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Best Places To Visit In May In India

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Traveling in India in the month of May comes with its perils. It is the hottest month of the year in the northern regions of India like Rajasthan, Delhi, Utter Pradesh, and Agra, where most of India’s popular tourist landmarks are located.

Summer hits its peak and the average temperatures in mainland India range from 32 °C (90 °F) to 38 °C (100 °F), making travel in the plains and low-lying parts of India considerably challenging. 

The Monsoon rains bring much-needed respite from the heat but they do not arrive until the end of May in most parts of India. 

But that doesn’t mean travel in May is impossible in India.

As long as you know where to go, there is no dearth of the perfect summer holiday locations in India this month.

In May, Indians typically head to the hill stations located in the Northern and Northeastern Himalayas to escape the heat and enjoy a relaxing holiday with their loved ones. 

Looking for ideas about the best places to visit in India in May, here is our eclectic and diverse list covering all regions of India suitable for the perfect May vacation.

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15 Best Places To Visit In May In India

1. Manali, Himachal Pradesh

MANALI

Located at the edge of the Kullu Valley formed by the Beas River which originates in the Himalayan glacier, Manali is a small exotic hill station of only 8,000 inhabitants. 

Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, pine forests, and the pristine Beas River, Manali draws a large number of tourists from New Delhi and other parts of India in the summer months.

An excellent destination for nature walks and photography, Manali also offers thrilling water adventure opportunities such as river rafting, paragliding, trekking, and mountain biking.

So, whether you are looking for a relaxing family holiday or mountain adventures, Manali is one of the first places you should be considering in May. 

Things You Can Do in Manali

  • Trekking in the beautiful Solang Valley. In winter the region is great for skiing and snowboarding. In the summer, you can try paragliding, ropeway ride, and trekking.
  • Drive up to the Rohtang Pass, known for its snowy peaks and splendid views of the Himachal’s landscape.
  • Visit the Hadimba Devi Temple. Nestled in a Cedar forest, the temple provides a soothing spiritual escape.
  • Visit the Vashist Hot Springs in the village of Vashisht which are believed to have therapeutic properties.
  • Adventure Sports. White water rafting in the Beas River, paragliding, and mountain riding.
  • Explore the Tibetan Monasteries in Manali.
  • Visit the Jogini and Rahala Falls, located not far from the town center.
  • Explore the rural life in the village of Naggar noted for its traditional Himachali architecture and hospitality. 
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2. Shimla

SHIMLA

Shimla is the OG of the “hill stations” in India—one of the most popular summer holiday destinations in India.

It was chosen as the Summer Capital of British India in 1864. Since then it has enjoyed the status of the premier destination for a hill station holiday for people in the Northern and Central Parts of India. It is also one of India’s most famous traditional honeymoon destinations. 

Famed for its green valleys, colonial Raj-era architecture, pine forests, and nature walks, the capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is located at a distance of 213 miles from New Delhi.

The Shimla Summer Festival (typically held in May or June) marks the celebration of the harvest and features local cultural attractions, folk performances, music, and lots of merrymaking.

Things to Do in Shimla in May

  • Leisurely walks on the British Raj-era Mall Road. This main promenade in Shimla is lined with public buildings, shops, cafes, and restaurants. It is also a great place to buy local handicrafts, souvenirs, and woolen clothes.   
  • Visit the Ridge. It is an open space located at the heart of Shimla and gives you 360° of the surrounding landscape of the valley.
  • Explore the Viceregal Lodge. Housing the Indian Institute of Advance Study, the magnificent colonial building stands out for its architecture and historical artifacts.
  • Pay respect at the Jakhu Temple, located at a short trek distance from the town center. It is dedicated to Lord Hanuman.
  • Ride the UNESCO World Heritage Site Kalka-Shimla Toy Train, which along with the Darjeeling Toy Train, is sure to excite you with child-like fun. The ride takes you through stunningly beautiful pine forests. 
  • Visit the Annandale Meadow which is an ideal place for a family picnic. 
  • Explore the history of the region at the Shimla State Museum.  
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3. Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh: A Dreamlike Wilderness

SPITI VALLEY

Nestled between the Kunzum range in the lower Himalayas and the Sutlej River at a height of 3,000 meters (9,700 feet) above sea level, Spiti in the local Bhoti language means the “Middle Land.” The “middle” is the land between Tibet and India.

