‘Winters are a time for staying indoors and cuddling up with a book and a blanket. But if you’re in India, that is the time to head out and explore these hidden jewels which take on beautiful hues in the colder months.’
Winters. It’s the time for misty mornings. For steaming cups of coffee. Snuggling in quilts. Reading books of romance and daring and chivalry. A time for staying indoors, one thinks, and gazing out of sleet-covered windows. But winter is also a time to go out and explore, especially in a tropical country like India, where all one sees for much of the year is the parched earth.
Today we bring you a few of the many holiday destinations in India that are best visited in winters.
1. Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Manali is a hill station nestled in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, near the northern end of the Kulu valley. It gets its first snowfall in the middle of December, and it gets transformed into a scene straight out of a Christmas card. Or Narnia. Snow-covered peaks and a blanket of pristine white will welcome you to the hill station if you time your visit right. It may pay to go ahead and lay in wait for the first snow.
2. Gulmarg, Kashmir
The Kashmir valley is considered heaven on Earth, and Gulmarg, a tiny hill village situated at the Western extremity of the Himalayas in a subsidiary range called the Pir Panjals, is easily accessible by both road and air. Owing to its location, Gulmarg gets the highest amount of snowfall in the Himalayas, and it has earned the distinction of being the best ski resort in the country. So once you’ve taken your fill of the beautiful sights, strap on your skis and head to the white-coated inclines. The resort caters to both beginners and advanced skiers. You get everything from state-owned huts to luxury accommodation in this place.
3. Munnar, Kerala
Munnar’s dense tea plantations, its cloud-covered peaks, the gurgling brooks, and the lazy pace of its town life – all of this give us a peek into why Kerala is called God’s Own Country. It really feels as though we’ve wandered into God’s own little corner of the planet. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is but a stone’s throw away from Munnar, so if you’re an animal lover, bird-watcher or a photographer, this will be pure heaven for you. Thrill seekers can go hiking to Anamudi, the highest peak in the Western Ghats, which is about 13 kilometres away from the town. An excellent choice for a romantic getaway with a significant other.
4. Wayanad, Kerala
Still staying with Kerala, Wayanad is a sparkling green emerald sprawled across the slopes of the Western Ghats. The monsoons persevere here—the rainy season starts in June and lasts all the way till mid November—during which the already lush landscape takes on an even more vibrant shade of green, and everything is washed squeaky clean. The most enjoyable way to experience it is by checking into a jungle resort—even better if it has a tree house. During the occasional dry spells in between, venture out and enjoy everything else the region has to offer. Wayanad delights tourists with some interesting prehistoric archaeological sites, tea plantations and thick forests, and is home to some of the oldest (and most insulated) tribes in India.

Divya Singh

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