Summer in India is really hot – this is something that everyone asked me about or just told me when I mentioned I’d be in India for the summer. And there’s no doubt about it; sometimes in Delhi it gets to be 46 degrees celsius (about 115 degrees Farenheit). Sweating a little bit feels normal after a while, and taking frequent water breaks and rest stops while out and about just becomes a reflex. If you’re a future CASI intern or a new visitor to India reading this – even though the heat and weather seem like such small topics to discuss, they definitely have shaped a lot of our summer experience. However, it is definitely possible to enjoy the weather when its good and to be outside on trips.
In contrast to Philly, where we walk everywhere, in India, except on day trips outside doing touristy things, we rarely spend more than 10 minutes outside at a time walking. Taking rides in auto rickshaws is preferred, and it is understood that longer commutes will require other modes of transport such as Ubers or autos. Thus, since I barely have to be walking between two places unless going between two close landmarks, walking to get lunch, or to find autos outside the building, I actually don’t feel as strongly about the heat as I do in Philadelphia.
Actually, the everyday heat is the reason for some of my favorite memories in India. Once, as I was walking outside PHFI, I became really thirsty, and wanted some ice-cold water from a street vendor. As I was handing him the 20 rupees for a bottle, we struck up a conversation about the area, and how there seemed to be so many people out and about today. He explained to me that during lunch time, a lot of people like to go out to get chilled drinks, ice cream, and other treats. He recommended some items that I could buy from other places down the road, and although I didn’t try them, it was really cool to have a simple conversation with someone that made my day, made possible due to our shared experience of the heat.
The heat also led us to take many breaks throughout the day on each of our weekend trips. more likely than not these breaks involved some variation of a milkshake (a chocolate fudge brownie milkshake in a market in Delhi was my favorite), cold coffee, ice cream, or kulfi (a traditional ice cream).
Furthermore, because it was hot during the day, the evening and night time weather was perfect. Even summer nights tend to get chilly at home, but in India, we could keep exploring the city or go to new locations, even enjoy the weather. Some of the places we visited during the evening include the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the Ganges River in Varanasi, and local places in Delhi and Gurgaon. Let me tell you – breezy nighttime auto rides are the best.
Although the weather in India was incredibly hot on many days, it definitely led to some fun experiences and some shared moments with locals. If you’re a future CASI intern reading this, don’t be scared of the heat in India! As long as you are careful and stay hydrated always, you’ll have a great time exploring all the wonders India has to offer. Stopping for a milkshake or two won’t hurt either.