As November begins to unfold itself, warm clothes make their way into our closets from the storage. The sun immerses beyond the horizons earlier than usual with each night getting longer and longer - a subtle warning for the savage winter season ahead. The cold season, however, is a great time for holidays. With Christmas and New Years' not far away, plans and escapes are in the process of formulation. The conventional trips to the Spiti Valley, Srinagar, Gulmarg, and Goa are the safer options, but why not take a little diversion and head to these off-beat destinations to make this winter more special.
Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh
One of the oldest towns in Arunachal, Ziro is a gorgeous hill station inhabited by mainly the Apatani tribe. The town is a marvelous combination of exotic lush green forest, rivulet, and terraced paddy fields. A soul seeker's paradise, the Ziro Valley is great for adventure aficionados looking forward to an life changing experience. The hypnotic natural charm of the town with its added tranquility should put this location on the top of your wish list. About 115 KMs away from Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh's capital, the closest train station is either Naharlagun and Kathal Pukhuri from where you can catch a bus or take a taxi.
Located in Jaintia Hills, the enchanting border town of Dawki is an alluring destination in Meghalaya. About 95 KMs from Shillong and only 2 KMs from the Bangladesh border, this small town happens to be the perfect blessing in disguise. The Umngot River is a much talked about highlight of this Northeast town. With absolutely clear transparent water running through its channel, the river is a gift of nature. You can stalk the movement of the marine life in the river while on a boat ride of Umngot. Small markets have been set up nearby to allows traders from India and Bangladesh to exchange in business.
Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh
Far away from the Spiti and Kasol of Himachal lies this majestic tiny town of Khajjiar. An unexplored beauty, the town is lovingly called the "Mini Switzerland of India". An hour from Dalhousie, the town encompasses a rare combination of lake, pastures, and forests. Serene surroundings, made only more captivating with the added snow, make the experience here a bliss. Indulge in activities like paragliding, zorbing, and horse-riding on your visit here.
Nubra Valley, Ladakh
Required to cross the blisteringly cold Khardung La on your way to the Nubra Valley, there can be no experience more worthwhile that this. A blend of desert, lush fields, and a town - the temperatures in Nubra stay between -15 and 10 degrees during October and May. A quaint village is located at the foothills of the ancient monasteries. Enjoy the majestic Himalayan mountain ranges surrounding the valley while building your own snow man.
Papi Hills, Andhra Pradesh
Reachable by road and about 400 KMs from Hyderabad, the Papi Hills, aka Papikondalu, is set amidst glorious hills circled by commanding waters. Located at the border confluence of the Khamman district, remember to wake up early to watch the indescribable sunrise. Observe as the sun rises from beyond the mountains filing the sky with a pallet of oranges. You can get here by a boat ride from Rajamundhry which will take you across the Godavari and into the captiity of the hills. Sleep under the star-studded night sky to end this enriching experience.