Winters are usually the most fun and exciting time in India primarily because of festivals and suitable weather. North India goes through a rush of shivers, bringing heavy snowfall over the northern and north-eastern ridges of the Himalayas while sending chilling cold waves across the plains. So, if playing in the snow and enjoying winter sports is your idea of a perfect winter vacation, then we present the 17 Best Winter Destinations in North India.
Take a look at the 17 Best Winter Destinations in North India
- Bodhgaya: In the footsteps of Buddha
- Delhi: A Tale of Two Cities
- Agra: The Land of Love
- Jaipur: The Pink City
- Manali: The Adventure Land
- Jaisalmer: The Desert Kingdom
- Shimla: Queen of the Hills
- Mussoorie: The Devbhoomi
- Pahalgam: The Green Valley
- Srinagar: Paradise on Earth
- Gulmarg: Meadow of Flowers
- Ranthambore National Park
- Jim Corbett National Park
- Auli: The Ski Resort in North
- Nainital: Tales of Lakes
- Keoladeo National Park
- Varanasi: Heart of Hinduism
Bodhgaya: In the footsteps of Buddha
Bodhgaya remains one of the favorite destinations in North India in winter for pilgrims and travelers from across the globe; not only by the history and importance of this place but also by its culture. A small temple town, Bodhgaya, is where Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment and became the Buddha under the Bodhi Tree approximately two and a half millennials ago.
Also, with the arrival of winter begins the consistent inflow of tourists to witness the coming of hundreds of Tibetan pilgrims who descend from their abode in Dharamshala. Besides, the town has amazing weather to take on spiritual contemplation at the site. Moreover, it is the time when the Dalai Lama is often expected to arrive here. Thus, it is one of the best winter destinations in North India for any explorer.
Places to visit: Maha Bodhi Temple, Great Buddha Statue, Bodhi Tree, Thai Monastery, Muchalinda Lake, Royal Bhutan Monastery, Tibetan Refugee Market, Vietnamese Temple
How to reach: Gaya International Airport is the nearest airport that serves Bodh Gaya (17 km).
Gaya Junction is the nearest major railhead from Bodh Gaya (17 km).
Delhi: A Tale of Two Cities
The beauty of the famous “Delhi ki Sardi” lies in the delightful and bright vivacity that envelops the city during this time, be it in the colorful woolens or a cup of hot, piping chai (tea), or the mesmerizing smell of roasted peanuts. Delhi experiences mild to extreme cold in winters, where the temperature can plummet to chilling 3-4 degrees C.
A misty fog surrounds the city, and one can witness from the crawling traffic people crowded around into small groups over a bonfire or tea or around parks and markets, basking in cool sunshine. Moreover, this mystical appeal, this romantic charm, and this streaming energy under the outer, rocky topographical crust is hard to miss, making the city one of the top places to visit in winter in North India.
Places to visit: Red Fort, India Gate, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Lotus Temple, Akshardham Temple, Qutub Minar, Connaught Place, Humayun’s Tomb, Jama Masjid, Lodhi Garden
How to reach: Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) is the primary airport that serves the national capital (14 km). You can also take a train to Agra from New Delhi Railway Station and Old Delhi Railway Station or go by road.
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Agra: The Land of Love
Agra has the most suitable climate from November to March, at which time the city should be visited to enjoy its mesmerizing sights. Escaped from the sweltering heat and sweat of summers, a traveler can easily soak in the historical significance and importance of wonderful buildings pervading all around.
Agra, the quintessential seat of power for the mighty Mughal Empire, bears its stamp, its nostalgic legacy, and its character like no other place. Be it the elegance of the Taj Mahal, the imposing battlements of the Red Fort, the delicate and exquisite pavilions and palaces of its interiors, the majestic gateways and structures of the Fatehpur complex, the Jama Masjid, or the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah; all the buildings have left an amazing heritage that makes this city a favored tourist spot.
Places to visit: Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Itimad-Ud-Daulah’s Tomb, Akbar’s Tomb, Mehtab Bagh, Guru ka Taal, Fatehpur Sikri
How to reach: Kheria Airport is the primary airport of Agra (7 km). Agra Cantt Station, Agra Fort Railway Station, Raja ki Mandi Railway Station, Agra City Railway Station, and Idgah Railway Station are the major railheads of the city that connects the rest of the country with Agra.
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Jaipur: The Pink City
Jaipur, the beautiful, cultural, and historic city is one of the most popular and enthralling places as a North Indian winter destination. Widely known as the ‘Pink City’, the place has an ambiance and allure, mesmerizing the guests with its beautiful streets and bazaars selling blue pottery, leather shoes, tie and dye scarves, and other exquisite materials and wares.
