Nepal experiences diverse seasons throughout the year. Here is a breakdown of the seasons and their approximate timeframes:
Understanding the seasons in Nepal can help travelers plan their visit based on weather conditions, activities of interest, and personal preferences.
Generally, seasons around the world are divided into four; Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. But to the surprise of many travellers, Nepal boasts six seasons; Basanta (Spring), Grishma (Early Summer), Barkha (Summer Monsoon), Sharad (Early Autumn), Hemanta (Late Autumn) and Shishir(Winter). These six seasons are results of the geography of this ever so beautiful mountainous region. Many might think that this is just a local exaggeration but if you desire to truly travel the serene scapes of Nepal, having an understanding of the local definition of the seasons can be quite helpful.
To begin with, one must keep to mind the five climatic zones of Nepal which broadly correspond to the altitudes. The tropical and subtropical zones lie below 1,200 metres (3,900 ft), the temperate zone 1,200 to 2,400 metres (3,900 to 7,900 ft), the cold zone 2,400 to 3,600 metres (7,900 to 11,800 ft), the subarctic zone 3,600 to 4,400 metres (11,800 to 14,400 ft), and the Arctic zone above 4,400 metres (14,400 ft).
This leads to a variation in climate patterns throughout Nepal, even during the same season. The Northern region of Nepal due to their proximity to the Himalayan range experience harsh winters whereas the southern plains of Nepal the temperatures are not so extreme. Whereas during the summer, the Terai ( Southern Nepal) experiences temperatures between 40 – 45 C, while the hills and mountainous regions experience temperate temperatures.
In the local dialect, seasons are called Ritu’s which have been brought into the tradition following the weather patterns the nation experiences as a whole.
Basanta Ritu ( Mid-March to Mid-May)
Basanta Ritu, also known as Spring, occurs in Nepal from mid-March to mid-May. It is a favorable time for travel and trekking throughout the country. The weather is generally stable, although some regions may experience high winds and light rainfall. The trails are exceptionally beautiful during this season, adorned with blossoming flowers and vibrant landscapes. It is a popular time to explore the natural beauty of Nepal
Grishma Ritu (Mid-May to Mid-July)
Grishma Ritu, or Early Summer in Nepal, brings harsh temperatures to most parts of the country. However, the northern regions, including Upper Mustang, Lower Mustang, Upper Dolpa, and Lower Dolpa, offer cooler conditions for popular treks during this season. It’s a chance to enjoy stunning landscapes and cultural experiences while escaping the heat.
Barsha Ritu (Mid-July to Mid-September)
Barsha Ritu, known as the Monsoon season in Nepal, brings abundant rainfall to most parts of the country. During this time, daily showers ranging from light to heavy are common. However, the Trans Himalayan Region remains relatively unaffected by the monsoon, making it a popular choice for trekkers. Trekking routes like Upper Mustang, Nar Phu Valley Trek, Limi Himal Trek, and others in this region are favored due to their drier conditions and stunning landscapes.
Sharad Ritu (Mid-September to Mid-November)
Sharad Ritu, also known as Autumn is a vibrant and festive season in Nepal. The landscape undergoes rapid changes, and cities come alive with cultural celebrations. Major festivals like Teej, Kartik Naach, Dashain, and Tihar fall during this time, adding to the lively atmosphere.For travelers seeking to explore the essence of Nepal, Sharad Ritu is considered the ideal season. The period from mid-September to mid-November is perfect for adventure activities throughout the country. The skies are mostly clear, temperatures are moderate, and a pleasant cool breeze sets a relaxed ambiance.During this season, trekking routes offer breathtaking views of mountains adorned with clear skies and colorful foliage. It’s a fantastic time to embark on outdoor adventures, visit cultural sites, and immerse oneself in the rich traditions and festivities of Nepal.Sharad Ritu truly showcases the diverse beauty of Nepal, making it an excellent choice for those seeking an unforgettable travel experience in this enchanting country.
Hemanta Ritu (Mid-November to Mid-January)
Hemanta Ritu, which encompasses mid-November to mid-January, is the pre-winter season in Nepal. During this time, temperatures gradually decrease across the country, creating a favorable environment for trekking. Popular trekking routes like Ghorepani Poonhill Trek, Manang Gosaikunda Trek, and Manjushree Trail are perfect to explore during this season. Additionally, it is the harvesting season for native farmers who diligently collect and store their crops in preparation for the upcoming winter. Hemanta Ritu offers a unique blend of outdoor adventure and cultural experiences in Nepal.
Shishir Ritu (Mid-January to Mid-March)
Shishir Ritu, or Winter brings diverse winter experiences across Nepal’s geographical regions. The southern plains enjoy average temperatures of 20-24ºC, while the mountainous regions witness heavy snowfall. Considered the dry season for tourism, it’s worth noting that Nepal offers its magic, mystery, and beauty throughout the year. Travelers can encounter the wonders of Nepal regardless of the season.