27 November, 2019
Indians have always been fascinated with the snow laid White Christmas stories and pics of the Western world. Snow is a rarity for most of India, and it is only found in few hill stations during the peak winter season. And we are right into it now! Many parts of Himachal and Kashmir have already experienced snowing. In fact, in a few areas, the snow has been so heavy, that it has disrupted normal life, as that was unexpected as well, being early. People usually expect snow only in December or January.
However, the bright spot for those looking to travel in December, especially in search of a White Christmas, this is heaven-sent. Here are a few places which you can pick from to plan your December travel and enjoy the snow, especially as a much-needed break from the heightened wintry pollution.
Shimla is a scenic and beautiful place, even without the snow; however, when the snow carpets the whole area, the place looks even more lovely and almost magical. With a lot of the former colonial buildings, a charming city center with a lit-up town hall, the winding roads of the Mall Street for shopping, the spoilt for choice street food options, and spots like Kufri and Chail, nearby, make Shimla a wonderful getaway for the winter. In fact, for the adventure lovers, they also set up the Winter Sports Festival during this time, with skating rinks, skiing and more.
The road from Shimla to Manali happens to be one of the most picturesque ones, with mountain valleys lining the Beas River throughout. The road to Leh, Ladakh from Manali via the Rohtang pass is one of the most visited snow-clad places in Himachal- a big tourist attraction. Tall Christmas and Deodhar (Maple) trees line the entire stretch, and with snowfall, this area looks heavenly.
Lovely colonial buildings, tall Deodhar trees, snow-capped mountains all around, and a quintessential town that looks straight out of a fairy tale make Dalhousie a much-coveted choice among the December tourists. You may not get tired of sitting through and watching the beauty from your balcony or can take short walks to enjoy the snow.
There are many places in Kashmir, like the Srinagar, Sonamarg – Thajiwas Glacier, and the Gulmarg that you can look up for a snow experience. With the Government going all out to promote tourism in this region, you could check out the options here. Without a doubt, the snow-covered valleys of Kashmir, its lakes and beautiful gardens, it is truly a heaven on earth, a must-visit in a lifetime.
With its new-found status, Leh and Ladakh to are wooing tourists to visit their place and experience their unique and ancient culture. With a lot of Buddhist influence, and natural beauty, and crystal blue ice on the lakes on which you can walk, with a jaw-dropping beautiful background, this area promises you a once in a lifetime experience. You could also shop for many local artifacts here, which you can carry back as souvenirs.
Apart from Kashmir and Himachal, the one other state which also gets to experience or see snow happens to be Uttarakhand. Auli is one place in Uttarakhand that sees a lot of footfall, owing to the snow-related activities like skiing and trekking that draws a good amount of people. Auli gives you impressive views of the Neelkant, Nanda Devi, and the Mana Parbat peaks. Highly scenic and soul touching Himalayas around this place can take your breath away, literally!
This is another picturesque place in Uttarakhand that is worth a visit to enjoy the beauty of nature and the magic of snow. It is a sleepy hill town, which provides you breathtaking views of the Trishul, Nanda Devi, and Pachachuli peaks. Even you can catch glimpses of the holy Kedarnath from here. Dense forests, ridden by snow surround the place, but you can also check out the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary for some unique wildlife. This place is famous for its Himalayan birds mostly, which can be spotted while on a safari.
So, for those craving a White Christmas, you are spoilt for choices in India, with all these places, just waiting to be explored. However, a word of caution for those planning a trip to these places; it is important to discuss it out with your doctor to see if your health permits the same. Many of these places can only be reached by road, and are at high altitudes. It may be possible that you may need to take some special medicines for acclimatization to the lack of oxygen at very high altitudes like Leh, Ladakh. A complete health check-up and a green signal from the doctor is a must to travel to these places. Also, discuss with your tour operator or local people and make sure to carry enough warm clothing and all medicines, just in case you get snowed in!
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