Today I bring to you 6 offbeat winter destinations in India. Generally ‘winter destination’ gives us a picture of a snow-covered white destination. However, India is so diverse that our winter destinations need not be only snow-covered places.
Kaziranga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and famous for the endangered Indian one-horned rhinoceros, elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer. The population of tigers has also increased over time. Various types of storks, ducks, and other birds of marshland are observed. The Brahmaputra River flowing through the vast expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical forests, at the Himalayan foothills, make the place look mystique. You can enjoy the wild by Elephant safaris or Car safaris. The National Park remains open for tourists from November to April. It tops the chart of offbeat winter destinations in India. It takes around 4.5 hours to reach Kaziranga from Guwahati, the gateway to India’s North East.
Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi is one of the most charming offbeat winter destinations in India which will teleport you instantly to a different space and time, the moment you step onto the streets of Fort Cochi. Walking down the road you can find the fort, Portuguese bungalows, cafes and boutique shops, and the sea. This city is a city steeped in time. 16th century Vasco House, Vasco Da Gama’s residence still exists and is the oldest Portuguese building in the city. The Bishop House is also a landmark. St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India is also present in Fort Kochi.
Time doesn’t control you here but runs at your pace. Laze and relax for Fort Kochi is going to be one of your coziest trips ever. Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport. It is 16 kilometers from the city of Cochin. From the city, you have to take a boat from the jetty to finally reach Fort Kochi because it is part of a handful of water-bound islands and islets.
On the banks of the Tungabhadra River, stands the ancient site of ruins of Hampi. The complex has temples, shrines, royal and sacred complexes, pillared halls, mandapas, memorial structures, and a fort. There are 1600 surviving structures. Even though it is significant to Hinduism, this 4100 Hectares of rocky ruins is beyond religion. It is an architectural gem and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Moreover, the site built before the 14th century has later evolved as multi-religious and multi-ethnic. This site was called Pampakshetra and was an early medieval era pilgrimage site.
One has to either walk or cycle around the enormous site. It is scorching in the summer and could be uncomfortable. Winter is the best time to get lost in the grandiose of Hampi, making it one of the best offbeat winter destinations in India. Bellary, a domestic airport, 60 kilometers from Hampi, is the nearest airport. Hampi is well connected by roads from Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Aurangabad’s 17th-century marble monument, Bibi ka Maqbara, modeled on the iconic Taj Mahal is quite an attraction. The tomb was commissioned in 1660 by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb for his wife. The Aurangabad Caves with rock-cut Buddhist shrines have a different charm. Drive 30 kilometers from Aurangabad city to Ellora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Ellora Caves and the Kailash Temple, the largest single monolithic rock excavation in the world, are magical. The Ellora Caves are significant to Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. Winters are comfortable exploring Aurangabad and so it makes to the list of offbeat winter destinations in India.
Barmer is located on a part of the vast Thar Desert in the western part of Rajasthan, landscaped by the Aravalli Hills. It is a city of Rajasthani folk music, hand block prints, hand-carved woodwork, monuments (forts and temples) which are architectural wonders, and amazing sand dunes. Like every other city in Rajasthan, Barmer gives a unique and regal experience too. You can enjoy the freezing cold and not have a white holiday. Barmer Railway Station is well connected with Jodhpur and the nearest airport is also at Jodhpur, around 200 km from Barmer. In spite of Rajasthan being so popular among tourists, this place is not so crowded. It is one of the most amazing offbeat winter destinations in India.
Chatakpur, West Bengal
One may be interested in enjoying a little calm and peaceful snowy winter. Not everyone who enjoys freezing temperature and snow enjoys adrenalin rushes and snow sports and activities. To bask in nature’s bliss and enjoy a serene white holiday, visit Chatakpur in West Bengal. It is a Himalayan hamlet nestled on 8000 feet high hilltop at Sonada, near the popular hill town Darjeeling. The snow-covered quaint hamlet, its watchtower amidst Senchel Wildlife Sanctuary, and the view of the majestic Kanchenjunga weave magic. It is one of the most serene offbeat winter destinations in India. Sonada is easily accessible from New Jalpaiguri Junction, Siliguri Bus stop, and Bagdogra Airport, the drive taking approximately 3 hours.
The urge to see new places is present in most people. I know it’s in you too. So why wait? The winter is knocking at the door. Pack your bags and hit any of these places from the tiny list of offbeat winter destinations in India. The unique experiences will become precious memories forever.
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.