Last Updated: November 14, 2019 Swairik Das
Like the aureate dim in the dawning sky, the outside world has from time immemorial been irresistibly attracted to India, the exotic land of history, wilderness, spiritualism and naturalism. Timeless cities, temples, ancient Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist Kingdoms reveal the unrehearsed intimacy. With such natural and cultural diversities up for grabs, your holiday to North India during the winter will excite you footing up the North Indian hospitality, spicy cuisines, marvelling handicrafts and celestial hamlets. Travelling along the belt may include your itinerary the bustling city of New Delhi and centring it the Kumaon and Garhwal of Hills of ambrosial Uttarakhand or the Royal Heritage of Rajasthan and the lofty niche of the Himachal or the heavenly values of Jammu and Kashmir. Here is a comprehensive list of places in North India for a breathtaking winter vacation.
From the Times Immemorial:
1. New Delhi
The capital city of India- New Delhi, with the fusion of age old history and varied cultural diorama, is one of the bustling tourist destinations in North India during the winter season. The city with its quaint charm that is said to be dating back to the Pandava era is one of the significant historical cities in India. The city is home to several ancient monuments, forts and churches that delineate the chapters of Indian history. Amongst them the Purana Quilla, Qutub Minar, Jantar Mantar, Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Humayun’s Tomb holds special tourists’ interest. The ruins of Tughlaquabad Fort, Lotus Temple and Lodhi Garden and its monuments are some other heritage attractions in New Delhi. The India Gate, which is close to the Parliament and Rashtrapati Bhavan, is yet another popular tourist attractions that stands as a memorial to all the Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the Indian Freedom Movement, Indo-Pak Wars and Sino-Indo Wars. Rajghat, which is yet another memorial, holds a national significance and attracts tourists from all over the world. Being in the city you can’t escape from the quaint charm of Chandni Chowk and the colonial ambiance of Connaught Place. Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest and congested areas of the city that is noted for its multiple arrays of shops dealing in jewellery, antiques, garments and street food, ‘Parathe Wali Gali’ is a must visit place when you are in Chandni Chowk. On the other hand Connaught Place, which acts as a bridge between Old Delhi and New Delhi, is a popular hangout in the city with numerous multi-cuisine restaurants, pubs, shopping arcades and hotels. The Akshardham Temple, which is the largest Hindu Temple in the world, exhibits a detailed picture of Indian culture and religion… thus making it another prominent tourist attraction in New Delhi. Don’t miss out the light and sound show. If you are travelling to New Delhi at the time of Republic Day then you must catch a glimpse of the parade in front of the Red Fort. Shopaholics have a whole lot of options. S.N. Market, Lajpat Nagar, Janpath, Sadar Bazar and Palika Bazar are some of the notable shopping areas in the city where arrays of shops from garments to handicrafts and antiques to electronic goods can be found.
Temperature during winter: 3°C to 22°C
Home to one of the seven wonders of the world- the Taj Mahal, which is a marble monument built by Shah Jahan and often dubbed as a ‘symbol of love’, the medieval city of Agra is yet another good pick from the bucket of destinations to visit in North India during the winter. Agra dilates an eminent chapter of the Golden Era of the Mughal Empire. The city hosts several other historical ramparts including the Agra Fort and other monuments and palaces. It is also noted for its traditional culture, architecture, marble crafts, leather products and cuisine. During the winter Agra is packed with tourists from all over the world but the marvelous sight of the Taj Mahal once you get hold of leaves you in a state of solitude… no matter who so ever knocks you from behind. Approximately an hour’s drive from Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, which is famed for its Buland Darwaza, is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, and is a must visit place for travellers having an interest in Indian medieval history. Further, the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary makes for a refreshing getaway from Agra.
Temperature during winter: 7°C to 25°C
The only planned city of its time, Jaipur the capital city of royal Rajasthan still beats in its fairy tale palaces and rugged fortresses perched on hills. Today it is a blend of tradition and modernity but the colour pink is still associated with hospitality in Jaipur. Being of historical importance, the city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in North India during the winter. It is a city where a traveller can participate in a lot of activities like heritage tour, shopping traditional items and jewelleries. The City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Lake Palace and Amber Fort are the major heritage sites in Jaipur. In the outskirts… the Nahargarh Fort and Jaigarh Fort are the two notable heritage sites. On the other hand, the city hosts several Hindu and Jain temples; of them the Birla Mandir, Narayan Temple, Galtaji, Choolgiri Temple, and Govind Devji Temple are the notable ones. Ram Niwas Bagh, Dolls Museum, B.M. Birla Planetarium and Ghat Ki Guni are some other tourist spots in Jaipur. Well, don’t miss out the light and sound show at Kesar Kyari in Amber Fort. It is held every evening.
