There are many commendable things about winter. But, if there’s one fact we love the most, it is that winters = holiday season! Yes, vacays haven’t been the same in 2020, but now that things are getting better in India, we can proceed with caution to some isolated yet beautiful winter locations. Here are 10 Best places to visit in January that are topping our bucket list right now, and should be on yours too!
Almora – Culture, and nature-rich.
Nestled in the culture-rich state of Uttarakhand is this hill station called Almora, one of the best places to visit in January. It is absolutely bewitching right from the moment you set foot there! How do we know? Well, we’ve seen enough pictures and videos to make us believe in this. Approximately 1630 meters above sea level, one can see the snow-capped Himalayas in all their glory!
Feast your eyes and soul on the beautiful landscapes and diverse people, with oak and pine trees perfectly surrounding the cantonment town. It is called the cultural capital of Kumaon for many reasons, the main one being its longstanding heritage, unique handmade items & crafts, and a cuisine that is absolutely delectable! The best time to visit Almora is from April to June and September to December, so we say – get packing!
Hampi – UNESCO-declared World Heritage site.
There’s not a single list of best places to visit in January where Hampi’s name isn’t mentioned. Don’t believe us? The proof is just one Google search away! So, of course, we had to add it to our own. It isn’t exactly a city, but an ancient village situated in the south of India, nestled away in Karnataka and attracting several tourists season after season. If you’re someone who takes joy and exhibits curiosity when it comes to the ways of the ancient man, then Hampi is exactly where you want to be.
Filled with ruins and really old temples, the town-village gives one a glimpse into what we’ve only read about in history textbooks. Two of our must-visit attractions would be the Virupaksha Temple and Nandi Statue. Since it also used to serve as a home to ancient kings & queens, you can explore and delve deeper into Royal Enclosure. Here, you’ll never run out of things to do if what you’re seeking is a wealth of knowledge!
Rishikesh – Get that adrenaline pumping!
By now, it’s well-established that Uttarakhand has tons to offer especially when it comes to the best places to visit in January. Another feather in its hat is the go-to place for adventure lovers – Rishikesh! When the temperatures drop, let your adrenaline levels rise. Located right beside the Ganges river, one can see the holy water swishing and swirling yet calming you somehow.
Hold up though; it is just an apt place for the thrill-seekers, but also for ones who want the exact opposite! Referred to as the Yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh has an array of meditation and yoga centres where one can visit to attain ultimate tranquility of the mind. White water rafting is one of the most sought-after sports here, and International Yoga Week also attracts many tourists from around the globe. Since January tends to get the coldest month here, it is advisable for pilgrims and not ones who’re looking to indulge in adventure sports to visit at this time of the year.
Manali – Backpackers’ & newly-weds’ paradise!
With beauty that remains unparalleled and a vibe that is better than any 5-star location in the world, Manali is at the top of the best places to visit in January! Snow-capped mountains aren’t the only thing to love about this hill town. The culture, the people, the cuisine and fellow tourists; everything is to die for! You might even remember the place from the hit Bollywood film Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, and we’re sure that if you were in Naina’s place, you too wouldn’t be able to turn down the opportunity to visit Manali.
The people here are known and lauded for their hospitable nature, and lending us beautiful landscapes of a place they call home. The places to visit in winter in Manali are plenty, and you won’t run out of amazement. Here’s a gift of the Himalayas that keeps giving, so we hope you’re looking at tickets already! By the way, since January is exactly when the wedding season takes a break and paves the way for couples married in December to go on a honeymoon, might we suggest going to Manali with your S/O? Don’t forget your jackets; maybe you can even share one.
Pondicherry – French architecture meets Indian culture.
If the snow’s not what you seek, but are waiting to visit a destination that has a soothing climate and a relaxed, effortless vibe, then there’s no place quite like Pondicherry! Inhabited by the French till the mid-1900s, Pondicherry is one of the best places to visit in January. The stunning architecture has made it desirable for several tourists, us included. The former French colony is located in southern India and is home to a rich heritage and culture. Since it is situated on the coastal line, one can enjoy water activities like diving. October to March are the best months to visit this beautiful place, so take note.
Some of the spots that have managed to catch our eye are Auroville, Paradise Beach, Le Club, Baker Street, Old Lighthouse, Seafront Promenade and Chunnambar Boathouse. These are just some of the few gems that the city has to offer, and once you’re there, you’ll see that just a walk around the block too will leave you mesmerised!
Darjeeling – Tea lovers, rejoice!
