The pink of seasons, winter in India is an enthralling experience providing respite after months of scorching heat. Blessed with a tropical climate, winters in the country are as diverse as the nation itself. While some destinations witness sub-frigid temperatures and snowfall, others find solace in a pleasant whiff of breeze after sunset. Winter vacation in the country will take you through terraneous topography and enthralling setups that will numb your senses.
Winter in India brings snow-laden mountain peaks, fog to the plains, sunshine to beach shores, and dense mists to dense forests. A winter vacation holiday in the diverse country of India will open a gateway to the exotic backwaters of Kerala, the charming hills of Munnar, the sandy deserts of Rajasthan, and the ravishing snow-covered peaks of Dharamshala. Each destination offers a unique experience of nature, adventure, and wildlife specific to the winter season.
9 best places to visit in winter in India
Steeped in resplendent natural beauty, Shimla is one of the best places to visit in winter to witness a white wonderland. The snow-laden peaks emanate a vibrant shade of gold as they reflect off the warm rays of the mountain sun. Lined with a gorgeous landscape and frosty temperatures that fall as low as -2 degrees, Shimla hosts several enthralling attractions for the winter season. Indulge in a thrilling ice skating experience, relive childhood memories of snowballing, or venture out on a toy train ride from Kalka to Shimla. After a long day of sightseeing, unwind with a glass of hot mulled wine and soak in the eerie silence of the hills.
A popular hill station in Kerala, the tea plantations of Munnar can be visited all year round. But a winter vacation in the heavenly town of Munnar will offer you an experience of a lifetime. With temperatures dropping to 10 degrees on cold winter nights, you can embark on a thrilling trek through the dense trails of the Western Ghats. If you are not an adventure enthusiast, check out the numerous tea gardens and the Eravikulam National Park to witness the rare flora and fauna in the area.
A crowning jewel of Himachal Pradesh, Manali is one of the most sought-after winter tourist places in India. Attracting tourists from across the globe, Manali, like any hill station in winter, is pleasant during the day and chilly during the night. Witness the city’s breathtaking landscape, picturesque lakes and waterfalls, and spiritually enriching shrines during your holiday to Manali. If you plan in advance, Manali hosts an annual 5 days long Winter Carnival during January that is worth witnessing at least once. It is one of the best Winter Festivals India.
Planning a solo trip in India? Rishikesh offers a splendid setting to experience winter in India. An amalgamation of nature’s mystical charm, a blend of spiritual and physical awakening, and a scenic setting make Rishikesh a winter wonderland. A perfect spot for adventure and nature lovers alike, winters in the quaint town are quiet but filled with one-of-a-kind activities. Enjoy river rafting in the frothy white cascades, yoga by the riverside, or camp under the stars and ponder over positive thoughts as the tranquillity of Rishikesh offers a therapeutic escape from the city bustle.
One of the best places to visit in winter is the hills of Auli. Known as the Ski Capital of India, Auli is a picturesque hillside hamlet that opens a gateway to the gazing peaks of Nanda Devi, Mana Parvat, Trishul Peak, and Kamet. But don’t let the charming setting bedazzle you because a winter vacation in Auli also means heavy snowfall, sub-frigid temperatures, and frosty mountain winds. If you enjoy bracing the cold, Auli is an adventure lover's paradise nestled far away from the city’s hustle-bustle.
6. Gulmarg and Pahalgam
Doused in mind-numbing natural beauty, the towns of Gulmarg and Pahalgam in Kashmir are magical all year round. But upon the arrival of winter, the magnificent towns become picture-perfect destinations surrounded by tall fig trees and lofty hills that adorn a beautiful white cape of snow. A three-and-a-half-hour drive from the adventurous town of Gulmarg to Pahalgam, a base point for the spiritual trek to Amarnath, both the hill towns are known for their breathtaking scenic beauty. You can undertake skiing and snowboarding adventure activities in Gulmarg and head to witness the Pahalgam attraction, Aru Valley, during your winter vacation to the state.
Perched at a dizzying altitude of 2142 metres above sea level, Binsar is steeped in cinemascope beauty. Nuzzled in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Binsar is a tranquil destination off the usual tourist path. Located amidst the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary that lends a verdant charm to this quaint hamlet, Binsar offers a panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks from its zero point. A winter wonderland, take scenic walks along nature trails while spotting exotic birds, indulge in photography, and soak in the cool breeze that will awaken your wandering spirit.
Fondly known as the Switzerland of India, Dalhousie offers an unmatched winter vacation amidst snow-clad mountains and Scottish architecture. Oozing of an old-world charm, Dalhousie’s vintage charisma and lush valleys will leave you in awe of nature’s untouched beauty. Explore the Devi Dehra Rock garden and head to St. Patrick’s Church as you stop to grab a plate of steaming hot momos to satiate midday hunger pangs. Experiencing heavy snowfall in winter, Dalhousie's enchanting beauty will exert a magnetic pull over you to extend your stay in the old town.
Ooty is one of the best places to visit in winter in India. From catching sunsets to riding the Nilgiri Mountain Toy Train, Ooty offers a piece of itself to every kind of traveller. Hike up to Catherine waterfall and enjoy a pleasant tea break because taking a dip in winter is not for the faint-hearted. Or you could also rent a bicycle and explore the city’s beautiful lake, gardens, and local villages. A fresh batch of snowfall will greet you every morning as you embark on a new adventure in the hills.
As you travel to the lengths and breadths of the country, these are the nine best places to visit in winters in India. If you plan your holiday in advance you can enjoy off-season discounts, access to exclusive winter festivals, and steal travel deals to the destination of your choice.