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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

30 Unusual Things And Places You Won’t Believe Existed In India

Travelling in India is like a roller-coaster ride, thrilling and unforgettable. India has something to offer to every traveller: scenic beauty, beaches, mountains, fauna, adventure sports, luxury hotels, historical monuments, a cultural treat for all the senses... The experience will leave you a little exhausted; because in every moment, there's so much to live.

If you think you've seen everything there is to see, you couldn't be more wrong. India isn't called Incredible India for nothing. This wonderful land is riddled with more mysteries and astonishing things than Alice or Dorothy could ever have imagined.

Sometimes uncanny and sometimes uplifting, India is full of surprises. Every corner of this wonderland has something waiting to be unraveled, just like these:

1. Levitating Stone - Shivapur, Maharashtra

Somewhere in Pune, in a quaint little hamlet called Shivapur, lies the Hazrat Qamar Ali Darvesh that has a magical story to tell. The current shrine was a gymnasium, 800 years ago. A Sufi saint called Qamar Ali was taunted by the wrestlers there. The saint placed a spell on the rocks that were used for body-building. The 70 kg rock can only be lifted by 11 finger tips touching it and calling out his name loudly. Till date, the Stone of Qamar Ali can be magically lifted by chanting his name!

2. Land of Black Magic - Mayong, Assam

A cloak of mystery shrouds Mayong, better known as the Land Of Black Magic, a village 40 kms from Guwahati city, close to Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. It is popularly believed that the name Mayong comes from the Sanskrit word for illusion, Maya. Many tales of men disappearing into thin air, people being converted into animals, or beasts being magically tamed, have been associated with Mayong. Sorcery and magic were traditionally practised and passed down over generations. Many ancient relics of Ayurveda and black magic are now preserved in the Mayong Central Museum.

3. Lake of Skeletons - Roopkund Lake, Chamoli, Uttarakhand

At a height of 16,500 feet, in the middle of the most uninhabitable part of the Himalayas lies the secluded Roopkund Lake, covered in snow and surrounded by rock-strewn glaciers. More popularly known as Skeleton Lake or Mystery Lake , the spine-chilling attraction of this lake is the 600 odd human skeletons that were discovered here. These date back to the 9th CE and are clearly visible at the bottom of the shallow lake when the snow melts. The locals believe that this entourage had earned the fury of the local deity, Latu, who sent a terrible hailstorm their way, which eventually killed them.

4. Mass Bird Suicide - Jatinga, Assam

The idyllic village of Jatinga is snugly nestled amongst the Borail Hills of Assam. Every monsoon, this scenic village witnesses an uncanny phenomenon. Between September and October, especially during dark and foggy nights, hundreds of migratory birds fly full speed towards trees and buildings, crashing to death. This 'mass bird suicide' was first brought to global attention by famous naturalist E.P. Gee in the 1960s. Ever since, it has remained one of the world's unsolved mysteries.

5. The Curious Case Of Twins - Kodinhi (Kerala) and Umri (near Allahabad)

Kodinhi, a sleepy little town tucked away in the Malappuram district of Kerala, has managed to baffle scientists across the world. In a population of 2000, Kodinhi has 350 pairs of identical twins! It has rightfully earned the title of 'Twin Town.' 6 pairs of twins in every 1000 births is considered a high twinning rate. Kodinhi has a rate of 42 twins per 1000 births. This means, almost every family in Kodinhi has more than one pair of twins!

Mohammedpur Umri village, near Allahabad has a similar tale to tell. With over 60 pairs of identical twins in a total population of 900, Umri's twinning rate is 300 times the national average, and perhaps the highest in the world. Researchers believe that the cause might lie in the genes, but for others, it is the divine hand.

6. Get pulled uphill by magnetic force - Magnetic Hill, Ladakh

At an altitude of 11000 feet above sea level, Magnetic Hill is one of the must-see things on the way to Leh. It is known to have magnetic power that can pull a car towards itself even when the ignition is off.  It is a thrilling experience, but in reality, it is only an optical illusion caused by gravity hill. Magnetic Hill is one of the world's recognized gravity hills.

7. Home to the notorious Cream - Malana, Himachal Pradesh

Located in the north-east of the Kullu Valley, Malana is also known as the 'Little Greece of India', because the locals believe that they are descendants of Alexander-the-Great himself! This ancient village is cut off from the rest of the world, and they follow an indigenous political system.  There are only about a hundred houses in this village, but it is home to Malana Cream, the finest quality and most potent charas ever produced.

8. Asia's Cleanest Village - Mawlynnong, Meghalaya

Mawlynnong Village in Cherrapunji is popularly called 'God's Own Garden.' It has won international accolades for being Asia's Cleanest Village. It is a community-based effort for promoting eco-tourism. It is interesting to note that this village has a 100% literacy rate and most villagers speak English fluently. Mawlynnong boasts of other amazing sights like waterfalls, Living Roots Bridge and a Balancing Rock.

9. Village Without Doors - Shani Shignapur, Maharashtra

Located 35 kms from Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, Shani Shinagpur village is known for its popular Shani temple. This village has never witnessed any crime, and that is attributed to the blessings of Shani Dev. The villagers have full faith in their god, and have completely entrusted their safety into his hands. That is why homes and commercial buildings in this village has no doors, or even a door frame. Taking note of the near-zero crime rate, the UCO Bank has also opened a 'lock-less' branch in this village, the first of its kind in India.

10. Temple Of Rats - Karni Mata Temple, Rajasthan

A little town called Deshnok, 30 kms from Bikaner, holds an intriguing sight: the Karni Mata Temple, home to over 20,000 rats. 'Kabbas' as they are called, these rats are worshipped because it is believed that they are reincarnated family members of Karni Mata. White mice are revered even more because they are considered to be Karni Mata and her sons.

11. Land of Snakes - Shetpal, Maharashtra

Shetpal village in Sholapur district of Maharashtra, is known for snake worship. This village has a custom that can be only described as frightful. Each house in this village has a resting place for Cobras in the rafters of their ceilings. No cases of snake bites have been reported in this village despite snakes moving about freely in every household.

12. Dining with the Dead - New Lucky Restaurant, Ahmedabad

Now, here's something that is morbid and fascinating at the same time. The New Lucky Restaurant has an ambience to kill for. This coffee house is built on a centuries-old Muslim cemetery. The graves lie between the tables, and are said to belong to a 16th CE Sufi saint. The restaurant is always bustling with guests and the owner says that the graves are his lucky mascots.

