Calcutta in West Bengal, India, is one of those cities in Asia that you will either love or hate. Love it for its culture, arts and festivals; hate it for the scorching heat and pollution. Weather in Calcutta is representative of the tropical wet-and-dry climate that is typical of Asian countries. The heat and humidity could be too much for most Western tourists. There are also occasional rains that make things more sticky and uncomfortable.
The warmest months are in summer, which reaches its peak in May and June. Summer temperatures could go beyond 40 °C. The hottest it’s been was recorded at 41.7°C and the coolest summer day is a scorching 38°C. Most locals try to enjoy the heat since stormy days can be much worse. Tourists try to get by, but it is best to stay indoors with the AC on and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. May is the hottest month of the year.
In June, a hot and extremely humid day could turn wet all of a sudden since spells of heavy rains could lash the city anytime. It is very unpredictable but many enjoy the rains since they provide relief from the humid heat. Monsoon rains normally start to pour in June and may last until September. The heaviest rains, thunderstorms and hailstorms usually strike in June. Annual average rainfall is 1,582 mm. The rains are expected to stop in October, which is why the best months to visit Calcutta are from October to March.
Calcutta climate turns cool and pleasant in winter, specifically from December until the middle of February. Average winter temperatures range from 19 °C to 30 °C, while the coldest days may dip to a low 14°C to 9°C. The lowest it’s been in this part of the world is 5°C. January is the coldest month.
Meanwhile, one of the most important concerns of the city is air pollution. High humidity is compounded by harmful sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. The city suffers from severe air pollution like most parts of India, largely due to the rising number of automobiles and industrial facilities. It is a crucial social concern that’s resulting to a number of lung cancer cases and other pollution-related respiratory ailments.
However, despite the city’s scorching heat and prevailing air pollution, the tourism industry does not seem to suffer at all. Local and international tourists come by the millions annually. The leading city attractions are the Marble Palace, Victoria Memorial and Howrah Bridge, which is an engineering marvel that connects Calcutta and Howra, as well as the Vidyasagar Setu Bridge that runs along the Hooghly River.
Other interesting national landmarks and historical structures among many others are the Town Hall (built in 1813), the Race Course (built in 1819), the Gothic-style Calcutta High Court (built in 1872), Indian Museum (built in 1877), Writer’s Building, which is the seat of the West Bengal Government, National Library, which is near the Zoological Gardens, and Nicco Park, considered by many as West Bengal’s Disneyland. Despite the scorching heat and sticky weather in Calcutta, there’s no stopping tourists from coming to see these amazing city attractions.