50 Best Places to Visit in India in Winter
Blessed with tropical climate, India is one of the popular holiday destinations in the world. To make the most of your time, the perfect weather conditions are a must as is the knowledge of the best places to visit in India in winter.
Winters in India is usually called the “Pink” of the Indian Seasons. To enjoy the amazing bliss, you just need to plan your holiday. The pleasant weather conditions of winter bring snow in the mountains, fogs in the plains, warm sunshine near beaches, and mysterious mists in the lush environs. Thus, making it quite an enthralling setup for vacation time.
We have compiled this exhaustive list of best places to visit in India in winter. It is at this time that most people, both local and foreigners, step-out for an enjoyable holiday in India. While the options reach out to numerous destinations across the length and breadth of this vast and beautiful country.
For folks all ready with their travel backpack, we enlist here some of the best places to visit in India in winter season:
Places to visit in North India in Winter
Jaipur- Royal City of Rajputana
Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan is formerly a royal province of Rajputana. The city of forts, places, temples, historical sites, colorful markets and royal pleasures. Located in the desert state, the temperatures in summers are very high, monsoons bring a little rain, while winters come with ideal weather. From mid- November to the end of March, the salubrious weather tempts people from all over the globe. This is the ideal time for tourists for some sightseeing and shopping. Although winters can be chilly in Jaipur especially the nights, the place is abuzz with travelers and guests.
Also, the Jaipur Literature Festival, the largest literary festival in Asia is held annually in January. It attracts a number of tourists from around the world. Besides, cultural and regal insignia, clothes and fabrics are extremely popular with the tourists flocking to Jaipur.
Things to do in Jaipur
- Explore the City Palace, residence of the royal family of Jaipur
- Visit the Amber Fort & Jaigarh Fort, Hill forts of Rajasthan listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Get amazed by the Jantar Mantar, ancient scientific instruments, a UNESCO World Heritage site
- Marvel at the cityscape from the ramparts of Nahargarh Fort along with its royal treasures
- Witness the Jal Mahal, floating amid azure lake
- Spend a cultural evening in Chokhi Dhani
- Pay a visit to Albert Hall Museums, Govind ji temple, etc.
- Go shopping in the thriving markets for traditional clothes, jewelry, handicrafts, souvenirs, etc.
- Savor the local Rajasthani gastronomy
Auli- Haven for Skiing
Auli is a beautiful hill town, nestled in the picturesque north Indian state of Uttarakhand. The pristine destination was relatively unknown, untill it captured the interest of skiers from all around the world. The ski-worthy slopes are the perfect winter adventure destination in India. Under the gaze of Nanda Devi, Mana Parvat, Kamet, Trishul Peak and other high peaks of Himalayas, the town is blissful and in winters the charm certainly rises. It is one of the favorite option for winter honeymoon destinations in India.
Auli is one of the best places to visit in India in winters as the place gets bountiful snowfall. From the start of November to the end of February there is heavy layer of snow. Also, the annual Ski Championship is held in January. The slopes, forest of oak and deodar drape themselves in a sheet of white. As a result of the most spectacular views, it becomes idyllic for romantic honeymoon, family holiday and thrilling adventures.
Things to do in Auli
- Board the Auli ropeway- Chair lift and Ski Lift, one of the highest in the world
- Try your hand at skiing, GMVN has short-term courses for learners
- Trekking to the beautiful trails
- Camping in the heart of nature
- Visit the Auli Lake, a manmade lake
Best places to stay: GMVN Tourist Bungalow, Clifftop Club, Auli Eco Nature Resorts, Himalayan Eco Lodges & Camps, etc.
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Fatehpur Sikri- UNESCO World Heritage City
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fatehpur Sikri was formerly the capital city of the Mughal Dynasty from 1571 to 1593. Though it had to be abandoned, it lovingly preserves its memories of glory and grandeur. The pride of the Mughals and ostentatious wealth is redolent in the nooks and crannies of the old city. The historical city of Mughals is known for impressive specimens of Mughal architecture. Explore the charm winters as it is the ideal season to make your plans.
Sightseeing is particularly amazing when the weather conditions are perfect. Savor the impressive style of architecture, designs, the minute details pavilions, arches, frescos, canopies, screens, etc. The chilly winds of the season and the mystic mists are perfect to get lost in the erstwhile days.
Things to do in Fatehpur Sikri
- Bow your heads at the shrine of Salim Chisti
- Marvel at the mighty Buland Darwaza guarding the entry to Fatehpur Sikri
- Explore the Panch Mahal, Jodha Bai Palace
- Offer prayers at the red-sandstone Jama Masjid
- Gawk at the incredible architecture, the fine skills of artistry and sculpting
Best places to stay: Being quite close to Agra, it is best to opt to stay in Agra city hotels. Popular options include Oberoi Amarvilas, Clarks Shiraz, ITC Mughal, Radisson Blu, Courtyard by Mariott, etc.
Shimla – Summer Capital of the British Raj
The capital city of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla has been one of the most popular Indian tourist destinations since centuries. Since the time when the British chose it as their summer capital until now, the town remains a favorite getaway in the hills. Those enthusiastic about winter sports can have a ball here during the winter months. The place experiences heavy snowfall around Christmas and New Year, which is the time when the winter tourism picks up in the city.
Visitors will doubtlessly love to enjoy adventure activities like skiing and ice-skating along with a wonderful ride on cable cars to witness the stunning natural beauty of the region. Do take an excursion to Kufri to enjoy adventure sport in snow. Snowfalls in Shimla are also something to experience and it is one of the factor that makes Shimla one of the best places for honeymoon in India in winter.
Things to do in Shimla
- Pray at the Jakhoo Temple and the Christ Church
- Go skiing, ice-skating, trekking, hiking and on nature walks
- Ride the Kalka-Shimla Toy Train, a World Heritage Site
- Walk around the Mall Road, eat, shop and enjoy.
