Top 10 Winter Destinations in India

Alluring Alleppey Backwaters

Winter is usually the time to snuggle up with a good book in front of a fireplace, enjoying a hot cup of tea in bed every morning, or spending lazy afternoons. But winters are also the time to explore the new side of India’s popular destinations. Truly, India is an incredible country, geographically, historically and architecturally. It offers amazing geographical diversity with varied climates and seasons.  Winter season is no doubt the most loved by people of India. If you don’t feel like spending your winter snuggling in a blanket, then trust me you don’t have to!

So if you are planning your next vacation during winters, here is a list of some of the best Winter Destinations in India to choose from.

Orccha Cenotaphs
Orchha Cenotaphs

Khajuraho temples are among the finest temple arts in the world. The erotic sculptures, the minute carvings on the temple walls are worth exploring in winters when the weather is at its best.

Orchha is the historic village on the banks of river Betwa. The Medieval village was built by Bundela rulers in 16th and 17th century and was founded by the Bundela Rajput King, Rudra Pratap. The place is known for its exquisite Jehangir Mahal, tiered palace crowned by graceful cenotaphs. Strewn around the area are the little shrines and memorials, each with its own poignant history, each contributing to the nostalgic beauty of Orchha. Orchha and Khajuraho can both be best explored in the winters as you could enjoy long pleasant walks around the areas taking in the beauty of these places, taking some lessons in history and architecture.  The best way to travel around the place is by taking a road trip or you can take a train to Jhansi or Satna and then take a road trip from these places.


Vast Salt Desert in the Rann of Kutch

Visit the land of diverse cultures, Gujarat! It is one of the best places to travel in India during winters. Get a glimpse of the rich culture and history of India during the Rann Mahotsav, the winter festival of Gujarat which is also the best time to explore the Great Rann of Kutch. The baolis, vavs and some of the famous temples in Gujarat are worth a visit. The Gir forest is the only home to the majestic Asiatic Lion and it will be truly fascinating to spot one there. The Somnath Temple is one of the Char Dhams of India in the West. Gujarat is well connected to all the major cities in India.  You can either take a flight or train or may be take a road trip for an adventurous experience.


Gadisar Lake Jaisalmer
Gadisar Lake Jaisalmer

Explore the vast expanses of the Thar Desert; get the thrill of dune bashing in the sand dunes of Jaisalmer and Bikaner. To get the best Hot Air Ballooning experience in India, Jaipur is a must visit. Take a road trip around Rajasthan in winters and explore the majestic forts and palaces, the magnificent havelis, the colourful markets, the twisted lanes, the series of windmills and the best of the lot – the camel safari at sunset in sand dunes. Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Ranthambore, Mount Abu, Pushkar and Ajmer are the major tourist pullers in this splendid state. The perfect way to traverse around is self-drive, either by car or bike. You will love the idea of travelling on your own at this place.


Vibrant Varanasi Ghats
Vibrant Varanasi Ghats

The cooler climate and absence of humidity make Varanasi a pleasant place to visit in winters. The charm of the city lies in the evening aarti performed at the Dashashwamedh Ghat which is a highly choreographed performance. It is believed that the Hindu God Lord Brahma began the creation of the universe from here. The city is crowded by the devotees who visit throughout the year to take a dip in holy Ganga River to wash their sins away.  Wander through the Ghats of Ganga and the narrow alleyways of this small crowded city. The city is said to be the oldest inhabited cities of the world. Train is the best way to reach Varanasi.


