• Kevi Sirie

Plan Your Next Winter Vacation in India at these Destinations

There’s something special about taking a vacation during winter. No two places experience it quite the same way and a visit in winter often feels like you’re seeing a destination for the first time again. Unlike other seasons, winter can completely transform a place and create a visiting experience that you just can’t get at other times of the year.

With a concentration of different destinations and cities in one country, India offers a buffet of cultures for the would-be winter traveler. Either way, India has a wealth of destinations to satisfy every taste. Whether that be the snowy slopes of the Gulmarg or the gentle winter sunshine of the Udaipur, the best places to spend winter in India are endless.

Not every destination is suited to winter, but for those that are, there’s unlikely to be a better time to visit. Let’s take a look at the best winter destinations in India and what makes each so special.


Gulmarg
Photo by Make my trip

Gulmarg, also known as ‘Meadow of Flowers, is truly one of the most beautiful travel destinations in Kashmir. A crowning jewel of North India, it is a winter wonderland that will live up to anyone’s expectations offering the best of views of snow-draped mountains making it an almost snow globe world in itself. Also housing several winter sports, Gulmarg is among the most favored destination and is indeed a winter adventurer’s paradise. It has something to offer to any traveler willing to visit the town during the winter months.

What not to miss:

  • Take a ride on the famous Gulmarg Gondola.

  • Trek to the beautiful Alphater Lake.

  • Visit religious sites like the Baba Reshi Shrine and Rani Temple.


Auli
Photo by exoticmiles

Considered to be the best skiing destination in India, Auli is a famous hill station in Uttarakhand famed for its famous glittering snowy slopes, it is another winter destination that will take your breath away as soon as you land. The landscape is covered with a thick layer of snow, numerous ski resorts dotting the region are bustling with holidaymakers, and adventure junkies are on their way to tame the snow-laden slopes.

What not to miss:

  • Board the Auli ropeway- Chair lift and Ski Lift, one of the highest in the world.

  • Trekking to the beautiful trails of Nanda Devi, Mana Parvat, Kamet, Trishul Peak, and other high peaks of the Himalayas.


Binsar
Photo by Istock

A small town in Uttarakhand known for the surreal beauty of the snow-laden Himalayan peaks, Binsar is bestowed with nature’s best gift. Binsar is a perfect place for wildlife photography, bird watching, and jungle trekking. It is heaven for nature lovers. The Binsar Valley offers excellent views of the Himalayan range mainly the famous peaks like Nanda Devi, Chaukhamba, Nanda Kot, Kedarnath, Panchachuli, etc.

What not to miss:

  • Explore the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary.

  • Watching sunrise and sunset at Zero Point.

  • Visit the Kasar Devi temple and the Bineshwar Mahadev temple.


Tawang
Photo by Travemynation

A charming getaway situated in Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang is a soul-seekers paradise as it offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Gorgeous vistas, beautiful mountain yaks, and warm Monpas tribals make up for the best vacation time in Tawang. Heavy snowfall in December and January gives the town an ethereal look as now encompasses the entire place painting the place in a winter wonderland storybook visual.

What not to miss:

  • Take a tour around the impressive Tawang Buddhist Monastery.

  • Visit the mighty Nuranang Falls.

  • Ride along the Sela Pass and Bumla Pass.


Shillong
Photo by Gerald Cubitt

Located in the Northeastern part of India, Shillong, famously referred to as the ‘Scotland of the East,’ is a sleepy hill station in Meghalaya that is adorned with pine trees and beautiful landscapes. Shillong also acts as the gateway to Meghalaya, the state famous for heavy rainfall, caves, tallest waterfalls, beautiful landscapes, and amazing people and their culture.

What not to miss:

  • Try the famous street foods of Shillong at Police Bazaar.

  • Visit the famous three-step waterfalls at Elephant Falls.

  • Take a walk around the cleanest village in Asia at Mawlynnong.

Gangtok
Photo by tour my India

Situated in the eastern Himalayan range, the state capital of Sikkim, Gangtok combines a modern, resort town style with ancient spiritual beliefs and impressive natural heritage. Gangtok city is the epitome of neatness and is one of the few such places in India. It is a place that is brimming over with natural wonders of which the Kanchenjunga mountain is the most imposing.

