Indian winters are pristine and unparalleled because of the whitewashed valleys, foggy mountain passes, and gentle snow. The season is perfect for sightseeing since the weather in central and southern India is cool and pleasant. It can get pretty freezing in northern India but a traveler will trade anything to witness the lovely winters in northern regions. But when you reach your hotel, we don’t want you to stay scooped up inside your sheets, the winter awaits you and these winter travel tips will help you explore it to the fullest!
1. Book Your Tickets Well In Advance
2. Research The Weather And Temperatures
3. Keep Sightseeing Options Ready
4. Avoid Extremely Cold Destinations
5. Pack For Winter (Obviously)
6. Carry A Pouch Of Medicines
7. Eat The Winter Delicacies
8. Pamper Your Body After Reaching Accommodation
9. Explore Winter Sports
Winters in India are the holiday season which is why you’ll find most of the travel options booked to full capacity. If you’re planning to travel around India during the tourist season, it’s better you book your tickets well in advance. This saves you both money and the last-minute hassle to look for alternative transportation.
If you’re booking a flight, be prepared for delays and cancellations because of foggy weather. If you’ve connecting flights, leave enough time window between the two flights in case your first flight is delayed due to the weather. It’s also safer to get travel insurance since you don’t want to risk a canceled flight.
Winter isn’t the same all across India, while southern India’s winter temperatures vary between 15°C and 25°C, northern India’s temperatures can drop below -2° in some regions! You need to study the temperature of the place you’ll be visiting to avoid any last-minute trouble, especially during nights when temperatures fall notoriously.
You should also study weather conditions and track weather news to be on the safer side. While winters aren’t as brutal in the southern regions, they can be crazy in the north. Many avalanches, landslides, snowdrifts keep occurring in Himachal Pradesh which is why you should research your travel destinations in advance.
Before stepping out of your hotel for sightseeing, notify the reception desk about your itinerary for the day and ask them about weather conditions. Google might not always be accurate in predictions but locals know the climate and its unpredictability, thus they can guide you better. (That doesn’t mean you should stop tracking news!)
Make a map of the places you plan to visit and research the weather conditions. Most mountain passes in Himachal Pradesh are closed due to extreme weather that’s why you should have plan B in place. If you’re planning to visit Rohtang Pass but it’s closed on the day of your visit, you should have an option ready!
You should avoid traveling on steep roads and ghats when the weather is unpredictable. On such days, it’s better to engage in local sightseeing around your hotel or check out museums in the city limits. It’s also not advisable to drive during snowstorms and you should rather spend a crazy day indoors!
If you’re traveling with older family members, babies, or have sensitivity against the cold, it’s better to avoid extremely cold destinations. Places like Leh, Pahalgam, and Gulmarg, look extremely beautiful in the winter months. But temperatures can drop to crazy levels and can affect people with bone or joint conditions. It can also affect people with sensitive skin, which can bleed if not taken care of.
Temperatures in Leh can drop below -13°C and thus can lock you up inside your hotel room. If you’re habitual to traveling in the cold, good for you, but you must also think about your travel mates! If you want to experience winter but want to stay away from snow, you can travel to places like Ooty, Wayanad, or Coorg in southern India.
Now comes the most obvious but important winter travel tip while traveling in India, pack smartly! Rather than packing tight winter sweaters, pack loose layers and thermal wear so your body gets the necessary ventilation. Pack scarves and warm beanies that will protect you against biting wind.
You should invest in waterproof shoes if you’re going to snowy regions. In case you don’t have those, you can wear two layers of socks with a polythene bag between the two layers to keep your feet from getting wet. Pack woolen gloves for yourself and if you’re traveling with kids, pack woolen mittens.
Pack a thermos flask so that you can carry hot water from your hotel or fill it with steaming coffee before you step out. This will keep your body warm throughout the day and will provide relief against the cold. Don’t forget to pack sunglasses that protect you against UV rays since snow is a reflector of sunrays and can harm your eyes if you aren’t careful enough. Oh, and did we tell you to carry a box of dry fruits? They keep your body warm and energetic!
Remember the days when you used to travel with your parents and your mom would produce medicine for every kind of pain on the trip? That’s because she forecasted well and packed for every situation. You should do the same, carry flu medicines, cough syrup, anti-fungal cream, pain relief spray, headache balm, and so on. You can never trust what the weather will do to your health, right?