Modernity and tradition compete for space in the city, which is dotted with some of the most elegant monuments, buildings, and palaces. Whether it’s the royal environs of the City Palace, the charm of the Jantar Mantar or the honeycomb-like structure of the Hawa Mahal, this city is an absolute enchantment during the winter months.
Places to visit: Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Amer Fort, Nahargarh Fort, City Palace, Jal Mahal, Albert Museum, Chokhi Dhani, Jaigarh Fort, Birla Temple
How to reach: Sanganer International Airport is the primary airport that serves Jaipur (11 km). Jaipur Junction is the major railhead (4 km).
Manali: The Adventure Land
Often hailed as a traveler’s paradise, Manali is a scenic hill station, offering wonderful views and tremendous opportunities for fun and recreation for both leisure and adventure travelers alike. During winters, Manali and its nearby areas like Solang Valley, Rohtang Pass, etc., experience a good snowfall. And if you are an adventurer, Manali becomes a hub of sporting activities during winters, offering paragliding, white water rafting, trekking, climbing, skiing, and ballooning (it being amongst the Top 10 Places for Hot Air Balloon Ride in India), mountain biking, cannoning, etc.
Winters are off-season here so tourists can expect heavy discounts. Besides, one can also head along to take a dip in the sulfur waters of Vashist or enjoy the delectable cuisines in New Manali. With a wonderful view of the snowfall, walking up and down The Mall becomes all the more amazing and memorable, while one can also pay a visit to the 16th century Hadimba Temple.
Places to visit: Mall Road, Hadimba Temple, Vashisht Temple, Jogini Waterfalls, Solang Valley, Rohtang Pass, Kasol, Manikaran Sahib, Naggar Castle
How to reach: Bhuntar Airport is the nearest airport from Manali (50 km). Although, the nearest major airport is Chandigarh International Airport (305 km). Moreover, the nearest major railhead is Chandigarh railway station (315 km). There are several government-run and private buses plying for Manali from Delhi, Chandigarh, Jammu, and Pathankot regularly.
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Jaisalmer: The Desert Kingdom
Famously called “The Golden City”, Jaisalmer is a place of stunning views, rich culture, glorious history, and a distinct ambiance. Also, the city was founded in 1156 AD by Maharawal Jaisal Singh, a local Rajput King. The main attraction and highlight of the city are the majestic Jaisalmer Fort-Citadel that rises from the middle of the town, assuming the center stage and focus point of the place. Moreover, the citadel still houses the old, original families of the town that have lived here through generations.
Inside the fortifications, the numerous dwelling places of people present a unique cultural establishment with distinct and colorful stalls, buildings, havelis, and pavilions with fine and delicate architecture.
Places to visit: Jaisalmer Fort, Longewala War Memorial, Jain Temples, Kothari’s Patwaon-Ki-Haveli, Tanot Mata Temple, Jaisalmer War Museum, Gadsisar Sagar Lake
How to reach: Jodhpur Airport is the nearest airport, connecting to other major cities by regular flights like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and Udaipur. Also, you can plan a road trip from major cities.
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Shimla: Queen of the Hills
One of the old colonial hill towns and the summer capital of the erstwhile British Empire, Shimla has always been a popular and one of the best winter destinations in North India. During winters, imposing mountains surrounding the town get covered with snow and looks mesmerizing as well as the streets, houses and markets look spotless white, presenting a unique view. The winters are especially chilling here when temperatures can drop to 0 degrees Celsius or even less.
The peak winter tourist season here is from mid-December to January, covering Christmas and New Year, which sees the inflow of a good number of visitors. Also, Shimla hosts the winter carnival and Ice Skating, which are major highlights. Located at a height of 2,206 m above sea level, it is one of the Top 22 Honeymoon Destinations in India.
Places to visit: The Ridge, Mall Road, Christ Church, Viceregal Lodge & Botanical Gardens, Shri Hanuman Mandir Jakhoo, Jakhu Hill
How to reach: Chandigarh Airport and Delhi Airport are the closest major airports. Jubbarhatti Airport is located 22 km from Shimla. Trains are available from Kalka to Shimla. Also, buses are available from Chandigarh, Delhi, Dehradun, and Kalka.
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Mussoorie: The Devbhoomi
Located within the embrace of beautiful ridges of Uttarakhand, Mussoorie is a popular hill town located at the foot of the Himalayas and is famously called the “Queen of the Hills”. The hill town was established in 1825 as a shooting lodge and soon acquired the distinction of being one of the favorite summer retreats for the British. That legacy could still be seen in the form of churches, restaurants, hotels, and summer palaces.
