Travelling to India, especially during the shoulder season can be surprisingly as much gratifying as it is affordable. With best deals on air tickets and a carefully planned itinerary, a shoulder-season holiday in India is certain to be memorable.
The much sought after shoulder season for any destination starts to take shape during the time when the peak season starts to taper off to make way for the off-season. Shoulder season, just few weeks at the fringes of the peak season, is the time when a destination still sustains (almost) perfect weather, only a few notches lower than its best time to visit. The reasonably favourable weather is further complemented by retreating tourists, which means no suffocating crowds at various places of interest, markets, hotel and restaurants etc. It also leads to reduced demand and costs thereby encouraging hotels to roll out discounts. Consequently, shoulder season allows tourists to explore some of the finest holiday destinations in the world for a fraction of peak season costs and fewer crowds.
Shoulder Season in India
Like any other destination, in India, the shoulder season advances twice in a year. Broadly, the period from March to early May and September to October or parts thereof is considered to be the shoulder seasons in India. During the March-April shoulder season, tourists would have already left on flights back home while during the Sep-Oct season they are yet to arrive. Holidays to most popular destinations of India like Goa, Delhi, and Kerala during these times can be planned at a much lower cost and that too without compromising much on sightseeing and other outdoor activities.
Why Book Holiday in India during Shoulder Season?
Economical Choices: Shoulder seasons are known for their marginally low influx of tourists. Tourists who plan to board flights for their Indian holiday at this time are certain to delight in the reduced airfares that many airlines offer in order to cope with reduced demands. Similarly, hotels experience lesser bookings during the shoulder season and therefore lure visitors with discounted tariffs, offers for extended stays and complimentary access to otherwise chargeable facilities. Travel expenses also take a dip as activities and transfers within the country also cost less during the shoulder season.
Climatic Conditions: Shoulder seasons experience a moderate temperature as compared to the peak seasons (winters) or off-seasons (summers) in India. In both the shoulder seasons, travellers can enjoy the lack of extremities. From March-May, India experiences mild temperature that rises in peak summers to over 40 degrees. September-October sees a perpetual downfall in the temperature and therefore proves to be more tourist-friendly. Humidity is substantially higher in the shoulder seasons in some parts of India, but the northern and western destinations fare better than their southern and eastern counterparts.
Indoor and Outdoor Activities: Outdoor activities in the shoulder seasons become more joyous owing to lesser crowds and shorter queues for tickets at the places of interest, monuments and museums etc; indoor activities are also enhanced as hotels offer many holiday extras. Expect paying less for water sports and good quality gears, fast service and attention at restaurants, greater privacy at places like beaches, choose the best rooms in the hotel – the shoulder season indeed offers some exquisite choices.
Top Indian Destinations during Shoulder Season
Here are some awesome Indian destinations that are known to delight travellers during the peak seasons.
For a shoulder season holiday, March and October are considered to be the best times for tourists to board flights to Goa. The bearable heat and mild humidity in these months relative to April and September respectively make outdoors reasonably enjoyable. Those who arrive on flights around Easter can still enjoy Goa’s parties, culture and traditions. Popular beaches, particularly, the Palolem Beach still pack in a fair degree of fun for beachcombers looking for scenic beauty, shacks and restaurants. Even though the place is less touristy, there is no dearth of parties, concerts, musical events and other interesting outdoors in Goa during these months. Prime attractions like the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Donna Paula, Aguada Fort are some of the places to have all to yourself during the shoulder season holidays to Goa. An AC accommodation is highly recommended for comfortable stay during these months.
For affordable Delhi holidays that also promise no less fun and entertainment, March-April and September are good shoulder months when the city experiences moderate temperature. Days feature bright sun yet the heat isn’t as scorching as it is in May or June making the outdoors and cultural explorations here nothing less than a treat. Be it the Red Fort or the India Gate, the sprawling local bazaars or the opulent air conditioned malls, innumerous street food stalls or the finest of restaurants and bars, or any other outdoor retreat dotted across the Old and New Delhi, the city buzzes with reasonable tourist activity during these months. Budget travellers who book air tickets and choose this time to board flights to the city are rewarded with wonderful memories without burning a hole in their pockets. Tickets and holidays for golden Triangle Tour of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur as well as the expeditions to the cooler hill-stations like Mussoorie, Shimla, Dalhousie and Nainital located close to the city can be booked for a fraction of the peak season cost.
Months of April and September spell indelible memories for many cost conscious travellers purchasing air tickets for holidays in Kerala where the peak season extends from October to March. These months feature fairly pleasant weather with low levels of heat and humidity compared to the off season (summer and monsoon) that is either gradually approaching or withdrawing. The pristine and misty hill-stations of Munnar and Thekkady, the lush greenery of the spice plantations and coconut groves and navigating the backwaters on beautiful houseboats are some of the key highlights of Kerala; the shoulder months are the times when these draws are found hanging on to their glory before it fades into the off season. You can expect a holiday on a liveaboard boat in Alleppey or a stay at a four or five star hotel in the beautiful cities of Kochi and Trivandrum as well as many other sought after deals to come to you at a bargain basement price for these times of the year. The boat races hosted in the month of September pose as welcome attractions.