The presence of the Himalayas, the abode of snow, in the northern part of India, provides a plethora of snowy destinations to visit between December and March. In fact, it is difficult to select some of the best winter places to visit in December. Yet I managed to come up with a list of 6 winter places which are some of my personal favorites.
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
Kashmir is true to its name, “Heaven on Earth”. Words don’t do justice to Srinagar’s beauty in December. The iconic Dal Lake remains frozen in parts and the surrounding mountains remain completely snow-covered. It is blissful to enjoy such a spectacular view while experiencing snowfall. The famous and beautiful Mughal Gardens, Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh, and Chashm-e-Shahi Gardens are barren during this season but amazing. In the winters you can’t find flowers because it is snow-laden and all white. Snowy Srinagar is one of the best winter places to visit in December. It is white heaven. Srinagar has its own airport and is well connected to Jammu Tawi Railway Station.
Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Winters in Spiti Valley can be as harsh as possible, yet for the adventure junkies, Spiti Valley tops the chart of best winter places to visit in December. The rugged valley gets covered up in a thick blanket of snow. Travelers need to drive around the Spiti Valley, across Nako, Langza, Komic, Kibber, Tabo, and Kaza and so gear up for a freezing drive. You have to enter through Shimla. The road from Manali to Kaza remains closed due to heavy snowfall.
If you are lucky it is the best season for sighting the ghosts of the mountains, snow leopards. Pin Valley National Park lies in the Spiti Valley. Do not miss the Key Gompa, a fort monastery, 14 km from Kaza. There are numerous other monasteries but Key Gompa is the largest and oldest monastery of the Spiti Valley and a religious training center for lamas. Spiti Valley in winters becomes a white valley.
Munsiyari of Uttarakhand turns into a winter wonderland in December and therefore is among India’s best winter places to visit in December. The word “Munisiyari” means ‘Place of snow’ and is often called ‘Little Kashmir’. Munsiyari is serene and watching the sunrise from Munsiyari is a boon. The first rays of the sun on the imposing Panchchuli Peaks (5 sprawling Himalayan peaks) make the snow glisten like molten gold. The Kunds (lakes) and waterfalls generally freeze in December. Munsiyari looks like a place straight out of the fairy tales.
Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Tawang in December calls for a drive through the snow-covered high passes, frozen lakes and waterfalls, and serene monasteries. The colorful prayer flags fluttering in the air, against the snow-white background look like some pretty dream. Travelers still do not flock to India’s North Eastern Himalayas as much as they do the western part. The breathtakingly panoramic views make Tawang one of the best winter places to visit in December.
I had seen my life’s first snowfall at Lachung’s Katao, in Sikkim. It was like a dream and years ago, I knew that Katao definitely is amongst the best winter places to visit in December. I still remember the Khanda Waterfalls, a narrow stream of water flowing through immense snow on the sides. It is an army base. You have to make it from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Katao is called the Switzerland of Eastern India. Skiing and snowboarding are also done here.
Sandakphu, West Bengal
Sandakphu is a quaint Himalayan hamlet on Sandakphu Peak of Singalila Range in India’s West Bengal, bordering Nepal. It is indeed one of my favorite picks for the best winter places to visit in December.
Four of the five highest peaks in the world, Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, and Makalu can be seen from the summit of Sandakphu. The gorgeous view of the entire Kanchenjunga range remains etched in the heart forever. The trek routes remain open throughout the winter, though mostly covered in snow. Manebhanjan, Tonglu, and Tumling are some tiny villages in the vicinity. The trek routes through Singalila National Park appear almost mysterious. The Tonglu Lake is frozen in the winters. Bagdogra Airport and New Jalpaiguri Junction are the nearest airport and railway station respectively.
Snowy wonderlands look dreamy but are not free from the harshness of the climate in reality. So be prepared with proper winter gear for the best winter places to visit in December. Have appropriate warm clothes (tops, bottoms, gloves, mufflers) which suffice sub-zero climatic harshness. Good quality sunscreen and moisturizer are musts. Pack your snow boots and sunglass to tread on your dreams of snow-white adventures.
A versatile writer and travel freak, discovering the world in her own casual way. Loves to immerse into the core of Mother Nature and extract her inherent beauty.