This gateway to Tibet boasts ancient monasteries, lakes, rugged barren mountains, deep gorges, cold deserts, tribal villages and hamlets, high-altitude passes, and the scenic Spiti River. 

Due to its proximity to Tibet, the culture is influenced is Tibetan values and beliefs. It is one of the best places in India to visit in the month of May.

Things to Do in Spiti Valley

  • Go on Gompa (Buddhist Monasteries) Tour to Dhankkar, Tabo, and Key Monasteries.
  • Cultural Immersion at the Kibber Village. Explore the local Spiti culture in Lahoul, find out how they live, and sustain themselves in this wilderness with their unique lifestyle. 
  • Visit Chandratal Lake, also known as Moon Lake.
  • Trek to Pin Parvati, Chandratal Baralacha, and Hampta Passes.
  • Stargazing in the cold desert. The sky looks different at night in Spiti, like a realm from another planet. 
  • Go on a Yak Safari in this land of Yaks.
  • Wildlife spotting at the Pin Valley National Park which is home to snow leopards, Tibetan Wolves, and Himalayan Ibexes. 
  • Visit the scenic Kunzum Pass which connects Spiti with Lahaul Valley.
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4. Mcleod Ganj: “Little Lhasa”

MCLEOD GANJ

A suburb of Dharamshala in the Kangra District, Mecleod Ganj is known as “Little Lhasa” because the region is home to a large number of Tibetans—Lhasa being the capital of Tibet.

The Tibetan Government-in-Exile is headquartered in Mcleod Ganj. The word “Ganj” in Persian means a neighborhood or suburb.

Named after Donald Friell Mecleod, the Governor of British Indian Punjab, this little hill station is particularly famous for the Tibetan Exiled Government, Tibetan culture, scenic Dhauladhar Mountain Range, lush green valleys, and pine forests. The month of May is one of the best times of the year to visit here. 

The Tsuglagkhang Complex, which houses the residence of the Dalai Lama, attracts visitors and devotees from all over the world. 

May is the month when the Lord’s Buddha (Buddha Purnima) is celebrated in the Buddhist regions of India. Places in North India like McLeod Ganj, Ladakh, Sikkim, Gangtok, Dharamshala, and Spiti Valley are among the best places to enjoy the celebrations.

Things to Do in Mcleod Ganj

  • A visit to the Tsuglagkhang Complex is an absolute must in Mcleod Ganj. Housing the residence of the Dala Lama and many other centers of Buddhist learning, heritage, and culture, this complex offers a unique insight into the faith and culture of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Pay respect at the Namgyal Monastery, the monastery of the Dalai Lama. Say a prayer. Attend a lecture. 
  • Visit the Bhagsu Waterfall.
  • Explore the history of the region at the Norbulingka Institute which showcases the history and culture of Tibet. 
  • Cultural Immersion at the Dharamkot Village. Offers a unique glimpse into the rural life of the region.
  • Take the famous Triund Hiking Trail that takes you through the Dhauladhar Range.
  • Handicraft shopping. 
  • Serenade at the Dal Lake. Not to be confused with the Dal Lake of Kashmir. This lake is surrounded by deodar trees and its boat rides are a delight.
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5. Lansdowne, Uttarakhand

LANSDOWNE

Nestled in the lush green high mountains of the Garhwali Himalayan Range, the old name of the hamlet that became Landsdowne was Kalu Danda (Kalu means black and Danda means hills).

This little hamlet in Uttarakhand was named after the British Viceroy Lord Lansdowne in 1887 after the British Indian Army raised and trained the Garhwal Rifles from this region. Nowadays the Garhwal Rifles of the Indian Army is headquartered here. 

Located 170 miles from Delhi, Lansdowne is a serene escape, perfect for a relaxing summer vacation. 