Temperature during winter: 7°C to 25°C
The remote fort city of Jaisalmer, which is located in the midst of the Thar Desert in the incredible state of Rajasthan, is yet another popular winter getaway in India. It attracts all travellers including honeymoon couples, and other leisure travellers. The city is noted for several architectural buildings belonging to former rulers. The Jaisalmer Fort, which is also known as ‘Sonar Quilla’, housing several havelis and Jain temples, is one of the beautiful examples of craftsmanship exhibiting the rich Rajasthani style of architecture with intrinsically designed walls, carved windows and facades. The Nathmalji-Ki-Haveli, Patwon-Ki-Haveli and Salim Singh-Ki Haveli are the major tourist sites that elaborate the intricate architecture and sheer craftsmanship. The Gadisar Lake with numerous beautiful shrines, and Bada Bagh housing several cenotaphs are some other tourist places in Jaisalmer. In the outskirts of Jaisalmer City, the ruins of Kuldhara village, Barna village, Khuri Desert, Moolsagar Palace and Ram Mandir are must visit places that leave travellers spell bound. On the other hand… how can you escape from Jaisalmer without a camel safari in the SAM Dunes? That’s the only way to explore the vast stretch of the Thar Desert. The best time to visit the SAM Dunes is during the Jaisalmer Desert Festival, which is held in the month of February. It is the best way to get acquainted with Rajasthani folk culture.
Temperature during winter: 3°C to 25°C
One of the historic cities in India that is famous internationally as the most romantic destination in the world, partly because of the influence of the Lake Palace Hotel located in the middle of the placid water of Lake Pichola… Udaipur during the winter season pulls in travellers from all over the world. Like any other cities in Rajasthan, Udaipur also comes with its own legends and much of its history is clearly visible from the picture perfect gallery hosting palaces, gates, temples and quaint alleys. Each and every turn and bricks are preserved with heroism, valour and chivalry. Yet the city turns out to be one of the honeymoon destinations in India during the winter. The major attractions are the Lake Palace, Lake Pichola, City Palace, Fateh Sagar and Monsoon Palace. Some other attractions in Udaipur are Gulab Bagh, Ahar, Pratap Memorial, Saheliyon Ki Bari, Jagdish Temple and Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandir. Close to Udaipur, Mount Abu is the only hill station in Rajasthan and is worth a visit during the winter. Other excursions on your Udaipur tour can be Kumbhalgarh, which is approximately 84 kilometers away, and Ranakpur, which is approximately 90 kilometers away.
Temperature during winter: 7°C to 25°C
From the Hills to Mind Haven:
That’s my favourite pick any time of the year and during the winter when you catch the glimpse of snowfall early in the morning… holding a cup of hot coffee in your hand, your partner being cozy with you at the same time and the stunning views of far-fetched snow capped mountains blazing the intimacy… Ah! Nature here herself showers romanticism. I feel like rolling over the bed once again and pouring some more lovely moments into my winter trip to Manali. “WINK” but now it’s time to grab nature at her best. Manali is one of the popular hill stations in India where tranquility dwells even in the midst of tourist crowd throughout the year. Nature here hosts an amazing alpine forest of Pine and Deodar trees dotted with several fruit orchards and cattle farms. An hour’s drive from Manali to Solang Valley, which during the winter season turns out to be one of the popular ski resorts in India, one can here exploit the nature with several adventure activities like skiing, zorbing and paragliding. Well… the temperature over here throughout the winter remains freezing and hence it is recommended to carry proper woolen garments if you are planning to go for paragliding in Solang. Manali is also a gateway to several trekking destinations in Himachal Pradesh. During the winter season you can go for some short treks in Manali like the Bhrigu Lake trek and Beas Kund trek. Other popular treks around Manali are the Malana Valley and Chandra Tal trek, but during winter these treks are difficult to access. Rohtang Pass, which is at an altitude of approximately 4,000 meters, is a popular tourist destination in Manali being the highest point on the Manali-Keylong road. Although access to Rohtang Pass during the months of December, January and February becomes impossible due to heavy snowfall, yet some crazy trekkers do make it to the point. Are you one of them?
