When someone says winter destinations, either what comes to mind is tropical destinations like Kerala or snow-capped hill stations like Manali. While both of them make complete sense, the list of India’s top winter destinations goes beyond these two. With events and cultural fests, there are other destinations too, that come alive in the winter season.
No matter what kind of traveller you are, there is a winter destination that’ll delight you. So book your tickets, pack your bags, and join us for a wintery adventure.
Here are 8 of India’s top winter destinations you should visit
1. Gurudongmar Lake
In Northern Sikkim is situated the Gurudongmar Lake, which also happens to be one of the highest lakes in the world. Considered sacred by Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs, this lake is for adventure lovers. The road to the lake, while scenic, is unpaved, and demands a little offroading.
While the general tourist season for this lake is from March to June, in winter the lake freezes and is a sight to behold. You’d need a permit to visit the lake since it is quite close to the border, and because it is at an altitude of 17,000 ft, the oxygen is rare, and kids below the age of 5 aren’t allowed.
The scenic capital of the state of Rajasthan is a little too hot in summer, and too humid in the monsoon. Winters happen to be the best time to explore the pink city, and apart from the weather, the local seasonal food also makes a winter trip to Jaipur picture-perfect.
Soak in the mellow sun as you explore the historical monuments in Jaipur, and take a break to sample the finest of Rajasthani food. If you’re a bibliophile, Jaipur is perfect to visit in January when it is time for the Jaipur Lit Fest.
Rann of Kutch comes alive in the winters with the Rannotsav, and visitors flock to this white desert in high numbers to experience the cultural fest. The organisers offer packages, and you can choose from a variety of accommodation options at the site for an immersive experience. Also called the tent city, the vibrant carnival is a winter destination you must explore once.
This scenic winter destination in Uttarakhand turns into a skiing wonderland as soon as the temperature drops. It is India’s premier skiing resort destination, and each year hosts a number of snow adventure events.
If skiing is not your thing, you can also take a cable car from Auli to Joshimath, and witness the serene white blanket of fresh snow that covers the entire landscape. The famous Badrinath temple is close too and can be visited.
Winter season in the Gangetic plains brings with it a whole new menu of pure bliss. From nimona to kaali gajar ka halwa to makkhan malai, Varanasi’s streets are abuzz with winter delights.
For the foodie in you, visiting Varanasi in winter is going to be an experience like no other. Explore the narrow lanes of Kashi in the soothing winter sun, treat your taste buds with Varanasi’s street food, and end your day with a soothing arti at the ghats of Ganga.
Stunning doesn’t even begin to describe the beauty of Gulmarg in winter. Amidst the gorgeous white landscape, the Kashmiri destination offers you a variety of activities like gondolas, trekking to the frozen Alpathar Lake, or even sleighing.
Couple that with Kashmiri cuisine, and hospitality, and it is no wonder this winter travel destination is so looked forward to.
Tawang starts receiving snowfall as early as October, and often in peak winters can be hardly accessible. If you get lucky, however, Tawang will reward you with some of the most picturesque landscapes ever. More of an offbeat winter destination, Tawang is slowly gaining popularity among tourists.
Visit the Sela pass, pay your respects at the Tawang Monastery, and experience the frozen Shonga Tser Lake to make memories that’ll last you a lifetime.
No winter destinations in India list is ever complete without Goa, and this is certainly no exception. The state, beautiful throughout, comes alive in the winter season.
Whether you like serene beaches, or you’re looking to party, Goa is perfect either way. An offbeat experience you can sign up for this winter is exploring the local Konkan villages and observing Goa from an entirely different lens.