13. India's Highest and Most Tragic Waterfall- Nohkalikai Falls, Meghalaya

At a height of 1115 feet, the Nohkalikai Falls near Cherrapunji is India's highest plunge waterfall. Fed naturally by rainwater, this waterfall is named after the tragic tale of a woman called Ka Likai. After the death of her husband, Ka  Likai remarried. But her new husband was extremely jealous of her love for her daughter.  He murderd the daughter, and to hide the evidence, cooked up her remains into a meal. Kali Kai searched high and low for her daughter but cannot find her. Her husband offers her the meal, as she is exhausted. After eating, she discovers to her horror, the daughter's fingers lying in basket filled with betel-nuts. Grieved and anguished, she throws herself off the cliff, giving the waterfall its name, ' Nohkalikai ' meaning 'Fall of Ka Likai.'

14. Hanging Pillar - Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh

The small historical village of Lepakshi is home to many ancient relics and architectural marvels. One of them is the Hanging Pillar of the Lepakshi temple. Amongst the 70 pillars of the temple, one hangs without any support! Visitors pass objects under the pillar to check if the claim is true. According to locals, passing objects under the pillar brings prosperity to one's life.

15. World's largest River Island - Majuli, Assam

Located on the mighty Bramaputra, Majuli, the world's largest river island, is a celebration of the creations of God and man. The scenic beauty of this island is the closest one can feel to the heavens. Majuli is also a popular cultural hotspot for various schools of thought that propagate the teachings of Srimanta Shankardev.

16.The Eternal Flame - Jwala Ji Temple, Kangra

Throughout the year, people visit the Jwala Ji Temple of Kangra to seek blessings from the Goddess. In the centre of the temple, a hollowed stone holds a flame that has been burning for hundreds of years. According to the legend, Lord Shiva's wife, Sati, immolated herself in anguish when her father disrespected her husband. A furious Shiva danced the Tandav Nritya carrying the burnt corpse. In doing so, she fell into 51 parts and landed on the earth. Each of these locations turned into a religious shrine for the Hindus. The Jwala Ji of Kangra is believed to be Sati's fiery tongue.

17. Natural Mummy of Sangha Tenzing - Gue Village, Spiti

If you thought mummies were to be found only in Egypt, you are mistaken. In a little village called Gue, in Himachal's Spiti district, lays the remarkably well-preserved 500 year-old mummy of Sangha Tenzing, a Buddhist monk from Tibet. It was found in a sitting position, with skin and hair intact. This is probably because, the monk started mummifying himself while he was still alive. Natural mummification, as compared to chemical enbalming, is a complex procedure and is extremely rare.  The mummy was discovered after an earthquake in 1975. It is now on display at a temple in Gue.

18. World's Highest Tea Estate - Kolukkumalai, Tamil Nadu

Kolukkumalai Tea Estate is an hour and half long drive from Munnar. Towering at a height of 8000 feet above sea level, this tea estate rises above the plains of Tamil Nadu, heralded by beautiful rugged mountains on all sides. It's hard to decide which is more breath-taking: the scenic landscape or the flavourful teas produced here.

19. The Motorcycle God - Bullet Baba Shrine, Bandai, Rajasthan

If there is any place in the world where you'll come across a shrine where flowers and liquor bottles are offered to a motorcycle, it has to be in India! At Bandai, Jodhpur, Om Singh Rathore died when he crashed his Bullet into a tree while riding drunk. The police claimed the bike and took it to the station. The next day, the bike was found at the spot of the accident. They brought it back to the station, emptied the fuel tank and chained it. Yet the bike miraculously found its way back to accident spot the next day. The motorcycle was moved permanently to the location and the Om Baba (or Bullet Baba as it is popularly called) Shrine was erected. Every day many passers-by come to offer their prayers. The spirit of Om Banna is believed to protect travellers.

20. World's Largest Monolithic Statue - Gomateshwara Statue, Shravanabelagola, Karnataka

The monolithic statue of Gomateshwara, also known as Bahubali, at Shravanabelagola, towers above all else at 60 feet. Carved out of a single block of granite, it is so large, it can be seen even from 30 kms away. Gomateshwara was a Jain saint, who according to legend, was the first human in his half time cycle to attain liberation. The monolith was built by Chamundaraya, a minister of the Ganga Dynasty between 978 and 993 CE and is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Jains across the world. Standing at the feet of this massive monolith, looking up, you'll understand how big the world really is, and how small we are in comparison.

21. Half-Sized Taj Replica - Bibi Ka Maqbara, Aurangabad

They say imitation is best form of flattery. The 'Mini Taj' proves the point. Built in the late 17th CE, within less than 30 years of its original inspiration, this modest monument has often been called 'Poor Man's Taj.' It was commissioned by Aurangzeb and built by one of his sons, Prince Azam Shah, in memory of his mother, the Emperor's  first wife. Though it fades in comparison to its majestic inspiration, the Bibi Ka Maqbara emanates a certain charming humility.

22. Living Roots Bridge - Cherrapunji, Meghalaya

In Cherrapunji, Meghalaya, man has befriended nature and cajoled it into bending to his ways. People build bridges, but the Khasis of Meghalaya, they grow bridges. Ficus Elastica or the Rubber Tree produces strong secondary roots from their trunks. These  have been trained to grow in a particular direction using betel-nut trunks, forming sturdy, living bridges over decades. Some of these bridges are more than a hundred feet long. The Umshiang Double Decker Bridge is truly one of a kind in the entire world. Some ancient root bridges are over 500 years old.

23. World's Widest Banyan Tree - Botanical Garden, Howrah

Near Kolkata, at the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanical Garden, Howrah, lies another living proof nature's powerful glory. The 1250 year old Great Banyan Tree, with a canopy covering an area of 4 acres, is considered the widest tree in the world. After being struck by lightning, the tree was diseased. The trunk had to be removed in 1925. It continues to live without its main trunk, and has 3300 aerial roots reaching down to the ground. What appears to be a forest is actually one single tree. In his mind's eye, I'm sure this what Frost saw when he said, 'Lovely, dark and deep...'