Nestled in the northern part of the state of West Bengal, Darjeeling is a treat for all 5 senses. The snow-capped Kanchenjunga mountains stand tall and offer a magnificent view to the visitors. Also, the fact that this hill town is known for its tea plantations isn’t hidden from world view, and places it among the best places to visit in January! If you’re a chai lover, Darjeeling will be no less than a paradise for you. Picture yourself sipping hot tea, wrapped up in a blanket with a view of the mountains. Is there anything more heavenly as this?
Apart from this, there are tons of things to do. You’ll find yourselves strolling around the beautiful tea gardens wearing hoodies, and the firs, pines & ferns will definitely prove to be great company! Darjeeling is modern yet rooted in tradition, which makes it a favourite for all age groups. The locals are also extremely welcoming and will leave no stone unturned to make you feel homely. Darjeeling is the perfect place to destress, and will leave you feeling refreshed on your return! Even though the summer season is also a beauty here, the winter season poses as the ideal time to visit for most people.
Andaman & Nicobar Islands – White-sand paradise!
There’s nothing we can say about Andaman & Nicobar that hasn’t been said before, but we can only marvel at the beauty of it all! While winters can get ruthless in many parts of the country, Andamans provide a safe & pleasant haven for the ones who want to stay warmer than others and have some of the best places to visit in January. No, the climate during the colder days isn’t humid, and it’s far better than a summer getaway. Cool breezes and a perfect water temperature will lure in for sure, and so will the lovely coastlines.
If you’ve just tied the knot or are looking to vacay with your S/O, this will be one of the most romantic places to visit in January! The bustling beach life as well as the lesser populous islands will be the perfect background to stir up some romance, or simply spend more time away from the world and with each other. Pack some bikinis, cute cover ups and a supersized hat; you’ll be set!
Rohtang Pass – One of the highest Himalayan Passes
Ask any thrill-seeker and mountain-lover and they’re sure to tell you that the beautiful yet scary Rohtang La Pass is definitely on the top of their winter travel list. If you’ve planned a visit to Kullu Manali this winter, there is no way you should leave without the full Rohtang Pass experience. Featured in two hit films – Jab We Met & Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, the pass attracts many tourists around the year. Although, if you have underlying health issues or feel like you do, it’s a must to consult a doctor before heading here due to its extremely high altitude.
While ascending, you’ll see how the surroundings take a dramatic turn and change entirely! You’ll feel as if the snowed-in mountains are nothing but fluffy cotton balls, and the skies are bluer than anything you’ve ever seen. You’ll also start feeling really cold, so warm sweaters are mandatory. Find them easily through any shopping app. Although, due to really heavy snowfall, Rohtang Pass is one of the best places to visit in January but in the final week of the month.
Dharamshala – All about spirituality & enlightenment.
Home to the 14th Dalai Lama, Dharamshala is a hill town situated in Himachal Pradesh, a state with an abundance of natural landscapes and breathtaking destinations. Yes, the entirety of the state can be explored by people looking for tourist places in India for winter, but Dharamshala has a unique character to it. For one, it has a Tibetan habitation so rest assured, it’s rich in culture and houses delectable cuisines! Everywhere you venture, you’ll see monks dressed in simple saffron robes and the echo of prayers will be a delight to your mind. Dharamshala is one of those places to visit in winter in India if you need to unwind and also indulge in a spiritual, all-cleansing experience away from the hustle of the city life. A lot of people come here to ‘find themselves’ and not a single one has left disappointed.
If you’re travelling solo, you can be joyful about the fact that you will meet a ton of people and make a lot of new friends on the trip. The markets are lined with shops selling Tibetan artifacts to tourists, so you should definitely consider taking a souvenir back home with you. There are several natural attractions you can visit, and we guarantee they’ll be something you would have never seen before if you were to go by our suggestion of the best places to visit in January.
Sonamarg – Meadow of Gold!
This list wouldn’t have been complete without at least one of our favorite destinations from Jammu & Kashmir! Sonamarg, a city which isn’t very far from Srinagar, is very well-known for its snow-covered peaks and winter wonderland-ish forests. The fauna is striking! Since it is relatively above sea level, the opportunities for trekkers and mountaineers are endless, and they will find it to be the best place to visit in winter in India!
The temperatures here tend to go into minus degrees, so bear in mind that you’ll definitely need tons of layers of clothing to be able to make your stay a pleasant one and beat the cold! The snow will prove to be magical, and if you’re heading here with your friends, don’t forget to enjoy it to its fullest!
We hope we’ve succeeded in giving you ideas for your next holiday destination! Get those plane tickets, pack your bags, and don’t forget to take proper safety measures.