Besides its breathtaking natural beauty, Manali is also notable for housing a rich and indigenous Indo-Tibetan culture. The Gadhan Thehchoking Gompa and Nyingamapa Gompa are the two popular Buddhist pilgrimage sites that pull in several tourists from all over the world. The quaint ambience of Vashisht village, which is approximately 3 kilometers away from Manali, is also worth a visit on your winter trip to Manali. The village is far-famed for hosting several hot springs and stone houses with beautiful carvings. Apart from all… the cultural clamour can be witnessed thoroughly when you visit Old Manali. The Hadimba Temple and Manu Maharishi Temple are the notable attractions here. Some other beautiful places to visit around Manali are Katrain which is popular for its apple orchards and trot hatcheries; the temple town of Naggar; and Manikaran- which is an important Hindu and Sikh pilgrimage site.
Temperature during winter: -2°C to 15°C
The name itself throws a distinct colonial charm. Named after the 19th century British Governor General Lord Dalhousie, the scenic hill station in Himachal Pradesh, Dalhousie houses some of the most beautiful churches of North India. The St. Patrick’s Church, St. Francis Church, and St. Andrew’s Church are the most notable ones having rich architectural work of their own with stone carvings, glass and wooden structures. Besides the colonial diorama, the town’s varying altitude spreading out over the Kathlog, Potreys, Tehra, Bakrota and Balun hills is dramatically set with a dense grove of pines, deodars, oaks and rhododendrons… which almost remains covered in snow during the winter. Yes! Snowfall in Dalhousie during the winter season is the major attraction. It is the best time to frame the panorama of the breathtaking countryside from Panchpula, Bakrota Hills and Dainkund. Approximately 10 kilometers from Dalhousie, Kalatop is yet another scenic spot that also houses a wildlife sanctuary. Close to Kalatop, Ahla village is one of the notable pilgrimage sites in and around Dalhousie. Built in the 10th century, Laxmi Narayan Temple is one of the finest specimens of ancient architecture in Dalhousie. Talking about antiques… you must pay a visit to Satdhara, which is a stupa dating back to the Murya and Sunga period. Dakshina Murti, Shivkul and Norwood Paramdham are some other cultural hubs in and around Dalhousie.
Temperature during winter: 1°C to 10°C
One of the least tapped hill stations in Himachal Pradesh that is nestled in the luxuriant greens of the thick pines in Himachal’s Parvati Valley, Kasol during the winter season truly offers a quiet weekend getaway. The small town on the bank of River Parvati with patches of small villages in the midst of dense pinewood is a hideout ideal for an impromptu nature holiday in the Parvati Valley. Further, the trek to Malana Village, which is one of the strenuous treks in Himachal Pradesh, is a good option for an adventure trip during the winter. A visit to the nearby Tosh village allows you to get acquainted with the Himachali folk culture where people are extremely hospitable. Moreover, lazing around in Kasol is just not one option for leisure travellers. Kasol is well known for trout fishing and hence travellers dreaming of fishing and angling holiday in the Indian Himalayan region may whizz to Kasol in the winter months.
Temperature during winter: 5°C to 20°C
9. Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh
Amid the quaint colonial ambiance, Kasauli unwraps rejuvenating elements of nature with the panorama of sprawling plains of Punjab and Haryana. The moment might drop your jaws when you catch sight of the blazing carpet of light as darkness falls. Kasauli during the winter season makes a cool escape from the city dust to the refreshing atmosphere that is cuddled with thick forest of pine, oak, and chestnut trees. Its colonial ambiance is reinforced by stretches of cobbled roads, shops, houses with charming facades and scores of neat little gardens and orchards. The ‘Monkey Point’ is one of the must visit places in Kasauli, which is an important pilgrimage site. Nonetheless, the Baba Balak nath Temple and Sai Baba Mandir are also two other religious sites in Kasauli. Other attractions in Kasauli include the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church that was built in 1847 AND Sunny Side, which is the oldest cottage in Kasauli, built in 1848.
