15 Best Places to Visit During Winter in India 2023
Blessed with a tropical climate, India is one of the most popular winter holiday destinations in the world. The pleasant weather conditions of winter bring snow in the mountains, fogs in the plains, warm sunshine near beaches, and mysterious mists in the lush environment.
In this comprehensive guide, we will take you on a journey to the top winter destinations across the country. From the hills of Dharamshala to the tropical paradise of Lakshadweep Islands, there is something for everyone. Pack your bags and get ready for a winter adventure like never before!
1. Dharamshala – A Touch of Tibet in India
Nestled within the Kangra district, Dharamshala offers refreshing tranquillity against the panoramic backdrop of the Dhauladhar range. In India, Dharamshala is home to Tibetan exiles and serves as the headquarters of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, all while being embraced by lush pine and deodar forests. Although pleasant throughout the year, the winters are quite cold but still enjoyable.
Things to do in Dharamshala
- Mountain Trekking: Ideal for all levels, from beginners to experts.
Notable Trails: Triund Trek, Kareri Lake Trek, Bhagsu Nag Trek
- Camping: Amidst the Dhauladhar ranges, for backpackers and luxury seekers alike.
Popular Campsites: Triund Camp, Lahesh Caves Camping, Bir-Billing
- Skyward Paragliding: Soaring like a bird against the stunning Dhauladhar backdrop.
Renowned Takeoff Sites: Mahal Tahu near Indru Nag Temple, Bir-Billing
Prime Sites: River Beas between Nadaun and Pong Dam
- Mountain Rock Climbing: Perfect terrain for thrill seekers in Dharamshala's rugged mountains.
- Stroll through the picturesque HPCA Stadium, India's loftiest sports arena nestled amidst the Dhauladhar range.
- Delve into the enchanting Kangra Valley and its historic fortress.
- Embark on a journey to McLeodganj.
2. Agra – Home to the Taj Mahal and Mughal Splendor
Nestled by the banks of the Yamuna River, Agra is one of the finest places to ring in the New Year. Immersed in the aura of Mughal grandeur, the most prized gem is the Taj Mahal. No matter how many times you have visited this locale, the beauty and impressive architecture remain a cherished sight. Stroll through bustling markets, acquiring a piece of the colours, fabrics, perfumes, and accessories, as you explore the age-old monuments. Planning a trip to Agra during winter makes sightseeing very comfortable.
Things to do in Agra
- Hot Air Balloon Adventure: Experience Agra's iconic Taj Mahal from a hot air balloon, offering a unique aerial view of the monument, the Yamuna River, and more.
- Elephant Interaction: Visit the Elephant Conservation and Care Center, interact with rescued elephants, and learn about their lives during a two-hour educational tour.
- Bird Sanctuary Visit: Explore the Keoladeo National Park (formerly Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary) from Agra, home to 230+ bird species, making it a birdwatcher's paradise and UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Biking Exploration: Discover Agra on a thrilling bike ride led by local guides, taking in stunning Taj Mahal views and vibrant market scenes.
- Cycle Rickshaw Tour: Tour Agra's spice market on a cycle rickshaw, immersing yourself in exotic aromas, local haggling, and a sunset Taj Mahal view.
- Marvel at the beautiful Taj Mahal
- Explore the Red Fort, a charming UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Walkthrough of Akbar’s Mausoleum at Sikandra
- Pay a visit to the Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah
3. Ooty – Crown Jewel of the Nilgiris
Nestled in the scenic Nilgiris, Ooty is a charming hill station in South India. With its lush eucalyptus, pine, and coniferous trees, alongside extensive coffee and tea plantations, this town epitomizes the essence of natural revitalization. Spending the winter months in Ooty has its special charm. Shrouded in a misty dream, this town becomes especially delightful and establishes itself as a leading winter destination in South India.
Things to do in Ooty
- Jungle Camping: Experience camping in lush forests or tea gardens for a serene getaway.
- Trekking: Explore scenic mountain trails with varying difficulty levels.
- Wildlife Photography: Capture vibrant bird species in national parks like Mudumalai.
- Jungle Adventure: Combine trekking with jungle expeditions for an adventurous experience.
- Mountain Biking: Discover Ooty's beauty on a thrilling bike ride with experienced guides.
- Ride the Nilgiri Mountain Railways– listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Pay a visit to Emerald Lake, Kamaraj Sagar Dam, etc.
- Enjoy spectacular views of Nilgiris from Doddabetta Peak.
