A myriad of festivals and vacations are lined up in the winter months of India. Local and international travelers empty their pockets on the best places to visit in winter in India — snow laden mountain peaks, tropical beaches, vast plains, and warm deserts that people have been shying away from due to their scorching hot temperatures and humidity.
With an option to visit the ‘Land of Maharajas’ Rajasthan or the ‘God’s own Country’ Kerala or the tropical beaches of the ‘Party Capital’ Goa, it won’t be an exaggeration to say that the winter season is the best time to explore India.
So here’s a summary of the best winter holiday destinations in India to visit.
- Kerala: Munnar – Wayanad – Alleppey
- Tamil Nadu: Puducherry – Chennai
- Rajasthan: Jaipur – Udaipur – Jodhpur – Jaisalmer
- Karnataka: Hampi – Mysore
- Himachal Pradesh: Shimla – Manali – Dharmshala
- Uttarakhand: Auli – Rishikesh
- Northeast India: Gangtok – Darjeeling
- Gujarat: Rann of Kutch
- Maharashtra: Alibaug – Nashik
- Lakshadweep: romantic islands and beaches
- Goa: hot and happening winter events
- Kashmir: incredible snowfall
Kerala: God’s Own Country
As the monsoon departs, the natural grandeur of Kerala reaches its zenith. The Western Ghats and the backwaters add to Kerala’s unique charm and make it the destination for best winter holidays in India.
Kerala has a plethora of options to offer — Kovalam and Varkala beaches, Alleppey backwaters, Thekkady and Kumily spice gardens, Kalady spas and Ayurveda, and Munnar tea plantations.
The lion-tailed macaque at Silent Valley National Park, tigers and elephants in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, and variety of birds at the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary make Kerala a prime destination for nature lovers as well.
1. Munnar – Tea lover’s paradise
One of the top honeymoon destinations of Kerala, Munnar is actually a destination that can be visited anytime during the year. With temperature dropping to 11 degrees celsius, winter in Munnar is great time for indulging in activities such as trekking, rappelling, and rock climbing. Since, many people come over during this time to enjoy the gentle cold weather, it is recommended you book your hotels well in advance.
Tourist attractions: Anamudi, Devikulam, Mattupetty, TATA Tea Museum, and Eravikulam National Park
Best places to stay: Hotel Hillview Munnar, Elysium Gardens Hill Resorts, Spice Country Resorts
2. Wayanad – Perfect for treks
Blessed with bountiful nature, Wayanad is famed for some of Kerala’s most intriguing treks, and when else could be the best time to go for trekking trails than the winter season itself. When you get tired, there’s relaxing Ayurvedic therapies and massages to rejuvenate you.
Tourist attractions: Meenmutty Waterfalls, Chembra Peak, Ghat View Point, and Edakkal Caves
Best places to stay: Hotel Great Jubilee, The Wayanad Gate, and Lakkidi Grace Inn
3. Alleppey – Backwater destination
When it comes to experiencing the best of backwaters of Kerala, Alleppey is the place you cannot ever think of missing. This paradise is visited for its traditional houseboat stays, Ayurvedic spas, and more. Winters in Alleppey are perfect, thanks to the pleasant weather and annual snake boat races that are organized in mid-November.
Tourist attractions: Vembanad Lake, Marari Beach, Alappuzha Beach, Krishnapuram Palace, and Basilica of St. Mary, Champakulam
Best places to stay: Ramada Alleppey, White Saand Beach Resort, and Trium Resorts And Houseboats
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Tamil Nadu: Reminiscent Of Dravidian Culture
You wouldn’t dare to plan a trip to Chennai and other surrounding regions of Tamil Nadu in summers and the monsoons that follow. But when it comes to places to visit in India during winter, the state of Tamil Nadu is a tourists’ favorite.
Be it the rocky sculptures, caves, and crocodile farm of Mahabalipuram, picturesque view of the hills at Ooty, or the exotic flora and fauna species at Madumalai — Tamil Nadu never fails to amaze its tourists with its attractions. And as a cherry on the cake, there are the temples, churches, and beaches of the metropolitan city of Chennai.