Perched at the height of 2,000.5 m above sea level, it is one of the most popular places in North India in winter and is increasingly popular among leisure tourists and honeymooners. The experience of touching the moving clouds evokes a unique romanticism, and in winters, when the snow falls, the surrounding sights become even more charming.
How to reach: Mussoorie is 60 km away from the nearest airport, Jolly Grant of Dehradun. Trains are available till Dehradun railway station and from there, you have to take a taxi.
Pahalgam: The Green Valley
Blanketed by high, snow-capped hills of Kashmir, wrapped in richly thick and beautiful pine and coniferous forests, and surrounded by marvelous sights, Pahalgam is a tiny little town resort located about 100 km from the state’s capital Srinagar. The town is relatively popular amongst adventure enthusiasts, and there are a number of attractions to satisfy the thrilling spirit of the travelers with activities like trekking, angling and golf, and white water rafting.
Pahalgam in winter hosts a two-day long Snow Festival that exhibits several winter sporting events like snow-sledging, skiing, etc. Surrounded by beautiful spots and over 20 fascinating lakes, it is a must-visit winter place in North India. It also serves as a base camp for the Amarnath Yatra.
Places to visit: Aru Valley, Betaab Valley, Tulian Lake, Sheshnag Lake, Chandanwari, Mamaleshwar Temple, Kashmir Valley
How to reach: The nearest airport to Pahalgam is in Srinagar. Udhampur railway station is the closest railhead.
Srinagar: Paradise on Earth
In winters, tourists can enjoy rich snowfall, coupled with adventure activities like skiing down the Khilanmarg mountain slopes, golfing at the city’s number of golf courses, or contemplating trekking through the Pir Panjal Range. With its enchanting sights, wooden mosques, and welcoming people, Srinagar is one of the leading winter destinations in North India.
A ride through the serene Dal Lake on Shikara, paying a visit to the religious sites of Hazratbal or the temple of Shankaracharya, taking a walk down the Residency Road or shopping around the bustling Lal Chowk is always on the cards of the tourists arriving here. Another highlight of the town is the famous Charbagh Mughal Gardens of Shalimar and Nishat, laid down by the Mughal Emperors, who were mesmerized by the incredible beauty of the place.
Places to visit: Char Chinar, Betaab Valley, Pari Mahal, Manasbal Lake, The Hari Parbat, Hazratbal Masjid, Wular Lake
How to reach: Sheikh ul Alam Airport is the nearest. You can also take a train to Udhampur railway station or drive to Srinagar from major nearby cities like Manali.
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Gulmarg: Meadow of Flowers
One of the popular skiing resorts in North India and literally meaning to be the “flower meadow”, Gulmarg is a beautiful and picturesque hill town located 56 km northeast of Srinagar. Once a favorite retreat for Mughal Emperor Jahangir, Gulmarg has a steady charm and broad and lush fields, offering plenty of scope for adventure, even hosting the world’s highest golf course.
In Gulmarg, the tourists can hike to alluring pine slopes that let them have one of the most stunning views of the Nanga Parbat, which lies on the other side of the international border with Pakistan. Receiving a rich share of snow in winters, Gulmarg transforms into a tourist haven with thrilling and fun activities like zorbing and pony rides occupying the activity scene during this time.
How to reach: The nearest airport to Gulmarg is in Srinagar. Book a cab from here, which will take approx. an hour and a half. Kashmir Valley has no railway connectivity, so the nearest train station is in Jammu. Therefore, Gulmarg by road is the most feasible option.
Ranthambore National Park
One of the best winter spots in North India to sight the tigers and witness their natural habitats is Ranthambore National Park. Alongside tigers, there are many other exotic species to be seen, including chital, Nilgai, leopards, jackals, and jungle cats, besides a wealth of about 300 exquisite species of birds. The area incorporating the national park also encompasses the old Ranthambore fort beside the adjoining areas being pervaded with aged temples, mosques, old tombs, and hunting pavilions.
Peak tourist season lies during winters when the weather is fairly pleasant for a comfortable excursion. It is also when a number of migratory birds descend on the park. Thus, the period from October to June is one of the best times to visit Ranthambore National Park.
How to reach: Sanganer Airport is the nearest located in Jaipur. The major international airport near the city is in Delhi, approx. 373 km away. Trains are also available to Sawai Madhopur Railway Station from main Indian cities. However, traveling to Ranthambore from Delhi by road is the best way to reach the national park.
