It’s December 2017; another year is ending and 2018 will soon begin. And the winter season has set in across most of India. With Christmas and New Year’s Eve coming soon, we bet a lot of people have a bunch of holidays too. India is chilly and especially beautiful during the winter months, and what better place to experience the wonderful Indian winter than in the mountain state of Uttarakhand. The state isn’t called Devbhumi, or the land of gods, for nothing. The snow-capped Himalayan mountains are the abode of several gods and home to several winter holiday destinations waiting to be explored this season. ALSO READ: Best Winter Holiday Destinations in North India for 2017
Located around 35 km from the state capital of Dehradun, Mussoorie is probably the best known and most accessible winter destination in this list. Like its neighboring city, Mussoorie too lies within the dense green Doon Valley and has all the features you’ve come to expect from a Northern hill station. In fact, Mussoorie is probably where the notion of a quintessential hill station was formed. Heritage charm and buildings, lush green forests around you and snow-capped mountains far away; it’s all there here.
Mesmerizing view of Kamet, Parvati and Neelkanth mountains of Garhwal Himalayas from Kuari pass hiking trail near Auli, Uttrakhand
The hill station for skiers, Auli boasts of world-class ski slopes for everyone, from beginners to pros. The slopes lie at an altitude of 2,500 to 3,000 meters, and with the fresh winter snow they should idea for cutting. For those who don’t plan to hit the powder, Auli also offers incredible views of the high Himalayan mountains in India. From here, you can see Dunagiri, Mana Parvat, Kamet and Nanda Devi.
For all the trekkers looking to get as close to nature as possible and unplug themselves from the rest of civilization for a while, Chopta is the place to head to. A relatively underexplored town, Chopta doesn’t offer the usual tourist attractions but it is the starting point for the treks to Chandrashila and Tungnath. The town itself is worth spending a few days, away from the hustle of everyday city life. Chopta is connected by road to other major cities, including Rishikesh, Pauri and Rudraprayag.
Binsar in Uttarakhand
The quiet, misty paradise of Binsar is another great destination for the winter months. Here, you can catch glimpses of massive Himalayan peaks in the distance and walk down nature trails through the forest around you. The town is, in fact, surrounded by the Binsar National Park, cocooned from the rest of the world. It has all the ingredients for a silent hilltop destination for the winter to unplug and unwind. CHECK OUT: Photos of Binsar, a Quiet Haven in the Kumaon Himalayas
Another skiing destination, Munsiyari lies in the Pithoragarh district of east Uttarakhand, at the base of the Himalayan mountains. Surrounded by misty, dense jungles that are home a wide range of animals and birds, this winter destination is popular among skiers and snowboarders. The snow-covered town is home to a number of slopes that are friendly for beginners and challenging enough for expert skiers and snowboarders.
Village Syuni in Pithoragarh
The small town of Pithoragarh, the namesake and capital of the aforementioned district, is also a proper winter destination of its own. Less frequented by tourists, this is a nice little vacation spot away from the usual crowd. The town is especially beautiful during the winter months, with plenty of activities, including watersports, available for both families and solo travelers. NOW READ: New Road to Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand to Be Built Soon
For seeking a spiritual getaway in their winter destination, there is the very abode of the gods themselves, Rudraprayag. Surrounded by the beautiful snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas, Rudraprayag lies at the confluence of the Mandakini and Alaknanda Rivers and usually serves as a quick pitstop for those heading to Badrinath or Kedarnath. But we urge you to spend more time and lose yourself in the divine charm of this town and its temples.