24. World's Only Floating Lake - Loktak Lake, Manipur

The largest freshwater lake in India's North-East, the Loktak Lake is a sight to behold. Because of its floating phumdis, it has been named the world's only floating lake. Apart from its scenic beauty, this lake plays a big role in Manipur's economy, serving as a source for hydropower generation, irrigation, drinking water supply and source of livelihood for local fishermen. The largest of all the phumdis, or floating islands on Loktak, is the Keibul Lamjao National Park, the last natural refuge of the endangered Manipur Brow-Antlered deer.

25. Dog Temple - Channapatna, Karnataka

A community in Channapatna's Ramanagar district has erected an unusual temple in honour of man's best friend. Pujas are conducted seeking blessings of the Dog God. According to locals, the dog is considered good-natured and loyal, but at times he is also formidable. This Dog God is believed to work alongside the village diety.

26. Gravity Defying Palace - Bada Imambara, Lucknow

This architectural wonder dates back to the 18th CE. Nawab Asaf Ud Daulah created this marvel, blending European and Arabic architecture in perfect harmony. The central arched hall is 50 metres long and about three stories high, hanging without the support of any pillars or beams! The main hall is known for the architecture of the labyrinth or bhul-bhulaiya, with more than 1000 narrow staircase passages. The Imambara complex also houses lush gardens, a spectacular mosque and a baoli. 

27. Floating Stones - Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu

Located on Pamban Island, and separated from the Indian mainland by the Pamban Channel, the little town of Rameshwaram has great significance in Hindu mythology. It is from here that Rama is believed to have built a bridge across to Lanka to rescue Sita. Stones used to build this bridge had Rama's name engraved on them and they never sank in water. The curious fact is that such 'floating stones' are still found around Rameshwaram!

28. Red Rain - Idukki, Kerala

Apart from its delectable coastal curry, Idduki is also known for a strange phenomenon called 'Red Rain'. The first incident of Red Rain was recorded as early as 1818. Ever since, Idukki has witness this unusual sight intermittently. Idukki has been classified a 'Red Region'. In Hinduism, red rain is the wrath of the Gods, punishing sinners. It signals a wave of destruction and woe. Some believe the killing of innocents leads to red rain. Scientists are yet to come up with an explanation.

29. Rural Olympics - Kila Raipur, Ludhiana

During February every year, Kila Raipur village in Ludhiana is buzzing with energy. Locals and tourists come together to witness a recreational sports meet of farmers in and around Kila.  The Rural Olympics was a brainchild of philantropist Inder Singh Grewal. It was conceived as early as 1933. Bullock racing, tent pegging, Gatka, camels, mules and dog races are the main attractions. Punjabi folklore and cultural festivities also grace the event, making it a truly exhilarating experience.

30. Temple of the Visa God- Balaji Temple, Chilkur, Hyderabad

Some Gods bring you prosperity, some grant you protection, but the 21st CE God of the Balaji Temple in Chilkur, on the outskirts of Hyderabad, has the power to grant you a Visa to the US! Now popular as Visa Balaji Temple, many dollar-driven people, even those from other religions, come here to take the blessings of Visa Balaji before their Visa interviews. If they get a visa, they must keep their vow and take 108 rounds of the inner shrine. Laugh if you want, but this is one admirable example of an old world existing in a new one.

Scientific fact: Less Gravity than the Rest of the Earth


There is an area in Canada with less gravity than the rest of the Earth!

In the 1960s, scientists began to chart Earth’s gravitational fields. You would expect that gravity be the same across the world. It’s not like you feel incredibly heavy in the United States while you practically float around in South America. You always feel the same gravitational pull.

However, they found that gravity actually did vary. In Canada, there are certain areas with less gravity than normal. The Hudson Bay, for example, is “missing” gravity.

There are two theories as to why this may be true. One theory cites convection as the cause. Convection pulls the Earth’s plates downward, which decreases the mass in that area and decreases the gravity. The other theory cites the Laurentide Ice Sheet as the cause. The Ice Sheet melted 10,000 years ago and left a huge indent in the Earth, which could mess with the gravity.

Magnetic Hill (India)

 Magnet Hill is a so-called "gravity hill" located near Leh in Ladakh, India.

None of the other responses seem to address the question, although they are very interesting explanations of how the data are obtained. 

I presume, by the way, that the vague term "gravity" actually means "the acceleration of gravity at a constant radial distance from the center of the Earth" (roughly the altitude of the satellite[s] that took the data). 

So... why near India

I don't know, and I wonder if anyone else does.  This is not my field, so I am free to make ignorant guesses:

First, I understand that India used to be a separate continental plate; it drifted North and rammed into Asia, thrusting up the Himalayas.  Perhaps this collision lowered the effective density in the neighborhood, although I can't see how. 

Second, maybe that's where the Moon was gouged out of the Earth long ago and it still hasn't recovered completely.  Somehow that seems unlikely too -- it's been quite a while!  Before Pangea, even, I think. 

The gravitational potential of Earth varies at different points on the planet. Gravitation is dependent on mass of the planet, mass of the object, and distance of the centers of gravity of each of these objects to each other. These things are obviously not constant. You change your distance to the center of earth whenever you change your elevation. Your gravitational potential in Death Valley, CA (elev. 86 meters below sea level) will be different than your weight on K2(elev. 8,611 meters above sea level). The mass of the Earth is also not evenly distributed. If the density of the amount of earth between its center and your center is very high (like if there was only a thin layer of continental crust, but a thick layer of liquid outer core) there will be more gravitation than if the density is very low. So a seemingly contradictory effect of this, is that on a really tall mountain, you are farther away from the Earth’s center, resulting in a lower gravity. You are also standing on a relatively thicker layer of crust, meaning that, all else being equal, there is more mass of dirt between you and the center, resulting in a higher gravity. The potato-earth attempts to represent these gravitational fluctuations in a visual way. The red areas are spots where gravity is relatively high, and the blue areas where it is relatively low, in effect showing what your relative weight might be at a particular location.

Most people think of the Earth as being a sphere. For most purposes that’s close enough, but its actually a spheroid, something close to but not precisely a perfect sphere. It bulges in the middle due to its spin, the Moon’s gravity warps it, the continents and oceans distort the shape. And the surface gravity changes with all this too; it’s different on top of the highest mountain, for example, compared to its strength in Death Valley.
This is why the gravity at some places is stronger than other places.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Scariest Places on the Earth

A glacial lake full of human skeletons

When summer came and the ice melted, hundreds of more skeletons were revealed, some with flesh and hair still attached. Who, or what, had killed so many people, turning a remote high-altitude lake in an uninhabited part of the Himalayas into a mass grave?

