You may not think of the lofty Himalayan peaks as a natural vacation spot in the winter, but there are wonderful sights and experiences there during the cold months of the year. The mountains are breathtaking in their beauty, the frozen lakes are spectacular, and winter sports activities abound. Three Himalayan states in India, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Jammu and Kashmir, have wonderful spots for a Himalayan travel experience in the winter.
This city is the capital of Jammu and Kashmir, and it is also a famous destination for winter activities. When the whole Kashmir Valley is covered by a blanket of snow, Srinagar usually receives heavy snow fall. The famous Dal Lake is frozen over, and becomes a wonderful ice skating rink. Often called “Kashmiri Venice” or “Venice of the East”, Srinagar highlights incredible attractions, worship places and points of interest. The Hazratbal Shrine is the city’s only arched mosque, while Jama Masjid is the city’s oldest shrines.
Patnitop is also in Jammu and Kashmir, in the district of Udhampur. Located on a hilltop, it is in the Shiwalik area of the Himalayas. During the summer, it is known for paragliding, while in winter, the heavy snowfall means scenic white peaks, and wonderful skiing and snow sports. In spite of its small size, the city is perfect for hiking in winter; some travelers will really appreciate the remoteness and serene vibe of this fascinating Himalayan town.
This is a small mountain town nestled in the beautiful River Valley of Beas. It is a lovely hill station, not far from the Kullu Valley. During the summer, mountain biking and paragliding are popular activities here. In the winter, the heavy snow fall makes for excellent skating and zorbing. The famous Rohtang Pass is just over 30 miles from town, on the Manali-Leh Highway. Backpackers come to Manali to explore the hippy villages, and try out the crazy activities. If you’re up for an adventure, then you’ll find here a wealth of skiing, paragliding, rafting and trekking excursions.
Gulmarg is a famous hill station, and one of the most popular winter destinations in India. Surrounded by spectacular snow-covered mountains, the scenery is incredible. Ample snowfall makes this a top skiing destination. Gulmarg also has the 2nd highest cable car on earth. Surrounded by nearly 40 hotels, Gulmarg is an ideal winter resort with plenty of winter activities for avid skiers. Accessible from Srinagar, Gulmarg is just 2 hours away by car.
Auli is one of India’s newer winter destinations. Located in Uttarakhand, this is one of the most important ski locations in this part of the Himalayan Mountains. In the summer, mountain climbing is popular here. In winter, skiers and snowboarders enjoy the winter sports, along with breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks.
Chopta is also located in the state of Uttarakhand. This scenic hill station is sometimes called “Mini Switzerland” for the amazing mountain scenery around it. The city offers stunning views of the great Himalayan peaks, including Trishul, Chaukhamba, and Nanda Devi. It is also where you can find Chandrashila Peak, the Moon Rock.
This beautiful town is situated in the Jammu and Kashmir state, in the Anantnag district. It is one of the most famous destinations for tourists in India. Visitors to Pahalgam come to see the Betaab Valley and Amarnath Yatra. During the summer, this is a popular area for horseback riding. Another local attraction is the magnificent Kolohoi hanging glacier.
The small hill town of Kufri is located near Shimla, and its panoramic scenery is spectacular. The location is home to one of the most popular ski areas in the Himachal Pradesh state. In addition to the vistas of snowy peaks that surround the town, visitors to Kufri enjoy watching animals at the Himalayan Wildlife Zoo.
The Himalayan region is packed with beautiful winter resorts for travelers around the world. All the cities are unique in their own way, so whether you’re exploring Manali or you want to enjoy superb skiing in Gulmarg, there’s no doubt that you’ll have the time of your life here. Christmas is right around the corner, so if you haven’t decided on a travel itinerary, make sure to include the Himalaya holiday on your list.