Winter tourism in India - Best places to experience a snowy vacation 

Photo of Winter tourism in India - Best places to experience a snowy vacation by Wander with Sakshi

If you are someone who loves winters then North India has some amazing places which should definitely be on your bucket list.

Here are some of my favorite winter wonderlands where you can have fun-filled snowy vacation with your loved ones.

1. Gulmarg - Kashmir

Gulmarg is my personal favorite hill station to experience snowfall and snow. Gulmarg is one of the perfect Ski destinations in India. One cannot miss the Gondola ropeway ride here. While you will be able to find enough snow in Gulmarg, some other places in Kashmir which are equally beautiful and are absolutely worth visiting are Pahalgam, Sonmarg and of course Dal Lake in Srinagar. One can stay in a houseboat at Dal Lake, Dal Lake in winter months will definitely mesmerize you as it get completely frozen, one can watch Shikaras making their way through the frozen Dal lake while sipping a hot cup of tea, this is definitely something which you do not get to experience daily and should not be missed.

Reaching Gulmarg : The nearest airport is Srinagar airport which has daily direct flights from Delhi. The best part about visiting Kashmir is the short distance between different destinations, most places are 2-2.5 hours away from each other, which is like an added perk for people who are uncomfortable with long hours of road travel. Needless to say that the journey from Srinagar to Gulmarg is absolutely heavenly as the roads are adorned by Chinar trees on both sides.

For a detailed Kashmir itinerary, please check out my travel blog :


Photo of Jammu and Kashmir by Wander with Sakshi

2. Manali - Himachal Pradesh

When talking about Snow we definitely can't miss Manali. Bollywood movies like Yeh Jawani hai Deewani and Jab We Met have given almost everyone Manali travel goals.

Reaching Manali : The nearest airport is Bhuntar airport near Kullu, which has daily flights from Chandigarh and Delhi, because Air India is the only flight connecting the airport, the air fare is usually expensive. Another pocket friendly way to reach Manali is to take an overnight bus from Delhi or Chandigarh. The journey from Delhi can take about 16 hours and 8-10 hours from Chandigarh depending on the road conditions.

While snowfall stops or becomes rare after February, one can find enough snow in higher areas of Manali like Solang Valley till end of March to mid April. Solang Valley is a must visit place for all adventure lovers, it offers variety of options to fuel the heart of an adventure junkie, one can try paragliding, ziplining, skiing, ATV ride and zorbing here. Another must visit place which has recently been inaugurated by our Prime Minister is the Atal Tunnel, which is the longest tunnel above 10,000 feet in the world. Other places that one visit in Manali are Hadimba temple, Vashisht temple, Naggar castle, Jogini waterfalls and Kullu river for river rafting.

If you want a longer vacation then you can visit Manikaran and Kasol. Manikaran is famous for its Gurudwara and hot spring. Kasol is one of the most visited destinations in the beautiful Parvati valley. You can enjoy a small trek to Chalal village near Kasol, making your way through the woods while listening to the music of the flowing Parvati river is something that any nature lover wouldn't want to miss.

Photo of Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Wander with Sakshi

3. Auli - Uttarakhand

Auli is a popular winter destination in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Auli is undoubtedly the best ski destination in India, it is famous for skiing and trekking.

Reaching Auli : The closest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. One can drive to Auli from Rishikesh, which is about 8 hours journey. There are frequent buses and shared taxis going to Auli from Rishikesh daily. Another popular route to reach Auli is to take an overnight bus from Delhi, the journey will be long and tiring one but the snow capped hills will make the journey worth it.

If you are travelling by your own car or cab then you can directly reach Auli and stay in the resorts there, due to the lesser number of hotels, staying in Auli is an expensive affair. But if you take a shared vehicle or bus from Rishikesh or Delhi, then it will drop you at Joshimath which is about 12 kms from Auli. Joshimath provides several affordable hotel options. One can directly reach Auli from Joshimath by road or can either take the Ropeway or Ski chair car. Auli ropeway is the highest and longest ropeway in India after Gulmarg. To have a best of both worlds experience in Auli, I would recommend you to stay in Joshimath and then take the Ropeway or Ski chair car to Auli. I am sure you wouldn't want to miss the sight of snow covered landscape and the thrill of the longest ropeway.

Some sightseeing places in Auli are Auli artificial lake, ropeway. Gorson Bugyal is a popular trek near Auli, which is a 3 km trek and offers stunning views of the valley.

Photo of Joshimath, Uttarakhand, India by Wander with Sakshi

4. Leh Ladakh

This place requires no introduction. With temperatures dropping down to minus degrees and the weather as freezing cold as it can get, visiting Ladakh in winters is definitely not for the weak hearted.

Reaching Leh Ladakh : Flying to Leh from Delhi is the only option to reach Ladakh after October as due to extreme snowfall travelling on Srinagar - Leh Highway and Manali -Leh Highway gets very risky.

Most popular tourist destinations in Ladakh are Nubra Valley and Pangong tso lake. From pristine hills, serene monasteries to frozen lakes, Ladakh has everything that will fill your heart with gratitude and warmth even in the coldest winter months.

Photo of Ladakh, Leh by Wander with Sakshi

5. Lachen and Lachung - North Sikkim

For travelers who wish to explore North east side of India and enjoy snow at the same time, North Sikkim is the perfect place to be in. Lachen and Lachung are the most popular winter destinations in North Sikkim.

Reaching North Sikkim : The nearest airport is Bagdogra airport and the nearest railway station is NJP station in West Bengal. After reaching Bagdogra or NJP, one can take a cab or shared taxi till Gangtok. The drive to Gangtok is a 4-5 hours drive, one can experience the changing scenery from their vehicle's window, starting from the tea gardens of Siliguri, to the Teesta river, to finally the hills of Sikkim.

After reaching Gangtok, you need at least another 3 days to visit North Sikkim. Lachen is about a 7 hours drive from Gangtok. Lachen is a beautiful village surrounded by snow capped peaks and beautiful alpine meadows. Gurudongmar lake which is 40kms away from Lachen is a must visit. It is the highest lake in North Sikkim and remains completely frozen during winter months.

Lachung is a mountain village close to the Tibetan border and is a 2 hours drive from Lachen. Yumthang valley near Lachung is a popular tourist attraction, it is also known as the Valley of Flowers but during winter months is it completely covered with a blanket of snow.

Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by Wander with Sakshi

All the five destinations have something unique to offer besides enough snow for you to play in. Some are famous for their adventure sports whereas some are famous for their scenic beauty. Unlike other winter destinations like Manali and Auli, North Sikkim and Ladakh does not offer adventure sports but it definitely offers a scenic drive with lots of snow, which will definitely win your heart.

When traveling to a snow destination, remember to pack well, carry down jackets to keep you warm and shoes with a good grip, if required don't hesitate to get snow boots they will not only pretend frost bites but also prevent you from falling in snow.

I have always been a fan of winters and snow, while witnessing snowfall is purely a luck faced phenomenon but I can assure you these five winter destinations will not disappoint you and you will get enough snow to build you own snowman and create memories of a lifetime.

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