We love all winters, curl up in the blanket, sip a cup of coffee, look out the window. But these are just normal things to do during winters. How about trying something new this winter? Something more fun and wacky? We want you to have a winter experience that you have never had before. This year, let’s explore some amazing places to visit in winter in India.
1. Gulmarg, Kashmir
Nestled in the northern state of Kashmir, this hill station is India’s premier skiing destination and every Gulmarg winter hosts the International Heli-Skiing Competition. Excellent for off-piste skiing, Gulmarg’s much popular gondola is used by skiers and tourists alike. Temperature in Gulmarg during winter fluctuates between 0 to -15 Degrees Celsius. Nights can be freezing cold and you will barely be able to step out of your hotel early in the morning and late in the evening. During your winter holidays in Gulmarg, you can enjoy skiing, which was popular in the area even in the pre-Independence era. The skiing activities in Gulmarg commence in mid-December, just before Christmas. What is better than spending Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Gulmarg, making snowmen and snow butterflies! While in this paradise with our itineraries, you can also go for heli-skiing, and jump from a helicopter straight on to the smooth, snowy slopes.
- How to Reach :There are three parts to get to Gulmarg in winter season. The first part is reaching Srinagar; second one is reaching Tangmarg and third and final one is reaching Gulmarg.
- Peak Season – March to June
Shoulder Season – October to February
- Best Hoels To Stay: Shaw Inn: Resort Road, Gulmarg 193403 India
- Grand Mumtaz Resorts Gulmarg: Near Gondola, Gulmarg 193403 India
Top Attractions in Gulmarg: Gandola: There are sledge riding by kashmiri people costing 1500 per person and gandola ride is 760 per person.
Alpather Lake: Alpather Lake, also known as the Frozen Lake, owing to its nature of being frozen from November until mid-June, is a well-kept secret of Kashmir. This charming, high altitude lake is situated at the foot of the twin Apharwat Peaks, and the trek to this lake starts from the popular hill station, Gulmarg.
Ningle Nallah: Ningle Nallah is one of those mountain streams that has become a popular tourist attraction in Gulmarg. On either side of the stream is like a painted canvas of green meadows with wild flowers. The gurgling of this current is nothing less than therapeutic and healing for the human soul.
Drang: Drang is a beautiful place, which is still fresh and protected from human interference. Pine forests and the stream with many log bridges make the place really beautiful. Many nearby places are also interesting. Across the hill is a place where you will find some monuments believed to be the ruins of the Pandava temples.
2. Auli, Uttrakhand
Auli is a popular skiing destination in India because of its glittering slopes and clean environment. Dotted with apple orchards, oaks and deodars, Auli is a popular hill town with numerous ski resorts situated amidst the Himalayan range. Located at 2800 meters above sea levels, it is home to mountain ranges of Nanda Devi, Mana Parvat and Kamat Kamet. Many religious destinations are also scattered around Auli. It is believed that Shankracharya had blessed Auli with his visit.
- Best Time to Visit : November – March
- Places to Visit: Skiing in Auli: Skiing in Auli offers beautiful views of peaks such as Mt Nanda Devi Kamet, Mana Parwat, Dunagiri, Beethartoli, Nilkanth, Hathi Parbat, Ghori Parbat and Nar Parbat. The snow-covered hill station of Auli covered with evergreen conifers and the oak forest.
- Trishul Peak: The three Himalayan mountain peaks of western Kumaun as a whole form the Trishul peak. Having a height of 7120m, the Trishul group forms the southwest corner of the ring of peaks that enclose Nanda Devi Sanctuary.
- Cable Car Ride: One of the major attractions in Auli is to enjoy a cable car ride. Locally known as a Gondola, the cable car ride in Auli is the second highest and the longest cable car ride in Asia after Gulmarg.
3. Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Tawang is located in the northwestern part of the state of Arunachal Pradesh, in the northeastern region of India. It is adjacent to border with Bhutan. The winter season in Tawang is known to be harshly cold. The month of November marks the onset of the season in Tawang and the place remains quite cold till the mid of March. The average night temperature in Tawang during winters is -10 degree Celsius. Snowfall in Tawang generally starts from the beginning of November and lasts until May. If you planning to visit Tawang in winter it is advisable to contact local travel agencies to know about the weather condition beforehand. Sometimes roads blocked due to heavy snowfall.
- Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Tawang is from March to May and October and November.
- Places of Visit: Tawang Monastery: It is situated in the valley of the Tawang Chu, near the small town of the same name in the northwestern part of Arunachal Pradesh, in close proximity to the Tibetan and Bhutanese border.
- Bumla pass: The Bum La Pass is a border crossing between Cona County in Tibet and Tawang District in India in Arunachal Pradesh. It is 37 km from Tawang Town and 43 km from Cona Town. The pass currently serves as an exchange point between Tawang and Tibet. It is also an agreed border personnel meeting point for Chinese and Indian security forces.
- Fairs & Festivals: The Tibetan Buddhist festival of Losar is celebrated in the month of February-March every year with great fanfare in the Tawang monastery.
