Winter is approaching and most of you might already have planned holidays to warmer destinations in southern and western parts of India. After all, in the times of utter cold, who would mind relaxing on sun-baked beaches or camping under the starlit sky in the desert! However, the peak season for such experiences means two things: inflated prices and heavily crowded places. These factors can often lead to not-so-pleasant holidaying experiences.
But if you're a mountain head, you are in for big surprises at very pocket-friendly prices. All you have to do is visit any of the following best places to visit in India in the month of November. and enjoy a holiday that will stay in your memories for long.
Nestled amidst the mighty Himalayan ranges, away from the crowd and hustle bustle of famous destinations lies this quiet little village. Barog! Coziness and tranquility are what defines it the best even perfect for that laidback holiday away from urban life. Silence! Punctuated every once in a while by the rustling of leaves and the excited calling of birds. Blue skies and seemingly endless views. Vast playgrounds for wispy, puffy white clouds to play hide and seek in. Tall trees, where shadows and sunlight happily share space. A feeling of joy takes over and curious creatures spend days and nights free and happy. This is the life in Barog - lazy and calming. Welcome to life’s little pleasures! Ideal getaway for couples or people looking for a break from the mundane life, this is a place you can call true heaven on earth. Well... You've got to visit it - to experience it.
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How about experiencing Shimla but not oh-so annoying crowd? Yes, such a tranquil and peaceful place does exist just near Shimla! The secluded village of Kotkhai, about 58 km from Shimla, is the place you got to visit to experience the new Winter in you. Known for its apple orchards and the famous Kotkhai Fort, the village is also home to stunning natural beauty and utterly peaceful environs, which make it a great holiday alternative to Shimla.
Things to do: In winters, Kotkhai receives heavy snow, yet most parts of it are accessible by road. You can enjoy playing in the snow, visit its famed apple orchards, the Kotkhai Fort which is the cultural wonder in the region and explore the nearby hill towns of Cheong, Fagu, and Theog if you have time at hand. However, Kotkhai is a perfect place to enjoy a staycation.
How to get there: The nearest airport is in Jubbarhatti (approx 78 km). The nearest railway station is in Shimla at around 60 km. However, traveling by road remains the most common mode of transport. Direct state-run and private bus services are available from nearby cities like Delhi and Chandigarh to Shimla bus stand. From Shimla, you can hire a taxi or take local buses going towards Rohru.
Harsil in winters turns into an adventure hubspot especially for the ones who don't mind the spine chilling weather the Himalayan villages are known for. Located about 72 km from the nearest major town of Uttarkashi, Harsil is another wonder and lesser-known Himalayan destination situated in the lap of Uttarakhand. Offering a wide range of mesmerizing vistas, this stunning valley on the banks of River Bhagirathi receives an adequate amount of snowfall during winters and if you can brave the cold, you are in for the views that seem straight out of a fairytale!
Things to do: Go hiking and trekking in Harsil. Watch out for exotic birds and other-worldly views in the sky, both during the day and night. Besides, you can also visit Sattal, the place near Harsil that's known for its seven lakes.
How to get there: Nearest airport and railway station, both are in Dehradun, about 220 km from Harsil. From Dehradun, you have to take a bus to Uttarkashi, the nearest town with a bus link. From Uttarkashi, you have to complete the rest of the journey in a shared cab.
Sitting cozily on a ridge between Tedong and Maenam hills, Ravangla, also known as Rawangla, is a quaint little hill station located in the southern region of the northeastern state of Sikkim. At an elevation of 8,000 feet, Ravangla flaunts the wonderful views of the great Himalaya and is a gateway to many popular destinations in the north Sikkim. While you might not be able to visit the upper reaches of Sikkim in winter, it still wouldn't be a bad choice to spend a few days here in this beautiful place.
Things to do: Visit Buddha Park, Ralong Monastery, Ralong hot springs, Kheunpheling Carpet Centre to buy local handicrafts, Mangbrue Gompa and the viewpoint, and Samdruptse Hill. Don't forget to travel to nearby destinations like Pelling, Kaluk, and Namchi. When you are not exploring, simply enjoy the authentic northeastern delicacies at the local restaurants.
How to get there: The nearest airport is in Gangtok (approx 70 km) and the nearest railway station is in New Jalpaiguri, about 120 km from Ravangla. Bus services to Ravangla aren't very reliable. It's recommended that you hire a cab from any of these nearby cities.