Everyone from locals to expert anthropologists speculated on how Skeleton Lake came to be, wrote Varun Ojha. Theories ranged from epidemics to landslides to ritual suicides.

A 2004 expedition offered more clues. The skeletons were the remains of 200 to 300 people dating to back the 9th Century, and were divided into two distinct groups: a closely related family or tribe, and a smaller, shorter group of locals. They were found with rings, spears, leather shoes and bamboo sticks. Short, deep cracks in the skulls suggested all of the bodies appeared to have died in the same way, from blows to the head from rounded objects, not weapons.

A dark secret lurks at the bottom of this Himalayan lake

All 200 to 300 people, scientists concluded, died from a hailstorm of biblical proportions. Thousands of cricket ball-sized, hard-as-iron hailstones pounded the heads and shoulders of a group of pilgrims and their porters travelling through the area. Trapped in a valley with nowhere to hide, the entire group perished in a mass death that still fascinates fearless visitors to this day.

Travellers to the region can still see the skeletons, although summer is the best time to visit as the bones at the lake’s bottom can only be seen when the ice melts.

An island swarming with flesh-melting snakes
Visiting Brazil’s Ilha da Queimada Grande is forbidden. That’s because the island, located 33km off the state of Sao Paulo, is swarming with venomous snakes.

Snake Island, as it’s called, is home to an estimated 4,000 venomous Bothrops insularis, also known as golden lanceheads, a critically endangered species that got trapped on the island when rising sea levels covered up the land that connected it to the mainland. The Brazilian navy closed the island in the 1920s to protect the snakes from humans – and to protect humans from the deadly snakes. The golden lanceheads grow to more than half a metre long and possess a fast-acting poison that melts human flesh. According to some estimates, there is one snake to every square metre of the island.

“The venom causes a grab bag of symptoms, which includes kidney failure, necrosis of muscular tissue, brain hemorrhaging, and intestinal bleeding. Scary stuff, to be sure,”

A real-life hell on Earth

It was a scientific expedition gone horribly wrong. In 1971, a group of Soviet scientists set up a drilling rig to assess what they thought was a substantial oil field in the middle of Turkmenistan’s Karakum Desert.

In fact, the ground beneath the rig was a massive natural gas field, which collapsed into a gaping crater upon the scientists’ arrival, swallowing the rig and their camp. Fearing the spread of poisonous methane gas, the scientists set the crater on fire, ripping open a hellish pit of vicious flames just beneath their feet. They hoped the gases would burn off within a few days or weeks.


That was four decades ago. Today, the 70m-wide, 30m-deep crater continues to burn so feverishly that locals have named the fearsome abyss of fire, flames and boiling mud the “Door to Hell”.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

25 Best Places for Winter Holidays in North India

Like the aureate dim in the dawning sky, the outside world has from time immemorial been irresistibly attracted to India, the exotic land of history, wilderness, spiritualism and naturalism. Timeless cities, temples, ancient Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist Kingdoms reveal the unrehearsed intimacy. With such natural and cultural diversities up for grabs, your holiday to North India during the winter will excite you footing up the North Indian hospitality, spicy cuisines, marveling handicrafts and celestial hamlets. Traveling along the belt may include your itinerary the bustling city of New Delhi and centering it the Kumaon and Garhwal of Hills of ambrosial Uttarakhand or the Royal Heritage of Rajasthan and the lofty niche of the Himachal or the heavenly vales of Jammu and Kashmir. Here is a comprehensive list of places in North India for a breathtaking winter vacation.

1. New Delhi


The capital city of India, New Delhi, with the fusion of age old history and varied cultural diorama, is one of the bustling tourist destinations in North India during the winter season. The city with its quaint charm that is said to be dating back to the Pandava era is one of the significant historical cities in India. The city is home to several ancient monuments, forts and churches that delineate the chapters of Indian history. Amongst them the Purana Quilla, Qutub Minar, Jantar Mantar, Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Humayun’s Tomb holds special tourists’ interest. The ruins of Tughlaquabad Fort, Lotus Temple and Lodhi Garden and its monuments are some other heritage attractions in New Delhi. The India Gate, which is close to the Parliament and Rashtrapati Bhavan, is yet another popular tourist attractions that stands as a memorial to all the Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the Indian Freedom Movement, Indo-Pak Wars and Sino-Indo Wars. Rajghat, which is yet another memorial, holds a national significance and attracts tourists from all over the world.

Being in the city you can’t escape from the quaint charm of Chandni Chowk and the colonial ambiance of Connaught Place. Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest and congested areas of the city that is noted for its multiple arrays of shops dealing in jewellery, antiques, garments and street food, ‘Parathe Wali Gali’ is a must visit place when you are in Chandni Chowk. On the other hand Connaught Place, which acts as a bridge between Old Delhi and New Delhi, is a popular hangout in the city with numerous multi-cuisine restaurants, pubs, shopping arcades and hotels.

The Akshardham Temple, which is the largest Hindu Temple in the world, exhibits a detailed picture of Indian culture and religion… thus making it another prominent tourist attraction in New Delhi. Don’t miss out the light and sound show. If you are travelling to New Delhi at the time of Republic Day then you must catch a glimpse of the parade in front of the Red Fort. Shopaholics have a whole lot of options. S.N. Market, Lajpat Nagar, Janpath, Sadar Bazar and Palika Bazar are some of the notable shopping areas in the city where arrays of shops from garments to handicrafts and antiques to electronic goods can be found.
Temperature during winter: 3°C to 22°C

2. Agra

Home to one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, which is a marble monument built by Shah Jahan and often dubbed as a ‘symbol of love’, the medieval city of Agra is yet another good pick from the bucket of destinations to visit in North India during the winter. Agra dilates an eminent chapter of the Golden Era of the Mughal Empire. The city hosts several other historical ramparts including the Agra Fort and other monuments and palaces. It is also noted for its traditional culture, architecture, marble crafts, leather products and cuisine. During the winter Agra is packed with tourists from all over the world but the marvelous sight of the Taj Mahal once you get hold of leaves you in a state of solitude… no matter who so ever knocks you from behind. Approximately an hour’s drive from Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, which is famed for its Buland Darwaza, is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, and is a must visit place for travellers having an interest in Indian medieval history. Further, the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary makes for a refreshing getaway from Agra.
Temperature during winter: 7°C to 25°C