- Explore the British architecture of Viceregal Lodge, Christ Church, etc.
- Plan day trips for Kufri, Chail, Mashobra, beautiful hill getaways close to Shimla.
- Dress up in traditional attire for pictures.
Best places to stay: Oberoi Cecil, Wildflower Hall, Fairmount Regency, Radisson Hotel, Woodville Palace, etc.
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Mussoorie – Queen of Hills in Uttarakhand
Often called the “Queen of Hills”, Mussoorie is located on the foothills of Garhwal Himalayan Ranges in Uttarakhand. Mussoorie is famous throughout as one of the most beautiful and scenic hill towns of India. Pervaded with raw natural beauty, one can even experience moving amid the clouds while taking a walk.
Winters brings out the sleepy romanticism of a hill town. Thus, making it the right getaway for a weekend, romantic honeymoon or family time. One can enjoy cool gush of Kempty falls or can take a walk along the Mall which stretches from Cloud’s End in the west to Rockville in the east or just sit around and soak in the refreshing sunshine for a memorable time off.
Things to do in Mussoorie
- Pay a visit to the Kempty Falls & other scenic waterfalls
- Boating in the scenic lakes
- Ropeway ride to Gun Hill
- Nature walks
- Visit temples & monasteries
- Watch Sunset at Cloud’s End
Varanasi – City of Immortality
Often hailed as one of the oldest living cities of the world, Varanasi is India’s city that has achieved immortality. Being a witness to the constant circle of life, it is an experience that helps you in all phases of life. With beliefs of pre-historic era, peacefully co-existing with the modernity of 21st century, a kind of mystical ambiance forever envelopes the place. Varanasi was once overflowing with spiritual and literary effervescence of India’s spirit.
It is still one of the holiest sites for Hindus. Its unique spiritual effect comes to fore especially during the winters when a cool with a divine like fog blankets the city in its embrace, giving it a heavenly consciousness. The various ghats, ashrams, temples and other sites look magical with pilgrims, chants, invocations and sounds to the delight of the visitors. Misty morning boat rides in Ganges and overall favorable weather for sightseeing and cultural excursions makes Varanasi one of the top winter holiday destinations in India.
Things to do in Varanasi:
- Bow your heads at Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
- Attend Ganga Aarti at Dashaswamedh Ghat.
- Boat ride early in the morning.
- Temple tours including Bharat Mata Temple, Annapurna Temple and many more.
- Taste the local street food
- Visit Sarnath for the bliss of Buddhism.
- Pay a visit to the weavers’ village to watch the creation of a masterpiece.
- Shop for Banarasi sarees, the local treasure.
Best places to stay: The Gateway Hotel Ganges, Hotel Hindustan International, Radisson Hotel, Hotel Clarks, Nadesar Palace, etc.
Dharamshala – India’s own slice of Tibet
Poised against panoramic views of the Dhauladhar range, Dharamshala is a refreshing and peaceful hill town in the district of Kangra and is one of the important tourist destinations in India. Surrounded by a thick swathe of pine and deodar forests, Dharamshala is the home of Tibetan exiles in India and hosts the headquarters of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Although pleasant throughout the year, the winters are biting cold but still enjoyable.
One can attend the Himalayan festival organized by the Tibetan Institute of performing arts during this time or pay a visit to St. John’s church or Temple Road along with Tibetan Children’s Park which are famous with the tourists. A winter trek to Triund to experience camping amidst carpet of snow makes Dharamshala an ideal destination for those looking for adventure.
Things to do in Dharamshala:
- Explore the rich Tibetan heritage
- Offer prayers at the Dalai Temple Complex
- Visit Namgyal, Gyuto Monastery, etc.
- Pray at Aghanjar Mahadev Temple
- Bask in the bliss of Norbulingka Institute
- Walk amid the beautiful HPCA Stadium, the highest stadium in India snuggled amid the Dhauladhar range
- Explore Kangra Valley and Fort
- Pay a visit to McLeodganj
Agra – City of Taj and Mughal Glory
Imbibed in the spirit of Mughal glory, Agra by the banks of River Yamuna is one of the best places to celebrate New Year. Though the time has gone by, the incredible culture, world-class architecture and various other historic treasures. The most prized gem, being the Taj Mahal. One of the wonders of the world, the white-marbled mausoleum was built by Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved Mumtaz Mahal. The impressive architecture and the beauty is a cherished sight no matter the number of times you have visited.
The ambiance of romance of Agra sets the idyllic backdrop for a winter honeymoon in India. Walk through the age-old monuments, bustling markets to grab a piece of the colors, fabrics, perfumes, accessories, etc. Planning a trip to Agra in winters is amazing, as it is the season when the restless bustle of sizzling summers transforms into a dreamy charm which evokes the bygone splendor of the city and also makes sightseeing smooth and comfortable.
Things to do in Agra:
- Marvel at the beautiful Taj Mahal
- Explore the Red Fort, a charming UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Walk through Akbar’s Mausoleum at Sikandra
- Pay a visit to the Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah
- Explore the vibrant markets for tokens to take home
- Savor the local delights
Best places to stay: Oberoi Amarvilas, Trident, Courtyard Marriott, Radisson Blu, ITC Mughal, Clarks Shiraz, etc.
Delhi – City Of Cities
The remarkable national capital of India, Delhi is a charming confluence of old and new. Whenever you visit, the city enamors your senses by its layers of cities, eras, sites and “Delhi’s Sardi (cold)” is famous throughout the world. The winters in Delhi are particularly cold with temperatures dropping to 4°C during the peak season. But this also the time when the spirit of Delhi is really enjoyable. Packed in cosy, warm attires, locals can be seen thronging to shops, markets, parks, eateries or various other joints to soak in the sweet, beaming weather.