What not to miss:

  • Visit Nathula Pass which connects Sikkim with China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

  • Enjoy a picnic along the shores of Tsomgo Lake.

  • Treat yourself to some amazing sunrise and sunset views at Tashi Viewpoint with the Himalayan range at the backdrop.


Udaipur
Photo by Getty Images

Known as ‘Venice of the East’, the city of Udaipur is blessed with sights that will awaken the soul and sight. Located around stunning water lakes and enveloped by the Aravalli Hills in all directions, Udaipur is known for its azure lakes, magnificent palaces, vibrant culture, and delectable food. The slight breeze in the air during the winter months offers tourists a perfect climate for sightseeing and exploring the city.

What not to miss:

  • Enjoy the annual Shilpgram Arts and Crafts Fair.

  • Indulge in beautiful sunset boat rides at Lake Pichola or Fateh Sagar Lake.

  • Shop at Hathi Pol Bazaar, Bada Bazaar, or the Chetak circle.


Rann of Kutch
Photo by Shutterstock

One of the largest salt deserts in the world, Rann of Kutch is a remarkable place with its surreal landscapes. It lies between Gujarat in India and the Sindh province in Pakistan. Given the tempestuous climate, most travelers visit the Great Rann in winter for the best chance to see the lunar-like landscapes. This salt desert has a pristine beauty. The crystal white salt desert is beautiful to watch during sunset.

What not to miss:

  • Experience the culture of Kutch at the famous festival of ‘Rann Utsav’ starting from December to February.

  • Enjoy a surreal sunset at the Great Rann of Kutch.


Pondicherry
Photo by Travel Triangle

A beautiful coastal town in South India, Pondicherry was once a French colony. It still retains many colonial buildings, churches, statues, and the systematic town planning by the French and is often called the Europe of India because of its town planning. From the perfect temperature to the enhanced beauty of the pristine surroundings, the winter season makes a Pondicherry trip super amazing.

What not to miss:

  • Stroll along the Promenade beach and check out the statue of Joan of Arc, the Heritage town hall, the Dupleix statue, the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the old lighthouse, etc.

  • Pay a visit to the French War Memorial, Basilica Of The Sacred Heart Of Jesus, and Ousteri Wetland National Park.


Wayanad
Photo by Zostel Homes

Adorned in the embrace of Western Ghats, the Wayanad district in Kerala is one of the most beautiful places in India. This area is famous for its large amount of camping and trekking trails, breathtaking waterfalls, caves, bird-watching sites, flora, fauna, and an overall plethora of magnificent sights. December is quite warm and sunny, and is the best time to explore, trek, and indulge in activities that are often restricted during monsoons.

What not to miss:

  • Visit the famous hotspot called the Kanthanpara Waterfalls.

  • experience the stunning beauty of Karapuzha Dam, Pookode & Karlad Lake.

  • If you are an adventure seeker, then Cheengari Rock Adventure Center is a must-visit place for you.


Munnar
Photo iStock

A celebrated hill station famous for its beautiful natural surroundings, this town in Kerala is often called a paradise for nature lovers. Virgin forests, savannah, rolling hills, scenic valleys, numerous streams, huge splashy waterfalls, sprawling tea plantations, and winding walkways are all part of the great holiday experience on offer for a traveler to Munnar.

What not to miss:

  • Walk amid lush Tea gardens that adorn the length of the town.

  • Visit the Eravikulam National Park and spot the wild goat called Nilgiri Tahr in their natural habitat.

  • Trek to the Anamudi Peak blessed with views of hills covered in mists, beautiful rivers, lush valleys, and plantations of tea and spices.


Now, not every winter destination necessarily has to be a cold one. It’s just as good to escape the cold weather for somewhere warmer and get a break from shivering. The short days and the snow provide the opportunity to enjoy winter sports or activities like bonfires, skiing, snowboarding, etc. Alternatively, winter brings with it some important dates and celebrations, like Christmas and New Year’s Eve. These festivities allow local culture and traditions to shine through, showing you a side of a place you’d never otherwise see. This winter, make sure your vacation days are filled with warmth, adventures, and good vibes only.

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