4. Puducherry – The French colony of India
When you cannot go to France, you can anytime go to the vibrant French colony of India, Puducherry. The weathers of Pondicherry in December is pleasant, making it one of the best places in India to celebrate new year in. This is a peak tourist season for Puducherry, so make sure you make your bookings in advance.
Tourist attractions: Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pondicherry Museum, and Puducherry Museum
Best places to stay: Accord Pondycherry, Anandha Inn, and Pondicherry Promenade
5. Chennai – The capital city with picturesque beaches
The capital of Tamilnadu, Chennai puts on a show and flaunts the South Indian heritage with pride. Since, the city is otherwise hot and humid, it makes more sense to visit Chennai in winters. Right from Victorian architecture to Dravidian brilliance, this is where you get to witness the perfect example of ‘East meets West’.
Tourist attractions: Marina Beach, Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Guindy National Park, and St. Thomas Mount
Best places to stay: Ambassador Pallava, Quality Inn Sabari, and Raintree Hotel
Rajasthan: The Land Of Maharajas
Among the most popular winter holiday destinations in India, Rajasthan is the pick of the season by both Indians and foreign tourists due to its amazing brew of royalty, tradition, culture, colors, and history. Get one step closer to history with the awe-inspiring palaces, mighty fortresses, traditional dance and art, local cuisine, and the mesmerizing sands of the Thar.
6. Jaipur – The Pink City
The Pink City, Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan. In this otherwise hot city, winter is pleasurable. The city experiences lovely weather, which is great for sightseeing. Also, during this season Jaipur organizes many famous festive events like the Jaipur Literature Fest.
Tourist attractions: Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort, Jal Mahal, City Palace, & Jantar Mantar
Best places to stay: Regenta Central Jal Mahal, Park Prime, and Royal Orchid Central
7. Udaipur – The Venice of East
The City of Lakes, Udaipur is one of the most romantic destinations of India. The city is dotted with marvelous palaces, and heritage properties that have been turned into luxurious hotels and resorts. The lovely winter weather of Udaipur allows the travelers to indulge in numerous activities like boat rides and sightseeing.
Tourist attractions: City Palace, Jag Mandir, Jagdish Temple, Monsoon Palace, and Lake Pichola
Best places to stay: The Leela Palace, The Oberoi Udaivilas, The LaLiT Laxmi Vilas Palace, and Mewargarh Udaipur by Red Tulip Hotels
Suggested Read: 12 Best Hotels In Udaipur: Cozy Stays For Every Budget
8. Jaisalmer – Casting spell with its golden landscape
To witness the charm of desert, it’s best to head right there during the winter season. Jaisalmer, or the Golden City, is located the Thar Desert area guided by the massive Jaisalmer Fort. The Desert Festival in Jaisalmer is among the most-awaited events of Rajasthan, and is organized in the month of January. So, don’t forget to miss out on this one.
Tourist attractions: Jaisalmer Fort, Bada Bagh, Folklore Museum, and Sam Sand Dunes
Best places to stay: Hotel Rang Mahal, Hotel Mahadev Palace, and Hotel Marina Mahal
9. Jodhpur – The Blue City
Stealing the attention with its impressive Mehrangarh Fort dominating the skyline, Jodhpur hosts the Rajasthan International Folk Festival in the month of October, making it one of the best places to visit in Winter in India, to witness the cultural extravaganza of Rajasthan.
Tourist attractions: Mehrangarh, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Mandore Garden, Jaswant Thada
Best places to stay: The Fern Residency, Shree Ram International, Marugarh Venture Resort Jodhpur, and Raghav Villas
Karnataka: Home To The Most Powerful Empires Of Ancient And Medieval India
With a history dating back to the Paleolithic age, Karnataka has been the home to the most powerful empires of ancient and medieval India. Ranked as the fifth most popular state for tourism in India, the ancient sculptured temples, modern cities, the hill ranges, forests, and beaches make Karnataka a perfect place to visit in winter in India.
Gokarna for its beaches, Jog falls for its breathtaking view of waterfalls, Coorg hill station for its picturesque views, and the UNESCO Heritage site at Hampi are the most famous tourist attractions in Karnataka.