4. Wayanad – Delight of the Western Ghats
Nestled within the Western Ghats, Wayanad unfolds as one of India's most captivating destinations. This charming hill town, although petite, conceals precious gems, dense forest pathways, treehouse abodes, and indigenous communities. Most tourists prefer to visit Wayanad in winter when the weather is cool.
Things to do in Wayanad
- Paragliding at Vagamon Hills: Enjoy paragliding with stunning views.
- Zipline at Karlad Lake: Serene ziplining near Banasura Sagar Dam.
- Commando Net: Test your strength with rope climbing.
- Mountain Biking and Nature Walk: Explore nature on a bike.
- Cave Camping in Chundel: Sleep under the stars in caves or tents.
- Trekking: To Chembra Peak, the highest point of the town with a halt at the heart-shaped lake.
- Boating: At Pookode Lake
- Thrilling adventures at Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
- Learn about tribal legacy at Wayanad Heritage Museum.
- Visit Edakkal Cave, a prehistoric cave.
5. Munnar – Nature's Paradise in Kerala
Often called the paradise for nature lovers, Munnar is the gem of South India. Wander through vast tea estates, mist-covered landscapes, cascading waterfalls, and the diverse flora and fauna that grace this region. It's undoubtedly an enchanting holiday destination, especially in the winter season.
Things to do in Munnar
- Mountain Biking: Explore Suryanelli, Kandala, Vandanmedu, and Marayoor on two wheels. Rent a bike and gear from local hotels and resorts.
- Rock Climbing: Conquer the majestic hills with guided rock climbing at Fun Forest Adventure Park. Perfect for youth and adults.
- Trekking: Hike the beautiful Munnar mountains, including Anamudi Peak in Eravikulam National Park.
- Bamboo Rafting: Experience Periyar Tiger Reserve's serene waters on a bamboo raft, guided by experts.
- Jeep Safari: Explore Munnar's tourist spots on an off-road jeep safari, covering ripple waterfall, hanging bridge, and more.
- Rappelling: Experience the thrill of rappelling amidst Munnar's mountains with professional guidance.
- Spot Nilgiri Tahr in their natural habitat
- Visit the Eravikulam National Park
- Go trekking to Anamudi peak
6. Lakshadweep Islands – Uncharted Tropical Paradise
Lakshadweep Islands, as implied by its name, form a vast archipelago consisting of a hundred thousand islands. These islands are graced with abundant marine life, coral reefs, immaculate sandy shores, unpolluted air, and crystalline waters.
Each of these islands possesses its distinct character, encouraging relaxation, a variety of water-based recreational activities, and the appreciation of unspoiled natural beauty. The tropical climate further solidifies its status as a beloved winter retreat in India.
Things to do in Lakshadweep
- Aquatic Exploration: Dive into the mesmerizing underwater world with snorkelling and scuba diving.
- Watersports Extravaganza: Feel the rush of adrenaline with activities like parasailing and jet skiing.
- Fishing Adventures: Cast your line and engage in exciting deep-sea fishing. Try your luck at catching Fin Tuna, Shark, SailFish, and other remarkable species that thrive in these waters.
- Lagoon Bliss: Experience tranquillity as you paddle through calm lagoons in kayaks and canoes.
- Discover the colourful corals of the Kalpeni Islands
- Fishing in the sea at Minicoy Island
7. Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary – Encounter Exotic Fauna
Declared a national park in 1988, Kabini was once the private hunting ground of Mysore's rulers. World-renowned for its abundant wildlife, including elephants, bison, tigers, leopards, and panthers, as well as various reptile species and rare birds, it's best visited from October to May.
Things to do in Kabini
- Elephant Safari: Traverse the jungle astride gentle giants for a unique wildlife experience.
- Jungle Safari: Encounter majestic Asian mammals amidst lush foliage and pristine streams.
- Kabini River Boat Safari: Cruise through verdant landscapes, spot crocodiles, otters, and vibrant water birds.
- Explore Nagarhole National Park: Explore a premier tiger reserve with diverse wildlife and lush terrain.
- Wildlife Resort Stay: Immerse in nature's beauty with diverse lodging options, from historical lodges to luxury resorts.
8. Pondicherry – Savoring French Delights
Having been a French colony until 1954, Pondicherry exudes a captivating French aura. Fondly known as Pondy, it offers a seamless continuation of French influences, including cuisine, beer, cafés, architecture, and historic sites. A significant draw is the renowned Aurobindo Ashram, known for its serene environment, which draws spiritual seekers globally. While Pondicherry boasts pleasant weather year-round, the winters are especially delightful.
Things to do in Pondicherry
- Surfing: Ride ocean waves at Paradise Beach with trained instructors.
- Scuba Diving: Explore marine life near Temple Adventures Centre.