A number occasions and festivals also take place during the fall like Dusshera and The Lalit Temple View Hotel with events like International Book fair and Surajkund Mela that keep the local and tourists engaged in wonderful activities. With over 1000s of monuments to visit and so many gardens, museums and shopping to indulge in, it is not surprising that Delhi features as one of the top places to visit in North India in winter.
Things to do in Delhi:
- Sightseeing tour of Mughal Days- Red Fort & Humayun’s Tomb (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Jama Masjid, and Chandni Chowk.
- Walk through Lutyen’s Delhi-including Rashtrapati Bhawan, Parliament House, India Gate, Jan Path, Raj Path, etc.
- Explore the ruins at Qutub Complex, listed as a UNESCO World heritage Site.
- Pay a visit to Purana Qila, Lodhi Gardens, Bangla Sahib, Birla Temple and many more.
- Marvel at the incredible modern architecture of Akshardham and Lotus Temples.
- Go shopping at the popular hubs of the city.
- Savor the taste of mouthwatering cuisines.
Best places to stay: The Imperial Hotel, Oberoi Hotel, Taj Mahal Hotel, Shangri La Hotel, Sheraton, JW Marriott, etc.
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Khajuraho- Masterpiece of Erotic Sculptures
Replete with aesthetic sculptures, Khajuraho complex is an exotic 12th century group of Hindu and Jain temples. Listed as a UNESO World Heritage Site, the city of the Chandela Rajputs is a living treasure of stunning art including the famous erotic sculptures. Showcased on the exteriors of the temples, in intricate presentations, it attracts a number of tourists all year-long from around the globe to get the glimpse of India’s rich medieval past.
However, the best time to visit Khajuraho is during the winters when the weather is cool and there is a relative freedom from summer dust and rains. Visitors can enjoy exploring the prosperous heritage of Khajuraho soaking in the warm winter sun as also they can catch the winter dance festival when most of the traditional dance forms from all over India are exhibited.
Things to do in Khajuraho:
- Marvel at stunning Nagara-style architecture of the ancient temples.
- Pray at Matangeshwar Temple, the only temple in the Group of Monuments that till date is worshipped.
- Attend the Sound and Light Show
- Witness a feast of classical Indian Dances at the Khajuraho Dance Festival.
- Pay a visit to State Museum of Tribal and Folk Art
- Day trip to Orchha, Panna National Park, etc.
Best places to stay: Hill Country Holiday Resort Lovedale, Ramada Hotel, Taj Chandela Hotel, Hotel Usha Bundela, Hotel Clarks, etc.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary- Haven on Birds from over the world
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is home to some of the most exotic bird species in India as well as other mammals. Amazingly, of the total birds that have been observed here, nearly 230 are resident and rest are migratory that travel to this place from distant lands during the winter season for their wintering. Therefore, a large number of species are available during this time like geese, ducks, waders, pelicans, coots, Greater Spotted Eagle and Imperial Eagle etc.
One can also observe large Indian Pythons lazing around. Some time back even The Great Siberian Crane was observed which is extinct now. The place is frequently visited by bird enthusiasts, ornithologists, tourists and locals (especially children) for a remarkable adventure. From the month of November till March is the time when the migratory as well as domestic birds gather here for wintering; the reason why we have included this national park in India as one of the best places to visit in India in winter.
Things to do in Bharatpur:
- Bird watching, do carry your binoculars for close views
- Nature walks with a guide to point towards the right spots
- Pay a visit to Lohagarh Fort
- Try your hand at photography, capturing scenes of the natural world.
- Explore the majestic Deeg Place
Best places to stay: Chandra Mahal, Birders Inn, Hotel Laxmi Vilas Palace, Hotel Kadamb Kunj, Swaraj Resorts, etc.
Shekhawati- Town of Fascinating Havelis
Interspersed with a number of painted havelis and thousands of exquisitely colorful murals, Shekhawati exudes a mystical appeal of a rich and vibrant culture. With an intricate artwork on the walls depicting a mosaic of mythology, religion, local customs and mannerisms and enmeshed with renderings of modern day events, it furnishes a contemporary touch to their creativity.
Located in the hot and arid region of Rajasthan, winter is the most preferred time for tourists to visit and appreciate the charm of the place along with enjoying a number local programs and festivals organized during this period.
Things to do in Shekhawati:
- Marvel at the frescoes
- Walk through the abandoned havelis
- Pay a visit to Mandawa Fort, Laxmangarh Fort, etc.
- Explore the nook and corners of Nawalgarh.
- Take blessings at Rani Sati Mandir, Laxminarayan Temple, Digambar Jain Temple, Raghunathji Temple, etc.
- Explore desert wilderness of Tal Chappar Sanctuary.
- Stay at one of the havelis transformed into heritage hotels.
- Go horseback riding.
Best places to stay: Mukundgarh Fort, Ramgarh Fresco, Hotel Heritage Mandawa, Castle Pachar, The Desert Resort, etc.
Places to visit in South India in Winter
Ooty- Queen of Nilgiris
Snuggled amid picturesque Nilgiris, Ooty is a beautiful hill station in South India. Surrounded by a thick overlay of eucalyptus, coniferous, pine and wattle trees along with numerous coffee and tea plantations, the hill town is the epitome of natural rejuvenation. It has been loved since the days of the British Raj when they settled in the area. Their legacy exists in the form of Stone House and St. Stephen’s Church. Moreover, the beauty and bliss takes you to a different world, a holiday in winter will do wonders to your spirit.
There is a consistent pouring of tourists throughout the year, however spending the winter months in Ooty has its special charm. Enveloped in dreamy mist, the town is particularly enjoyable and makes its mark as one of the top places to visit in South India in winter. Think of a romantic honeymoon, family time or a break from schedules and Ooty offers memories of a lifetime.
Things to do in Ooty:
- Explore coffee & tea plantations, botanical gardens.