Temperature during winter: 3°C to 15°C
Extolled as one of the picturesque hill stations in India that lies on the spur of the Dhauladhar Range and dotted with thick grove of Oak and Conifer trees, Dharamshala is no doubt a great escape during the winter season. It’s not just about the distinct culture of the Indo-Tibetans that has helped Dharamshala gain fame internationally as “The Little Lhasa in India”, being the seat of His Holiness The Dalai Lama… BUT the traditional fusion of several tribal communities makes Dharamshala one of the important cultural hubs in Himachal Pradesh. A glimpse of it can easily be witnessed when you step into the Kotwali Bazar, which is a good shopping area, and McLeod Ganj, which has arrays of shops selling Tibetan handicrafts. During the winter season the international cricket stadium overlooking the mighty Dhauladhar mountains is one of the spectacular sights that remain covered with thick patches of snow. On the other hand, the Namgyal Monastery is one of the major tourist attractions in Dharamshala. Some other attractions in Dharamshala include the Kangra Art Museum, War Memorial, Kunal Pathri Temple, St. John’s Church, Aganjar Mahadev Temple and Kangra Chamunda Devi Temple.
Temperature during winter: 1°C to 12°C
Even though it remains one of the bustling hill stations in India throughout the year, Shimla during the winter season turns out to be a fantasy world. The nature herself boasts off a scenic spectacle with layers of snow bedded over the thick alpine forest AND the panorama from the Ridge of snow capped mountain ranges engulfed in the beauty of the nature is worth a capture. It is the best time, especially in the months of December and January, to go for a forest trail that runs towards the villages of Kamina and Pabo. If you are lucky some bird species can also be sighted. A short trek to Tattapani is also recommended as one of the adventure activities in Shimla during the winter season. Further, if you are looking for some more adventure then just whizz your wheels an hour snaking through the mountains to Kufri, which lies at an altitude of 2,622 meters and is one of the notable skiing destinations in the Indian Himalayan region with varying slopes. Just when you find the temperature dipping and you run out of warm garments, check out some quality woolens, jackets and shawls arraying down the Mall, which is one of the longest stretches of pedestrian shopping in the world. It also has arrays of hops dealing in traditional handicrafts, miniature paintings, jewellery, metalwares, rugs and carpets. Close to the Mall is the Himachal State Museum, which is one of the finest examples of craftsmanship from the colonial era. It exhibits a huge collection of coins, photographs and handicrafts. The Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex, which is another colonial architecture built in a Gothic Victorian Style; Shimla State Museum that was built in 1974; and George Castle are some of the prominent tourist attractions in Shimla. The temperature might get very freezing during the winter, BUT one must step into the Christ Church that was built by the British in 1857 in the Neo-Gothic style of architecture and is one of the long lasting legacies of the British Raj. On the other hand, the Jakhoo Temple, which is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, is one of the important Hindu pilgrimage sites in Shimla AND one can even get hold of beautiful views of the Shivalik mountains and the nearby town of Sanjuli. Other popular religious sites are Tara Devi Temple and Sankat Mochan. A visit to Naldhera which hosts India’s oldest nine hole golf course and Chail which holds the unique distinction of being the highest cricket pitch in the world… completes your tour to Shimla during the winter season.
Temperature during winter: 1°C to 12°C
With green rifts of the Doon Valley at an altitude of 1,880 m, Mussoorie takes one back to the colonial past through its tralatitious appetizing cuisine and magnificent architectures. With abounding trekker-friendly area, stunning chatoyant natural panorama and glistering lakes, Mussoorie is also dotted with slushing waterfalls and shrubby forest. Kempty falls on the way to New Tehri is the most popular tourist destination. Among the several other tourist spots, Sir George Everest House is often visited by tourists.