You should also carry tablets to tackle acidity since winters often cause the body’s metabolism to go sluggish which can cause poor digestion. You better be prepared for blocked nose and headaches if you aren’t used to cold temperatures. It’s also important to carry sunscreen, it’s not limited to summers alone!
What’s the use of stepping out in the winters when you can’t eat the winter cuisines! Winter is the season when fresh carrots are available aplenty, which paves way for some Gajar Ka Halwa seasoned with dry fruits and drenched in some ghee! If you’re halting along a highway for lunch, demand for ‘Sarson ka Saag with Makke ki roti’ as this is a traditional winter dish. Don’t take your first bite without adding a dollop of white butter on top!
There are also some region-specific winter cuisines that you must try, like Thukpa in Himachal Pradesh, Undhiyu in Gujarat, Rogan Josh in Kashmir, Carrot Poriyal in Kerala, and so on. Dishes like these keep you warm in winter, give you an authentic taste of what locals eat, and also let you devour the seasonal ingredients in them.
Another winter travel tip in India will be to go beyond tea and coffee. Yes, there are many options like the Kashmiri Kahwa, Hot Toddy, Noon Chai, Hyderabadi Shorba, and the south Indian Rasam. These hot drinks keep your throat, body, and spirits warm!
Also Read: Experiencing The Food In Dharamshala
When you reach your hotel after a long day of traveling or sightseeing, pamper yourself. Bath in hot water and soak your feet in warm water infused with rock salt. This increases the blood circulation in your body and cures mild frostbites. Dipping your feet in hot water is super important if you spent a day trekking in the snow. Your feet are prone to frostbites after long exposure to snow and thus this cure shouldn’t be skipped.
Bathing in hot water isn’t only going to help. You must apply coconut oil to your body before the bath and some body lotion after it. Also, try to use a glycerin soap that hydrates and nourishes your skin. All this will prepare you for the next exploration on your winter trip!
If you’re traveling in winter in India and not participating in winter sports, you’re missing out on something really fun! Auli and Gulmarg are places that offer winter sports like snowboarding, ice skating, gondola, etc. If you’re a lover of adventure sports, try paragliding, zorbing, ATV ride, rock climbing, and rappelling arranged in the Solang Valley and Sikkim.
If you want to be a silent spectator, you can just be audience to the various winter tournaments and competitions taking place. You shouldn’t miss the Ski tournaments taking place in Gulmarg, Kashmir, and Manali during the winter months.
Traveling in winter can be exciting but you need to take precautions to not catch a chill. Don’t imitate the way of living of the locals since their bodies are accustomed to the climate. Never be shy to wear extra layers of clothing or to ask for an extra cup of hot tea. Remember these winter tips and you’ll be just fine however extreme the climate is!
Also Read: Adventure Sports In Sikkim
Which Places To Visit In India In Winter?
Gulmarg, Solang Valley, Kashmir, Darjeeling, Pushkar, Jaipur, Ooty, Coorg, Munnar, Kodaikanal, Wayanad are some of the best places to visit in India in winter.
What Is India’s Temperature In Winter?
India’s temperature ranges anywhere between 10°C and 25°C. The coldest months are December and January. Temperatures in places like Leh, Srinagar, Gulmarg, etc can fall before 0°C on extremely cold winter days and nights.
What To Pack For A Winter Trip In India?
Pack thermal wear, sweaters, gloves, thermos flask, sunglasses, sunscreen, first aid kit, medicines, etc before embarking on a winter trip in India. You should also pack dry snacks, power banks, waterproof bags, and an extra set of clothes for a winter trip.
What Activities To Engage In Winter?
There’s no dearth of things to do in winter in India, you can go skiing, snowboarding, paragliding, or zorbing. If you aren’t a fan of adventure sports, you can go on heritage walks, backwater boating, or set out on a food tour or a shopping spree!
Which Is The Coldest Place In India?
With a temperature dropping to as low as -23°C, Dras in Jammu Kashmir is the coldest place in India. It is also popularly known as the "Gateway to Ladakh".
Which Is The Coldest Month In India?
The winter months in most parts of India begin in October and last up to February. Of these, the coldest months are of December and January with very low temperatures.
Where Does It Snow The Most In India?
There are several places in India to explore snow like Shimla, Manali, Gulmarg, Sonmarg, and others. But the place that receives the most snowfall is the quaint hill station of Kufri located in the district of Shimla.
Which Month Does It Snow In Manali?
Manali receives snowfall generally during the months of December and January. It truly is the best time to see Manali surrounded by sparkling snow all around, making it one of the best destinations for honeymoons.