Nestled in the Pir Panjal range at an altitude of over 1,400 meters, Karsog is a quint and beautiful hill town that continues to remain in the shadow of Shimla. Narrated in the Hindu folk tales as the place where Bhima — one of the five Pandavas — killed a demon who used to kill the innocent villagers in the ancient times, Karsog now holds major religious and cultural significance for the locals. Thick fields, lush green fields, vast apple orchards, and free-flowing streams, with cozy settlements, and almost no crowd, isn't that the kind of hill station you'd want to spend a day or two in?
Things to do: Go hiking and enjoy witnessing gorgeous views of the valley from the viewpoints, try local food, go camping, and enjoy photographing the bewitching beauty of this place which is not known by many in the world beyond its boundaries. Besides, you can also visit the ancient local temples in this village.
How to get there: At 114 km, Jubbarhatti Airport in Shimla is the nearest airport to Karsog. Kalka railway station is the nearest broad gauge railway station to Karsog at around 160 km. However, reaching Karsog is easiest if you travel by road. Buses and taxis are available from nearby cities like Shimla, Delhi, and Chandigarh. Roads are good, so you can drive yourself to Karsog as well.
Imagine yourself amidst the lush green expanses of aromatic tea and picturesque fruit garden with a thick cover of forest in the distance with the imposing snow-clad Himalayan peaks against the perfectly blue backdrop of the clear sky. Yes! that's Chaukori for you. This small fairyland sitting peacefully in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand is not your usual hill station instead it's a place straight out of a fairytale. It's one of the rare places which offer majestic views of Nanda Devi, Panchachuli, and Trishul which make for a perfect destination for those who are ready to trade luxury for natural beauty.
Things to do: In Chaukori, you can visit the famous temples including Arjuneshawar Shiva Temple, Ghunsera Devi Temple, and Kapileshwar Mahadev Temple. Go hiking or simply relax at your homestay and enjoy spectacular sunrise and the stunning night sky to experience the pure natural beauty of this place.
How to get there: Travelling by air isn't a viable option if you wish to visit Chaukori. Haldwani is the nearest rail and bus link to Chaukori at approximately 200 km. From Haldwani, taking shared jeeps is the only reliable option. It may take around 7-8 hours to reach Chaukori from Haldwani.
Completely disconnected from the hustle-bustle of modern life, Thachi valley is home to sleepy hamlets. Overseeing the lush green hills of the Great Himalayan National Park and the snow-covered Himalayan peaks that tower on them Thachi offers a repetitive sight of gushing waterfalls and lush green valleys. But what entices you to fall in love with this place is, a cozy staying in the wooden houses! Isn't it so awe-inspiring?
Things to do: Perhaps, the best thing to do here would be just staying indoors and taking occasional hikes up and down the trails. However, the Bithu Narayan temple and the Hadimba Devi temple are some other attractions in Thachi valley.
How to get there: The nearest airport is in Bhuntar (approx 45 km) and the nearest major railway station is in Chandigarh, about 245 km from Thachi valley. The best way to reach Thachi valley is to catch a bus from nearby cities and get down at Aut. From Aut, you can catch the only direct bus to Thachi Valley via Balichowki. Else, you can hire a cab directly from Aut.
Just about 10 km from Pauri in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, Khirsu is a perfect romantic getaway that is not trampled by tourists yet. A place perfect to amaze your adventure-loving partner with almost every kind of view you can think of in a Himalayan village. The warm locals and the timeless beauty of the landscape which looks even more beautiful in winters will make you go slow and take in the vibe of this serene village.
Things to do: Hiking, enjoying natural views, or just staying inside your cosy accommodation make for great holidaying experience in Khirsu.
How to get there: Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the nearest airport to Khirsu (approx 319 km). Kotdwar railway station is the nearest to Khirsu at a distance of 140 km. However, road connectivity is good and you can also get a bus or a taxi from the nearby towns in Uttarakhand.
Nestled between the mighty Brahmaputra, Majuli, the cradle of Assam civilization is the world's largest deltaic island that inherits many hidden gems to explore. Situated calmly along the waters of Brahmaputra, it is an unparalleled mixture of culture and heritage. if you are hunting an offbeat place somewhere in the peace of northeast, then you can’t go wrong with Majuli. Let's explore the 6 gripping things to do in the mystical land of culture and nature’s charm MAJOLI where you can have a fun and serene time.