Temperature during winter: 5°C to 20°C
Located in the Kumaon region, Nainital, popularly known as the Lake District in India, is the weekend gateway for domestic tourists and a beguiling sashay for foreign tourists round the year. At a height of 1,938 m, Naini Lake, holding a perpetual Hindu myth, is a summer retreat in the heart of Nainital. A pony ride or a very short trek up to the Naina peak, en route through shrubby forests, at an elevation of 2,615 m, which is the highest point in Nainital, offers a panoramic view of distant snow-clad peaks like Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nanda Kot. These peaks can also be clear-sighted from Snow View Point. Orienting towards a quest for more natural virtue Nainital is bonded with hermit destinations like Mukteshwar, offering an unhindered view of majestic Himalayan range; Bhimtal Lake, which is larger than Naini Lake; Sat Tal, a cluster of seven small interconnected lakes in the mystic oak forest; Khurpa Tal, a trowel lake; Naukuchia Tal, a nine-cornered lake; Kilbury, a weekend picnic spot popular for its flora and fauna and Pangot, a thick forest of oak, bamboo and deodar.
Temperature during winter: 2°C to 15°C
The “Queen’s Meadow” with lush green conifer forests, hearty ambience, placid surroundings, emerald green valleys and ancient temples is footsure making it an year-round destination for tourists. Ranikhet– the tiny hill paradise, is just a couple of hours drive from Nainital.
Temperature during winter: 7°C to 20°C
Yet another spectacular hideout in the hills of Garhwal, Kausani during the winter elaborates a striking environment with the Someshwar Valley on one side and Katyuri Valley on the other. The landscape that is dotted with dense pine trees and shadowed by the scenic spectacle of Himalayan peaks like Trishul, Nanda Devi and Panchchuli… can’t be compared with any other hill stations in the Garhwal region. The quaint hill station with its picture perfect ambiance has been a favourite place for several notable personalities like Mahatma Gandhi and Sumitranandan Pant. The Anashakti Ashram, where Gandhi spent some days and wrote his commentary of Anashakti yog, is one of the major attractions in Kausani. The ancient Baijnath Temple, which dates back to the 12th century, and the Someshwar Temple, which was crafted by the Chand Dynasty, are the major pilgrimage sites around Kausani and are considered historically significant. The Rudradhari Mahadev Temple on the way to the Adi-Kailash trek is yet another spiritual site near Kausani. During the winter, the Kausani Tea Estate turns into a must visit place. It is spread over an area of 208 hectares and stretches from an elevation of 1,200 meters to 1,800 meters.
Temperature during winter: 2°C to 15°C
One of the quaint hill stations in the Garhwal Himalayan region- Lansdowne despite being a popular weekend getaway from nearby cities is remote in its own way. The colonial atmosphere surrounded by the pristine environment that is thickly bedded with oak and pine forest represents a fusion of history and nature. During the winter season the salubrious weather leaves an indelible impact on the tourists. It is the perfect place where you can indulge in several recreational activities like birding, boating and hiking. The grand view of the Himalayan ranges from Tip-In-Top simply makes your trip to Lansdowne a memorable one. It is worth capturing the panorama of India’s highest peak, Nanda Devi, and its surrounding peaks from this point. Close to Tip-In-Top, the St. Mary’s Church is one of the finest examples of the rich architecture from the colonial era that attracts several tourists. The Garhwal Rifles Regimental War Memorial, Garhwali Mess and St. John’s Church are some other major attractions in Lansdowne. Bhulla Tal is another popular tourist spot having historical significance. A short trek to Hawaghar that passes through Khyber Pass is recommended for those looking for some adventure activities during the winter season in Lansdowne.
Temperature during winter: 5°C to 17°C
“The yoga capital of the world”, Rishikesh, solitude of meditation and yoga, solenoid for esthetics, is in the foothills of Himalaya. The religious town, in other words is also far-famed for white-water rafting and gateway to hazardous trekking destinations. Laxman Jhula (hanging bridge) above the River Ganga is one of the major attractions other than temples and ashrams.
Temperature during winter: 7°C to 20°C
It is the perfect haven during the winter season for adventure lovers. Over the years Auli has gained prominence as one of the best ski resorts in India and is a gateway to numerous trekking destinations in the Garhwal Himalayan region. The majestic view from the cable car of the lofty Himalayan peaks like Trishul, Mana, Kamet and Nanda Devi undoubtedly leave you in a ‘Peace of Mind’. Treks like Auli-Gorson, Kuari Pass and Tapovan further allows you to get acquainted with the snow-ladden wilderness of the Garhwal Himalaya during the winter.
