Kolkata is sandwiched between the Bay of Bengal to the south and the Himalayas to the north. It has a subtropical climate and experiences, really, only three major seasons: summer, monsoon season, and winter.
At the beginning of October, the city embraces the start of its dry season with Durga Puja, a massive six-day festival honoring the goddess Durga. Neighborhoods compete to craft the prettiest Durga statues out of the mud from the river Hooghly (a Ganges tributary). Massive temporary cloth-and-bamboo temples are erected across the city, and residents celebrate with feasts, prayers, and music. The festival also kicks off the start of Kolkata’s most pleasant time of year, from October to February. The humidity is low, and temperatures are mild, around 50 degrees.
Summer lasts from March to June and can be brutally hot. The heat typically hits its high point in May, when temperatures average a blistering 106 degrees.
Things get muggier still during monsoon season. Warm weather lingers while the first drops of rain start to fall in late May or early June. Monsoon season peaks in August, and then the showers don’t let up until September. Kolkata’s average annual rainfall is about 63 inches, and nearly all of it falls during this three-month span.