3. Jaipur

The only planned city of its time, Jaipur the capital city of royal Rajasthan still beats in its fairy tale palaces and rugged fortresses perched on hills. Today it is a blend of tradition and modernity but the colour pink is still associated with hospitality in Jaipur. Being of historical importance, the city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in North India during the winter. It is a city where a traveller can participate in a lot of activities like heritage tour, shopping traditional items and jewelleries, elephant safari apart from trying out Maharaja Thali. The City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Lake Palace and Amber Fort are the major heritage sites in Jaipur. In the outskirts… the Nahargarh Fort and Jaigarh Fort are the two notable heritage sites. On the other hand, the city hosts several Hindu and Jain temples; of them the Birla Mandir, Narayan Temple, Galtaji, Choolgiri Temple, and Govind Devji Temple are the notable ones. Ram Niwas Bagh, Dolls Museum, B.M. Birla Planetarium and Ghat Ki Guni are some other tourist spots in Jaipur. Well, don’t miss out the light and sound show at Kesar Kyari in Amber Fort. It is held every evening.
Temperature during winter: 7°C to 25°C


The remote fort city of Jaisalmer, which is located in the midst of the Thar Desert in the incredible state of Rajasthan, is yet another popular winter getaway in India. It attracts all travellers including honeymoon couples, and other leisure travellers. The city is noted for several architectural buildings belonging to former rulers. The Jaisalmer Fort, which is also known as ‘Sonar Quilla’, housing several havelis and Jain temples, is one of the beautiful examples of craftsmanship exhibiting the rich Rajasthani style of architecture with intrinsically designed walls, carved windows and facades. The Nathmalji-Ki-Haveli, Patwon-Ki-Haveli and Salim Singh-Ki Haveli are the major tourist sites that elaborate the intricate architecture and sheer craftsmanship. The Gadisar Lake with numerous beautiful shrines, and Bada Bagh housing several cenotaphs are some other tourist sites in Jaisalmer. In the outskirts of Jaisalmer City, the ruins of Kuldhara village, Barna village, Khuri Desert, Moolsagar Palace and Ram Mandir are must visit places that leave travellers spell bound. On the other hand… how can you escape from Jaisalmer without a camel safari in the SAM Dunes? That’s the only way to explore the vast stretch of the Thar Desert. The best time to visit the SAM Dunes is during the Jaisalmer Desert Festival, which is held in the month of February. It is the best way to get acquainted with Rajasthani folk culture.
Temperature during winter: 3°C to 25°C

5. Udaipur

One of the historic cities in India that is famous internationally as the most romantic destination in the world, partly because of the influence of the Lake Palace Hotel located in the middle of the placid water of Lake Pichola… Udaipur during the winter season pulls in travellers from all over the world. Like any other cities in Rajasthan, Udaipur also comes with its own legends and much of its history is clearly visible from the picture perfect gallery hosting palaces, gates, temples and quaint alleys. Each and every turn and bricks are preserved with heroism, valour and chivalry. Yet the city turns out to be one of the honeymoon destinations in India during the winter. The major attractions are the Lake Palace, Lake Pichola, City Palace, Fateh Sagar and Monsoon Palace. Some other attractions in Udaipur are Gulab Bagh, Ahar, Pratap Memorial, Saheliyon Ki Bari, Jagdish Temple and Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandir. Close to Udaipur, Mount Abu is the only hill station in Rajasthan and is worth a visit during the winter. Other excursions on your Udaipur tour can be Kumbhalgarh, which is approximately 84 kilometers away, and Ranakpur, which is approximately 90 kilometers away.
Temperature during winter: 7°C to 25°C

From the Hills to Mind Haven

6. Manali

That’s my favourite pick any time of the year and during the winter when you catch the glimpse of snowfall early in the morning… holding a cup of hot coffee in your hand, your partner being cozy with you at the same time and the stunning views of far-fetched snow capped mountains blazing the intimacy… Ah! Nature here herself showers romanticism. I feel like rolling over the bed once again and pouring some more lovely moments into my winter trip to Manali. “WINK” but now it’s time to grab nature at her best. Manali is one of the popular hill stations in India where tranquility dwells even in the midst of tourist crowd throughout the year. Nature here hosts an amazing alpine forest of Pine and Deodar trees dotted with several fruit orchards and cattle farms. An hour’s drive from Manali to Solang Valley, which during the winter season turns out to be one of the popular ski resorts in India, one can here exploit the nature with several adventure activities like skiing, zorbing and paragliding. Well… the temperature over here throughout the winter remains freezing and hence it is recommended to carry proper woolen garments if you are planning to go for paragliding in Solang.
Manali is also a gateway to several trekking destinations in Himachal Pradesh. During the winter season you can go for some short treks in Manali like the Bhrigu Lake trek and Beas Kund trek. Other popular treks around Manali are the Malana Valley and Chandra Tal trek, but during winter these treks are difficult to access. Rohtang Pass, which is at an altitude of approximately 4,000 meters, is a popular tourist destination in Manali being the highest point on the Manali-Keylong road. Although access to Rohtang Pass during the months of December, January and February becomes impossible due to heavy snowfall, yet some crazy trekkers do make it to the point. Are you one of them?

Besides its breathtaking natural beauty, Manali is also notable for housing a rich and indigenous Indo-Tibetan culture. The Gadhan Thehchoking Gompa and Nyingamapa Gompa are the two popular Buddhist pilgrimage sites that pull in several tourists from all over the world. The quaint ambience of Vashisht village, which is approximately 3 kilometers away from Manali, is also worth a visit on your winter trip to Manali. The village is far-famed for hosting several hot springs and stone houses with beautiful carvings. Apart from all… the cultural clamour can be witnessed thoroughly when you visit Old Manali. The Hadimba Temple and Manu Maharishi Temple are the notable attractions here. Some other beautiful places to visit around Manali are Katrain which is popular for its apple orchards and trot hatcheries; the temple town of Naggar; and Manikaran, which is an important Hinduand Sikh pilgrimage site.
Temperature during winter: -2°C to 15°C