Things to do in Lansdowne in May

  • Visit the Landsdowne War Memorial, dedicated to the slain soldiers of the Garhwal Rifles in World War I.
  • Explore the British-era St. Mary’s Church famous for its Gothic architecture.
  • Kaleshwar Temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple is considered sacred by followers of Shiva.
  • Visit the Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple nestled in a Deodar tree forest.
  • Take Nature Walks to points like Tiffin Top, and Viewpoint.
  • Birdwatching in the forest.
  • Buy local handicrafts.
  • Camp in the woods. 
  • Visit the local hamlets.
  • Try the Garhwal cuisine.
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6. Chail, Himachal Pradesh

CHAIL

Located 27 miles from Shimla in the Solan District, Chail is known for its cloud-covered mountains, Chail Wildlife Sanctuary, and virgin forests, Chail is a big hit with hikers, nature lovers, and trekkers. 

The Maharaja of Patiala built his summer retreat in the Chail Hills, which is now a heritage hotel and popular tourist attraction. 

Things to Do in Chail

  • Enjoy a Maharaja-like Stay in the Chail Palace (now a heritage hotel) and enjoy the royal Himachal treatment.
  • Explore Chail Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to a rich range of flora and fauna like the Himalayan black bears, deer, and many species of birds.
  • Play a game of cricket at the famous Chail Cricket Ground.
  • Visit the Kali Ka Tibba Temple located at the Kali hilltop and the Sidh Baba Ka Mandir.
  • Visit the Kufri hill station, located close to Chail.
  • Enjoy a picnic on the banks of Sadhupul Lake. 
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7. Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh: For The Moatsu Festival

TAWANG,

The state of Arunachal Pradesh often gets ignored in favor of its much more popular sister Himalayan states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

However, it does offer a fair share of cultural immersions, natural attractions, tribal encounters, and wildlife adventures to tourists. 

Tawang is the most popular tourist destination in Arunachal Pradesh. You do, however, need what is called an Inner Line Permit (ILP) issued by the concerned government to visit the region. The ILP can be obtained in New Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, and Tezpur.

In winter, it is a popular ski town. In summer, Tawang’s hills, valleys, snow-capped mountains, and beautiful lakes are the perfect getaway for an ideal holiday.

May is one of the best times of the year to visit Tawang with the family as the region celebrated the Moatsu summer festival.

Marking the conclusion of the agricultural planting season, celebrations last for three days and there is a vibe of jubilation about Tawang that you will love.

Things to Do in Tawang

  • Tawang Monastery. Visit the second-largest Buddhist monastery in the world famous for its Tibetan architecture, ancient manuscripts, scriptures, and artifacts dating back centuries.
  • Meditation and self-reflection. Tawang exudes spirituality and peace. Might as well take advantage of it. Learn from the holy masters at the monastery. Ask questions.
  • Visit the famous Pangong Tso Lake, also known as the Madhuri Lake.
  • Pay homage at the Tawang War Memorial, which is dedicated to the martyrs of the Indo-Chinese War. 
  • Visit the Nuranang (Jang) Waterfall. 
  • Learn about the Tawang Culture at the Tawang Craft Centre where you can also buy local handwoven carpets, masks, and other handicrafts.
  • Stargazing at night in Tawang’s clear blue skies.
  • Visit the famous Sangestar Tso Lake.
  • Bike up to the Sela Pass.
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8. Horsely Hills, Andhra Pradesh

HORSELY HILLS

Yet another state that does not get the attention that it deserves is Andhra Pradesh. It has its fair share of unique nature and cultural attractions.

Also known locally as Yenugulla Mallamma Konda or Horsleykonda, Horsely Hills is a small hill town named after the British Collector W.D. Horsely who decided to settle down here in the 1870s. It is one of the most ideal places to visit in summer in this state. 

Located at a height of 1,290 meters (4,230 ft), the region is known for its rich flora and fauna. More than 133 species of birds have been documented here including the Yellow-throated Bulbul, black eagle, and white-rumped shama.

Things to Do in Horsely Hills

  • Take a romantic stroll on the Gali Banda trail.
  • Visit the Horsely Hills Zoo.
  • Birdwatching.
  • Visit Gangotri Lake.
  • Walk up to famous viewpoints to get views of the surrounding landscape: Wind Rock (Gali Bandalu) Viewpoint and the Viewpoint of the Wind. 
  • Nature walks and treks.
  • Rock climbing.
  • Visit the famous Chennakesava Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
  • Stargazing at Night and bonfires.
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9. Kashmir

KASHMIR

Located in the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent, Kashmir is one of the best places to visit in India in May with family.

