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Top 10 Winter Destinations in India

Winter sports and snowfall are two integral aspects of the popular winter holiday destinations in India. The state of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are home to several ski resorts such as Gulmarg. Snowfall in most parts of India is from December- February and the tourists visit until March. The Himalayan and Kanchenjunga peaks are snowcapped and offers amazing views. Some also prefer the beaches of Andaman and Goa. The beach destinations are usually pleasant throughout the year. India Profile offers information on top 10 winter destinations in India.

Manali

The lush hill town in Kullu valley, Manali is an excellent winter vacation spot in Himachal Pradesh. The majestic snow covered peaks are quiet as well as thrilling during winters. The Rohtang Pass remains closed from November-May, so you can visit Manali only via Shimla or by road from New Delhi. On the lap of the Himalayas, beautiful resorts offer opportunities for skiing, mountaineering and hiking from November mid onwards. Though, most often snowfall in Manali is only in December. River rafting, angling and picnics to picturesque locales are also popular. If you are a shopaholic, the best buy from Manali will be winter wear and shawls.

Gulmarg

Gulmarg is country's most acclaimed ski resorts that draw tourists from all over the world. Ski lovers come here with the start of November and the peak season lasts until March end. The snow does not melt until April. This place in Jammu and Kashmir was also host to the Mughal rulers who visited in winter. Gulmarg is best accessible from Srinagar. The ski slopes of Gulmarg connects Tangmarg town and takes around 30 minutes. Other than skiing, another attraction of Gulmarg is the gondola or cable car. It has the distinction of being world's highest cable car connecting up to 3979 meters above sea level. You can reach the Kongdori Valley with the cable car ride and then trek to Mount Afarwat that lies at an altitude of 4200 meters.

Auli

Another ski destination that is situated in Uttarakhand. It is often regarded as a lesser known and unexplored hill station, allowing tourists to enjoy a secluded winter holiday. Auli is also emerging as a popular hill retreat for honeymoon couples who want to spend quiet moments together. The enchanting look of the Himalayas, surrounding greenery and its proximity with Badrinath, makes Auli an interesting place of visit. If Gulmarg features the highest cable car, Auli gives you the longest cable car ride in the continent - 4km. For skiing, the best time to visit is January-March, although several resorts gear up to create artificial snow slopes to draw tourists until April. You can visit the artificial lake as well that is located adjacent to the Clifftop Club. The nearest airport to Auli is Dehradun and you can travel by road from New Delhi.

Goa Beaches

GOA BEACHES are popular throughout the year and when northern India is freezing, tourists often prefer spending their Christmas and New Year here. Featuring a tropical climate, Goa is the beach paradise where the fun and frolic lasts from December-January. It is the carnival time in this small state and thousands throng the place. The old churches and Portuguese colony of Goa are well lit and fun is in the air. You can attend the beach parties, dance to the tunes of the trance music and relax on the beaches sipping the local brand fenny. Goa's charms remain incomparable with the Goa Heritage Festival and Konkani Drama Festival taking place during this time. The Sunburn Festival also draws party lovers.

Nainital

Another prominent winter retreat in Uttarakhand, Nainital is famous for its gardens and lakes. The highest peak here is Naina at 2615 meters above sea level. It offers magnificent view of the surrounding town of Nainital. It snows in Nainital only in mid-December or January. Nights record up to -3 degree Celsius. The predominant features of this hill station in the Kumaon Hills that is mostly snow capped in winters, offer rock climbing, and trekking opportunities. Sightseeing in Nainital will also be fun in winters. You can indulge in boating at the Naini Lake, Nakuchia Lake and the Bhimtal Lake. The Snow View Point is considered the oldest area in Nainital and has a height of 2260 meters above sea level. Another peak worth visiting is the Naina range at 2611 meters above sea level. It is the hub of trekkers since October-February.

Kerala Backwaters

The serene backwater stretch makes your sojourn to Kerala an interesting one. Though tourists throng the backwater towns throughout the year, winter is the time when people from northern India are here. The tropical weather, the spa centers, small hamlets and the palm-fringed landscape impresses tourists. At least 900 km of backwaters passes through Kumarakom, Alleppey, Kochi, Kollam and Kozhikode. Enjoy a luxurious cruise or spend your vacation in the unique styled houseboats. The coconut groves, ancient temples, old colonies and the traditional festivals are other major draws of Kerala.

Kerala Backwaters

The serene backwater stretch makes your sojourn to Kerala an interesting one. Though tourists throng the backwater towns throughout the year, winter is the time when people from northern India are here. The tropical weather, the spa centers, small hamlets and the palm-fringed landscape impresses tourists. At least 900 km of backwaters passes through Kumarakom, Alleppey, Kochi, Kollam and Kozhikode. Enjoy a luxurious cruise or spend your vacation in the unique styled houseboats. The coconut groves, ancient temples, old colonies and the traditional festivals are other major draws of Kerala.

Mount Abu

You can look beyond the cold deserts of Rajasthan by visiting its only hill station - Mount Abu. This hill town is famous for its pilgrimage site of the Dilwara Temples. A plateau mostly, Mount Abu has several Hindu shrines such as Durga Mata Temple and Ambika Mata Temple. Situated in the Sirohi district, the highest peak of Mount Abu is Guru Shikar at a height of 1722 meters. Winter mornings have a temperature of 9-15 degree Celsius and nights are much colder. Though heavy woolen is recommended, afternoons will get warmer. The bank of Nakki Lake is cool and ideal place to visit in the afternoon. You can stroll around shopping on its banks or enjoy boating. Mount Abu has gained prominence as a weekend getaway for tourists from Gujarat and Palapur is a drive of just 58 km.

Nicobar and Andaman beaches

Nicobar and Andaman is another prominent tropical destination in the country that is worth visiting in winter. The islands of Andaman and Nicobar feature eternal beauty, lagoons and coral reefs. Angling, cruising and swimming are some of the activities that tourists enjoy. Mediterranean cruises set out from November-March and will offer you an experience of a lifetime. Port Blair is the capital city and its harbor is famous for the New Year events. The island resorts, seafood and beach sports will? also add to the fun of your holiday on the HAVELOCK ISLAND and Barren Island. Other attractions of Andaman and Nicobar are Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve, flora and fauna and the migratory birds.

Corbett National Park

Wildlife safari cannot be an exception to your winter holidays in India. Jim Corbett National Park is the ultimate place for adventure tourists. The winters often bring the animals out of their dens in the jungle and they are seen enjoying the afternoon sun. Home to at least 580 bird species, animals and reptiles, this park allows you to spot the rarest species during your jeep safari here.

Mumbai

If you want to discover the magic of city life in the pleasant climate, Mumbai is the ideal place for you. Eat, drink and party at this metropolitan in Mumbai that features a tropical climate being home to many beaches along the Arabian coastline. December to February is cool here and the average temperature throughout the year is around 27 degree Celsius. Marine Drive, Juhu Beach, Chowpatty Beach and the Gateway of India remain its top attractions. Southern Mumbai is regarded as the downtown area having a number of LUXURY HOTELS, clubs and pubs.

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