- Ride the Nilgiri Mountain Railways– listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Visit Avalanche Lake for trekking and camping.
- Indulge in a golf session at Golf Course.
- Pay a visit to Emerald Lake, Kamaraj Sagar Dam, etc.
- Shop for delicious chocolates, made at home.
- Enjoy spectacular views of Nilgiris from Doddabetta Peak.
Best places to stay: Hotel Savoy, Hill Country Holiday Resort Lovedale, Hotel Sinclairs Retreat, Fernhill Sterling Holiday Resort, The Monarch, etc.
Wayanad- Lush Bliss of the Western Ghats
Lying curled in the embrace of Western Ghats, Wayanad is one of the most beautiful places in India. Located at the height of 700 to 2100 m, the town is abounding with gorgeous views of nature. This scenic plateau has a charm of an isolated romantic spot, lush green cover and exotic wildlife. This small but fascinating hill town is home to hidden treasures, trails of jungles, treehouses and aboriginal tribe.
Most tourists prefer to visit Wayanad in winters when the weather is cool. As exploring the exquisite natural wonders in the season becomes quite an enjoyable experience. This peaceful town is a perfect destination for a family vacation or a romantic vacation for a couple.
Things to do in Wayanad:
- Trek to Chembra Peak, highest point of the town with a halt at the heart-shaped lake.
- Visit Edakkal Cave, pre-historic caves.
- Boating at Pookode Lake
- Pay a visit to Kuruva Islands
- Thrilling adventures at Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
- Pray at Thirunelli Temple, Jain Temple, etc.
- Learn about tribal legacy at Wayanad Heritage Museum.
Best places to stay: Vythiri Village, The Windflower Resorts & Spa, Wayanad Silver Woods, Hill Tree Inn, Parison Plantation, etc.
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Munnar- Divine Bliss of God’s Own Country
Often called the paradise for nature lovers, Munnar is the gem of South India. With a profusion of scenic appeal, any visit to Kerala is complete only after a visit to this place. The beauty and charm of Munnar is the reason why it is listed among the best honeymoon destinations in India.
Explore expanses of tea plantations, misty surroundings, waterfalls and other exotic flora and fauna. It is truly a fabulous vacation spot. This is especially true for winters when a dreamy mist pervades. In fact, the bliss of the pleasant winters give seasons to plan your holiday with family and loved one.
Things to do in Munnar:
- Walk amid lush Tea gardens
- Visit the Eravikulam National Park
- Go trekking to Anamudi peak
- Spot Nilgiri Tahr in their natural habitat
- Go boating at Mattupetty Dam
- Click pictures in loving poses at Photo Point
- Stay at luxury resorts
- Taste homemade chocolates
Best places to stay: Club Mahindra Lakeview Resort, Tea County, Camelot Resort, The Tall Trees, Cloud 9 Resort, etc.
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Coorg- Therapy for Soul with divine coffee
Another of the beautiful hill towns in Western Ghats, Coorg is one of the best places for tourists in Karnataka. Rich with stunning natural beauty and a diversified biota, Coorg is a dream holiday spot. Landscape of coffee plantations as far as the eye can see, soothes your senses like no other. Owing to rolling hills, clouds touching the hill tops and mists in the valley, the town got titled ‘Scotland of India’.
Visitors can not only enjoy the calming views of the surrounding green hills and a raw landscape but also take on a number of exciting and adventurous outdoor activities such as trekking, rafting, angling, rock climbing etc. or participate in colorful and unique local festivals Keil Poldu, (weapon worshipping), Cauvery Shankaramana( return of goddess of river) and Huttari (harvest). Winters are particularly stimulating and in March the valley appears with white flowers in bloom.
Things to do in Coorg:
- Visit Dubare Elephant orphanage to spend time with the lovely beasts
- Pay a visit to Bylakkupe
- Jeep safari through Mandalpatti
- Visit the Abbey and Iruppu Falls
- Go trekking through the lush landscapes
Best places to stay: Club Mahindra Kodagu Valley, The Orange County Resort, Vivanta by Taj- Madikeri, The Windflower Resorts & Spa, The Camp, etc.
Lakshadweep Islands-Heaven Unexplored
Lakshadweep Islands like its name means an archipelago of one lakh islands. One of the most beautiful places in India, the charming islands in the Laccadive Sea offer a taste of heaven awaited by travelers. Blessed with bounteous marine life, it is a treasure of coral life, neat and pristine sandy beaches, uncontaminated air and clear waters. Each island unique in its own way, promotes relaxation, various water sporting activities, and enjoying the natural bliss.
The tropical weather conditions make it one of the most loved winter holiday destinations in India. It can be a lot of fun, to bask in seclusion, get a glowing sun tan, try a hand at exploring the deep sea with snorkeling or scuba diving and enjoy an escape from cities and daily schedules. Ideal for a romantic honeymoon, a fun time with family, or time spent with your own thoughts, beat the winter blues in the island where the sun never stops shining.
Things to do in Lakshadweep:
- Swimming, scuba diving and snorkeling
- Fishing in the sea at Minicoy Island
- Pay a visit to Bangaram Islands
- Take a trip to Kavaratti island
- Discover the colorful corals of Kalpeni Islands
- Go yacht sailing, parasailing or cycling
Best places to stay: Kadmat Beach Resort, Agatti Island Beach Resort, Minicoy Island Resort, Coral Paradise Beach Resort, etc.
Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary- Haven of the wildlife
Once being the exclusive hunting ground for the rulers of Mysore, Kabini was declared a national park in the year 1988. It is known throughout the world for its wealthy fauna of elephants, bisons, tigers and leopards, panthers in addition to a number of species of reptiles and rare and endangered birds etc.
Blessed with a rich diversity of forest cover including Kabini River, waterfalls and lush green valleys. The period between October and May is the best time to visit the Sanctuary as a large number of animals gather near the pools as also the place becomes a wintering ground for migratory birds.