7. Dalhousie

The name itself throws a distinct colonial charm. Named after the 19th century British Governor General Lord Dalhousie, the scenic hill station in Himachal Pradesh, Dalhousie houses some of the most beautiful churches of North India. The St. Patrick’s Church, St. Francis Church, and St. Andrew’s Church are the most notable ones having rich architectural work of their own with stone carvings, glass and wooden structures. Besides the colonial diorama, the town’s varying altitude spreading out over the Kathlog, Potreys, Tehra, Bakrota and Balun hills is dramatically set with a dense grove of pines, deodars, oaks and rhododendrons… which almost remains covered in snow during the winter. Yes! Snowfall in Dalhousie during the winter season is the major attraction. It is the best time to frame the panorama of the breathtaking countryside from Panchpula, Bakrota Hills and Dainkund. Approximately 10 kilometers from Dalhousie, Kalatope is yet another scenic spot that also houses a wildlife sanctuary. Close to Kalatope, Ahla village is one of the notable pilgrimage sites in and around Dalhousie. Built in the 10th century, Laxmi Narayan Temple is one of the finest specimens of ancient architecture in Dalhousie. Talking about antiques… you must pay a visit to Satdhara, which is a stupa dating back to the Murya and Sunga period. Dakshina Murti, Shivkul and Norwood Paramdham are some other cultural hubs in and around Dalhousie.
Temperature during winter: 1°C to 10°C


One of the least tapped hill stations in Himachal Pradesh that is nestled in the luxuriant greens of the thick pines in Himachal’s Parvati Valley, Kasol during the winter season truly offers a quiet weekend getaway. The small town on the bank of River Parvati with patches of small villages in the midst of dense pinewood is a hideout ideal for an impromptu nature holiday in the Parvati Valley. Further, the trek to Malana Village, which is one of the strenuous treks in Himachal Pradesh, is a good option for an adventure trip during the winter. A visit to the nearby Tosh village allows you to get acquainted with the Himachali folk culture where people are extremely hospitable. Moreover, lazing around in Kasol is just not one option for leisure travellers. Kasol is well known for trout fishing and hence travellers dreaming of fishing and angling holiday in the Indian Himalayan region may whizz to Kasol in the winter months.
Temperature during winter: 5°C to 20°C

9.Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh

Amid the quaint colonial ambiance, Kasauli unwraps rejuvenating elements of nature with the panorama of sprawling plains of Punjab and Haryana. The moment might drop your jaws when you catch sight of the blazing carpet of light as darkness falls. Kasauli during the winter season makes a cool escape from the city dust to the refreshing atmosphere that is cuddled with thick forest of pine, oak, and chestnut trees. Its colonial ambiance is reinforced by stretches of cobbled roads, shops, houses with charming facades and scores of neat little gardens and orchards. The ‘Monkey Point’ is one of the must visit places in Kasauli, which is an important pilgrimage site. Nonetheless, the Baba Balak nath Temple and Sai Baba Mandir are also two other religious sites in Kasauli. Other attractions in Kasauli include the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church that was built in 1847 AND Sunny Side, which is the oldest cottage in Kasauli, built in 1848.
Temperature during winter: 3°C to 15°C


Extolled as one of the picturesque hill stations in India that lies on the spur of the Dhauladhar Range and dotted with thick grove of Oak and Conifer trees, Dharamshala is no doubt a great escape during the winter season. It’s not just about the distinct culture of the Indo-Tibetans that has helped Dharamshala gain fame internationally as “The Little Lhasa in India”, being the seat of His Holiness The Dalai Lama… BUT the traditional fusion of several tribal communities makes Dharamshala one of the important cultural hubs in Himachal Pradesh. A glimpse of it can easily be witnessed when you step into the Kotwali Bazar, which is a good shopping area, and McLeod Ganj, which has arrays of shops selling Tibetan handicrafts. During the winter season the international cricket stadium overlooking the mighty Dhauladhar mountains is one of the spectacular sights that remain covered with thick patches of snow. On the other hand, the Namgyal Monastery is one of the major tourist attractions in Dharamshala. Some other attractions in Dharamshala include the Kangra Art Museum, War Memorial, Kunal Pathri Temple, St. John’s Church, Aganjar Mahadev Temple and Kangra Chamunda Devi Temple.
Temperature during winter: 1°C to 12°C

11. Shimla

Even though it remains one of the bustling hill stations in India throughout the year, Shimla during the winter season turns out to be a fantasy world. The nature herself boasts off a scenic spectacle with layers of snow bedded over the thick alpine forest AND the panorama from the Ridge of snow capped mountain ranges engulfed in the beauty of the nature is worth a capture. It is the best time, especially in the months of December and January, to go for a forest trail that runs towards the villages of Kamina and Pabo. If you are lucky some bird species can also be sighted. A short trek to Tattapani is also recommended as one of the adventure activities in Shimla during the winter season. Further, if you are looking for some more adventure then just whizz your wheels an hour snaking through the mountains to Kufri, which lies at an altitude of 2,622 meters and is one of the notable skiing destinations in the Indian Himalayan region with varying slopes. Just when you find the temperature dipping and you run out of warm garments, check out some quality woolens, jackets and shawls arraying down the Mall, which is one of the longest stretches of pedestrian shopping in the world. It also has arrays of hops dealing in traditional handicrafts, miniature paintings, jewellery, metalwares, rugs and carpets. Close to the Mall is the Himachal State Museum, which is one of the finest examples of craftsmanship from the colonial era. It exhibits a huge collection of coins, photographs and handicrafts. The Gaiety Heritage Cultural Complex, which is another colonial architecture built in a Gothic Victorian Style; Shimla State Museum that was built in 1974; and George Castle are some of the prominent tourist attractions in Shimla. The temperature might get very freezing during the winter, BUT one must step into the Christ Church that was built by the British in 1857 in the Neo-Gothic style of architecture and is one of the long lasting legacies of the British Raj. On the other hand, the Jakhoo Temple, which is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, is one of the important Hindu pilgrimage sites in Shimla AND one can even get hold of beautiful views of the Shivalik mountains and the nearby town of Sanjuli. Other popular religious sites are Tara Devi Temple and Sankat Mochan. A visit to Naldhera which hosts India’s oldest nine hole golf course and Chail which holds the unique distinction of being the highest cricket pitch in the world… completes your tour to Shimla during the winter season.
Temperature during winter: 1°C to 12°C

12. Mussoorie

With green rifts of the Doon Valley at an altitude of 1,880 m, Mussoorie takes one back to the colonial past through its tralatitious appetizing cuisine and magnificent architectures. With abounding trekker-friendly area, stunning chatoyant natural panorama and glistering lakes, Mussoorie is also dotted with slushing waterfalls and shrubby forest. Kempty falls on the way to New Tehri is the most popular tourist destination. Among the several other tourist spots, Sir George Everest House is often visited by tourists.
Temperature during winter: 5°C to 20°C