Temperature during winter: -4°C to 14°C
Come hell or high water Srinagar with its sparkling Dal Lake, colourful gardens and picturesque nature has always attracted travellers since time immemorial. But if you are travelling to Srinagar during the winter season… then you will find much of its natural beauty dressed in snow. The Dal Lake remains frozen almost from December to February and hence there is least possibility that you can go for a shikara ride. Don’t worry… you have much to explore in the city even during the winter. Many travellers travel to Srinagar during the winter just to experience the snowfall. Perched at an elevation of 1,585 meters in the landlocked territory of Kashmir, the city is largely influenced by the predominantly Muslim culture that reflects from the several monuments including tombs and mosques. The Hazratbal Shrine, Jama Masjid, Aali Masjid, Stone Mosque, tomb of the mother of Zain-ul-abidin and tomb of Pir Haji Muhammad are the major tourists’ attractions in Srinagar. On the other hand, the traditional Kashmiri handicrafts – pashmina shawl, silverware, brassware, wooden furniture, carpet and rug – simply capture the imagination of travellers seeking the cultural essence of the Kashmiri people. The Arts Emporium and SPS Museum are the best places to visit in Srinagar where arrays of traditional Kashmiri handicrafts are in display. The Pari Mahal overlooking the Mughal garden, Nigeen Lake and Royal Springs Golf Course are some other major tourist attractions in Srinagar. The Old City of Srinagar having a quaint charm holds travellers mind. The Hari Parbat is one of the major attractions in old city of Srinagar. Ah! Don’t forget to spend a couple of nights in a houseboat… that’s one of the few luxurious activities in Srinagar WORTH experiencing.
Temperature during winter: -5°C to 15°C
When the sprawling green meadows of Gulmarg are bedded with thick layers of snow… it seizes the mind of some adventurous pioneers who cool their heels the entire year just for a thrilling winter holiday in Gulmarg, Kashmir. It sounds like I’m talking about some crazy skiers sliding down the mountain slopes and shearing through the ice, which is no doubt an attraction if you are a spectator. But when you are on the ski the story is a bit different. Gulmarg at an elevation of 2,690 meters is one of the popular skiing resorts in India and also an ideal winter getaway for leisure seekers. The breathtaking view of the Himalaya from the ‘Gulmarg Gondola‘, which is one of the highest cable cars in the world, reaching approximately 4,000 meters, is another major tourist attraction in Gulmarg. The Alpathar Lake, which remains frozen during the entire winter season; Baba Reshi Shrine, which is dedicated to a Muslim scholar and saint Baba Reshi; and St. Mary’s Church, a lively and religious heritage from the colonial era are other tourist spots in Gulmarg. Travellers seeking for more adventure may go for short hikes OR treks. Gulmarg-Khilanmarg, Gulmarg-Apharwat and Gulmarg-Alapther trekking trails are very popular among the trekking enthusiasts. Majestic views of Nanga Parbat, enchanting snow covered valleys and dense forests makes a traveller’s adventure holiday in the Indian Himalayan regiona rejuvenating one.
Temperature during winter: -3°C to 19°C
Pahalgam is a haven for leisurescapers even during the peak winter season when the entire mountain range as well as the rough terrain is perfectly layered in snow. It is one of the popular hill stations in north India and is perched at an elevation of 2,740 meters in the breathtaking Kashmir Valley. With its rich flora and fauna and snow clad mountains, Pahalgam makes for a perfect countryside winter escape from Srinagar. The Betaab Valley having vast natural exposure, which is approximately 15 kilometers from Pahalgam, is another beautiful place to visit for travellers. Horse riding is one of the must-do things when you are in Pahalgam. Adventure activities in Pahalgam also include the trek to Sheshnag Lake and river rafting in the River Lidder. Aru Valley makes for another beautiful excursion from Pahalgam during the winter season. It is noted for its scenic meadows and sparkling alpine lakes.