Things to do in Kabini:
- Jungle safari taking in the wilderness
- Coracle ride down the river
- Early morning Boat safari to watch wildlife charging up for the day
- Bird watching, trekking and hiking
- Elephant rides
Best places to stay: Orange County, The Peepal Tree, Red Earth, Waterwood Lodges and Resorts, Kabini River Lodge, etc.
Kovalam- Quintessential Beach Charm
A former fishing village turned a stunning resort, Kovalam today stands as the most sought after beach destinations for locals and foreigners alike. The beach town in Kerala is an hour’s drive away from the capital and is a much loved getaway.
Soft silvery sands, turquoise sea water, swaying groves of palms and coconuts makes a perfect setting for a romantic honeymoon, a relaxed vacation or some soul-seeking. Although pleasant for most of the year, winters at Kovalam are especially soothing. Enjoy basking in the sun, taking a dip in the pleasing waters, indulging in pampering Ayurveda and spa treatments. Delightful cuisine including the fresh catch of the sea, thrilling watersports and the lavish accommodation are on offer. No wonder Kovalam features as one of the top tourist places to visit in South India in winter.
Things to do in Kovalam:
- Bask in the sun laying on golden sands.
- Go swimming in the pleasant waters.
- Indulge in thrilling watersports.
- Get an Ayurvedic massage or better a full Ayurveda treatment at one of the centers.
- Go sightseeing in Trivandrum.
- Take a day trip to the pristine backwaters at Poovar.
Best places to stay: Uday Samudra Beach Hotel, The Leela, Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra, Taj Green Cove Resort & Spa, Vivanta by Taj, etc.
Pondicherry- Taste of French Flavours
Being a French Colony well up to 1954, Pondicherry has a magnetizing feel of France. Lovingly called Pondy, the place still suggests of a continuous French legacy with a plenty of French food, Beer, cafes, architecture and sites. A major attraction is the world-renowned Aurobindo Ashram with an incredible tranquility that attracts spiritual seekers from around the world.
In addition, Pondy has a charm in contrast to the busy and bustling South Indian cities that is simply irresistible. While the weather is always enjoyable in Pondicherry, winters are blissful. Warm and cozy, travelers can enjoy sightseeing along with other exciting action like water sports and other beach activities for a memorable holiday. Listed among the best winter honeymoon destinations in India, Pondicherry creates memories of a lifetime.
Things to do in Pondicherry:
- Stroll along the Promenade Beach
- Take a boat ride to the Paradise Beach Island from Chunnambar Boat House
- Go bird watching at Ousteri Lake
- Discover colorful corals with scuba diving
- Try a hand at watersport activities
- Go on a cycling tour exploring the colonial charms
- Bask in the sun at seashores
Best places to stay: The Promenade Hotel, Ocean Spray, The Windflower Resort and Spa, Club Mahindra, Hotel Accord, etc.
Chennai- Merge of Old and New
One of the four metropolitan cities of India and the capital of Tamil Nadu, we come to Chennai. The humming conglomerate of people, buildings, sounds, smells, foods and what not. Overcrowded and Overwhelming with life, Chennai is a mishmash of every color pooled in a bewildering chaos. Still picking the individual threads out of this intricate fabric will bring visitors to some fine spots. Check out masterpieces like the British Fort St. George, the train stations of Egmore and Central, Nungambakkam, Alwarpet, T.Nagar and Velachary. Also, take a break at the scenic Marina Beach.
Tourists can enjoy shopping, eating, drinking, exploring or mixing with the locals who are overly enthusiastic about their city. Winter is preferred over any other season for an expedition to the city. With its unique harmony in the chaos, the city will definitely find a place in one’s heart.
Things to do in Chennai:
- Enjoy an outing to Marina Beach, Elliott Beach, etc.
- Bow your heads at Kapaleshwar Temple and other holy shrines
- Sightseeing colonial sights
- Explore treasures hidden in the museums
- Pray at the charming churches
- Savor the mouthwatering taste of South Indian food
- Go shopping for handicrafts and beautiful silk sarees
Best places to stay: Accord Metropolitan Hotel, Radisson Blu Hotel, Crowne Plaza, Vivanta by Taj, Taj Coromandel, etc.
Mahabalipuram – Tribute to the Artistic Creations of the Pallavas
Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram was once a very important sea port during the period of Periplus and Ptolemy (1st century AD and AD 140 respectively). Later on, during the rule of the Pallavas, the town rose to the zenith of glory. In this period there were several mesmerizing monuments built, which are named as Group of Monuments of Mahabalipuram, which are named among UNESCO world heritage sites in India.
The artistic excellence, incredible architecture, fascinating mystery, make these monuments beyond comparison. The charm is enhanced in the winters, as the town is settled on the Coromandel Coast, enjoying genial weather, it makes for a wonderful place to visit in India in February- March as it is also the occasion of the Mamallapuram Dance Festival. Winters have a special charm in Mamallapuram when the sightseeing is relatively easy and the weather is genial, thus making it easy for planning other outings and adventurous activities.
Things to do in Mahabalipuram:
- Marvel at the Shore Temple
- Gawk at the intricate carvings of Pancha Rathas
- Descent of the Ganges
- Observe the bizzare position of Krishna’s Butterball
- Be in awe of Arjuna’s Penance
- Learn about the Marine World at the Shell Museum
Best places to stay: Radisson Resort Temple Bay, Vivanta By Taj- Fisherman’s Cove Resort, Ideal Beach Resort, Mamalla Heritage, Golden Sun Hotel, etc.
