Winter Road Trips in India You Should Take Once in a Lifetime

Knocking at the season, winter has started spreading its cloak in India. It’s time for magical winter road trips in India across the snowy roads. The jaw-dropping locales and lush green valleys turn fascinating in winters. The breathtaking beauty of these places makes you fall in love with the scenic vistas. The mountain peaks, placid lakes, and roads become white, which manifolds the charm of road trips. Road trips in winter are the best way to explore the majestic beauty of the wonderlands.

To embark on the journey of your lifetime, have a look at the best road trips in winter in India:

1. Narkanda to Sangla

Route: Narkanda – Rampur Bushahr – Jhakri – Wangtu – Karcham – Sangla

One of the lesser talked of road trips; Narkanda to Sangla is among the best bike trips in India in winter. Situated 65 km from Shimla, Narkanda is surrounded by lush green forests that are blanketed with fluffy snow in winter. Sangla is situated in Kinnaur Valley. It is nestled on the right bank of the Baspa River and offers magnificent views of Kinner Kailash peak.

This lesser-known route offers ethereal natural beauty and snow turns this route into a winter wonderland. The trees covered with glittery-white snow and perfect postcard views of the valley make the road trip memorable. The never-ending sight of snow-clad Himalayas leaves you captivated and mesmerized.

The roads are open throughout the year and the snow season starts in October.

  • Location: Himachal Pradesh
  • Distance Covered: 160 km
  • Travel Time: 4 hours and 50 minutes (approx.)
  • En Route Experiences: Sarahan houses a mighty Bhimakali Temple, which is among the 51 Shakti Peeths. The temple is located 10 km from Jeori
  • Road Conditions: From Narkanda to Jeori, the road is in good condition and it is average till Karcham. However, after crossing the dam in Karcham, the road becomes narrow and the condition of the road is bad.

Tips: 

  • The road closure is possible due to heavy snowfall, so always keep buffer days.
  • Do not trek alone to the snowbound village. Always travel with some local guide or villager.
  • Electricity can be cut off for a couple of days due to heavy snowfall. Always carry enough spare batteries and keep them warm as cells can also freeze to exhaust.

Suggested Read: Amazing Destinations In Himachal Pradesh For Unlimited Adventure

2. Guwahati to Tawang

Route: Guwahati – Nagaon – Tezpur – Balipara – Bhalukpong – Bomdila – Dirang – Tawang

Stretching over almost 500 km, Guwahati to Tawang is a less-traveled route. Renowned as the gateway to the Northeast, Guwahati is the capital of Assam and is sandwiched between the Brahmaputra River and Shillong Plateau. This road trip ends in Tawang, famous for Buddhist monasteries and jaw-dropping locales.

During the road trip by car, you will witness the long stretch of snow-covered mountains and panoramic landscapes in winter in India. Houses and trees coated with milky white snow make a beautiful contrast with the emerald valleys in Tawang.

The rugged roads, sharp bends, and snow-blanketed roads accompanied by the breathtaking scenery make the bike expedition memorable.

  • Location: Guwahati (Assam) and Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh)
  • Distance Covered: 447 km
  • Travel Time: 13 hours and 40 minutes (approx.)

En Route Experiences: 

  • Visit Nameri National Park in Bhalukpong and enjoy a wildlife safari. You can also indulge in adventure activities in the national park.
  • Explore Dirang Dzong and visit Khastung Gompa in Dirang.
  • Jaswant Garh 20 km from Sela Pass is a memorial of brave Indian soldiers who lost their lives in the Sino-Indian war in 1962.

Road Conditions: From Guwahati to Bhalukpong, the road is in good condition and you can enjoy smooth tarmac. Then you will encounter bumpy and dusty roads from Bhalukpong to Dirang. The road from Dirang to Sela Pass is a stretch of zig-zag road and quite difficult to navigate. Sela Pass covers with snow in winters and after this, driving will become more difficult as the road condition becomes bad.

Tips:

  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) for Indian nationals and Protected Area Permit (PAP) for foreign nationals are required to obtain for entering Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The bike or car should be in good condition during the winter road trips in India. Make sure your vehicle is ready to handle snow and ice. A car with high ground clearance is recommendable.
  • Keep yourself hydrated to prevent Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS).

3. Gangtok to Zuluk

Route: Gangtok – Tsomgo Lake – Nathula Pass – Baba Mandir – Kupup – Nathang Valley – Zuluk

Imagine the adventure of driving on the 96 loops, especially during winters!

The small hamlet of Zuluk is located at an altitude of 9400 feet on the rugged terrains of the lower Himalayas in East Sikkim. This is an offbeat destination in India, which is less crowded. Zuluk is famous for its beautiful lush green valleys and unique landscapes.

The loopy pathway of Gangtok to Zuluk becomes more magical in winter. It is among the best road trips in winter in India for adventure seekers. This scenic route is a special treat, which transforms into a picture-perfect in winters. The road trip presents you with incredible views of the snow-clad peaks while squeezing its way through the hairpin bends and bridges.

