Traveling in India for an extended period of time presents you with all kinds of challenges. One of them is the weather. You almost have to be a climatologist to figure out how to intelligently move around the country without getting drenched by the monsoon rain, getting frost-bitten fingers, or being cooked by the intense summer heat at one point or another.
To add to the complexity, climate change has once again thrown the semi-predictable weather into chaos. We’ve already experienced our first sandstorms and a series of intense, dry thunder storms. Locals seem to be surprised by this unseasonal weather, which usually occurs during the summer monsoon period. Again, Indians are talking about the changing climate. The current heat wave in northern India, rain and sandstorms in the desert, and the fact that certain areas in central India haven’t received any monsoon rain in five years only support this notion.
Above average heat continues to be our biggest enemy – and it drains us of energy. Rajasthan is HOT, and temperatures are soaring at around 43 C (109 F). We are sluggish at best and constantly thirsty. “Wanna see a temple?” “Nope, I just wanna stay under the fan.” “How about exploring the town?” “Too lazy, just pass me another ice-cold Coke.” We’ve become creatures of the early mornings and late evenings – the rest of the day we just hide from direct sunlight.
In addition to the heat, the reoccurring sandstorms and thunder storms have made it difficult for us to organize a camel safari, which was one of our major goals in Rajasthan. We may have to just bite the bullet and try our luck just hoping for the best.
For prospective travelers to India, a bit of advice. India is huge, and the climatic conditions vary tremendously. There’s only a 4-month window, from November to February, when most of India is relatively dry and temperatures are moderate. Unfortunately for us, the same period is the peak hiking season in Nepal, so we didn’t arrive in India until the prime season was coming to an end.