If you are looking for a getaway from the tropical and hot weather of the plains, then North and North-East India are home to some of the best mountainous landscapes in the world. Head over to the lap of the Himalayas, have some fun, and frolic in the snow. Here are some top destinations to experience snow in India:
1) Arunachal Pradesh – Tawang
Tawang is a much-favoured road trip destination for the surrounding region, and the scenic route attracts bikers from all over India. The Tawang monastery is the major landmark of this town, which sits at an elevation of close to 2700 metres. The higher reaches around Tawang experience snow for a considerable part of the year.
What to do: Skiing in Tawang during the winter months is becoming more and more popular each year.
Where: PakangTeng Tso Lake is the venue for skiing in Tawang.
Best time Visit: Enjoy the wintry landscapes in Arunachal Pradesh from December to February.
2) Sikkim – Lachung
North Sikkim is home to some really eye-catching and icy frontiers, and the town of Lachung is the perfect base to catch a glimpse of this region in the dead of winter. At an altitude of close to 3000 metres.
Things to Do:
- – Go for excursions to the famous high-altitude valley of Yumthang from Lachung.
- – The Sikkim Mountaineering Association has also introduced skiing for visitors in the valley, which is surrounded by slopes.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit this part of Sikkim are January to March.
With scenic towns and frequent snowfall, Uttarakhand is popular among those who seek a snow-vacation in India. Head to one of these destinations for a snowy adventure:
Auli is fast becoming a winter sports destination because of its perfect snowy conditions and proximity to the major cities of North India.
If you have just come to admire the scenery, Auli offers a perfect introduction to the beauty of Uttarakhand’s high altitude valleys.
Things to do:
- Skiing: Many have described the winter slopes of Auli as providing some of the best skiing experiences possible
- Snow Boarding: Snowboarding is another winter sport you can try out at Auli
- Cable Car Ride: A cable car ride offers an exclusive view of the surrounding topography.
Best time to visit: The best months to visit Auli are October to February when temperature seldom hit double-digits.
Almost equidistant from Mussoorie and Chamba, Dhanaulti offers a quiet retreat for those who long to embrace the white winter scape associated with these alpine regions. The town is surrounded by groves of pine, deodars, rhododendron and oak. The place is blanketed in snow during the height of winter. From Dhanaulti, you can catch a panoramic view of the entire Garhwal Himalayas.
Best time to Visit: December to March are ideal months to visit.
2) Himachal Pradesh
The abode of the Gods, Himachal Pradesh is blanketed by snow every year, and has always been a popular winter destination. Head to the following locations to enjoy the beauty of Himachal in winter:
Manali is a top place for those who seek snow. You can get clear views of the surrounding Himalayan ranges from the city
Things to do:
- Go skiing: Solang Valley offers many good ski slopes to explore for beginners and experts alike. Amateur skiing costs would begin at around Rs 300
- Ride a snow scooter: A snow scooter session costs around Rs 500. They are both day activities.
- Stay in an igloo!
Best time to visit: It usually starts snowing in Manali from December and winter slowly recedes at the beginning of March.
Just 51 kilometres from Manali, the famous Rohtang Pass sits close to 4000 metres above sea level. Scenic mountains surround the area, and you can find snow in the pass till the middle of the year, stretching to July.
Things to do:
- Drive through the Rohtang pass which connects Kullu with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys
- Snow scootering
Best time to visit: Between May and November
Whether you want to sip on a hot beverage by the window watching the snowflakes cover the surrounding forests or you want to head out in your winter gear and play some sports, Himachal Pradesh’s capital is an ideal winter getaway.13 kilometres away from the main town, Kufri is the ski capital of the region.
Things to do:
- Go Skiing in Kufri
- Visit India’s only open-air natural ice-skating rink
- Visit the winter festival in December
Best time to visit: Shimla starts seeing snow usually by the month of December, with the highest intensity in January till February
5) Jammu & Kashmir
A romantic getaway in the solace of a white winter, maybe a trip with friends in the hope of adventure, or a holiday with the family with a lot of hot food and snowball fights – all these and more are possible in Jammu and Kashmir- India’s favourite winter destination. Head to one of the following locations for the best winter vacation ever!
India’s winter sports capital, Gulmarg features ski slopes, a golf course and a cable ride amongst many other highlights. Skiing in Gulmarg is the main attraction, and you will have to ride the sky gondolas to get to the starting points of these gentle and perfect slopes. Other winter activities include sledge rides and snow-biking.
Best time to visit: December to the middle of March is the best time to visit Gulmarg.
Pahalgam is another popular destination in the Kashmir Valley. Pahalgam offers a good winter holiday as the scenic valleys and forests are all covered with snow. Sub-zero temperatures start from November and carry on till March. It is close to Gulmarg, and the twin resort towns can be part of a single trip.
Best time to visit: December to March is best to visit Pahalgam.
The greatest Indian frontier, Ladakh’s brutal and isolated winters are legendary, but it is also a place of desolate beauty and some of the most riveting landscapes in the world. If you are in for an adventure, then a ski-trek is one of the activities you can try out, the best season being January to March.
Things to do:
- Watch a game of ice hockey
- Adventure junkies can do the famous Chadar Trek on the frozen Zanskar river
- Trek to catch a glimpse of the elusive snow leopard
- Attend festivals- best way to interact with the locals
Best time to visit: The snow in Ladakh region starts melting by May end, so the best time to visit for the wintry landscapes is before that.