Kumarakom- Bask in the Bliss of Backwaters
Kerala’s most beautiful destinations, the backwaters of Kumarakom are bliss incarnate. Bask in the world of waters as far as the eye can see. The town is laid-back though abundantly blessed with luxurious diversity of nature. Make your winter holiday in India unforgettable as you indulge in exotic boating, fishing and sightseeing experience. Honeymoon in Kumarakom is counted among the best experiences of winter in India.
One of the places to be listed as must-see destinations by National Geographic, Kumarakom is home to an exotic bird sanctuary. In fact, it is a blessed wintering place to many species of migratory birds. Besides, travelling in houseboats offers a heavenly experience. channeling through backwaters and the lush greenery of the place along with a striking local way of life. If you are making plans for a holiday in Kumarakom, December is the best month.
Things to do in Kumarakom:
- Ride the houseboat in the scenic backwaters
- Bird watching at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
- Pamper yourself with healing Ayurveda therapies
- Stroll along the Vembanad Lake
- Cheer for the power-packed Nehru Boat Race
Best places to stay: Kumarakom Lake Resort, Coconut Lagoon, Vivanta by Taj, The Zuri Resort & Spa, Ayurtheeram Ayurvedic Resort, etc.
Places to Visit in West India in Winter
Rann of Kutch
Bearing the unique distinction of being the world’s largest salt marshland, the Great Rann of Kutch (as it is also called) is an expansive stretch of land situated from the great Thar Desert in Gujarat to Sindh in Pakistan. The Rann remains inundated with water during the monsoons and transforms into a stunningly beautiful white land in winters bringing out its majestically shimmering face when seen in the moonlight. One of the special attractions at the Rann is the famous Rann Utsav, organized by the government.
The place being an average township is a haven of traditional crafts from wood-carving, tie and dye, embroidery, pottery, metal crafts etc. The best time to visit the Rann is in the winters when, apart from a pleasing weather, is the time for Rann Utsav. Moreover, to enjoy the best views, time your visit during the full moon for a magical experience.
Famous white sand beaches, carefree culture and multi-flavored delicacies is what defines Goa. A former Portuguese colony, the legacy of the colonial era can be seen everywhere from Gothic Churches to monuments and other relics. A subtle mood of festivity pervades all around. Tourists can enjoy lazy afternoons chilling at long, ample beaches or soak in the gaiety ambience in the evening and night. Even then there is much left to be explored.
The most favorable time to visit Goa is during the December-March months especially for Christmas and New Year and the Goa Carnival when the state is enlivened with jubilation and merriment. It comes as no surprise that Goa features not only as one of the top warm weather destinations in India but as one of the top places to visit in India in winter with the hotels especially the 4 star, 5 star and luxurious one sold out well in advance. In fact Goa is one of those rare places in India where hotel package prices are actually high during the Christmas and New Year period.
A verdant Oasis in the midst of desert, the only hill station of Rajasthan, Mount Abu is a cool and soothing destination surrounded by lush green hillocks. Being perched on the highest peak in the Aravali range, the place has a number of waterfalls, lakes, retreats and forests with a rich diversity of flora and fauna. With its salubrious weather, the place is very popular with tourists both national and international, who come here to savor the panoramic views and to visit the famous marble constructed Dilwara Jain Temple. According to popular opinion of the tourists, the ideal time to visit the place is from December to June, when they can find agreeable climate as well as relish in the famous camel festival which takes place in January.
A relatively unknown place through much of the historical period until made the capital of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, when it became focal of construction activity of refined monuments, though only for a short period. One of the biggest draw is the Bibi ka Maqbara, tomb of Emperor’s wife often called the Taj Mahal replica.
However, the central attraction persist to be the exotic caves of Ajanta and Ellora with their beautiful sculptures and figures and with its architectural, historical and archeological significance is also famous amongst historians and scholars. For an easy and carefree sightseeing the months between October and March is best to arrive with its pleasant and cool environment for a comfortable and accessible navigation around.
Exhibiting the rich and colorful Rajasthani culture, the city of Jaisalmer, with its golden sand, exotic havelis and a giant, imposing fort standing in the middle is a sight to behold. The fort, still inhabited by the descendants of original citizens, offers a wealthy tapestry of hues, traditions, customs, attires and cultivation.
Referred to as Golden City, the best time to visit Jaisalmer is during the winters when tourist can expect a safe escape from the dreaded heat of Rajasthan. However, winters can be chilly too, so it’s advisable to carry woolens and pullovers during this time.
The remarkable city with elegant attractions, Ahmedabad is a blend of old traditional world with a new age culture and modernity. Ahmedabad has sprawling bazars and other residential areas of the old city which are truly mesmerizing. The city has a number historical buildings with nearly 50 mosques and Muslim tombs in addition to many Hindu and Jain temples.
While a trek along historical and old city quarters is a rewarding experience, its main drawback is its pollution. Nevertheless, the city enjoys a favorable popularity with the tourists especially the Sabarmati Ashram for all the Gandhi enthusiasts.
Located on the eastern side of the Great Indian Desert, the erstwhile princely state of Jodhpur is a rich cultural city illustrative of a traditional past. Popularly known as the “The Blue City”, Jodhpur is widely recognized with the massive and imposing Mehrangarh fort standing in all its magnificence. The most curious spectacle of the city is the number of houses painted with blue color dotting the old town, which though initially played a caste specific function nevertheless became a general fashion.
Being situated near the desert, the Jodhpur is generally hot throughout the year, thus winters are most suitable to visit the city. Moreover, with Dusherra and Diwali, celebrated with a great fervor, the pleasant weather inspires various other sports like polo matches with the participation of many international players. In addition, The Marwar Festival and The Rajasthan International Folk Festival are popular events that attracts a large number travelers from around the globe.
The historic port city of Mumbai is the hub of India’s capital and financial markets along with a major center of business and entertainment activity. Originally a set of seven islands with various fishing colonies, Mumbai rapidly developed into a major commercial center after India’s independence. Along with the home to the world-famous Bollywood industry, the city boasts of many other popular and iconic sites including a number of colonial style buildings.
