Let me start by saying there vacations and school holidays are not standardized across India. We have attempted to describe the time frame of the typical academic year in various local and international schools across the country. The information should give you a broad idea when to plan vacations and moves but it is best to contact the individual school for information.
Local Schools(ICSE, CBSE and Matriculation): In the capital, New Delhi and other northern states, where the summer can be fierce, the school year generally begins in April. The kids break for summer vacation during the months of May and June (usually 1.5 to 2 months) when the heat is at its peak. Typically in the local schools in Mumbai and the Southern parts of India (such as Bangalore or Chennai), the school year runs from June to March/April and generally April/May are the months with the longest break. Schools in the Eastern part of the country have their academic year running from April to March of the next year.
International Schools: The schools with a purely international curriculum (as opposed to those offering a hybrid of Indian and International curriculums) follow a slightly different schedule and their school year typically ends in end-May/June and the holidays go on till July-August. The range is wide and you might find some schools starting their year in April but breaking around May-June before resuming. Most schools will offer around a two month break.
Other School Closures and Holidays: There may be school closures for a day for some religious holidays and some political holidays such as the Indian Independence day (August 15th). Schools in Mumbai and the Western parts of India place a great importance on the Hindu holiday of Ganesh Charthurthi in the August-September time frame.- Schools can differ in the number of days they give off for this holiday.
In other parts of the country after the summer vacation, - the next major break comes in the September-October time frame for the Hindu festivals of Dussehra and Diwali. The exact dates can vary from year to year as the Hindu calendar is lunar. Dussehra is closely followed by Diwali 10 days later. Some schools club the Dussehra and Diwali break, others may close for just a day during Diwali. Differences can depend on:
• the religious affiliations of the school
• the location of the school as some states give more importance to one festival over the other.
Christian-affiliated schools will usually close anywhere between 1 and 2 weeks for Christmas through till the New Year. Others may close for Christmas day followed by a week or two off for winter break.
Have some other questions about schools in India? Check out our Moving to India section which has information on curriculum choices, school lists as well as a host of other resources that can help you make an informed choice.