10. Hampi – Taking you back to the earlier era
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hampi will sway you back to the olden era with its archeological marvels. This is an otherwise hot place, which in winters experience the best weather conditions. Also, in the month of January, it serves as the venue for Hampi Mahotsav . The festival celebrates the culture of Karnataka via puppet shows, temple parades, sports, dance, music and more, all of which combines to make this one of the best places to visit in winter in India.
Tourist attractions: Virupaksha Temple, Matanga Hill, Vitthala Temple, and Hazara Rama Temple
Best places to stay: Vicky’s Guest House, Thilak Home Stay, and Archana Guest House
11. Mysore – The royal city
One of India’s most royal cities, Mysore mesmerizes with its iconic palace. Right from the artistic paintings to mouth-watering Mysore Pak, there is nothing you might want to skip, on your trip to this lovely city. Winter happens to be the time when Mysore experiences the best of weather conditions, and this is why this is one of the best places to visit in winter in India.
Tourist attractions: Mysore Palace, Mysore Zoo, Chamundeshwari Temple, and Jaganmohan Palace
Best places to stay: The Quorum Hotel, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, and Hotel Southern Star Mysuru
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Himachal Pradesh: Queen Of Hills And Hinterlands
If you are looking for winter honeymoon destinations in India, go no further. Winters in these hill stations of Himachal Pradesh – Kullu, Manali, Shimla, Dharamshala, and McLeodganj are perfect for adventure sports, winter honeymoons, and enjoying a snowfall.
Enjoy river rafting in the Beas river at Kullu, paragliding, tobogganing, and skiing in Solang Valley near Manali, night camping at McLeodgnj, and a walk down the mall road in Shimla.
12. Shimla – The Queen of Hills
The Queen of Hills as we also call it, Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Though each of the seasons have its own charm in this city, but winters are just incredible. The valley covered in white looks nothing less than a winter wonderland. If you are visiting Shimla in winters, then there are many activities that await, such as ice skating and skiing.
Tourist attractions: Mall Road, Jakhu Temple, and The Ridge
Best places to stay: Hotel Marina, Hotel Willow Banks, Bridge View Residency, and The Cedar Grand
13. Manali – One of country’s most popular hill-stations
When we talk about the best hill-stations in India, we cannot ever let Manali slip off our minds. This beautiful place also happens to be an ideal retreat for trying out various snow sports like skiing and snowboarding. This surely is one of the most beautiful places to visit in winter in India.
Tourist attractions: Rohtang Pass, Bhrigu Lake, Hidimba Devi Temple, and Solang Valley
Best places to stay: Hotel Vintage Manali, The Orchard Greens, and The Manali Inn
14. Dharamshala – The land of Lamas
Dharamshala pleases with its nature’s mystique, scenic charm, and mesh of Hindu and Tibetan culture. Though the place is blessed with lovely weather all year round, winters in Dharamshala have its own distinctive charm. The snow covered valley look ravishing, making it among the best places to visit in winter in India.
Tourist attractions: St. John in the Wilderness, Tibetan Market, Kareri Lake, and Triund trek
Best places to stay: Hotel Inclover, Hotel Center Point, Hotel GK Conifer, and Hotel Pong View
Uttarakhand: Adventure Capital Of India
Due to its proximity to the Great Himalayas, Uttarakhand has many tourist spots for all seasons – ancient temples, forest reserves, national parks, hill stations, and mountain peaks.
The foggy winter mornings, a slight nip in the air, a greater chance to sight the wild animals including the tigers make the experience of Jim Corbett National Park extra special in winters. And then there is Nainital that is the one of the best winter destinations in India, thanks to the snowfall it receives during winters. And those seeking adventure sports must try rafting and bungee jumping in Rishikesh. There indeed are many places to visit in Uttarakhand in winter, here’s a short list for the idea.
15. Auli – The skiing paradise of the country
The Skiing Capital of India, Auli is surely among the best places to visit in winter in India. Other than skiing, one can indulge in various other activities such as chair car ride, and trekking during their trip to Auli in winter.