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Emblems of pure paradisiacal beauty, Leh & Ladakh are all about awe-inspiring landscapes, picturesque green oasis, scintillating monasteries and quaint hamlets. You are taken in by the breathtaking beauty the moment you land in this incredible mountain town. Get mesmerized by the amazingly pristine blue sky and transfer to a world of complete solitude admiring the mountain flowers, the snow-covered peaks, the streams flowing by and the deep valleys.
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Flaunting the tropical wonders of the Western Ghat of Karnataka, Coorg - The Scotland of India is a regnant summer refuge with ligneous slopes, rich biodiversity, mesmerizing cascades, as well as it's a treasure of inimitable heritage. Coorg posses a heart-warming expansion of spice and coffee plantations that remains lush green through the year. One of the best places to visit in South India for a wildlife enthusiast. Verdant landscapes, nature's most beautiful wildlife reserves, waterfalls, and sprawling coffee plantations to explore - Coorg is a surprising treat for the mind, soul and the camera lens.
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12. Great Rann of Kutch
While you may or may not be familiar with the magnificent festival that is orchestrated every year on the stunning pristine white salt marshland of Rann of Kutch, the above line narrated in the resonant baritone of Amitabh Bachhan's voice is a memory harboured by most Indians. Well, it turns out he wasn't far from the truth when he claimed that if you haven't experienced Rann of Kutchh yet, you haven't really seen much at all.
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A picturesque sight of the old ruins of the heritage architecture of Hampi. If you crave to visit and explore ancient architecture based places - Hampi is the place to go! A walk around this heritage area will reveal a hundred stories to amaze the visitors.
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14. Bir Billing
Touted to be the best destination for Paragliding in the entire nation, Bir Billing is gradually transforming into a mammoth tourist magnet in the region. With landscapes and views that make you stop, sit, click and soak in the view for some time, you cannot keep yourself from falling in love with this destination at first sight.
Things to do: Paragliding, Camping, Trekking, Hang Gliding, Mountain Biking & Adventure Sports
How to get there: By Train - Nearest Railway Station at Pathankot (3 hours away from Bir Billing). By Road - Volvo Coaches and State Coaches available from all major destinations nearby. Ideal For: Adventure enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies.
Someone said it right, that if there's heaven on earth, here it is, here it is, here it is! And winter in Srinagar is like the best you can imagine of this season. Flanked by some of the most picturesque mountains in the world and gloved around a mystic lake with swans like Shikaras meandering towards the end of the world, while kissing a winter sunset, can only be in Srinagar. Undoubtedly, one of the many gifts of nature that you won't find anywhere else.
Things to do: Sightseeing, Long Walks Across the Dal Lake, Shopping At Lal Chowk and City Tours at the Mughal Garden.
How to get there: By Road - Well connectivity through major national highways from the different parts of the country. By Air - Sri Nagar Domestic Airport With Daily Flights By Various Carriers. Ideal For: Tourists of All age groups, couples, and families.
These places are a super unique mix of adventure, thrill, and an unspoiled bunch of compelling spots that are yet to be explored and long for your footsteps. Go ahead and treat yourself as you book a holiday in India, and who knows, they too would be waiting to get mesmerized!
Q. What can I expect in terms of expenses on a trip to one of these places?
A. It totally depends on your location and the itinerary you plan for. Getting to a travel agent would make this easier for you. But it is going to be lesser if you plan such a thing for a group of people wherein the cost per person gets divided.
Q. I am a solo woman traveler, are these places safe for me?
A. Indeed, these places are safe for solo travelers, men or women, but some precautions and careful discretion is advised at all times.
Q. After the article 370 abrogation in Kashmir, is it still safe for travel?
A. Although, the state of Kashmir has allowed tourists by now, for the latest and more accurate info on the same, contact the relevant authorities or the J&K tourism website.
Q. Are adventurous getaways suitable for children?
A. With children, if you mean toddlers and infants, then they're not, but for young adults and teens, these places would surely be great for experience.
Q. Can I just plan an impromptu trip to these places, pack my bags and leave?
A. You can, but then you might face some issues regarding accommodation and travel arrangements. It is preferable that you plan things in advance before heading to these places.
Q. Will there be network connectivity?
A. Again, this depends on the remoteness and the current situation. In places like Srinagar, you may face some connectivity issues and at places like Spiti there may be some blank spots where there's low reception, but more likely, you would not face connectivity issues at large.