Winters in India are magical. The temperatures are blissful. From snow to balmy weather, from thrilling adventures to colorful festival, the season witnesses all. One country offers diverse experiences of a single season. If you are a snow lover, then escape to the Himalayas blessed with cold. If you are a sun-lover then the beaches offer warm sun, cerulean waters, beach parties, delightful food, water sports and other amazement.
For adventures of all kinds- wildlife, snow, water, camping are few options. If culture, history and sightseeing are your pursuits, then winters in India is the perfect time to plan your trip. Here is a list of 15 Experiences you can have only during the winter in India
Enjoy skiing in Auli
A winter wonderland, Auli is one of the most visited tourist destinations in India. Snuggled in the snowy peaks of Uttarakhand, come winter and it becomes the ski capital of India. The town has earned enough fame to be counted among the best skiing destinations in the world. The slope of the hills, the amount of snowfall and the ski classes, make it an experience to cherish.
The slopes of Auli provide thrills to professional skiers and novices alike. The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited takes care of the Auli Ski resort and conducts skiing lessons. The reason to visit in winters is just the adventure sports, but also the awe-inspiring beauty of Nanda Devi, Mana Parvat and Kamat.
Explore marine world while scuba diving at Port Blair
Blessed by tropical bliss where cold seems a foreign concept, Andaman Islands offer an exploration of the marine world like never before. One of the best experiences of winters in India is scuba diving in the Andaman. The archipelago of 572 islands is surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Bay of Bengal.
The capital city of the islands, Port Blair is the best place for all kinds of water sports in India, especially scuba diving. Explore clear, shallow and warm water, picturesque coral reef and varied marine life. Experience the thrill of going underwater and swim and explore like a fish. A scuba diving trip to Port Blair, Andaman Nicobar islands is truly an adventure of a lifetime.
Wilderness in Kaziranga National Park
One of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries in India, Kaziranga National Park is perfect for thrilling adventure tour during winters in India. Located in the blessed verdant environs of Assam, this national park is home to over two third of the global population of the endangered Single-horned Rhinoceros. Also, its home to a considerable population of Royal Bengal Tigers.
Game safaris are offered both on jeeps as well as elephant back. Elephant Safari in Kaziranga is an experience you must try. As a part of the wildlife, elephants can get you closest to other species. Winter is the best time to visit as it’s easy to spot wildlife in their natural habitats.
Visit Hampi, ruins of the 14th century Vijayanagara Empire
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hampi treasures the ruins of the erstwhile capital of the mighty Vijayanagara Empire. This 14th century city was ruined by Moghul forces, but even in its ruined state Hampi eloquently tells the story of its rich past and enchants the spectators.
It is set among the beautiful boulder-strewn terrain, on the Tungabhadra River banks. Explore the remains of palaces, baths, pavilions, markets, aqueducts and temples that are witness to Hampi’s rich past. The magnificent Virupaksha temple, the Vithala temple complex with its 56 musical pillars and stone chariot stand are some of the excellent specimens of erstwhile India. Stroll in the lanes of Hampi and experience the secrets of a kingdom lost to time.
Unforgettable luxury train ride
Winters in India offer the perfect opportunity to Indian speciality, luxury trains. India has 5 luxury trains that recreate the way royalty used to travel in the earlier days. These trains operate mostly in the cooler months. The trains have a number of interesting routes that lets guest enjoy the diverse landscape, culture, heritage and the pleasures of luxury. True to their name, they offer journeys of unrivalled bliss.
You can opt for a train ride on Maharajas’ Express, Deccan Odyssey, Golden Chariot, Palace on Wheels, and Royal Rajasthan on Wheels. A luxurious train ride is one of the best experiences of India and in winter you have vacation of a lifetime.
Attend the greatest music festivals in India
Come winter and the thrill of Christmas and New Year is rising, India offers a number of music festivals. The Sunburn, NH Weekender, Goa International Jazz Live, Ziro Music Festival are few of the top names popular in international circles. Rajasthan has folk as well as mixed music festivals like the Magnetic Fields, Jodhpur RIFF, Ragasthan, World Sacred Spirit Festival and many more.
Whatever be your choice, get ready for soulful music not just from India but some of the best of the world, uplifting beats, dances and a carnival like setting. Attending one of the music festivals in India is one of the most exciting experiences you can have only during winters.
Camel safari in Jaisalmer
Camel safari is one of best things to do in Rajasthan. Jaisalmer, settled on the brink of the Thar Desert offers exhilarating camel safaris. Go for safari excursions that range from few hours to many days.
Riding a camel in the wind swept Thar Desert has its own charm. The rustling of sand, changing shape of dunes and the glittering sun entice you. You can explore the desert life in the far flung villages. Sun sets are especially magnificent in the desert. Even the dark is exciting, as you can try camping under the starry skies. Bonfire night, folk dance and music and delicious food make it an experience to cherish.
