India’s diverse topography with high mountains in the north and a large peninsular region tapering towards the Indian Ocean in the south, allows a tourist to experience a multitude of seasons. As we move further towards the colder months of the year, we give you an opportunity to explore the best places in India in winter. Don’t worry! These Indian winter destinations aren’t just hill stations, and instead include beach towns, historic cities, and backwaters. Some of these are enhanced by a blanket of glistening white snow, whilst others boast a blend of pleasant and fresh weather accompanied by mild sunshine. Check out the top places to visit in India in winters.
Find Below The Best Places to Visit In India In Winters:
1. The Lake City Of India: Nainital
This beautiful tourist destination in Uttarakhand is built around a uniquely shaped lake known as the Naini lake (thus contributing to its name). One of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Uttarakhand, Nainital is the perfect place to enjoy the chilly weather of Uttarakhand as winter sets in. During winter, the cold of the Himalayas envelops Nainital and offers mesmerizing views of the mountain ranges. The lakes are full of and surrounded by an ice-cold chill but still, the weather isn’t as harsh as what’s found further north. So even on the coldest days you can go out and enjoy the snow without worrying about freezing or frostbites. Set amidst the Kumaon Hills at an altitude of 1,938 kms above sea level, Nainital is where most Indians go for winter vacations in India. Nainital also features water sports activities, rock-climbing, and stupendous slopes, making it a picturesque paradise for all.
2. One Of The Most Popular Hill stations Of India: Manali
This popular tourist destination in Himachal Pradesh is filled with numerous emblematic elements like snow valleys, Himalayan peaks drenched in snow, and a long list of adventure activities. While it is a much sought after tourist destination for all seasons, it is particularly beautiful during winter. This snow paradise is nestled between the snow-capped slopes of Pir Panjal and the Dhauladhar mountain range, and offers you special winter adventure activities such as zorbing, skiing, tobogganing, paragliding and more. You can also enjoy mountain treks that are exceptionally picturesque in winter. At Manali, one of the best places to visit in India in winters, you’ll get to enjoy slopes powdered with snow and icy peaks of mountains. Make sure to visit the Chandertal lake, Hampta pass, and take the sulphur baths at Manikaran, a retreat from the snow.
3. The Summer Capital Of British India: Shimla
Another entry from Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is the capital of the state and also known as the Queen of Hills by the British. Shimla is amongst the most well-known of India’s winter destinations and thus our list would seem incomplete without it. Featuring classic snow-capped mountains, beautiful deodar trees and marvellous colonial structures are just a bit of what Shimla offers. From December till February, Shimla is converted into a winter spectacle where crowds flock to enjoy the snow, ice skate at the open-air rink, walk amidst pine trees, and hike up the Shivalik range amid apple orchards. While visiting this winter paradise, don’t forget to try the strong coffee with delicious Himachali delicacies such as chaa gosht (Himachali style mutton curry), patore (taro leaves fritters) and khoru (thin buttermilk based soup).
4. One Of The Largest Salt Deserts In The World: Rann Of Kutch
This unique region in the state of Gujarat is a large area of salt marshland, located in the district of Kutch. Stretching over 7,500 square kilometres in the Thar desert, Rann of Kutch is reputed to be one of the largest salt deserts in the world. The region is divided into two parts, the Great Rann of Kutch, extending east and west, with the Thar Desert to the north and the low hills of Kutch to the south. Little Rann of Kutch lies southeast of the Great Rann, and extends southwards to the Gulf of Kutch. The salt deposits of the region make up a surreal landscape when the sun sets, and on full moon nights, the salt glints like silver. During winter (November to February), Gujarat celebrates the ‘Rann Mahotsav’ which attracts lakhs of tourists from all over India and abroad. The festival features cattle trading, desert safaris, local folk performances, desert biking, camping under the stars in the plains, handicraft workshops, and loads of traditional Gujarati, Kathiyawadi, Saurashtra and Kutchhi food. Rann of Kutch has become one of the best places to visit in India in winters. There are also luxury tents available at the seams of Dhoro village which is a unique experience.
5. One Of The Best Resort Towns In India: Auli
A winter wonderland, Auli in Uttarakhand, is set amidst the snow-capped Himalayas. During winter, this hill station is surrounded by oak trees, coniferous forests, and a snow blanket, making it a must-visit destination for a winter vacation in India. Auli is one of the best resort towns in the country and has also become the most visited holiday destination in north India in December. Its main draw is skiing, but the hill station also offers other activities, such as snow trekking to the Gurson Bugyal meadow or pristine Himalayas at Kwani Bugyal, riding the longest cable car of the continent, catching a panoramic view of the snowy peaks of Himalayas, and so on. Auli has become one of the best ski destinations in the world and if you visit in January, you can take part in the National Championship of Skiing.