- Boating: Enjoy calm waters at Chunnambar River.
- Kayaking: Swiftly navigate the waters for excitement.
- Paragliding: Soar over serene beaches like Paradise Beach.
- Go bird watching at Ousteri Lake
- Discover colourful corals with scuba diving
- Take a boat ride to Paradise Beach Island from Chunnambar Boat House
9. Rann of Kutch – Ivory Desert of India
This vast expanse, known as the Great Rann of Kutch, holds a remarkable record as the world's largest salt marshland. Stretching from the majestic Thar Desert in Gujarat to Sindh in Pakistan, it's a truly expansive landscape. To experience its true charm, the ideal period to visit is during winter. Not only does this season provide delightful weather, but it also aligns with the celebrated Rann Utsav. For an enchanting touch, plan your visit during a full moon night for an extraordinary experience
Things to do in Rann of Kutch
- ATV Ride: Feel the thrill as you zoom around on a quad bike.
- Paramotoring: Glide through the sky with a parachute-tethered bike.
- Trikke Adventure: Relive the past on a three-wheeled scooter.
- Paintball Action: Engage in friendly battles with friends and family.
- Rappelling Challenge: Experience the adrenaline rush while staying safe.
- Rock Climbing Adventure: Climb to new heights for breathtaking views.
- Experience the rich heritage of Prag Mahal and Aina Mahal
- Explore the opulent Vijay Vilas Palace
10. Goa – Perfect Beach Getaway
Famous white sand beaches, carefree culture, and multi-flavoured delicacies are what define Goa. A former Portuguese colony, the legacy of the colonial era can be seen everywhere from Gothic Churches to monuments and other relics. The most favourable time to visit Goa is during the months between December to March
Things to do in Goa
- Scuba Diving & Snorkeling: Dive into the mesmerizing underwater world and explore marine life.
- Parasailing: Soar above the Arabian Sea for breathtaking views and exhilarating moments.
- Windsurfing: Combine sailing and surfing for an exciting water adventure.
- White Water Rafting & Boat Cruises: Conquer rapids or cruise leisurely on the picturesque Mandovi River.
- Wakeboarding & Kneeboarding: Enjoy the fun and balance of these thrilling water sports.
- Water Skiing: Glide over the water's surface as you're pulled by a speedboat.
- Kite Surfing: Challenge yourself with this adventurous sport for adults.
- Hot Air Balloon Flight: Soar high above Goa for stunning aerial views.
- Discover Chapora Fort
- Indulge in thrilling watersports such as snorkelling, scuba diving, parasailing, boat rides, and jet skiing
- Rent a scooter and enjoy a city tour
- Experience a cruise with dinner
11. Mount Abu – Hill Retreat of Rajasthan
Nestled in the Aravali range, Mount Abu, Rajasthan's sole hill station, offers a refreshing escape with its cool climate and lush surroundings. This haven boasts numerous waterfalls, lakes, retreats, and rich biodiversity, making it a year-round attraction, but December to June is the optimal time for your visit.
Things to do in Mount Abu
- Trekking: Embrace the thrill of trekking through the scenic landscapes of Mount Abu
- Rock Climbing: Challenge yourself with rock climbing, an exciting adventure amidst Mount Abu's rugged terrain.
- Boating at Nakki Lake: Enjoy a peaceful boat ride on Nakki Lake, surrounded by lush greenery and the stunning Aravalli Mountains.
- Wildlife Sanctuary Exploration: Delve into the Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary during the day to witness diverse flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for leopards, sloth bears, and various bird species.
- Boating at Nakki Lake
- Witness Wildlife at Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary
- Explore Achalgarh Fort
12. Udaipur – City that Defines Romance
Udaipur, one of India's most enchanting destinations, is a picturesque blend of lakes, palaces, temples, havelis, and delectable cuisine. The winter season is optimal for your Udaipur visit as Rajasthan summers can be sweltering. This period promises comfortable sightseeing and coincides with the vibrant Mewar festival in March. The ideal time to explore the city is from October to March.
Things to do in Udaipur
- Trekking: Explore the Aravalli Range on various trekking trails, interacting with locals along the way.
- Walking and Pedal Tours: Discover Udaipur's culture and history through guided city, art, and food tours.
- Paragliding: Soar over the Aravalli Ranges, lakes, and palaces with expert guidance.
- Cycling: Rent a bicycle to explore rural Udaipur and its lakes at your own pace.
- Horse Riding: Experience the regal charm of Udaipur by taking a 2-hour horse ride.
