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  Life   Travel  11 Dec 2016  India’s winter wonderlands

India’s winter wonderlands

THE ASIAN AGE. | KAAVYA PILLAI
Published : Dec 11, 2016, 12:16 am IST
Updated : Dec 11, 2016, 6:44 am IST

Trek up a snow-clad hill, ski down some exciting slopes or just enjoy the peaceful locales.

Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
 Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

Winters are a time for chilling winds, white peaks, snowball fights and more. If you’re feeling deprived of a white winter and want to experience the joy of snow in all it’s glory, this is the perfect list for you. From Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh to a thrilling trek on the Zanskar river in Ladakh, we have you sorted!

Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh to this day remains one of the most beautiful, yet unexplored states the country has to offer. From December to January, Tawang in the state remains snow-clad and yet manages to provide diversity with waterfalls and forests. Snow enthusiasts will find all they need here including a 400-year-old monastery that becomes a pilgrimage hotspot for Buddhists. If you do make a trip here, make sure to visit Sela Pass too! The North-East is surely filled with gems that we couldn’t even imagine.

Roopkund, UttarakhandRoopkund, Uttarakhand

Roopkund, Uttarakhand
The stories surrounding Roopkund are manifold and shrouded with mystery. Nestled in the higher Himalayas, the iconic trek takes us to the Roopkund Lake. Although the best time to visit is September to October, December is for those who like a good challenge and can brave freezing conditions. Although the lake remains frozen through the year, it is a popular destination because a massive amount of human skeletons were found in and around it. The reason for this is still unclear. The trek will take you eight to nine days and it is imperative you check weather conditions before you make plans.

Rohtang Pass, Himachal PradeshRohtang Pass, Himachal Pradesh

Rohtang Pass, Himachal Pradesh
December is an ideal time to combine a trip to Manali with Rohtang Pass. Although Manali is a famous destination that is a go-to weekend vacation for people in north India, the Rohtang Pass is anything but mainstream. Of course, if you’re an adventure sport enthusiast and would like to get your trek on, this would make for the perfect place but there are other attractions too. Solang valley can be visited from the pass and makes for a perfect short trip. It is advised to be a little careful on the roads because they are known to have traffic jams.

Ladakh, Jammu and KashmirLadakh, Jammu and Kashmir

Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir
How can one talk of winters, snow and everything nice without mentioning Ladakh in the list? Leh might not be in reach during the winters but Ladakh presents something special during the months of January and February. The Chadar trek has to be one of the most scenic treks in the world, where one crosses the frozen Zanskar river in nine days. Many organisations and groups venture out to conquer this fascinating yet challenging trek. This should be undertaken only by people who have had former experience in hardcore trekking and not by novices because it is anything but easy.

Gulmarg, Jammu and KashmirGulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir

Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir
Nobody can deny that Jammu and Kashmir is one of the most beautiful places on earth. There are odes written to the state, all of them praising the many lakes and peaks, and the people of J&K. Contributing to its beauty is Gulmarg, which lies close to the capital — Srinagar. It is just as gorgeous in the winters as it is in the summers. You can snowboard, go for a gondola cable ride or just relax and take in the sights. December to early March is the ideal time to witness the pristine white surroundings and even view the highest mountain peak in India, Kanchenjunga. If you’re more adventurous, maybe Gulmarg can serve as a basecamp for your trek to Nanga Parbat.

Auli, UttarakhandAuli, Uttarakhand

Auli, Uttarakhand
Complete with beautiful spots like Nanda Devi and Mana Parvat to view the majesty of the mountains surrounding you, Auli is a major attraction for anyone who likes white winters. It is home to many skiing festivals and competitions, because the mountaintops provide perfect slopes for the sport. What was once an offbeat choice for a planned vacation now sees a lot of tourist activity because of the natural beauty there. You can also squeeze in a short trip to Joshimath if religious destinations are your cup of tea. Make sure to visit between the months of January and March. 

Tags: travel, ladakh, tawang, gulmarg