6. Land Of Maharajas: Rajasthan
Oozing age-old opulence and grandeur, the desert state Rajasthan is located in the northwest of India, adjacent to Pakistan. It is the largest state of India (area wise) and is one of the most colourful and vibrant states in the country. Popularly known to many as the Land of Maharajas, Rajasthan has a strong blend of culture, history, music and cuisine. If you visit the state in winter, you can relish the historical splendours that have been restored or lie dilapidated—either way they are spectacular, best enjoyed with the nip in the air. During the winter months (October to March), you’ll find the desert sun in the state to be milder and more merciful, the winds are cooler, and there are numerous festivals that inject colour into your travels. This would be an ideal time to explore Rajasthan and experience its regal culture and tradition. Known as one of the best places to visit in India in winters, Rajasthan offers you to explore its colourful gems such as the royal pink city of Jaipur, the blue city of Jodhpur, the golden city of Jaisalmer, the city of lakes Udaipur and the holy city of Ajmer.
7. God’s Own Country: Kerala
Located on the Malabar coast of southern India nearly 600 kms of the Arabian Sea shoreline, Kerala is a blessing when visited in winter. The state is known for its glorious palm tree beaches, glistening backwaters, spice- and tea-covered hills of the Western Ghats and wildlife reserves that are home to elephants, langur monkeys and tigers. Popularly known as ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala witnesses the lowest amount of rainfall during winter, making it one of the best places to visit in India in winters. The pleasant weather with an average temperature reaching upto 18°C, the state offers incredible opportunities to avail yourself experiences like that of a houseboat cruise in Alleppey, mesmerising sunsets in Kochi, surfing at Varkala and Kovalam beaches, bird watching in the Kumarakom bird sanctuary and indulging in an Ayurvedic spa in the resorts of Wayanad (link). You can also visit in January to enjoy Pongal in Kerala.
8. Party Capital Of India: Goa
The smallest state of India, Goa is on the west coast of India. One of the most famous tourist destinations, Goa is also the best place to enjoy some warm sun in chilly winter. Other than its rave parties, numerous ancient sites, and undeniably delicious food, you get to explore some wildlife, unusual secret beaches, and unexpected natural attractions (such as waterfalls and islands) during this season. Known as India’s party hub, Goa welcomes winter from October when its high season starts.Till December, the state is filled with tourists due to festivals such as Goa Film Festival, the Goa Carnival, Sunburn Music Fest and beach parties for New Year’s Eve and Christmas everywhere. Tourists get to enjoy lazy moments in warm afternoons and cool evenings during winter. You can indulge in water sports without fearing cold temperatures, or can pick beach parties or nightclubs throbbing with music, or you can opt for Ayurvedic treatments and spas to rejuvenate yourself. Goa has something for everyone!
9. The City Of Ruins: Hampi
The ancient village of Hampi is set in the beautiful boulder-strewn terrain, on the Tungabhadra River banks and is a historical delight for travellers. This World Heritage Site treasures the ruins of the erstwhile capital of the mighty Vijayanagara Empire and it’s surrounded by beautiful temples and ancient monuments. As you take a trip during winter (October-February), you will be blessed with pleasantly cool weather. You can explore its rich past through the remains of palaces, baths, pavilions, markets, aqueducts and temples. You can also try rock climbing that provides a stunning view of the entire city and its geography. While visiting this UNESCO World Heritage city, don’t miss the beautiful Virupaksha temple, Matang hill, and Vitthala temple complex with its 56 musical pillars to experience the secrets of a kingdom lost to time.
10. Smallest Union Territory Of India: Lakshadweep
A lesser known paradise, Lakshadweep islands is a spectacular group of tropical islands off the western coast of India in the Arabian Sea. Formerly known as Laccadive Islands, Lakshadweep means ‘thousands of islands’ in Malayalam. Out of 36 exotic islands of this exotic destination, 17 are uninhabited, 10 are inhabited, while there are 5 coral reefs and 4 newly formed islets. Winter season might be the best time to explore the many islands of Lakshadweep as you get to enjoy white sandy beach, a pleasant climate, and the serenity of the islands. Along with the scenic beauty, Lakshadweep also offers many top activities to try such as snorkeling, coral spotting, scuba diving, swimming, island hopping, parasailing, fishing,yacht sailing, and others. Enjoy a balmy tropical vacation during winters where you get to enjoy picture-perfect golden beaches, cerulean waters, with fresh coconut and delicious seafood.
Ready For India’s Winter Destinations?
While some would like to curl up in a blanket, others like to explore the season in different places. If you are the latter, we hope our list of the best places to visit in India in winters helps to narrow down your next destination! Pick the one which best suits your needs, be it beaches, adventure sports or just some relaxing time in the hills. If you think we have missed any of your favourites, let us know in the comments below.