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Best places to visit in India during winters with The Hosteller

Best places to visit in India during winters with The Hosteller
DESTINATIONS

By Akansha Borthakur

14 Dec, 2023

Imagine walking through landscapes blanketed in soft snow, where every view is a picture postcard, feeling the crisp winter air as you watch your breath turn to mist, and hearing the crunch of snow under your boots.

Envision the joy of catching snowflakes on your tongue and the serenity of watching a winter sunrise, painting the sky in hues of pink and gold. These experiences define the best winter destinations in India and as The Hosteller, we're thrilled to guide you to these mesmerizing spots.

Winter sunrise in Himachal pradesh

View of Manali city and snow covered Himalayan mountains in Himachal Pradesh

This blog is your go to for winter getaway recommendations, specially curated for those journeying with us. Our hostels offer a cozy and vibrant retreat after a day of exploring snowy landscapes or participating in thrilling winter sports. From the beauty of exploring frost-covered trails to relaxing in a warm, friendly environment, we promise an unforgettable winter experience.

So, bundle up and let's find that perfect spot for your winter tale with The Hosteller, where every destination is a story waiting to be told.

Manali – A Winter Adventure Hub

Small town of Manali

The small town of Manali is covered under a blanket of snow duringwinter 

Manali, a standout among winter destinations in India, beckons travelers with its blend of thrilling activities and enchanting snowscapes from December to February, the peak of its snowy season. This Himalayan town is swathed in a thick blanket of snow, creating an idyllic setting for a range of winter sports.

Sissu, Himachal Pradesh

Snow - covered mountains and clear river in Sissu, Himachal Pradesh

In Solang Valley, skiing enthusiasts find their paradise with slopes catering to all skill levels, while the snow quality—often light and powdery—makes it perfect for skiing and snowboarding. Rohtang Pass is cloaked in dense, fluffy snow and offers exhilarating snow scooter rides through stunning winter vistas.

Aut Tunnel Rohtang

Snow - covered Aut Tunnel entrance in Rohtang (Source - India Today)

Not far from Manali, the quaint village of Sissu provides a more tranquil snowy experience, perfect for those seeking peace amidst the winter landscape. Just the picture perfect vistas of the drive from the Aut Tunnel make Manali one of the best places to visit in India in December.

Man riding his snow scooter in Rohtang Pass

Man riding his snow scooter in Rohtang Pass

Activity details:

  • Skiing in Solang: Varied slopes, ski rentals, and beginner-friendly instructors.
  • Snow scooter in Rohtang: Guided rides through scenic, snow-laden paths.
  • Exploring Sissu: A serene escape, ideal for experiencing quiet, snowy tranquility.
  • Aut Tunnel adventure: An unusual yet fascinating experience through one of India's longest tunnels.

Mesmerizing view en-route to snow covered Rohtang pass on leh Manali highway, Himachal Pradesh

Mesmerizing view en-route to snow- covered Rohtang pass on Leh Manali highway

Must know:

  • Altitude adjustment: Acclimatize to Manali’s 2,050 meters to prevent altitude sickness.
  • Dress for sub zero: Sub-zero temperatures require warm, layered clothing.
  • Rohtang Pass access: Heavy snowfall can close the pass; check accessibility in advance. 

Chakrata - The Ultimate Winter Wonderland

Winter morning in Chakrata

Tourist walking on a winter morning after a heavy snowfall in Chakrata

Chakrata is a hidden gem that turns into a snowy retreat during the winter months. Travellers can enjoy an exceptional staycation amidst a landscape often covered in over 2-3 feet of snow. This thick snow blanket renders many of Chakrata's own attractions inaccessible, transforming the town into a serene and secluded winter haven, ideal for those looking to unwind in a serene, snowy setting.

Auli

Snow-covered slopes with skiers in Auli

Just 36 km from Chakrata, Mundali is a popular spot for winter sports enthusiasts. It stands out for its magnificent views of the Himalayas and is renowned as a top skiing destination in India, rivaling even Auli. Mundali caters to all levels of skiers and snowboarders, with a training school available for beginners.

The experience of skiing here, with the majestic Himalayan backdrop, is nothing short of spectacular. And if you are looking for the best winter destinations in India to plan your trip, Chakrata should most definitely be a contender.

Skiing in Mundali, Chakrata

Skiing in Mundali, Chakrata

Activity details:

  • Skiing in Mundali: Offers breathtaking Himalayan views, suitable for all skill levels, with training available for beginners.
  • Staycation in Chakrata: Enjoy the quiet and seclusion of a snowy town, perfect for relaxation and leisure.
  • Leisurely walks: Take long walks in the snow, make snow angels, snowmen and play a friendly game of snowball fight with other guests at the hostel.

Group of young friends having fun playing snowball fight

Group of young friends having fun playing snowball fight

Must know:

  • Heavy snowfall: The town can experience snow depths of over 2-3 feet, leading to closure of some local attractions.
  • Tranquil retreat: Ideal for those seeking a peaceful staycation away from bustling tourist spots.
  • Access to Mundali: Be prepared for winter road conditions when traveling to this skiing paradise. 