How To Reach: Tawang is located in a remote part of India amongst the lofty Himalayan ranges. It does not have an airport or railway station of its own. It is connected by road with other towns in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam via Bomdila.
4. Leh Ladakh
Ladakh in winters gives you a sight of amazing landscapes, scintillating mountains and trees covered with snow, frozen lakes, frozen waterfalls, stalactites and stalagmites at the entrance of rocky caves. It all looks like dreamland and one feels thrilled and excited to see such unbelievable sights. Located at a height of 14,000 meters above sea level, Ladakh becomes a perfect tourist destination in winters, especially for hikers, trekkers, mountaineers and bikers who love climbing and riding. Winters are the best time to visit Ladakh because there isn’t much crowd and so, one can enjoy all the exquisite places that have existed over centuries in this wonderland.
- Places To Visit: Shanti Stupa: There is Shanti Stupa with its white dome and has relics of Buddha at its base, set there by the 14th Dalai Lama. It provides a panoramic view of the surroundings for which it is famous among tourists.
- Pangong Lake: The lake is 12 km long and marks itself between the laps of India and China. The surreal clean blue waters are actually brackish or salty in nature and this feature doesn’t let any aquatic life survive in the same. Moreover, the temperature range between -30 to -10 degrees make even this salty lake freeze with thick ice sheets, which is quite opposite in case of salt ridden water bodies.
- Yuru monastery: The best-known story cum legend is that a monk travelled to this place and decided to build a monastery here after experiencing the presence of some divine power, about a 1000 years ago.
- Tso Moriri Lake: Tso Moriri is a calm and serene high altitude lake in Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary.While the reflection of the snow-capped mountains submerged in the crystal clear waters of the lake calms your soul, the exotic migratory birds flying above the majestic lake will make you fall in love with nature. The lake is surrounded by high mountains, making it a hidden gem in the cold desert of Ladakh.
- Nubra Valley: Nubra Valley is another breathtaking spot that looks like a chocolate brown cake with white icing to top it. River Shyok flows through the Nubra valley. This valley too is one of the best places to visit during your bike trip; as it is known for its scenic beauty, Bactrian camels and silent monasteries that have great architecture.
5. Chopta, Uttarkhand
The region is blessed with snowfall during winters and the accommodation options also remain few. But you can see the best of Chopta during winters as it looks like mini Switzerland during winters. Winters are freezing at Chopta so do carry heavy woolens. Trees are laden with snow and Chopta is picturesque. Temperature drops minimum to minus five and it snows throughout. Snow last till March. Deoriatal is accessible throughout the winters while trek to Tungnath and Chandrashila depends on the weather conditions. A blanket of snow engulfs the entire region making it look like mini Switzerland, which Chopta is often referred to as.
Best Time to Visit: You should plan a visit here in the months of January till March.
How to Reach: From Delhi, you can take a direct bus to Ukhimath or Rudraprayag if available. You can take a bus to Rishikesh, Haridwar or Dehradun fro Delhi ISBT. From there you can take a bus to Ukhimath. From Ukhimat you have to take a taxi to reach Chopta.
6. Lava, West Bengal
Lava is a small hill station that is one of the hidden gems when it comes to perfect tourist destinations. As you start your day with a breathtaking glimpse of the majestic Kanchenjunga, there’s a lot to explore in Lava as it is surrounded by other snow-covered peaks like Mt. Siniolchu, Jelep La Pass and Rechila Pass. Lava is also well-known for being the gateway to the Neora Valley National Park in the Kalimpong district, which is highly treasured as one of the richest biological zones in the country and can spark the interest of nature lovers who love to observe the wild animals and birds in their undisturbed, natural habitats.
- Top Attraction: LOLAYGAON: Lolegaon is nature’s paradise on its own with beautiful landscape, comprising lush green forest and serene valleys. The peaks of Kanchenjunga rise majestically in the morning mist.
- Canopy Walk: It is located around a kilometre from the bus stand at Loleygaon, in the middle of the forest full of fir, oak, birch and cypress are inter-connected foot bridges. With a total length of 180 meters, the hanging bridges from one tree to another help the visitors to view the beauty of the forest from a height.
- NEORA NATIONAL PARK: The flora and fauna of this park makes it more beautiful. Natural forests which contain different varieties of trees enrich this place. Large numbers of orchids as well as bamboo groves remain as the special feature of the Neora National Park.
- Rimbik: It is a small town in the Singalila National Park area of Darjeeling District. The small town is a tourist hub for trekkers travelling to the Singalila National Park area including Sandakphu.
- Rachela Pass: It is virtually considered as a junction between Sikkim, Bhutan and Bengal. Rachela Pass is the trade route between India and Bhutan located at an elevation of 3152 meters. This scenic beauty of a pass is often visited tourist attraction and experiences footfall round the year.
- Best Time to Visit: The best time to enjoy Lava and soak in the beauty of this stunner of a place is undoubtedly in winter.