India is best known as the country of temples, forts and palaces or historical and cultural places; it is also a great place to have an amazing snow vacation as well. Winter is a good time to take a tour because most places in India get really hot during the rest of the year. For those looking to get a feel of a snow fall or enjoy a winter sport like skiing or snowboarding, here’s a list of places that one can head to catch the winter in all its glory.
Auli, Uttrakhand, is an amazing skiing destination for not just skiing enthusiasts but also the novices who have never been on an icy slope in their life. Located 16km from Joshimath, on the way to Badrinath, Auli looks like paradise with snowy peaks as high as 3000 meters.
Pahalgham, Jammu & Kashmir is located 8,900 meters above sea level; it offers a pristine environment for those looking to just take in the calm surroundings and the tranquillity. Also a good point for skiing, Pahalgham is nor for the weak-hearted as it can get really cold.
Gulmarg, Jammu & Kashmir is accessible from Srinagar and Delhi (880km); it is known for snow falls and freezing winds. The main attractions here are the world’s highest cable car, known as gondola, and Alpathar Lake and Tangmarg.
Patnitop in Udhampur district of Jammu & Kashmir is another great destination for skiing and trekking. Located in the lower Himalayan ranges, this icy paradise is close to the Pir Panjal range; 3 hours from Jammu.
Manali in Himachal Pradesh is a favourite among Indian as well as foreign tourists; the blue skies, the snow-capped peaks, the pristine rivers and emerald meadows never lose their charm. Manali is located 270km from Shimla, at an elevation of 2,050 meters above sea level.
Shimla is also another favoured destination, more so in the summer. The snowy winters give this place a new charm and are particularly attractive to honeymooners and young vacationers.
Nainital, located 270 kilometers from New Delhi, turns captivating during the winter months. However, the snow here can be seen only during December and January; great for trekking through the snow.
Kufri in Himachal Pradesh is picture perfect during the winters with its snow covered peaks and green trees. This is another popular skiing destination.
Munsiyari, Uttrakhand, is 125km from Pithorgarh and on the banks of river Goriganga. Snowladen mountains, glaciers and cascading snow make this place an absolute haven for those who can brave the elements for a snow-filled adventure.
Dhanaulti in Uttrakhand is 2290 meters above sea level and 24 km from Missouri. The white snow lies against the back drop of grey peaks and green oak, deodar and rhododendron trees.
Sonmarg in Jammu and Kashmir is located 80 km from Srinagar. Because of its high altitude, this place remains snowy until almost April but is prone to landslides during mid-winters.
Yumthang, Nathu La, Tsomgo Lake in North Sikkim are delightfully cold but they are not for the weak as the winds here can be really harsh.
Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir is one of the few winter destinations where the snow fall can be witnessed from October through March. The lakes, rivers and waterwalls freeze during this time, making the entire region suitable for winter sports.
Khajjiar is aptly named the Switzerland of India as the entire village gets covered with snow and the small pond freezes up completely. Khajjiar is a short distance from Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh.
Katao is 144km from Gangtok, close to Lachung. It witnesses snow until March but it requires an army permit to go there.
Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh is at one of the highest altitudes in the region; the main attractions here are the 400-year-old Buddhist monastery and the Sela Pass up ahead at an elevation of 13,700 feet.
Chopta-Tungnath in Uttrakhand is known mostly for the Tungnath temple, which however closes for the winter. Nevertheless, this beautiful valley has amazing views and deep snow which makes trekking all the more challenging.
Lava in West Bengal is a lesser known winter destination but it is totally worth the visit. Mt. Kanchenjunga acts as a backdrop to white snowy fields dotted with deciduous and alpine trees.
Sonamarg in Jammu & Kashmir is a favourite among tourists because of river rafting and trekking options.
Sar Pass in Himachal Pradesh is a popular trekking destination that offers spectacular views of the view snow clad peaks and green meadows.
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