The arrival of winter in India is marked by poetic, mystic mornings and a crisp breeze as well as freezing nights when all you want to do is snuggle up in blankets in front of the fireplace watching a movie or catching up on your reading while nursing a cup of hot cocoa. Winters are, however, also the perfect times to pack your bags and head out to discover some of the most gorgeous travel destinations that the Indian Peninsula has to offer. From the glistening, snow-covered valleys in the North to the lush, green hills in the South, here are 5 of the most exotic, unmissable winter travel destinations in India that you must consider heading off to this season.
Although the hill station of Auli offers a pleasant climate all year long, November to March offer a picturesque destination with snow-capped mountains and frozen rivers with temperatures remaining at sub-zero levels continually through the winter months. Auli is considered India’s skiing destination as it offers the gentlest as well as ferocious skiing slopes, catering to both amateur as well as seasons skiers. What makes this dainty hill station stand out from popular destinations like Manali, Dalhousie and Shimla are the pristine, untouched and largely unexplored snow slopes that it has to offer, with acres of snow fields covered in more than 5 feet of snow; clean enough to taste the snow and fresh enough to leave footprints. Engage in snowball fights, compete to see who makes the largest snowman or the prettiest snow angel, or trek across the numerous mountains and hills to catch breath-taking views of the beauty around you. And if you are a skiing enthusiast, be sure to plan your trip around the National Skiing Championship held in January. Auli offers an experience that will truly satiate the wanderlust in you.
Don’t miss: Guess High, Skiing, Nanda Devi peak.
The largest district in India, Kutch brags of ethereal landscapes, enchanting cultural traits and awe-inspiring history. The star attraction in this desert land is the Rann of Kutch, a spellbinding marvel of sand and salt. The white expanse stretches on for miles and gives off a breath-taking glow on full moon nights. Nestled between the Arabian Sea and the Thar Desert, the Rann of Kutch is also a major attraction for bird enthusiasts as it is the habitat of the Siberian flamingos as well as a breeding ground for a variety of other birds that migrate here in the winters.
Don’t miss: Rann Mahotsav (in January), moonlit tours in the white desert, camping in tents and bonfires at night.
Nestled in the Western Ghats and encircled by the undulating hills of the Anamalai ranges, the plateau of Munnar in Kerala became a major hub of tea plantations under the British colonial rule. During the winters, it has a pleasantly chilly climate; with occasional bouts of rains, which give the hill station a beautiful misty atmosphere. The rising and falling hills, and the rambling tea gardens that give off the enticing smell of fresh tea leaves as well as the beautiful landscape of Munnar during winters is a travel destination you wouldn’t want to miss.
Don’t miss: Hydel Park, TATA tea museum, Pothamedu view point.
A relatively unknown travel destination, Haflong is a gorgeous hill station situated in the North-East, in Assam, and is known as the land of blue hills. Haflong boasts of pristine waterfalls, cascading emerald green rivers, amazing orange and pineapple gardens, azure blue mountains and unique orchids during the winters. Hilly treks at the Borai hills are hotspots for adventure sports like paragliding, rock climbing and hang gliding. Jatinga is a tourist attraction for being the venue of a huge number of bird suicides. Haflong is the ideal place for spending a peaceful holiday, experiencing the chills of winter without having to come across too many tourists.
Don’t miss: Blue Vanda orchid gardens, Haflong lake, Maibong.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Winter months from October to March are the best times of the year to plan a trip to these places as you get the opportunity to explore these islands in the absence of the scorching summer heat and humidity and the weather is ideal for sightseeing. The waters are calm and placid after the monsoons, which also provides the perfect opportunities for swimming and snorkelling enthusiasts. Engage in activities like scuba diving, parasailing, surfing or banana rides if you’re a thrill seeker. Take an underwater Sea Walk to enjoy the exotic marine life inhabiting these islands. Plan a special private cruise for your spouse; complete with a candlelight dinner, flowers and candles- you can even choose to spend a very special, romantic night aboard your cruise ship and make the trip one to remember for a long time.
Don’t miss: Elephant Beach, Chidiya Tapu, Radhanagar Beach.
Other very popular tourist hotspots like Goa, Shillong, Shimla as well as Leh-Ladakh also offers tons of exciting and compelling activities for tourists, especially during the winters. Just take the first step and get out of the comfort of your beds, pack your bags and head off to any of these enchanting winter wonderlands for the trip of your lifetime.
Rohit Agarwal is a travel aficionado and a wordsmith; fascinated by his fellow journeyers: who documents his journeys on TransIndiaTravels.com. He spends part of his days trying to board the Hogwarts Express, the rest of which he spends travelling the world, meeting new people and creating breath-taking memories.