Shimla, Kufri, Narkanda – A Scenic Snowy Trio

IGMC Road, Lakkar Bazar, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India

IGMC Road, Lakkar Bazar, Shimla

Embarking on a journey from Shimla to Narkanda via Kufri offers an unparalleled experience for those seeking places to visit in January in India. This circuit, covering about 65 km, unfolds a landscape filled with snowy vistas and unique attractions at each stop. As far as winter destination recommendations go, this trio is really top tier.

Jakhu ropeway, Shimla

Bird eye view of Shimla from Jakhu ropeway at Himachal Pradesh

Starting in Shimla, a ride on the Jakhu ropeway presents breathtaking views of the snow-covered Shivalik ranges. The city, sitting at an average altitude of 2,200 meters, sees winter temperatures dipping to around -2°C. The Mall Road here, more than a bustling center, becomes a gateway to panoramic snowy views, particularly in January.

Toboggan Rides, Kufri

Tourists enjoy the toboggan ride on snow sleds during a sunny winter day in Kufri

About 20 km from Shimla, Kufri is famous for its ski slopes, toboggan rides and the Mahasu Peak, which offers stunning views of the surrounding valleys. The drive from Shimla to Kufri reveals a gradual transformation of landscapes, with the valley adorned in a white blanket.

Temperatures here can drop below -4°C so come prepared. In the deep winters, Kufri becomes one of the best places to visit in India in January.

Hatu Peak, Narkanda

Hatu Peak, Narkanda (Source - Trawell.in)

Narkanda, around 45 km further from Kufri, is another haven for skiing enthusiasts. The slopes here are surrounded by dense forests, there are plenty of short snow treks to take and the Hatu Peak provides an unforgettable view of the snow-clad Himalayas. The drive from Kufri to Narkanda is a visual treat, with roads meandering through snow-laden trees and hills. A word of caution, temperatures here can go below -10°C.

Snowy drive from Kufri to Narkanda

Snowy drive from Kufri to Narkanda in winter (Source - India Today)

Activity details:

  • Jakhu ropeway in Shimla: Offers mesmerizing views of the Shivalik ranges.
  • Skiing in Kufri & Narkanda: Both destinations provide excellent skiing conditions.
  • Hatu Peak: A must visit for its panoramic Himalayan views.

Skiing in Kufri

Skier carving through the snow in Kufri

Must know:

  • Distance between locations: Shimla to Kufri is about 20 km, and Kufri to Narkanda is around 45 km.
  • Temperature ranges: Sub zero temperatures are common, especially at higher altitudes.
  • Equipment availability: Skiing equipment is readily available for rent in Kufri and Narkanda.

Shoja and Shangarh – Pristine Snowy Havens in Himachal

Snow in Shoja

Heavy snowfall in Shoja, Himachal Pradesh (Source - Tripoto)

Shoja and Shangarh, located about 63 km apart in the Seraj and Banjar valleys of Himachal Pradesh, rank high among the best places to visit in India during December and for very good reason. These distinct yet equally enchanting locations offer visitors a deep dive into a winter wonderland, reminiscent of scenes straight out of a Hallmark movie.

Shangard Meadows

Snowfall at Devta Ground in Shangarh Meadows looks like Narnia Land (Source - FoodRavel)

In Shoja, temperatures often drop below freezing in December and January, transforming the landscape into a glistening white paradise. The surrounding mountains, cloaked in snow, present a stunning contrast against the bright blue winter skies. Shangarh, renowned for its majestic Shangarh meadows, witnesses these expanses being enveloped in a thick layer of snow, creating a mesmerizing sight.

Jalori Pass

Frozen mountain lake bordered by snow-dusted trees at Jalori Pass (Source - Cross road adventure)

The nearby Jalori Pass, one of the best winter adventure destinations in India, becomes laden with snow and is a hub for winter activities like sledding, skiing, and tobogganing. You can even find scores of local children diving in and enjoying the snow.

Frozen Serolsar lake, Jalori Pass

Frozen Serolsar lake, Jalori Pass

Hiking enthusiasts can explore trails that meander through the snow-covered landscape, sometimes stumbling upon small, frozen ponds. The entire valley, with its blanket of snow, often experiences reduced visibility during heavier snowfalls, offering an ethereal experience. It is a dream to wake up in the valley after a night of snowfall and see how majestic it looks. Nothing will prepare you for an experience as heavenly as that.

Pahadi Chai

Pahadi Chai (Source - Facebook)

Activity details:

  • Jalori Pass winter sports: Enjoy skiing, sledding, and tobogganing in a snowy setting.
  • Hiking in the snow: Discover hidden frozen ponds and snow-draped trails.
  • Local eats: Enjoy pahadi chai, hot rajma chawal, aloo sabji and the famous stuffed siddu.