Hop on an elephant safari in Jim Corbett
Not just a popular winter holiday destination in India, Jim Corbett is a family holiday destination for adventure. One of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in the country, it dates back to the 19th century. It is home to the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger species. On a safari, there are chances to witness more than 400 species of plants and 500 species of migratory birds. Apart from the ferocious Bengal Tigers, spot leopards, Himalayan black bears, pangolins, and many more.
Winter adds to thrill to your visit. Try jeep safaris or hop on the back of an elephant as they take you on undisturbed viewing of wildlife. Combine the adventure with a stay at one of the luxury wildlife resorts.
Enjoy Goa carnival
Goa is the most popular of winter destinations in India. The biggest celebration of the state, The Goa Carnival is held in February every year. Introduced by the Portuguese, primarily as a Christian festival, the festivities are participated by the entire population.
On the first day of the extravagant festivities, the legendary ‘King Momo’ leads the parade of street dancers, acrobats, clowns and fire eaters and orders his people to ‘eat, drink and make merry’. There are carnival processions carried out throughout the state. People dress up in colorful costumes and perform along the thematic tableaux. Street plays, band performances, and grand balls are part of the celebrations. It’s an experience that one must try out on a holiday in Goa.
Admire prehistoric Bhimbetka rock paintings
The Bhimbetka rock shelter transport its visitors, a thousands of years back in time. It is known for the brilliance of Indian rock art. Settled in the lap of Vindhyanchal ranges there are about 700 hundred caves or rock shelters. Over 500 caves have walls adorned with beautiful red and white rock paintings that date back to the Stone Age. These pictures range of three different eras. Mostly they depict affairs of the everyday life like hunting, communal dancing, child birth, people performing household chores and religious rituals.
It’s a great pleasure to learn about the prehistoric times of India at this UNESCO World heritage Site in India. The pleasant weather of winter makes your exploration mysterious and amazing.
Attend Classical Indian Dance at the mystical temple city of Khajuraho
The Khajuraho temple complex of Madhya Pradesh is an UNESCO World Heritage Site of India. Built by the Chandela rulers over a period of 200 years from 950 to 1150 BC, these temples are one of the most visited monuments in India. Out of the original 85 temples only 22 are in reasonable state of preservation. The temples belong to three different sects, mainly the Shivaites, the Vaishnava and the Jain.
There are rich carvings depict medieval lifestyle. There are sculptures of musicians, potters, farmers and of women, but the most talked about feature of Khajuraho is the incredible erotic engravings. The Khajuraho temples represent the pinnacle of medieval architecture in India.
Enjoy Hornbill festival
Nagaland, has a rich tribal heritage. The Hornbill Festival held annually in December is the celebration of the legacy. There are 16 tribes in the state, each different from each other. As the Greater Indian Hornbill is a much talked about bird in Naga folklore and folk songs, the festival has been named ‘Hornbill Festival’. All the Naga tribes gather in the Kisama Heritage village they display their own distinctive culture and traditions.
For 7 days the small village becomes an open air theater where you can see folk dances, indigenous sports, parades, handicraft displays and even fashion shows and beauty pageants. The Rock Music Festival is a super-amazing. Do give a try to the delicious food, shopping and activities.
Be a part of the famous Bikaner Camel Festival
Camel, the ship of the desert has its identity merged with the very fabric of Rajasthan’s culture. The love for the beast can be seen in the spectacular Camel festival of Bikaner. This festival is celebrated in the month of January. The camels are groomed and decorated especially for the occasion.
During this 2-day festival, competitions are held to find the most beautifully embellished and the fastest camel. Some camels even dance gracefully according to the directions given by their riders. The other more sporty ones take part in polo match. In the evening famous artists give spell bounding performances of folk dance and song.
Relish tropical bliss at Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep is a spectacular group of tropical islands off the western coast of India in the Arabian Sea. The name literally means thousands of islands. Out of the 36, only 10 islands are inhabited. Picture-perfect golden beaches, cerulean waters and remoteness are the main attractions of Lakshadweep.
The serene lagoons are perfect for a relaxing swim or basking in the sunshine. Fresh coconut and delicious sea foods are the mouthwatering fare. Go exploring the underwater world and have a go at the exciting watersports. Agatti, Kadmat, Kavaratti, Bangaram Island, are the best places to visit in Lakshadweep archipelago. Forget winters and enjoy a balmy tropical vacation.
Experience a different way of life on the backwaters of Kumarakom
Kumarakom, the beautiful backwater town of Kerala is ranked among the top 50 destinations by the National Geographic Traveler. The backwaters make for a massive irrigation system of canal-linked lakes and lagoons.
The best way to explore the beauty of the backwaters is by hiring a houseboat. Kumarakom is set on the banks of Vembanad Lake and a cruise on a houseboat through this serene lake is surely something you don’t want to miss. While cruising on the backwaters, you get to have a closer look of God’s Own Country. Romantic and blissful, this will surely be one of the fondest experiences of your holiday in India.