Often referred to by its poetic moniker “Paradise on Earth” given to it by Mughal Emperors, Kashmir is a land of serene lakes, lush green valleys, sprightly rivers, ancient history, rich heritage, and vibrant culture. 

Hands down, one of the most popular hill stations in India, Kashmir gets tens of thousands of visitors from mainland India during the hot summer months. The best time to visit Kashmir is from April to October, and December and January for the snow season.

Things to Do in Kashmir in May

  • Houseboat stays in Dal Lake.
  • Shikara (local Gandola) rides in the Dal Lake. 
  • Leisurely walks in the Mughal Gardens. 
  • The famous Gulmarg Golf Club is a must-visit for Golf lovers.
  • Trying Kashmir Cuisine. Must-eat foods include Mutton Ragan Josh, Nadroo Yakhni (curry with lotus stems), Paneer Chaman (fried cheese flavored with herbs), and Matshgand (minced meatballs).
  • May is a great time to visit the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden. The flowers bloom at this time of the year in Kashmir. 
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10. Binsar, Uttarakhand

BINSAR

The sleepy little town of Binsar was the summer capital of the Kingdom of Kumaon from the 11th to 18th century AD.

The Chand Rajput Kings of the Kingdom were drawn to this land of oaks and pines due to its tranquility and peace. Due to the influence of the Kingdom, there are many ancient temples here, like the famous Binsar Mahadev Temple which attracts devotees from all over India.

Later on, the British Raj also established a summer retreat here. In 1988, the Government of India declared parts of the region as the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.

With sightings of Himalayan Monals, Koklass pheasants, and other rare Himalayan birds, Binsar is a birdwatcher’s heaven. The sanctuary is also home to leopards, deer, langurs, and black bears.

In addition to the above, what makes Binsar a truly remarkable destination is the fact that you can view iconic peaks like Nanda Devi, Trishul, and Panchachuli from here.

Perched at a height of 2,420 meters above sea level, Binsar is an ideal place for a serenity-filled quiet holiday.

Things to Do in Binsar

  • Visit the Binsar Mahadev Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva.
  • Explore the flora and fauna at the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Walk up to Zero Point to get panoramic views of the Himalayan Peaks like Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot, Panchachauli, Kedarnath, and Trishul.
  • Nature Walk and Trails. The trek to the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is breathtakingly beautiful. You can explore other trails as well like the Artola Trek and the Binsar Zero Point Trek.
  • Be on the lookout for Himalayan pheasants, Monals, and other rare birds.
  • You can also visit the nearby hill station of Almora from Binsar as well.
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11. Kanatal, Uttarakhand

KANATAL

The small village of Kanatal is situated at a distance of 48 miles from the capital Dehradun. An offbeat Uttarakhand hill station, Kanatal offers perfect serenity, isolation, and picturesque beauty.

Kanatal is also the site of the famous Tehri Dam, the highest in the world, which offers opportunities for water sports adventures. The Surkhanda Devi Temple, nestled on a hilltop, is considered a sacred place of religious significance.

Things to Do in Kanatal

  • Water Sports Adventure in the Tehri Dam.
  • Adventure Sports. Facilities for rappelling, rock climbing, and zip-lining are available for those seeking adrenaline rushes.
  • Pay respect at the Surkhanda Devi Temple, located at a hilltop, 10,000 feet above sea level.
  • Nature Walks in the Kodia Jungle. Explore the rich fauna of the region.
  • Camping and picnics in the valley or the side of the Tehri Dam.
  • The Trek to Surkhanda Devi makes for spectacular viewing.
  • You can also visit the nearby hill stations of Chamba and Dhanaulti which are located half an hour’s drive from Kanatal.
  • Visit the Eco Park in Dhanaulti, located 10 miles.
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12. Wildlife Safaris

Kanha & Bandhavgarh (Madhya Pradesh), Jim Corbett National Park (Uttarakhand)

May is scorchingly hot in Central India and the plains of North India, which makes outdoor travel and sightseeing a difficult task.