The blanket of snow transforms the route into a paradise. Snow-covered valleys, frozen lakes, and snowy mountain ranges make the road trip worthwhile.

  • Location: Sikkim
  • Distance Covered: 92 km
  • Travel Time: 3 hours and 45 minutes (approx.)

En Route Experiences: 

  • Tsomgo Lake is a beautiful lake near Nathula Pass, which is another popular tourist attraction. (A separate permit is required to visit Nathula Pass)
  • Visit the highest golf course in the world in Kupup.
  • Spend some quality time at Elephant Lake in Kupup.

Road Conditions: From Gangtok to Zuluk, the road condition is good. However, due to heavy snowfall, some stretches may get blocked.

Tips:

  • A permit is compulsory for Indian nationals and foreign nationals to enter Zuluk. Solo foreigners are not allowed to travel to Zuluk, so travel in groups.
  • Private vehicles are not allowed in Zuluk, so organize your trip with a recognized tour operator, registered with the Sikkim government.
  • Carry enough cash as there is no ATM in Zuluk and in addition to this, carry a BSNL sim. The mobile network of any other operator will not work.
  • Make sure you carry heavy jackets, woolen socks, gloves, a cap, and high shoes.

4. Sonamarg to Gulmarg

Route: Sonamarg – Gulmarg

A road trip from Sonamarg to Gulmarg in winter is among the best journeys in India. This scenic route will take you through the Srinagar – Ladakh highway and offers the enchanting beauty of the mighty Himalayas.

Located 80 km northeast of Srinagar, Sonamarg is enveloped by Himalayan glaciers. Gulmarg is a popular skiing destination.

The snow-covered lofty Himalayan peaks, frozen ravines, snow-laden fields, and forested valleys accompany you during the road trip. The charismatic views of snow-covered surroundings add charm to the road trip.

Do not forget to enjoy the gondola ride in Gulmarg, which is famous for one of the world’s highest cable cars. You can also indulge in skiing and snowboarding in Gulmarg.

  • Location: Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir)
  • Distance Covered: 124  km
  • Travel Time: 4 hours and 10 minutes (approx.)
  • En Route Experiences:Visit Hazratbal Shrine, enjoy boating in Dal Lake, and seeks blessings in Shankaracharya Temple in Srinagar.
  • Road Conditions: The roads are open from Sonamarg to Gulmarg throughout the year. Heavy snowfall may block the road sometimes, otherwise, the road is in good condition.

Tips:

  • Carry essential medicines and a first-aid kit.
  • Also, carry thermal inner wear and heavy woolens.
  • You don’t have to buy the snow boots as you can rent the skiing gear in Gulmarg itself.

Also Read:
Most Famous Places to Visit in Gulmarg
Top Things to Do in Kashmir

5. Chandigarh to Kasol

Route: Chandigarh – Kurali – Rupnagar – Kiratpur – Swarghat – Sundernagar – Mandi – Bhuntar – Kasol

Himachal Pradesh is a land of many wonders and Kasol is one of them. The journey from Chandigarh to Kasol is among the best bike rides in India to witness nature’s finest artwork. From unparalleled mountain vistas to stunning landscapes, the scenic route will give you the best winter road trip experience in India.

Kasol is situated in the Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh. In the winter season, the lush green mountains of the region covered with a thick blanket of snow offer a perfect backdrop for the road trip. The beauty of the route captivates both heart and soul as you take up a splendid ride.

  • Location: Chandigarh (Union Territory) and Kasol (Himachal Pradesh)
  • Distance Covered: 270  km
  • Travel Time: 8 hours and 20 minutes (approx.)

En Route Experiences: 

  • Visit Kiratpur Sahib in Kiratpur
  • Seeks blessing at Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara, which is a renowned Gurudwara.
  • Indulge in bird watching at Pandoh Dam near Mandi

Road Conditions: From Chandigarh to Kiratpur, the road condition is good and till Bhuntar, you will encounter bumpy and dusty roads. After Bhuntar, there is a one-way narrow highway and the road condition is average.

Tips:

  • Carry a good pair of hiking shoes.
  • Drive with caution and care on hills.
  • Stay warm and hydrated.

Without a doubt, winter is among the best seasons for solo bike trips in India as it offers opportunities to get glimpses of the unparalleled beauty of nature. So, plan your bike tour itinerary for the classic winter road trips India with your friends and experience the pure magic of the wonderlands in winter. Share your experience with us once you are back from the epic road journey.

Read More:
Best Destinations In Himachal Pradesh For Backpackers
Best Places to Visit in Himachal Pradesh
Offbeat Places to Visit in Himachal Pradesh
Most Visited Pilgrimage Sites in Himachal Pradesh

And if you know of any other Indian road trip, which is worth taking, share it with us in the comments below.

Check our specially crafted Winter Tour Packages in India. ]

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Tusharika

A travel enthusiast and emerging from an engineering background Tusharika is a travel writer by profession. Go through her penned down travel experiences on indianholiday.com