Located on the eastern bank of the River Hooghly, Kolkata is known as the cultural capital of India. The city has a tropical wet and dry climate, marked by three major seasons in a year – summer, monsoon, and winter. You can expect hot and humid weather for the most part of the year. When it comes to sightseeing and outdoor activities, the months from October to February are the best time to visit Kolkata. This, however, doesn’t mean you will not have a good time if you plan a trip and check in at one of the hotels in Kolkata at any other time of the year. In fact, you can experience Kolkata in different ways in different seasons.
Want to know more about the best season to visit Kolkata? Here’s everything you need to know about the seasons in the city and a list of activities ideal for each.
Kolkata in Summer (March to June)
Summers in Kolkata are hot and humid, making it uncomfortable to go out in the sun. March brings in the summer spell that continues unabated till mid-June. Temperatures soar during this period; May being the hottest month of all. During the months of April to June, the city enjoys occasional rains, which are sometimes accompanied by thunderstorms or hailstorms locally known as Kal Boishakhi. They bring much relief from the heat and humidity. With the sun blazing down, April to June is not the best time to visit Kolkata.
- Maximum Temperature: 33 to 36 degree Celsius
- Minimum Temperature: 20 to 26 degree Celsius
Things to Do in Kolkata in Summer
Despite the hot and humid weather, there are a few attractions you can visit and activities you can engage in during your summer trip to Kolkata. Here are our suggestions:
- Shop, eat, and watch a movie at the shopping malls in Kolkata – South City Mall, Quest Mall, Acropolis Mall, Forum Courtyard, etc.
- Chill out with a glass of beer at the best pubs in Kolkata – Monkey Bar, Aqua, The Irish House, The Grid, Someplace Else, Roxy, etc.
- Take a long trip to the hill stations near Kolkata – Ajodhya Hills (340 km), Simultala (360 km), Siliguri (560 km), etc.
- Unwind at the water parks in Kolkata – Aquatica, Wet O Wild, Aqua Marina, etc.
- Enjoy a date with a book at Oxford Bookstore
- Visit some of the night-time attractions – Princep Ghat, Vidyasagar Setu, Howrah Bridge, etc.
- Take a midnight heritage tour or guided ghost tour
- Enjoy dinner at the dhabas open till late – Azad Hind Dhaba, Jai Hind Dhaba, Sharma Dhaba, etc.
- Watch the starts at Kolkata Astronomy Center
- Plan a weekend trip to the beaches near Kolkata – Bakkhali Beach (125 km), Mandarmani Beach (170 km), Shankarpur Beach (175 km), etc.
- Celebrate festivals and cultural events:
- National Children’s Theatre Festival (First week of June)
- Basanti Durga Puja (usually in March)
- Poila Boisakh or Bengali New Year (14th January)
- Rabindra Jayanti cultural programs (early May)
Kolkata in Monsoon (July to September)
Monsoon in Kolkata starts by June end or early July with the arrival of seasonal south-west rains. You can expect the temperature to come down, but the humidity levels remain high even in this season. Heavy showers and thunderstorms characterize Kolkata monsoons that continue till September. July and August are when the city receives maximum rainfall.
The rains get less intense and the mercury and humidity levels take a dip in September, and thus the month offers pleasant sightseeing conditions. September also marks the beginning of the best season to visit Kolkata.
- Maximum Temperature: 31 to 32 degree Celsius
- Minimum Temperature: 25 to 26 degree Celsius
Things to Do in Kolkata in Monsoon
While incessant rains can be annoying, there are a few fun things you can do in Kolkata during monsoons. Indoor activities and attractions are recommended for this season, but you can also step out to enjoy the rain-drenched city. Here are our top suggestions:
- Visit one of the monsoon getaways near Kolkata – Gangani (140 km), Bagriposi (220 km), Tajpur (170 km), Mukutmonipur (260 km), etc.
- Plan a long trip to the waterfalls near Kolkata – Whistle Khola Waterfall, Changey Waterfall, etc.
- Indulge in local food at the best restaurants in Kolkata – Aminia, 6 Ballygunge Place, Oudh 1590, Rendezvous, etc.
- Walk through the rain-drenched streets and enjoy the famous street food of Kolkata at Deshapriya Park, Vivekananda Park, Park Street, Sham Bazaar, etc.
- Visit a few indoor attractions like museums, temples, churches, and gaming zones – Science City, Birla Planetarium, Marble Palace Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, etc.
- Enjoy pandal hopping during Durga Puja, the biggest festival of Bengal (September-October)
- Attend cultural events and festivals
- Rath Yatra (usually in July)
- Vijayadashami celebrations, particularly Sindoor Khela for women (September-October)
Kolkata in Winter (October to February)
October heralds in the post-monsoon season in Kolkata. Clear days, comfortable nights, and a drop in temperature make this period conducive to tourist activities. Winter lasts for mere two-and-a-half months, starting in mid-November till January. Kolkata enjoys a mild winter; January being the coldest month of the season. February also witnesses salubrious weather, though the chill goes missing from the air. Apart from the agreeable weather conditions, the local celebrations and festivities during winters make it the best season to visit Kolkata.
- Maximum Temperature: 26 to 32 degree Celsius
- Minimum Temperature: 13 to 22 degree Celsius
Things to Do in Kolkata in Winter
Sightseeing, fun activities, adventurous things, festivities – name it and you can enjoy it all in the winters. Here’s a handpicked list of things to do besides visiting the top tourist places in Kolkata.
- Shop till you drop at New Market, Park Street, and Barra Bazaar
- Take a tram ride to explore the city vintage style
- Spend a day at the Calcutta Book Fair (Starts on the last Wednesday of January)
- Take part in cultural festivals and other annual events
- Dover Lane Music Festival (January)
- Saraswati Puja (January-February)
- Itihaas Utsav or International History & Heritage Exhibition at Barisha (February)
- Kali Puja and Diwali (October-November)
- Kolkata International Cinema Festival (November)
- Nandikar’s National Theatre Festival (December)
- Kolkata Christmas Carnival at Park Street (last week of December)
From age-old heritage attractions to new-age pubs and restaurants, you will find it all in Kolkata. The best way to go about is to prepare an itinerary based on the time of your visit. Now that you have all the necessary details about the best time to visit Kolkata, go ahead.