But hear us out.

The hot months of April and May are the best time to go on wildlife safaris in the National Parks of India. Keep in mind that monsoon rains hit by mid-June and most national parks are closed to visitors until the winter in October. So, the window to travel in summer is limited to May.

Summer is the best time for wildlife safaris because animals typically gather around the water holes, ponds, and reservoirs to keep themselves hydrated.

Wild animals like the elusive Royal Bengal Tigers are masters of disguise. In other months, you may not come across any tigers on multiple safaris because they camouflage themselves with their surroundings. But in May, your chances of spotting tigers and other animals like sloth bears, jackals, Sambar Deer, Barasingha, panthers, and wild dogs, double and triple.

If you are a wildlife enthusiast or photographer who has always dreamed of spotting the magnificent tigers out in the wild, then braving the heat of May is well worth the trouble.

We particularly remember the Kanha, Bandhavgarh, and Pench National Parks in Madhya Pradesh and the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand for their wildlife and tiger safaris.

And, don’t worry. On the fringes of all of these national parks are located some of India’s best safari-inspired resorts and hotels that feature state-of-the-art luxury facilities and 5-star luxury. So, when you are done for the day in the jungle, you can treat yourself to great dining, some spa, and massage pampering, and relaxation.

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13. Dandeli, Karnataka

DANDELI

Located at a height of 472 meters (1,549 ft) above sea level, the lush green region of Dandeli—named after the local deity Dandelappa— is a popular destination in the southern state of Karnataka. 

With the River Kali winding through it and tossing up fast-moving rapids of water, Dandeli is one of the most popular places in South India for water sports adventures. 

Things to do in Dandeli

  • White Water River rafting in the Kali River.
  • Spotting tigers, leopards, elephants, deer, and 200 species of birds at the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • Coracle riding, Kayaking, and Canoeing in the Kali River or Supa Dam.
  • Nature Walks and Trekking. 
  • Visits to Tribal Villages of Dandeli.
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14. Lonavala, Maharashtra

LONAVALA

Nestled in the Sahyadri ranges of the Western Ghats at a height of 623 meters (2,047 ft), only 40 miles from Pune and 60 miles from Mumbai, Lonavala is one of Maharashtra’s favorite summer escapes. 

Lonavala and adjacent Khandala are flocked by tourists in the month of May. Its landscape is marked by lush green Sahyadri mountains, dense foliage, picturesque landscape, and pleasant weather.

The weather in Mumbai may not be ideal in Mumbai, but it sure is in Lonavala. You must visit this hill station in the summer.

Things to Do in Lonavala

  • Explore the ancient rock-cut Buddhist caves of Karla and Bhaja famous for their intricate carvings.
  • Enjoy a picnic at the scenic Bhushi Dam.
  • Trek to the ancient Lohagad Fort.
  • Visit the beautiful Ryewood Park.
  • The Tiger’s Leap Point, a unique rock structure that looks like a leaping tiger gives you panoramic views of Lonavala.
  • Enjoy boating in Lonavala Lake.
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15. Sandakphu, West Bengal

SANDAKPHU

Located on the border between India and Nepal, Sandakhphu or Sandakpur lies at a height of 3636 meters (11,930 ft) above sea level.

The Sandakphu Peak is the highest point in the state of West Bengal. From its summit, you can see four of the five highest mountains in the world, namely, Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, and Makalu.

Sandakphu is known for the panoramic views of the Eastern Himalayas it offers you. The region is located off the beaten path and does not get many tourists due to its remote location making it perfect for a raw Himalayan adventure.

 

Things to Do in Sandakhphu

  • If you are a mountain climber, reaching the summit of Sandakphu Peak is well worth the trouble.
  • Trekking through the Singalila National Park, which comprises a rich range of flora and fauna. 
  • Cultural Immersion and village tours to the communities of Tibetans, Nepalese, and Sherpas that inhabit this region. 
  • Explore the unique biodiversity of the region where you will encounter rhododendron forests, alpine trees, and tall mountains. 
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