter? Read up on the best places to visit in January.

French Quarter of Pondicherry, India © travel sojourns/Shutterstock

Pondicherry, India © travel sojourns/Shutterstock

What to wear in India in January?

January typically offers cool weather in northern India. Pack warm clothing, including sweaters, jackets, and long pants, particularly for evening outings.

In southern India, where temperatures are milder, lighter clothing like t-shirts, jeans, and dresses is suitable. Don't forget to include a few traditional Indian outfits for cultural events and festivals. A good pair of walking shoes and a shawl or scarf for temple visits can be valuable additions to your wardrobe.

Unforgettable and fully customisable India itineraries

Experience the wonders of India hassle-free with our tailor-made trip service, sparing you the need for extensive research and planning. Our local travel experts craft unique journeys just for you. Check out some of our exclusive India trips below:

  • Unmissable India (12 days): Explore India's unforgettable charm through its stunning forts, temples, cuisine, and vibrant cities on a journey from the Golden Triangle to Kerala's lush southern backwaters.
  • North India Explored (9 days): Discover the contrasts of Old and New Delhi, the sacred Golden Temple in Amritsar, the Himalayan Foothills, Dharamsala (home of the Dalai Lama), and Shimla with its famous 'Toy Railway.'
  • Treasures of India - South and North (17 days): Start your journey in the coastal beauty of Cochin, then venture to Munnar's lush tea plantations, Kerala's serene backwaters, Udaipur's palaces, Jaipur's bustling streets, Ranthambore's wildlife, the iconic Taj Mahal, and finally, wrap up your adventure in Delhi.

Or discover more of our India itineraries.

Gopalpur beach Odisha in India © Moumita Maity/Shutterstock

Chilika Lake in Odisha, India © r-d-p/Shutterstock

What to do in India in January 

As the new year dawns, India comes alive with an array of events and attractions that cater to every traveller's interests.

Makar Sankranti

Celebrate the colourful festival of Makar Sankranti, which marks the transition of the sun into the northern hemisphere. Enjoy kite flying competitions, traditional sweets like sesame and jaggery, and cultural festivities in various parts of India.


Head to the southern state of Tamil Nadu to experience the harvest festival of Pongal. Participate in the preparation of a special dish called "Pongal," made from freshly harvested rice, and witness traditional rituals and cultural celebrations.

Visit the Rann of Kutch

January is the ideal time to explore the white desert landscape of the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. Experience the Rann Utsav, a cultural festival that showcases folk music, dance, crafts, and the breathtaking beauty of this salt desert.

Explore Udaipur

Discover the romantic city of Udaipur in Rajasthan. Explore the majestic City Palace, take a boat ride on Lake Pichola, and immerse yourself in the city's rich history and architecture. The weather in India in January provides a perfect opportunity for sightseeing in this beautiful city.

Dre Roelandt

written by
Dre Roelandt

updated 17.10.2023

Dre Roelandt is originally from the United States but lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Dre is a freelance writer and artist with a passion for travelling. They are an in-house Content Editor at Rough Guides.

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