Winter is in its full swing all across India with a delicious chill gracing the northern belt. With expectations that the weather will get chillier as December and January wears on, a cup of hot cocoa while snuggling up in your comfy blanket might seem like a promising prospect. But that wouldn't really be the best way to spend your winters, would it?
While Delhi is deprived of winter's greatest gift, snow, places like Himachal, Jammu & Kashmir, and Uttarakhand are blessed with it in abundance. The Himalayan Mountain ranges spread across the three states blanketed by snow provide a perfect setting for seasonal sports. Whether it be in gorgeous hill station of Manali or in one of the best winter destinations in the world, Gulmarg, it is time for you to get your hands dirty. Skiing, a popular winter sport, provides a flawless opportunity to take in the enchanting locations while enjoying the true spectacle of the cold season.
Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Situated at an altitude of 10,000 ft near the PankangTeng Tso, Tawang is the youngest skiing destination in India. The lake around, 17 km from Tawang, freezes during the winter and its surroundings are covered in thick layers of snow. While it is mainly recognised for being home to the Tibetan monasteries, Tawang's setting makes it a natural fit for a sport like skiing. For more info, check here.
Best time: December - February
Yumthang Valley, Sikkim
An unconventional location for skiing, Yumthang Valley in a fine place to indulge in activities like skiing, hiking, and mountain biking. A stunning destination particularly during the winters when the valley is covered with unending layers of snow, it is a place made for skiing. Catering to skiers of all kinds - from tyros to experts - Yumthang Valley is miles away from all the tireless honking on the traffic hooked roads of the cities. There are various tour operators who have packages. You can also check here for more details.
Best time: November - February
The most popular skiing destination in India because of how well it is looked after. Auli is a pristine retreat situated among the surroundings of the Garhwal Mountains. Far away from the monotonous work office, the skiing slope here are of various ranges and you can pick the one you find suitable according to your comfort. There is also a ski-lift and chair-lift which will take you to the top of the mountain. If this is your first time, fret not, Auli has a skiing institute, known as the Mountaineering and Skiing Institute, that runs classes which you can enrol yourself into. Check out details here.
Best time: December - February
Solang Nala, Himachal Pradesh
About 12 kms from the much loved city of Manali, Solang Nala is brimming with skiers from all over India during the winters. A Mountaineering and Allied Sports Institute is also set up nearby to teach novice skiers how to descend from terrifying slopes of Solang Nala. A paradise for upcoming skiers, skiing competition are held here every year. If you want to become a master of riding the mountains, then better learn from the best. With top skiers flooding Solang Nala during winters, this is the place to be. For more info, see here.
Best time: December – February
Gulmarg, Jammu & Kashmir
Nestled in the Baramla district of Jammu and Kashmir, Gulmarg is regarded as the best skiing destination in the country. Boasting of a scenic view, a major attraction of Gulmarg is the Gondola which is Asia's largest gondola car and allows you to take in the alluring beauty of the location. There are two points from where you can start - Kongdori and Aparwahat Peak. The Gondola will take you to both these stops. Kongdori's 450 meter slope is for those who are newbies while the latter is set at 800 meter descend offering an unfrogettable experience. For more details, see here.
Best time: December - March