13. Nainital

Located in the Kumaon region, Nainital, popularly known as the Lake District in India, is the weekend gateway for nigh domestic tourists and a beguiling sashay for foreign tourists round the year. At a height of 1,938 m, Naini Lake, holding a perpetual Hindu myth, is a summer retreat in the heart of Nainital. A pony ride or a very short trek up to the Naina peak, en route through shrubby forests, at an elevation of 2,615 m, which is the highest point in Nainital, offers a panoramic view of distant snow-clad peaks like Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nanda Kot. These peaks can also be clear-sighted from Snow View Point. Orienting towards a quest for more natural virtue Nainital is bonded with hermit destinations like Mukteshwar, offering an unhindered view of majestic Himalayan range; Bhimtal Lake, which is larger than Naini Lake; Sat Tal, a cluster of seven small interconnected lakes in the mystic oak forest; Khurpa Tal, a trowel lake; Naukuchia Tal, a nine-cornered lake; Kilbury, a weekend picnic spot popular for its flora and fauna and Pangot, a thick forest of oak, bamboo and deodar.
Temperature during winter: 2°C to 15°C

14. Ranikhet

The “Queen’s Meadow” with lush green conifer forests, hearty ambience, placid surroundings, emerald green valleys and ancient temples is footsure making it an year-round destination for tourists. Ranikhet, the tiny hill paradise, is just a couple of hours drive from Nainital.
Temperature during winter: 7°C to 20°C

15. Kausani

Yet another spectacular hideout in the hills of Garhwal, Kausani during the winter elaborates a striking environment with the Someshwar Valley on one side and Katyuri Valley on the other. The landscape that is dotted with dense pine trees and shadowed by the scenic spectacle of Himalayan peaks like Trishul, Nanda Devi and Panchchuli… can’t be compared with any other hill stations in the Garhwal region. The quaint hill station with its picture perfect ambiance has been a favourite place for several notable personalities like Mahatma Gandhi and Sumitranandan Pant. The Anashakti Ashram, where Gandhi spent some days and wrote his commentary of Anashakti yog, is one of the major attractions in Kausani. The ancient Baijnath Temple, which dates back to the 12th century, and the Someshwar Temple, which was crafted by the Chand Dynasty, are the major pilgrimage sites around Kausani and are considered historically significant. The Rudrahari Mahadev Temple on the way to the Adi-Kailash trek is yet another spiritual site near Kausani. During the winter, the Kausani Tea Estate turns into a must visit place. It is spread over an area of 208 hectares and stretches from an elevation of 1,200 meters to 1,800 meters.
Temperature during winter: 2°C to 15°C

16. Lansdowne

One of the quaint hill stations in the Garhwal Himalayan region, Lansdowne despite being a popular weekend getaway from nearby cities is remote in its own way. The colonial atmosphere surrounded by the pristine environment that is thickly bedded with oak and pine forest represents a fusion of history and nature. During the winter season the salubrious weather leaves an indelible impact on the tourists. It is the perfect place where you can indulge in several recreational activities like birding, boating and hiking. The grand view of the Himalayan ranges from Tip-In-Top simply makes your trip to Lansdowne a memorable one. It is worth capturing the panorama of India’s highest peak, Nanda Devi, and its surrounding peaks from this point. Close to Tip-In-Top, the St.Mary’s Church is one of the finest examples of the rich architecture from the colonial era that attracts several tourists. The Garhwal Rifles Regimental War Memorial, Garhwali Mess and St. John’s Church are some other major attractions in Lansdowne. Bhulla Tal is another popular tourist spot having historical significance. A short trek to Hawaghar that passes through Khyber Pass is recommended for those looking for some adventure activities during the winter season in Lansdowne.
Temperature during winter: 5°C to 17°C

17. Rishikesh

“The yoga capital of the world”, Rishikesh, solitude of meditation and yoga, solenoid for esthetics, is in the foothills of Himalaya. The religious town, in other words is also far-famed for white-water rafting and gateway to hazardous trekking destinations. Laxman Jhula (hanging bridge) above the River Ganga is one of the major attractions other than temples and ashrams.
Temperature during winter: 7°C to 20°C

18. Auli

It is the perfect haven during the winter season for adventure lovers. Over the years Auli has gained prominence as one of the best ski resorts in India and is a gateway to numerous trekking destinations in the Garhwal Himalayan region. The majestic view from the cable car of the lofty Himalayan peaks like Trishul, Mana, Kamet and Nanda Devi undoubtedly leave you in a ‘Peace of Mind’. Treks like Auli-Gorson, Kuari Pass and Tapovan further allows you to get acquainted with the snow-ladden wilderness of the Garhwal Himalaya during the winter.
Temperature during winter: -4°C to 14°C


Come hell or high water Srinagar with its sparkling Dal Lake, colourful gardens and picturesque nature has always attracted travellers since time immemorial. But if you are travelling to Srinagar during the winter season… then you will find much of its natural beauty dressed in snow. The Dal Lake remains frozen almost from December to February and hence there is least possibility that you can go for a shikara ride. Don’t worry… you have much to explore in the city even during the winter. Many travellers travel to Srinagar during the winter just to experience the snowfall. Perched at an elevation of 1,585 meters in the landlocked territory of Kashmir, the city is largely influenced by the predominantly Muslim culture that reflects from the several monuments including tombs and mosques. The Hazratbal Shrine, Jama Masjid, Aali Masjid, Stone Mosque, tomb of the mother of Zain-ul-abidin and tomb of Pir Haji Muhammad are the major tourists’ attractions in Srinagar. On the other hand, the traditional Kashmiri handicrafts – pashmina shawl, silverware, brassware, wooden furniture, carpet and rug – simply capture the imagination of travellers seeking the cultural essence of the Kashmiri people. The Arts Emporium and SPS Museum are the best places to visit in Srinagar where arrays of traditional Kashmiri handicrafts are in display. The Pari Mahal overlooking the Mughal garden, Nigeen Lake and Royal Springs Golf Course are some other major tourist attractions in Srinagar. The Old City of Srinagar having a quaint charm holds travellers mind. The Hari Parbat is one of the major attractions in old city of Srinagar. Ah! Don’t forget to spend a couple of nights in a houseboat… that’s one of the few luxurious activities in Srinagar WORTH experiencing.
Temperature during winter: -5°C to 15°C

