The mountain state of Himachal Pradesh is pleasant throughout the year, but it is nothing short of spectacular during the winter months. Fresh now falls on its valleys and mountains, the pristine lakes get an icy sheen and winter sports come back in full force. Himachal is full of adventure and beauty during the winter, and should be in your list of travel destinations for this holiday season. Here is a look at some of the best winter holiday destinations in Himachal Pradesh for 2017. ALSO READ: Backpacking in India: 5 cheapest places to stay in Himachal Pradesh
One of the most famous hill stations in Himachal Pradesh, Dalhousie is often referred to as the Switzerland of India because of its snowy slopes and lush green meadows and pine forests, and its colonial-era charm. You can sit down and relax and visit all the sights in Dalhousie, like St. John Church or Daikund Lake, or go river rafting or crossing, visit Kalatop wildlife sanctuary or ride to Khajjiar.
Green Landscape of Manali
Next up is another popular destination, and probably the most famous one in the state. Manali and the wider Kullu region is full of natural and heritage sites to explore. From Manali, you have several places to head to in Manali and nearby Solang Valley for paragliding, skiing or trekking. The larger Kullu valley can be explored as well, including the Parvati Valley stretch that takes you to Tosh and Manikaran and Kheerganga. CHECK OUT: Planning to Head to Parvati Valley? Here’s Why You Should Stay in Manikaran Instead of Kasol
Located higher up in the Himalayan mountains of Himachal Pradesh, the town of Kufri is the place to go to experience winter at its best. Snow falls in abundance, and its slopes become just right for skiing for hours on end. In fact, Kufri also hosts an annual winter sports festival in February, which is probably the best time to visit. Ski down some of the oldest slopes in the Himalayas in Fagu or learn the sport in the gentler slopes, and visit the nature park to unwind.
Speaking of unwinding in the winter, there’s no better place than Shimla. It is a mainstream tourist treat, but you’ll find fewer people here than during the summer holiday season. Take the opportunity to walk down the snow-ridden streets and experience Shimla’s colonial buildings and churches in all their winter glory. Soak in the weather at the Ridge and take the chilly but beautiful ride through Kalka. Plus, Kufri’s slopes are nearby for some skiing fun.
Key Monastery, Spiti
If it is adventure that you seek, head to the rugged roads of Spiti Valley, surrounded by several inches of snow. There is danger, but a road trip to the mountainous valley is something that you will never forget. The feeling of being in frigid temperatures and the sight of monasteries and pristine snow will be seared into your memory. Ride or trek on the Kunzum range, visit the Key and Toba and Dhankar monasteries, and sit by the Chandratal Lake.
Narkanda ski slopes
Located 2,700 meters above sea level, the town of Narkanda is surrounded by mountains and dense woodlands, far from the intrusions of everyday life. It lies off the famed Hindustan-Tibet road, and is a favorite among skiers for its snowy slopes during the winter. But you can do more than just ski here; there is the Hatu peak that you can trek up to and the Tannu Jubbar Lake that you can sit beside for an afternoon picnic. NOW READ: 20 stunning pictures of Himachal Pradesh that prove it truly is paradise!
Tsuglagkhang Dharamsala Mcleodganj
Finally, we have Mcleodganj and, by extension, Dharamsala in the upper regions of Kangra Valley. Winter sees pleasant snowfall in the city, and you can still go paragliding until the winter snow sets in. Plus, there are plenty of trekking trails here, including the popular Triund route. For those interested in the city’s Tibetan culture, there is the Tibetan museum and Kalachakra temple and Tsechokling Gompa to visit.