Jim Corbett National Park
One of the oldest and most famous National Parks in India, Jim Corbett Reserve was established in 1936. The park is open for visitors throughout the year but the best time to visit the site is from November to June as, during this period, all the zones of the park are open for visitors for sightseeing.
Located in Nainital, amidst the beautiful surroundings of the Uttarakhand state, Corbett National Park is also the protected area for the highly endangered Royal Bengal Tiger of India. The park hosts about 488 distinct species of wildlife and plants, including Chital, Sambhar, Nilgai, Gharial, Wild Boar, Hedgehog, etc., and about 600 diverse species of birds.
How to reach: Pantnagar Airport, Dehradun is the closest airport, about 50 km away. Ramnagar has the closest railhead, which is 12 km from the Park. Else, drive to Corbett National Park, which will take you approximately six hours from Delhi to cover the 295-km stretch.
Auli: The Ski Resort in North
Located in the Chamoli district of the Garhwal region and perched at the height of about 3,050 m above sea level, Auli is a picturesque hill resort, known best as the favorite skiing spot for tourists both within India and outside. During winters, the place receives a good share of snowfall, thus making it one of the best North India tourist places.
From the viewpoint of leisure travelers, the place hosts Gorson Reserve hosting some of the most exotic wildlife including wild cat, wild rabbit, jackal, fox, musk deer, hyena, bear, etc. In addition, it also gives one of the most beautiful sights of the most famous slopes like Nanda Devi, Kamat Kamet, and Mana Parvat.
Places to visit: Auli Artificial Lake, Auli Ropeway, Gurson Bugyal, Joshimath, Chenab Lake, Nanda Devi Peak
How to reach: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant in Dehradun and the nearest railway station is in Rishikesh. Traveling to Auli by car is the best option.
Nainital: Tales of Lakes
Nainital is a prominent hill town in Uttarakhand and is one of the best places to visit in winter in North India. During winters, the place receives a significant amount of snowfall, which makes the surroundings even more charming. Adventure tourists can partake in natural treks, rock climbing, mountaineering, and boating.
Being one of the famous resorts in the Kumaon Region, Nainital is frequented by a number of tourists from India and abroad who descend here to enjoy its salubrious environment. Besides reveling in boating through vast and expansive Naini Lake, leisure tourists can take a walk through its attractive bazaars, especially The Mall where one can find restaurants, shops, offices, and hotels.
Places to visit: Tiffin Top, Snow View, G B Pant High Altitude Zoo, Mall Road, Naina Devi Temple, Gurudwara Singh Sabha, Hanuman Garhi
How to reach: Kathgodam railway station is the closest. Buses from Delhi, Rishikesh, Dehradun, etc. are also available.
Keoladeo National Park
Known formerly as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Keoladeo National Park is a hub of exquisite bird species. Of the large variety of birds that have been observed and recorded here, almost 230 are resident or local, while the rest of them are migratory. One of the best places to visit in north India in December, this national park is frequented by ornithologists, tourists, bird enthusiasts, and children.
During the later months of the year, a large number of birds can be seen here like ducks, waders, geese, coots, pelicans, Imperial Eagle and Greater Spotted Eagle, etc. One can also see large Indian pythons, lazing around in the grass along with Nilgai (antelope), boar, deer, etc.
How to reach: Agra Airport is the nearest at 56 km (approx.) from Bharatpur. At 5 km is the Bharatpur Railway Station. Moreover, NH 11 connects Bharatpur with Jaipur, Alwar, Agra, and Delhi.
Varanasi: Heart of Hinduism
Varanasi is one of the oldest living cities in the world. It hosts some of the most ancient and venerable customs and traditions that are still alive and kicking. The purpose is to try to retain their identity and relevance within the rapidly changing context of 21st-century modernity. Both summers and winters have their own individual appeal, but in winters, the presence of mystical and thick fog, combined with the chilling cold of North India, the Ghats, Temples, and Ashrams in Varanasi looks surreal and divine, putting it on the list of Best Winter Destination in North India.
Considered one of the most sacred sites for Hindus, the city has always been bubbling with activity be it religious or literary and had always been an important center of pilgrimage for religious devotees.
Places to visit: Dasaswamedh Ghat, Assi Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Dhamek Stupa, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple
How to reach: Take a flight to Varanasi Airport, connected to major Indian cities like Mumbai and Delhi. Buses are available from major Uttar Pradesh cities and neighboring states. Varanasi railway station is also connected to prominent states in India.
Plan a trip to India in winter and explore these beautiful winter destinations in North India. Indian Holiday offer winter packages in India that can be customized as per your requirements. So which place are you planning to visit first?