Average maximum winter temperatures range from the high 20 degree Celsius in the S to below freezing in parts of Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh, and the low 20 degree Celsius in the northern plains. The range of minimum winter temperatures between N and S is greater. In many parts of the N plains, especially in the NW, close to the foothills of the Himalayas, night temperatures fall close to freezing. In contrast, in the far S, minimum temperature never fall below 20 degree Celsius except in the hills.
In summer the N is generally hotter than the S, with daytime temperatures usually over 40 degree Celsius and in parts of the NW up to nearly 50 degree Celsius from time to time. Night time temperatures also remain high. The end of Apr – May is the hottest time. Once the clouds of the monsoon season arrives, the temperature fall a few degrees, but the air gets much more humid, often making it intensely uncomfortable. In the S maximum temperatures never reach those experienced in the N, rarely rising above 40 degree Celsius for more than a day or at a time. May is also generally the hottest month.
India’s seasonal rainfall pattern is dominated by the monsoon, which generally arrives at the SW coast in late May or June, covering most of the country by the beginning of July, and retreating in October. However, the popular image of the monsoon is misplaced. Even in the wettest areas – the west coast or the NE hills of the Shillong plateau – there are periods of days at a time when it does not rain. Elsewhere the rainy season is marked by prolonged very heavy showers, interspersed with cloudy, humid weather and occasional bright patches.
Environment of India
India is a large, triangular-shaped country in southern Asia, buttressed by the long sweep of the Himalaya in the north and protruding into the Indian Ocean in the south. It’s bordered by Pakistan to the northwest, China, Nepal and Bhutan to the north, and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. Sri Lanka is the teardrop-shaped island hanging off its southern tip. India covers a land area of some 3,287,000 sq km (1,281,930sq mi), though disputed borders with Pakistan and China make this figure somewhat arbitrary. India is the seventh largest country in the world.
Northern India contains the snow-bound peaks and deep valleys of the Himalaya, and the vast Gangetic Plain, which separates the Himalayan region from the southern peninsula and stretches from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal. South of the plains, the land rises up into a triangular-shaped plateau known as the Deccan, which ranges in altitude from 300m (985ft) to 900m (2950ft). The plateau is bordered by the Eastern and Western ghats, ranges of hills which run parallel to India’s eastern and western coasts and separate the fertile coastal strips from the interior.
Wildlife in India is often purported to have enjoyed a privileged and protected position thanks to the religious ideals and sentiments of Hindus, Jains and Buddhists, but much of this tradition has been lost. Extensive hunting by the British and the Indian rajahs, large-scale clearing of forests for agriculture, poaching, pesticides and the ever-increasing population have had disastrous effects on India’s environment. Only around 10 per cent of the country still has forest cover and only 4 per cent is protected within national parks and reserves.
In the past few decades the government has taken serious steps to improve environmental management and has established over 350 parks, sanctuaries and reserves.The highlights of India’s fauna are its lions, tigers, leopards, panthers, elephants and rhinoceroses, but the country is also home to a rich variety of deer and antelope, wild buffaloes, massive Indian bisons, shaggy sloth bears, striped hyenas, wild pigs, jackals and Indian wild dogs. Monkeys include rhesus macaques, bonnet macaques and long-tailed common langurs. The reptilian world boasts magnificent king cobras, pythons, crocodiles, large freshwater tortoises and monitor lizards, while the diverse bird life includes large horn bills, serpent eagles and fishing owls, as well as the elegant national bird, the peacock.