Mumbai typically has a warm and humid weather throughout the year with heavy rainfalls during monsoons. Thus, to move around for sightseeing winters are deemed to be the best time when the climate is genial and air cool and pleasant, the reason Mumbai features as one of the top places to visit in west India in winter.
Lying 100 odd kilometers south-east of Ahmedabad, Vadodara or formerly Baroda is a city primarily famous for its proximity to the World Heritage Sites of Pavagadh and Champaner. Considered to be the cultural capital of Gujarat, Vadodara is impressively cosmopolitan with different communities representing India mixing and participating freely. The city has some beautiful parks, palaces, museums and temples which are worth a sight.
Although any place has different charms during different seasons, it is best to visit Vadodara during winters since summer months can exceedingly hot making it difficult to move around under sweltering sun. Moreover, with the main festivals of India starting around October, every Indian city erupts in different colors and celebration, thus adding another reason to visit the place during the latter months of the year.
One of the most romantic places in India, Udaipur is a dreamy world of lakes, palaces, temples, streets, havelis, shades and cuisines. Ever so vivid and cultured, the legacy of tradition can be seen upon its different streets, squares, markets, homes and mannerisms of the people. The city has lot to offer slowly taking in the tourist in its cultural ambience and furnishing its unique feel through its different cuisines.
Winter months are ideal time to visit Udaipur since summers in Rajasthan are scorching hot. The cool atmosphere lets comfortable sightseeing in addition to enjoying the treat of the colorful Mewar festival that happens to take place around March. Thus the span between October and March is the best time to visit the city.
One of the most important sites for Jains, the Chaumukha Temple at Ranakpur is an architectural masterpiece with magnificently intricate carvings on the pillars, domes and halls. With a unique calming atmosphere, the temple has a stupendous proportion of space and harmony, bringing in a sense of spiritual consistency with the architecture. The site is frequently visited by devotees and tourists alike due to its good connectivity with the nearby town of Udaipur. The ideal time for exploring the architectural marvel of the temple is during the months of October onward when the weather is favorable and cool.
Places to Visit in North East India in Winter
One of the few natural gems with an exclusive colonial charm of its own, Shillong is the capital of the fascinating but small Indian state of Meghalaya (literally the abode of clouds). Shillong is home to a number of beautiful waterfalls and lakes and museums in addition to abundant greenery swathing all around.
The state receives a record rainfall every year, thus it is wet most of the time of the year. Barring the few chilling days, the weather during the winters is cool and pleasant most of the time. It is also the time when one can expect a moderate relief from rains, thus making it the best time to visit the Shillong city.
Kaziranga National Park
An exciting and breathtaking site, Kaziranga has the unique distinction of enjoying the highest density of tigers amongst the protected areas of the world as well as being home to about two-thirds of world’s great one horned rhinoceroses. Spread in a wide expanse of 430 sq. km., the Park is situated along the river Brahamputra in the North and Karbi Anglong hills in the south.
Trippers can have an adventurous expedition through different safaris organized by the Park including Jeep, Elephant and Boat rides. Trekking is the most popular with the tourists when they get to explore the rough and raw wildlife on foot. In contrast to the rest of the year, when the weather is hot and humid, the period from November to April is the best time to visit the place when the traveler will find weather pleasant with the maximum probability to sight animals.
Noted to be one of the most enchanting places in India, Tawang is a forbidden, mystical land of cinemascope beauty and is the seat of 400 years old Tawang Monastery. Located at the height of more than 10,000 ft. Tawang is one of the least populated regions and is least explored, thus concealing a lot of treasures and scope for adventure.
Leaving aside the peak months when the region experiences heavy snowfall, weather is most enjoyable during the months of March and onwards till October. This is also the time when locals celebrate the famous Monpas and Losar festivals thus providing an opportunity for the tourists to peek into local culture of the place.
Draped in the cover of clouds, nestling beautifully in the cover of Himalayas is this tiny pearl and capital of the state of Sikkim. One of the important administrative centers and tourist destination, Gangtok is a multicultural, cosmopolitan hub that has a range of all possible amenities for visitors including multiple cuisines, shopping complex, cyber cafes, pool parlors and night clubs. Gangtok enjoys strict police administration and outside travelers are enthusiastically welcomed.
A great place to chill out throughout the year though in winters the ambience becomes cool and refreshing. Nathula Pass (Indo-China border) along with Changu Lake, Jakhri Falls, Gurudongmar Lake etc. are some of the exciting and popular tourist destinations. With so many things to do, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Gangtok features as one of the best places to visit in North East India in winter.
Often christened to be India’s wild east, Nagaland is a place of exotic raw environment with stunning hills and valleys, picturesque landscapes, bountiful flora and vibrant sun rises and sunsets. The state of Nagaland can still be called to exist in its primeval beauty with about 16 aboriginal and distinct tribes and sub-tribes are a part of common society.
People of Nagaland are of Indo-Mongloid stock, extremely fond of music and are very hospitable. Being blessed with a favorable climate throughout the year, Nagaland is accessible at all times, although winters are favored more over any other seasons due to homey weather and a safe escape from torrential rains.
Perched at a height of 4290 ft. above sea level, Cherapunji is India’s entry into the record books to be the second wettest place on Earth receiving an astounding 11,500 plus mm of rainfall every year. But heavy rains notwithstanding, the place draws a number of tourists around the year for its lush greenery and a number of other attractions.
The place is popular for its stunning waterfalls, famous root live bridges as well as activities such as trekking, rock climbing, rafting etc. Due to its obvious wet climate, the most popular season for tourist arrival remains to be winters when weather seems to open a bit, giving way to different activities and cultural hustle and bustle in the city.