Temperature in Pahalgam: -3°C to 12°C
It is another amazing snowy hub you have picked; Patnitop during the winter becomes favourable for any traveller. It offers stunning views of the Pir Panjal range and hosts several adventure activities like paragliding, trekking, hiking, camping and rock climbing. Paragliding in Patnitop becomes a bit tough during the winter season because of the freezing temperature, BUT if you are prepared then that’s gonna make your holiday in Kashmir more exciting. Further, camping and scenic nature walks in the vicinity of Sansar Lake, which is approximately 20 kilometers from Patnitop, are two major activities worth a try for leisure travellers. Small villages like Kud and Batote near Patnitop, surrounded by thickly wooded Cedar and Pine forests, allow you to soak in the charming Kashmiri culture.
Temperature in winter: -3°C to 18°C
From the Nature that Breathes Wild:
23. Jim Corbett National Park
Home to several animal, bird and plant species, the Jim Corbett National Park in the foothills of the Kumaon Himalaya is one of the refreshing and thrilling winter escapes in North India. The breathtaking environment of hills, waterfalls, rivulets and dense forest teeming with many rare species of plants simply makes it a haven for naturalists. It is the oldest national park in India and is also the first Tiger Reserve. The Jim Corbett National Park is spread over an area of 521 square kilometers and is home to several animal species like tiger, leopards, jungle cat, fishing cat, leopard cat, barking deer, sambar deer, hog deer and chital, Sloth and Himalayan black bears, Indian grey mongoose, otters, yellow-throated martens, Himalayan goral, Indian pangolins, and langur and Rhesus macaques. Amongst the bird species… the crested serpent eagle, blossom-headed parakeet and the red junglefowl are the major attractions. During the winter season the Jim Corbett National Park becomes one of the busiest wildlife safari zones in India. Thousands of wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world pay a visit to get hold of the lush green laden wilderness on their wildlife safari tour in Jim Corbett National Park.
24. Ranthambore National Park
Located approximately 150 kilometers from Jaipur, the Ranthambore National Park is one of the popular national parks in India in the incredible state of Rajasthan. It is the largest home of tigers in India and also houses several other animal and bird species. Amongst the animal species… leopard, nilgai, wild boar, sambar, hyena, sloth bear and chital are the common attractions whereas Graylag Goose, Woodpeckers, Common Kingfishers, Bee Eaters, Cuckoos, Parakeets, Asian Palm Swift, Owl, Nightjars, Pigeon, Dove, Crakes, Sandpipers, Great Crested Grebe, Eagles, Egrets, Herons, Ibis, Pelicans, Storks, Cuckoo-Shrikes, Minivets, Flycatchers, Wagtails, Munias, Bulbul, Mynas, Falcons etc. are common sights amongst the bird species. The national park covers an area of 392 square kilometers and comprises dry deciduous forests sprawling over an undulating terrain across the Aravalli and Vinddhyan ranges. The lovely Jogi Mahal and ruins of Ranthambore Fort are the two heritage attractions inside the park. Besides, Padam Talab, Rajbagh and Milak Talab are the three most jaw breaking sites where you can catch a glimpse of several species of animals and birds including tigers on your wildlife safari tour in Ranthambore National Park. During the winter season the park remains a hot spot for several wildlife lovers as it is the best time to the nature and wilderness at its best. Some other attractions around Ranthambore National Park are Khandar Fort, Mansarovar Lake, Bhoori Pahari Sand Dunes, Soorwal Lake, Chauth Ka Barwara and Karauli. Don’t forget to shop some “Khas” products, especially perfumes.
25. Hemis National Park
When time knocks your mind to do some crazy adventure activities during the peak of winter season… all of a sudden you see yourself in the snow-laden wilderness of Hemis National Park. Located in the catchments of Markha, Sumdah, Rumbak and parts of the Zanskar Range in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Hemis National Park is the largest national park in India that stretches across approximately 4,000 square kilometers of land ranging from a height of 3,500 meters to 6,000 meters. During winter season… the Snow Leopard in the Rumbak catchment area is the major attraction. Nonetheless, it is a home to several other endangered species of animals and birds that include the Tibetan Wolf, Eurasian Brown Bear, Red Fox, Golden Eagle, Lammergeier Vulture and Himalayan Griffon Vulture. The high altitude national park in India is also a home to Argali, Bharal, Shapu and Asiatic Ibex. Access to Hemis National Park during the winter season becomes a bit difficult because of its altitude and extreme cold climate. Hence it is recommended only for travellers having prior high altitude experiences during the winter.
Published: 18 Sep, 2014