Route from Jalori Pass to Shoja

Route of Jalori Pass to Shoja road blanketed in heavy snowfall (Source - Travelshoebum)

Must know:

  • Temperature trends: Sub-zero temperatures are common in these regions during winter.
  • Road conditions: Heavy snowfall can lead to temporary road closures; check accessibility in advance.
  • Visibility in snowfall: Heavier snowfalls can dramatically reduce visibility, adding to the area's enchanting ambiance. 

Mukteshwar – Winter's Majesty in the Kumaon Highlands

Mukteshwar

Mukteshwar (Source - People Places)

Mukteshwar, perched in the Kumaon Hills of Uttarakhand, is a hidden gem among the 'Best winter destinations in India'. This quaint town, situated at an elevation of about 2,285 meters, offers breathtaking views of the Himalayas and becomes a snowy paradise in the winter months, particularly from December to February.

Nanda Devi

View of snow capped Nanda Devi from 'Zero Point' in the Binsar region of Uttarakhand

During this time, Mukhteshwar sees temperatures dropping to around -3°C to 10°C, making it a perfect spot for those seeking a serene winter experience. The town is famed for its unobstructed views of Nanda Devi, India's second-highest peak, and the surrounding Himalayan range, which appear even more majestic with their snow-covered peaks.

Mukteshwar

A scenic view of a mountain village with rooftops covered in snow in Mukteshwar 

Mukteshwar offers a range of winter activities, making it one of the very top winter getaway recommendations for our travellers. The Chauli ki Jali area, known for rock climbing and rappelling, transforms into a snowy playground for adventure enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks through the snow-laden orchards or partake in impromptu snowball fights.

View of Himalayas

View of the Himalayas from Mukteshwar In Kumaon Hills

Activity details:

  • Snow adventures at Chauli ki Jali: Engage in winter-specific activities like snow trekking.
  • Himalayan views: Enjoy panoramic views of snow-covered Himalayan peaks.

Snow trekking at Mukteshwar

Group snow trekking through a forested mountainous path in Mukteshwar

Must know:

  • Climate: Expect chilly weather, with temperatures often below freezing in peak winter.
  • Access: Roads are generally well-maintained, but it's advisable to check for snow blockages.
  • Serene atmosphere: Mukteshwar offers a peaceful retreat, away from crowded tourist spots. 

Mcleodganj – A Cozy Winter Retreat in the Himalayas

Street of Mcleodganj

Snow - laden street of McLeodGanj

Mcleodganj, with its blend of Tibetan culture and scenic beauty, is one of the best options when looking for places to visit in India in January. This hill station, often experiencing temperatures falling below -1℃ in winter, becomes a picturesque destination with a glorious winter backdrop.

One of the highlights here is the Triund trek, a winter marvel offering panoramic views of the Himalayas, cloaked in snow. The journey to Triund, particularly rewarding in December, is famed for its stunning landscapes and the ethereal beauty of the night sky, perfect for an overnight camping experience.

Triund Mountain, Mcleodganj

Tranquil landscape of sunset at Triund hilltop at Mcleodganj

For the more adventurous, the trek up to the Laka Glacier from Triund presents a challenging but visually stunning route. The glacial landscapes and the rugged beauty of the trek in January are unparalleled, but it demands thorough preparation and adherence to safety measures, especially considering the wintry conditions.

These myriad trekking options are another reason Mcleodganj is sometimes considered to be the best winter destination in India.

Laka Glacier trek

Tourists trekking the challenging yet visually stunning route to Laka Glacier (Source - Holidify)

While Mcleodganj itself may not witness heavy snowfall, the occasional light snow showers add to its charm. The town, known for its quaint bookstores and cozy cafes, is an ideal place to unwind. Imagine enjoying a good read with a view of gentle snowfall, followed by savoring a bowl of Tom Yum soup and some piping hot gyozas at a local café, a common find in Mcleodganj's streets.

Triund Trek

Scenic Triund mountains covered by crystal white snow in Mcleodganj

Activity details:

  • Triund trek: Experience the snow-laden trek with camping under the stars.
  • Laka Glacier trek: A challenging yet rewarding trek through winter landscapes.
  • Cultural immersion: Explore bookstores and cafes amidst a snowy ambiance.

Snowfall in Mcleodganj

A city is seen covered in snow after a fresh spell of snowfall in Mcleadganj (Source - India TV News)

Must know:

  • Winter temperatures: Can dip below -1℃, so pack warm.
  • Trek preparedness: Ensure you have the right gear and information for safe trekking.
  • Café culture: Enjoy the unique experience of reading and dining in Mcleodganj’s charming cafes.

It’s clear that each place offers its own unique blend of beauty, adventure, and tranquility. This winter season, let The Hosteller be your guide to these mesmerizing snowy landscapes. Our hostels provide not just a welcoming environment for your chilly adventures but also have plenty of winter activities you can take advantage of.

Snowy landscapes against blue sky in Himachal Pradesh

Snowy landscapes against blue sky in Himachal Pradesh

Lucky for you, you can now head over to our website and get some amazing offers and vouchers upon booking any of these locations. Simply complete your booking before the countdown and win a ton of coupons from India’s top brands. Embrace the magic of the season and make your next travel story one to remember with The Hosteller. 

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