Tourist attractions: Skiing, snowboarding, trekking, and chair car ride.
Best places to stay: Auli Resort, GMVN Auli, and Cliff Top Club
Tip: Do not miss Asia’s longest cable car and skiing experience at Auli.
16. Rishikesh – The Adventure Capital
Rishikesh is also called the Adventure Capital of India, and winter happen to be the best time to visit this place. Owing to pleasant weather condition, one can easily indulge in various activities such as bungee jumping, flying fox, cliff jumping, and river rafting. Rishikesh in December, or any other winter months experiences moderate climate during the day, with night being on the colder side.
Tourist attractions: Bungee jumping, river rafting, and cliff jumping
Best places to stay: Hotel Neeraj Bhavan, EllBee Ganga View, and Hotel Vishwa Chandra Place
North-East India: The Paradise Unexplored
Pristine lakes, extensive nature views, numerous waterfalls, snowcapped mountains, enchanting caves, lush greens of the valleys and national parks. If this sounds as your idea of a perfect holiday, then you are in luck. The North East India makes a perfect winter holiday destination in India.
The caves and waterfalls of Cherrapunji and Shillong, Lachung and Phuni Valley for skiing, and the Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary are must-visit places.
17. Gangtok – The star of Northeast India
Right from its soulful panorama beautified with snow-capped peaks, to the pretty markets, gondolas and monasteries, Gangtok is best visited anytime of the year. But, winter sprinkles snow throughout the mountainscape, making it look more charming! So, this has to be in the list of best places to visit in winter in India.
Tourist attractions: Rumtek Monastery, Pemayangtse Monastery, Nathu La, and Hanuman Tok
Best places to stay: Tara Palace Hotel, The Royal Plaza, and Summit Norling Resort & Spa
18. Darjeeling – The tea paradise
Luring with its meandering toy trains, Darjeeling is also leads when it comes to best tea plantation across the world. This paradise in winter experiences snowfall, which further beautifies its landscape, making it among the best place to enjoy winter vacation in India. In fact not just the scenic charm, but the festivals such as Teesta Tea & Tourism festival and Darjeeling Orange Festival are organized during this time, giving you an insight to local culture and lifestyle.
Tourist attractions: Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Peace Pagoda, Tiger Hill, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Ghum Monastery, and Batasia Loop
Best places to stay: Hotel Sonar Bangla, Central Heritage Resort & Spa, and Hotel Seven Seventeen
Tip: Do not miss the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland.
Gujarat: Cultural Capital Of India
The land of an array of archaeological sites, temples, local tribes, baolis, and more, Gujarat is coveted as the Cultural Capital of India. The Rann Utsav at the white desert of the Great Rann of Kutch is one of the unique winter destinations in India, and the Asiatic lions at the Gir Forest add to the tourist attractions of this winter holiday destination in India.
Tip: Attend the International Kite Festival held from January 10 to January 14 at Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmadabad.
Suggested Read: 13 Awesome Reasons Why Ahmedabad Will Ruin You For Life
19. Rann of Kutch – The white salt desert
Known across the world for the colorful white sand desert festival, Rann of Kutch organizes the Rann Utsav every year in the winter season, for the period between November and February. The festival flaunts the ethnic charm of Gujarat through cultural programmes and local cuisine. Scenic beach, white salted landscape, and full moon beauty add on to the charm. One can indulge in various activities such as hot air balloon and camel rides, which makes it among the top picks for destinations for winter vacations in India.
Tourist attractions: Mandvi Beach, cultural programmes, and heritage tours
Best places to stay: HV Beach Hotel, Vijay Vilas Heritage Resort, and Serena Beach Resort Mandvi
20. Alibaug – The perfect beach destination for a quick getaway
Winter season calls for a tropical vacation as well! Alibaug is one of the best weekend getaways from Mumbai, and it experience lovely weather condition during this time. Moderate temperatures allow the travelers to enjoy various beach activities such as swimming and parasailing. In fact, during the month of January, Alibaug hosts the hypnotic music festival Nariyal Pani. This festival is perfect for youngsters, making Alibaug one of the best places to visit in winter in India.
