Winter is a peak time for tourist activity in India, given the dry cool climate in most parts of the country. The action gets hotter in the hill stations in India, where the wintry months produce conditions favorable for trekking, skiing and other adventure activities. From snow tobogganing in Kufri, to heli skiing in Narkanda, to snow skiing in Gulmarg, you can try various activities at some of the most beautiful places in India . Take a look at the top places for vacations to go on:
Nestled in the Himalayas, this is one of the top travel destinations in India. Not only skiing, a variety of winter sports like tobogganing and snowboarding are organized in this state. The region has enough variety of ascents to tempt both beginners and veterans in winter sports. The presence of instructors registered with different agencies and the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, and a growing infrastructure have made this a top hub for adventure sports lovers in winter. In Shimla, a two months long ice skating carnival takes place with contests lined up in the mornings and evenings.
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The prime winter travel spot here is Auli, a hill station with plenty of snow-bound slopes for skiers of different competencies. During winter, there are courses here for skiing enthusiasts at different levels. Beginners can enjoy a week or fortnight-long crash courses in skiing. Professionals also come here for refresher or advanced training courses. The snowy surroundings with view of evergreen forests and Himalayan ranges give Auli a distinct charm.
Jammu and Kashmir
The lush view of the mountains gives Jammu and Kashmir a top spot among India’s winter travel venues. Gulmarg, known for its green beauty amidst mountains, transforms into a winter sport hub during the ice-bound months. The slopes of Gulmarg offer great opportunities for skiing activities of different kinds including heli skiing. A ski lift has recently been introduced for beginners to skiing.
The region around Gangtok offers opportunities for adventure sports such as mountain biking, hang gliding etc. If you are game for adventure, you can try treks to scenic spots like Tashiding, Yansang, Khechopalri and other places.
You can also time your visit to coincide with winter festivals happening in the major winter travel destinations in India. Here are some of the famous ones:
Himachal Pradesh Winter Sport Festival and Carnival
Organized by the Tourism Department, this festival is held in February every year. The venue lies about 20 km away from Shimla, at a tiny picturesque hill station called Kufri. Winter sport enthusiasts from all parts of the country try out their skills on the ice-bound slopes. Different sport agencies have events for visitors to the festival, and the Himalayan slopes see a lot of action and excitement. The surroundings of Kufri are also ideal for nature walks, treks and hikes.
Hornbill Festival, Nagaland
This festival takes place annually in December at a village close to Kohima, and is internationally known for its colors and musical variety. Nagaland is home to a variety of tribes, and at this festival, they showcase their diverse traditions and heritages which include costumes, martial arts, dances, artwork and music.
Gulmarg Winter Music Festival
A celebration of music, local culture and crafts, this festival was started in 2012, in Gulmarg. Tourists can enjoy exciting winter sports like zorbing and snowboarding, performances of sufi, indie music etc, making Gulmarg one of the best places to visit in India in winter.
Take a look at these suggestions for winter travel in India:
Try regular skiing
The Himalayan slopes see many tourists try their hand at skiing. The heights of Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh’s highest point for skiing at 8810 m, are well-known.
Try Heli skiing
An extreme sport, this involves helicopters and skiing on precarious ascents, making it a challenge even for advancer skiiers. Some places you can go to try heli skiing are: Pir Pinjal range, Dhaula Dhar, Rohtang Pass, Hanuman Tibba, Spiti, Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh, and Gulmarg in Kashmir.
Check local climate updates
Usually skiing and other winter sports activities take place between December and March in the colder parts of the country. Keep an eye on local weather updates during your Indian holidays.