The advantages of going somewhere during the off-season are simple—better deals, smaller crowds —and they derive from the premise that off-peak travel must involve lowered expectations and certain compromises. A few rare places, however, hold hidden allure in the quiet months: castles on a rainy day, fishing-boat fairy lights, the braying of amorous penguins. As local experts make clear in the following year-round selection, you don't need to go peak to hit the heights.
Temperatures in this city can reach a prickly 110 degrees in May. And as the mercury rises, visitors dwindle. According to tour guide Amod Basole, though, summer here is the perfect time to head for the hills—or, rather, into the hills.
“This area is famous for its historical monuments, and the most spectacular are the caves. In these, you can cool off very easily. But ‘caves’ is a misnomer. These are hand-carved monolithic temples and they have to be seen—no amount of photographs or telling can re-create them.
“The older caves are in Ajanta, from the second century B.C. They are known for their paintings. People come expecting primordial scenes of hunting and dancing, but they are very sophisticated. In Ellora there are wonderful carvings—all these details, passages and stairways, carved from a single piece of rock.
“It hits you hard: the light, the surreal beauty, the sense of peace.”