Tourist attractions: Murud Janjira Fort, Kolaba Fort, Alibaug Beach, and Korlai Fort
Best places to stay: Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, U Tropicana, and Elysium Spa Resort
21. Nashik – The wine destination
Known to be home to some of the best wineries in India like York, and Sula, Nashik is a paradise for not just wine lovers. The panorama of this place defines enchantment, and with SulaFest awaiting in the month of February, this becomes one of the best places to visit in winter in India, without doubt.
Tourist attractions: Sula Vineyards, Pandavleni Caves, Muktidham, and Kalaram Temple
Best places to stay: Ginger Hotel, ibis Nashik, and Beyond by Sula
22. Lakshadweep: Romancing The White Sandy Beaches
Experience the quintessential island temperature, splash in the azure water, explore the beautiful coral reefs, and enjoy the myriad of water sports at the white sandy beaches of Lakshadweep. Though it is a year-round travel destination, but what make it as one of the best winter destinations in India is its pleasing weather particularly in this season. And what is more? You would not mind a sun-tan in winters.
23. Goa: Party Capital Of India
The delectable dishes, loud music, beach parties, and crazy crowd; everything about Goa is electrifying. With the Christmas and New Year parties, Sunburn, and Goa Film Festival scheduled for the winter months, the high spirits of Goa make it the best among the winter destinations in India. In addition to the party vibes throughout the season, the salubrious weather ensures that this winter destination in India doesn’t disappoint the tourists.
- Christmas and New Year beach parties
- Sunburn: 27th – 30th December 2015
- Goa Film Festival: 20th – 30th November 2015
Tip: To avoid the over-charged prices in peak seasons, it is better to book Goa tour packages in advance.
Come this winter, we want you to get out of the comfort of your quilt and explore these popular winter holiday destinations in India. But the list is very big. So where are you planning to spend your winters?
Further Read: 12 Best Places To Visit In India In December
24. Delhi: The ‘Dil Walon Ka Sheher’
Shimmering in the spectacle of a myriad of monuments, lush gardens, open markets, and a plethora of architectural marvels, the capital city Delhi is amongst the best places to visit in winter in India. The hot summers and humid monsoons restrict the locals and visitors to their abodes or the malls. It is in winters when you can enjoy its true glitz and culture.
Visit the major tourist attractions and monuments including the 3 UNESCO Heritage monuments – Qutab Minar, Red Fort, and Humayun’s Tomb. You can also go shopping and street food hunting at Chandni Chowk, or simply walk through Connaught Place and Hauz Khas.
25. Kashmir: Paradise On Earth
Coveted as the ‘Paradise on Earth’, Kashmir valley is a tourist attraction all year round known for its lush Mughal Gardens, glittering Dal Lake, and the picturesque hinterlands. But it is the winters when the combination of the lush green valleys and the snowcapped mountains makes the experience absolutely amazing.
Build a snow man or engage in a snow fight in Sonmarg, enjoy skiing and cable car at Gulmarg, or walk hand-in-hand with your loved one in Pahalgam. And do not miss a walk through the Mughal Gardens in Srinagar.
Now, for a better view regarding the best places to visit in winter in India, here are some frequently asked question, answered for you:
What are the best places to visit North India during winter?
Shimla, Gulmarg, and Auli are some of the best places to visit in North India in winter if you wish to see snow and get indulged in various snow activities such as ice skating and skiing. However, Jaipur, Udaipur, and Jaisalmer are some of the destinations which are best visited in the winter season, as they are otherwise hot places.
Is January right time to visit Shimla, India?
Anytime is the right time to visit Shimla. However, if you are visiting in January, the landscape gets beautified with snowfall. This further allows the visitors to enjoy various sports such as skiing and ice skating.
What are best places to visit in February in India?
If you’re thinking of visiting South India, Kerala and Pondicherry are among the best places to visit in the month of February. In North India, you can choose to go to Shimla, Auli, Jaipur, Udaipur, New Delhi, and Agra. This is the time when most parts of the country enjoy lovely weather and organise different festivals.
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