The capital city of India’s remote and distant North-Eastern state of Manipur, Imphal is a scenic, panoramic site surrounded by lush green forests, hills and sprawling grasslands. The place is refreshingly salubrious because of its location, meagre population and green cover.
Thus because of its nearly non-explored territory, it is becoming popular with the tourists. The prime time to visit Imphal is during the months of October to March, when the region has a relatively dry spell and atmosphere cool and pleasant.
Places to visit in East India
Regarded as the city of Joys, Kolkata is a place of unique contrasts. One will be bewildered to find clubs, fine restaurants, malls and golf courses sharing space with stark poverty and urban slums. Nevertheless, a distinct charm about the city hooks the visitors to it with its dynamic culture, colonial ambience and unforgettable Bengali cuisine which the locals love to treat their guests with, with a welcoming hospitality.
Kolkata has relatively hotter and humid season for most of the part of the year except the winters when the weather is mild to cool. This is also the time when the city erupts in euphoric festivities dedicated to the Goddess and one can feel the energy of the city. Respite from heat and humidity and with so many cultural excursions to undertake in the ‘City of Joy’, it is no wonder Kolkata is one of the top places to visit in East India in winter.
Pervaded with refreshing views, sitting against the imposing Khangchendzonga and enveloped in a blanket of tea plantations, Darjeeling is the quintessential Indian hill town with a mystic charm. Presumed to be the jewel of Bengal, the visitors can look for many other captivating attractions like bustling streets, Buddhist monasteries and local zoo which hosts species like snow leopard, red panda etc. that makes for an exciting expedition. Travelers usually find the months from October to March as the most suitable time to visit the place when weather is quite clear and views are clear and crisp to a visitor’s delight.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
A fascinating getaway for an exotic vacation, Andaman Islands packs some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches with opaque emerald waters and surrounded by thicket of mangroves and primordial jungles. Located distantly from the mainland, the place is rich in fascinating marine life and wonderful panoramic views guaranteeing a fabulous vacation.
The islands have a tropical climate with moderate to heavy rainfall during the monsoons hindering tourism during this time. Thus, most visitors prefer winters when the ambience is cool and pleasurable and skies mostly clear of rainy clouds, thus enabling travelers to enjoy a number of water sports like scuba diving, snorkeling, Island camping and trekking etc.
With an amazing backdrop of snow clad hills, this little town, overlooking the giant river Teesta, is an elegant place of Buddhist monasteries, nursery industry and charming colonial architecture. Kalimpong boasts of an amazing tradition of hospitality, mixed with an incredible assimilation of different races, cultures and religions.
An important educational center, Kalimpong changed hands between Bhutan and India over the course of history before finally coming into the hands of India at independence. The place enjoys maximum inflow of tourists between February to May when the skies are bright, weather moderate to mild cold with little or no rainfall.
The town of Puri, one of the major sites for Hindu Pilgrimage is a magnet for visitors from around the globe and not only seekers and devotees. The place has been mentioned in scriptures to be abode of Lord Vishnu as Jagannath, thus the temple of Lord Jagannath is the central attraction. Besides this Puri has a long beach that is ideal for strolling and lazing around and enjoying the local spirit.
The town hosts the world-famous Jagannath Rath Yatra(Car Festival) in monsoons when the presiding Lord along with His principal relations are drawn in giant chariots through the major thoroughfares of the town. Although this being a major allure, the visitors who want an escape from maddening crowd at this time should visit Puri during the closing months, when the air is cooler and weather is pleasant. The spiritually charged atmosphere along with refreshing climate is a major source of soul-upliftment.
The exact spot where Buddha attained enlightenment, now marked by a temple, Bodhgaya is the Mecca of all the Buddhists from over the globe. Amidst the serene ambience of peace and tranquility, visitors find a unique experience of devotion, reverence and meditation. In addition to the Mahabodhi complex, there are a number of monasteries and temples.
In between the months of November to March, a number of Tibetan Pilgrims visit Bodhgaya from Dharamshala, and to catch hold of their sight is worth a visit. Also, His Holiness The Dalai Lama often visits from December to January. Therefore the ideal time to visit Bodhgaya is the cold season. Therefore, the city is named as one of the top places to visit in India in winter.
The capital city of the Eastern Indian State of Odisha, the city is dotting with some of the finest monuments and hundreds of temples of ancient era. The place is believed to be the erstwhile capital of the kingdom of Kalinga. When Ashoka conquered the city, he erected a number of edict rocks to commemorate his victory. Now with its modern infrastructure and state of art facilities, there is a unique fusion of old and new.
The city with its modernity bustling with an historical envelop makes a memorable place to visit for the tourists. Although all seasons are suitable to visit Bhubaneshwar, winters capture the beauty. In addition, it is the best time to visit this place to enjoy its classical connections.
Extending over 2,585 sq. km, Sundarbans is world’s largest delta and mangrove forests. Settled on the merger of three rivers- The Ganges, The Brahmaputra and Meghna( Bhramputra called Meghna in Bangladesh). Apart from this, it is home to some of the most exotic species of wildlife. The most spotted ones include spotted dear, kingfishers, monkeys, eagles etc. and the world’s only home to royal Bengal tiger. The place offers exciting adventurous opportunities for visitors including boat rides. Tourists can visit Sunderbans from October to March, when the weather is quite pleasing. The weather takes a break from being hot and humid, in fact quite being pleasurable.
Konark Sun Temple
One of the wonders of architectural excellence, the Konark Sun Temple is an exotic medieval temple. Located at a distance of 32 km from Puri, it is an UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Being famous from historical and spiritual point of view, the temple is an important tourist destination in India. The building is designed in the form of a chariot, pulled by 7 horses. The 24 wheels, 10 m in diameter are especiallly a marvel. Apart from this, the city is also famous for its number of festivals and fairs. The most importnat being The Konark Dance Festival. The summers at Konark are extremely hot, thus winters are most suitable to visit the place.
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