5 Charming Winter Escapes Near Delhi
Posted by Priyanka Lahiri on December 23, 2016
By Sarita Santoshini.
I’ve always been a little biased towards winters. Waking up on crisp mornings to feel the nip in the air, soaking the winter sun for hours and enjoying one drink or many to beat the chill at nights- there are infinite reasons to love this season. If you’re in Delhi, you’re close to some of the best winter destinations in India, and even though the season has only just begun, it’s never too early for these getaways.
Thanedar and Kotgarh, Himachal Pradesh
Drive further from the crowded streets of Shimla about 80 kilometres down the old Hindustan-Tibet road, and you’ll stumble upon the quiet mountain retreat of Thanedar. It is here, in the nearby village of Kotgarh, that apple pioneer Samuel Satyanand Stokes sowed the first seeds of the fruit that we see growing in plenty today. Take long leisurely walks in the deodar forests, enjoy a picnic on the meadows and watch the apple and cherry orchards get draped in snow come February. If you’re a Rudyard Kipling fan, you’ll be delighted to know that one of his short stories, Lispeth, was set in the charming village of Kotgarh.
Getting there: Take a Volvo bus from Delhi to Shimla. Thanedar is about 3 hour drive away.
Book your journey through the beautiful views of Shimla here, exclusively by Travelyaari.
Nainital undoubtedly is one of the best places to experience snow in winter, but if you’ve done and seen it all, drive down to the small village of Pangot that lies 15 kilometres away. Home to more than 150 species of birds like lammergeyer, redstarts, flycatchers, jays, rufous-bellied woodpecker and yellow throated Himalayan martens, a walk through the oak and rhododendron forests here, echoing with bird calls and songs, is a magical experience. If you can brave the cold, trek up to Naina Peak at 8,563 feet and you’ll be rewarded with breath-taking views of snow-clad peaks of Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nanda Ghunti.
Getting there: You can take a Volvo bus to travel from Delhi to Nainital. Pangot is about a half an hour drive away.
Travel safe to Nainital with Travelyaari. Start here.
Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir
If you’re feeling adventurous this winter, what better place to go but India’s very own ski resort, Gulmarg. Venture on foot, ride a pony or use the Gondola Cable Car to reach Mount Apharwat, and after you’ve had a fill of the gorgeous view, ski down the powder-soft slopes, for as far as 7 kilometres if you possibly can. While you’re rushing down the white-mountain, excited and thrilled, you’ll probably realise why so many travellers choose to come back to Gulmarg time and again.
Getting there: Take a flight from Mumbai to Srinagar. Gulmarg is a 2 hour drive away from Srinagar.
Dhanaulti is a beautiful winter destination that all locals of Dehradun swear by. A short drive further from Mussorie and comparatively untouched, Dhanaulti is one place where you’re sure to find the pine and deodar trees draped in snow. While there are temples and waterfalls to visit, let this trip to Dhanaulti be about long mornings walks, slow afternoons and bon-fire lit nights while you’re nestled by the woods and mountains.
Getting there: Take a Volvo bus from Delhi to Dehradun. From Dehradun, Dhanaulti is about 2.5 hours away.
Explore Dehradun on your way to Dhanaulti. Book your bus tickets here.
As winter sets in, the barren land of Jaisalmer comes alive for a few months every year. Watch the sun go down by the sand dunes with folk music and dance and delicious Rajasthani food, before spending the night camping in the vast open desert under a clear star-lit sky. In the day, head out for a safari to the Desert National Park to watch how wildlife like blackbuck, nilgai, wolves, desert cats, the Spotted and Tawny Eagle and the endangered Great Indian Bustard thrive in the fragile and unique ecosystem.
Getting there: The Delhi-Jaisalmer Express runs daily and is approximately an 18 hour long journey.
Travel to the friendly state of Rajasthan by booking a Travelyaari bus service.
Will it be the mountains or desert this winter for you?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born and raised in Assam, Sarita Santoshini has been travelling across India for over a year now and penning down her experiences. You can read more of her travelogues on her blog: http://crumbsfromyourtale.wordpress.com.
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