- Visit City Palace and Taj Lake Palace
- Take a sunset boat cruise on Lake Pichola
- See a collection of old cars at the Vintage Car Museum
- Explore the beautiful Bagore-ki-Haveli
- Visit the splendid Jag Mandir Palace
13. Ranakpur – Where History Comes to Life
The Ranakpur Chaumukha Temple, an architectural wonder, boasts intricately carved pillars, domes, and halls. It exudes a serene ambience, offering vast space and harmonious design, instilling spiritual serenity in its architecture. To explore this marvel, plan your visit after October when the weather turns pleasant and cool
Things to do in Ranakpur
- Wilderness Trekking: Explore valleys, forests, and hills while spotting wildlife.
- Wolf Spotting at Jaba Village: Experience rural life while spotting wolves and birds on a jeep safari.
- Horseback Safari: Ride through Aravali Mountain Ranges, discovering villages, lakes, and rivers.
- Jeep Safari: Venture into dense forests, observing diverse wildlife.
- Wildlife Expedition: Explore the natural beauty and diverse wildlife on a tour to Thandibeeri.
- Visit Ranakpur Jain Temple to witness beautiful architecture
- Visit Sun Temple Lohargal
14. Shillong – Nature's Exquisite Retreat
Shillong is home to several beautiful waterfalls, lakes and museums in addition to abundant greenery. One of the few natural gems with an exclusive colonial charm of its own, Shillong is the capital of the fascinating but small Indian state of Meghalaya.
The weather during the winter is cool and pleasant most of the time. It is also the time when one can expect moderate relief from rains, thus making it the best time to visit Shillong city.
Things to do in Shillong
- River Canyoning: Trek, rappel down waterfalls, and swim in Sohra's canyons.
- Water Sports: Enjoy skiing, sailing, fishing, and more at Umiam Lake's water sports complex.
- Trekking: Explore natural treks like Living Root Bridge and Kyllang Rock in Meghalaya's lush rainforests.
- Mountain Biking: Ride through Shillong's hilly terrain and green pastures on a thrilling bike tour.
- Cave Exploration: Discover hidden treasures in Mawjymbuin Caves and learn about the cave's history.
- Water Rappelling: Descend Elephant Falls on a thrilling rappelling adventure.
- Witness the picturesque view at Umiam Lake
- See the colonial architecture at All Saints Cathedral
- Visit Laitlum Canyon in East Khasi Hills
- Visit Asia’s cleanest village – Mawlynnong
15. Kaziranga National Park – Home to Majestic One-Horned Rhino
Kaziranga, an exhilarating and awe-inspiring destination, holds the unique distinction of hosting the world's highest density of tigers among protected areas. Additionally, it shelters approximately two-thirds of the globe's great one-horned rhinoceroses. The park, sprawling across 430 sq. km., lies alongside the Brahmaputra River in the North and the Karbi Anglong hills in the South.
Exploring this park is an adventurous expedition with various safaris, including Jeep, Elephant, and Boat rides. Trekking is highly favoured by tourists, allowing them to traverse the rugged and untouched terrains of the reserve.
Things to do in Kaziranga National Park
- Wildlife Safari: Delve into the heart of nature as you embark on a wildlife tour. Kaziranga is home to diverse wildlife, including the iconic One-Horned Rhinoceros.
- Water Sports: Experience the thrill of river boating on the Brahmaputra River, the fourth largest in the world.
- Jeep Safari: Explore the park's landscape on a Jeep Safari, where you can spot rare species like Asiatic Elephants, Indian Tigers, and Wild Buffaloes.
- Trekking: Embark on adventurous treks near Kaziranga National Park and explore tea and rubber plantations, adding more excitement to your journey.
- Elephant Safari: Get up close and personal with the park's residents on an Elephant Safari.
- Embark on thrilling safaris to spot rhinos, tigers, elephants, and more.
- Enjoy a boat safari on the Brahmaputra River.
- Visit the tea gardens of Assam.
As we conclude this whirlwind tour of India's best winter destinations, one thing becomes abundantly clear – this incredible country has something for everyone when the mercury drops. Picture the thrill of spotting a majestic one-horned rhino in Kaziranga National Park or getting lost in the romantic alleys of Udaipur. The possibilities are as diverse as India itself. So, what are you waiting for? Winter in India is calling, and it's time to answer.
- Is Goa good for winter?
Yes, Goa is an excellent destination for winter. It is known for its pleasant weather, beaches, and vibrant atmosphere.
- Which hill station is best in December?
For a December getaway, hill stations like Shimla, Manali, and Darjeeling are popular choices, each offering its unique charm.
- Which part of India snows in December?
In December, parts of North India, especially Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, experience snowfall