Gorgeous Goa
Gorgeous Goa

Goa is different from the rest of India, with its exquisite beaches, nightlife, cuisines, water sports and culture. Renowned as one of the finest beach destinations in the world, Goa during winters, with the arrival of Christmas and New Year, is at its best. Parties, music and scrumptious cuisines along with cultural events make it the best time to visit Goa in winter especially from October till February. There are a lot of trekking options too in Goa for the adventure junkie in you. You can always backpack and leave for a trek to Dudhsagar Falls which is sure to give you is one of the best experiences you will have in Goa.  Anjuna, Vagator, Candolim, Palolem, Agonda, Varca, these are the picturesque and serene beaches of Goa which bring you closer to your tranquil inner-self.  Goa is well connected to all the major Indian cities by air and regular trains also run from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Goa is also one of the most popular destinations to take a road trip to.  If you are planning a trip, remember to book the hotels in advance!


Matri Mandir at Pondicherry
Matrimandir in Auroville, Pondicherry

The pleasant and the soothing climate of Pondicherry in winters attract tourists from all over.  It is the best time to explore those French colonies you have heard about in Pondicherry. The French architecture of the place is breathtaking. The churches, Aurobindo Ashram, Promenade Beach and Auroville are must visit locations. Not to forget the local food! Relish the seafood, explore the cafes of Pondicherry and travel back in time. A road trip from Chennai or Banglore will an amazing experience. You can always explore beaches on the way and relish the local roadside food of the place.


Alluring Alleppey Backwaters
Alluring Alleppey Backwaters

To avoid the hot and humid weather of Kerala in summers, people love to explore Kerala in winters. Kerala has it all and its best in winters. The verdant hill station of Munnar looks stunning in the chilly weather. A stay in a houseboat at the backwaters of Allepey will be one of the best experiences. Take a walk on the Lighthouse Beach of Kovalam and get lost in the beauty of the place. Natural splendor is at its zenith during the winters in God’s own country. Visit Wayand to get away from the crowd and spend some peaceful time with the nature or just relax under a waterfall. You can take a flight to any major city of Kerala like Kochi or Trivandrum and then take a road trip within the state.


Wildlife at Bandhavgarh National Park
Wildlife at Bandhavgarh National Park

Winter is the only season to visit the National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries of India. It is too hot in summers to wander around and in monsoon the roads are closed. Soon after the monsoon season gets over in October, all the gates are opened for tourists to explore the Wildlife of India. Who would want to miss an opportunity to spot the famous Royal Bengal Tiger in Ranthambore or to take a mesmerising boat ride through the mangroves forest of Sundarbans? Some of the most popular National Parks are Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench and Panna in Madhya Pradesh, Gir Forest in Gujarat, Ranthambore in Rajasthan, Sunderbans in West Bengal, Kaziranga and Manas in Assam and Bandipur and Nagarhole in Karnataka. Transport is available from all the nearest cities to reach these National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries.


Mobile market on the Dal Lake in Srinagar
Mobile market on the Dal Lake in Srinagar

It makes a perfect winter destination for those who love snow and chilly winters with woolies and high boots. Kashmir is called Heaven on Earth, and often also referred to as the jewel of the Himalayas. Stay in the cozy wooden house-boats called Shikaras and take in the beauty of the Dal Lake. If you’re looking for a destination which is as breathtakingly beautiful as it is adventurous, then Kashmir is the place for you. An adventure junky would never miss a chance to go skiing on the slopes of Gulmarg.  Forget all the trouble and speculation and take a trip to Kashmir, with its snow-capped mountains and verdant valleys. Flights from all major Indian cities are available to reach Srinagar.


Nainital - City of Lakes
Nainital – City of Lakes

The adventure enthusiast in you will love the idea of skiing on those smooth slopes of Auli. Located in Uttarakhand, Auli is home to various perfect Skiing slopes. A short trip to Auli will give you the best snow experience and a bag full of memories. The skiing experience in Auli is simply matchless. The stunning views of the Himalayas covered in coniferous forest and slopes dotted with oak, apple orchard and deodar trees, Auli during winters becomes India’s hottest ski destination. The Land of Lakes – Nainital, looks stunning in winters with lakes surrounding the city. Haridwar is the closest railway hub to reach Auli. Nainital is nearest to Delhi, you can take a bus or a car to reach there.

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Kanika Chopra


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