20. Gulmarg

When the sprawling green meadows of Gulmarg are bedded with thick layers of snow… it seizes the mind of some adventurous pioneers who cool their heels the entire year just for a thrilling winter holiday in Kashmir in Gulmarg. It sounds like I’m talking about some crazy skiers sliding down the mountain slopes and shearing through the ice, which is no doubt an attraction if you are a spectator. But when you are on the ski the story is a bit different. Gulmarg at an elevation of 2,690 meters is one of the popular skiing resorts in India and also an ideal winter getaway for leisure seekers. The breathtaking view of the Himalaya from the ‘Gulmarg Gondola’, which is one of the highest cable cars in the world, reaching approximately 4,000 meters, is another major tourist attraction in Gulmarg. The Alpathar Lake, which remains frozen during the entire winter season; Baba Reshi Shrine, which is dedicated to a Muslim scholar and saint Baba Reshi; and St. Mary’s Church, a lively and religious heritage from the colonial era are other tourist spots in Gulmarg. Travellers seeking for more adventure may go for short hikes OR treks. Gulmarg-Khilanmarg, Gulmarg-Apharwat and Gulmarg-Alapther trekking trails are very popular among the trekking enthusiasts. Majestic views of Nanga Parbat, enchanting snow covered valleys and dense forests makes a traveller’s adventure holiday in the Indian Himalayan regiona rejuvenating one.
Temperature during winter: -3°C to 19°C


Pahalgam is a haven for leisurescapers even during the peak winter season when the entire mountain range as well as the rough terrain is perfectly layered in snow. It is one of the popular hill stations in north India and is perched at an elevation of 2,740 meters in the breathtaking Kashmir Valley. With its rich flora and fauna and snow clad mountains, Pahalgam makes for a perfect countryside winter escape from Srinagar. The Betaab Valley having vast natural exposure, which is approximately 15 kilometers from Pahalgam, is another beautiful place to visit for travellers. Horse riding is one of the must-do things when you are in Pahalgam. Adventure activities in Pahalgam also include the trek to Sheshnag Lake and river rafting in the River Lidder. Aru Valley makes for another beautiful excursion from Pahalgam during the winter season. It is noted for its scenic meadows and sparkling alpine lakes.
Temperature in Pahalgam: -3°C to 12°C


It is another amazing snowy hub you have picked; Patnitop during the winter becomes favourable for any traveller. It offers stunning views of the Pir Panjal range and hosts several adventure activities like paragliding, trekking, hiking, camping and rock climbing. Paragliding in Patnitop becomes a bit tough during the winter season because of the freezing temperature, BUT if you are prepared then that’s gonna make your holiday in Kashmir more exciting. Further, camping and scenic nature walks in the vicinity of Sansar Lake, which is approximately 20 kilometers from Patnitop, are two major activities worth a try for leisure travellers. Small villages like Kud and Batote near Patnitop, surrounded by thickly wooded Cedar and Pine forests, allow you to soak in the charming Kashmiri culture.
Temperature in winter: -3°C to 18°C

23. Jim Corbett National Park

Home to several animal, bird and plant species, the Jim Corbett National Park in the foothills of the Kumaon Himalaya is one of the refreshing and thrilling winter escapes in North India. The breathtaking environment of hills, waterfalls, rivulets and dense forest teeming with many rare species of plants simply makes it a haven for naturalists. It is the oldest national park in India and is also the first Tiger Reserve. The Jim Corbett National Park is spread over an area of 521 square kilometers and is home to several animal species like tiger, leopards, jungle cat, fishing cat, leopard cat, barking deer, sambar deer, hog deer and chital, Sloth and Himalayan black bears, Indian grey mongoose, otters, yellow-throated martens, Himalayan goral, Indian pangolins, and langur and Rhesus macaques. Amongst the bird species… the crested serpent eagle, blossom-headed parakeet and the red junglefowl are the major attractions. During the winter season the Jim Corbett National Park becomes one of the busiest wildlife safari zones in India. Thousands of wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world pay a visit to get hold of the lush green laden wilderness on their wildlife safari tour in Jim Corbett National Park.

24. Ranthambore National Park

Located approximately 150 kilometers from Jaipur, the Ranthambore National Park is one of the popular national parks in India in the incredible state of Rajasthan. It is the largest home of tigers in India and also houses several other animal and bird species. Amongst the animal species… leopard, nilgai, wild boar, sambar, hyena, sloth bear and chital are the common attractions whereas Graylag Goose, Woodpeckers, Common Kingfishers, Bee Eaters, Cuckoos, Parakeets, Asian Palm Swift, Owl, Nightjars, Pigeon, Dove, Crakes, Sandpipers, Great Crested Grebe, Eagles, Egrets, Herons, Ibis, Pelicans, Storks, Cuckoo-Shrikes, Minivets, Flycatchers, Wagtails, Munias, Bulbul, Mynas, Falcons etc. are common sights amongst the bird species. The national park covers an area of 392 square kilometers and comprises dry deciduous forests sprawling over an undulating terrain across the Aravalli and Vinddhyan ranges. The lovely Jogi Mahal and ruins of Ranthambore Fort are the two heritage attractions inside the park. Besides, Padam Talab, Rajbagh and Milak Talab are the three most jaw breaking sites where you can catch a glimpse of several species of animals and birds including tigers on your wildlife safari tour in Ranthambore National Park. During the winter season the park remains a hot spot for several wildlife lovers as it is the best time to the nature and wilderness at its best. Some other attractions around Ranthambore National Park are Khandar Fort, Mansarovar Lake, Bhoori Pahari Sand Dunes, Soorwal Lake, Chauth Ka Barwara and Karauli. Don’t forget to shop some “Khas” products, especially perfumes.

25. Hemis National Park

When time knocks your mind to do some crazy adventure activities during the peak of winter season… all of a sudden you see yourself in the snow-laden wilderness of Hemis National Park. Located in the catchments of Markha, Sumdah, Rumbak and parts of the Zanskar Range in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Hemis National Park is the largest national park in India that stretches across approximately 4,000 square kilometers of land ranging from a height of 3,500 meters to 6,000 meters. During winter season… the Snow Leopard in the Rumbak catchment area is the major attraction. Nonetheless, it is a home to several other endangered species of animals and birds that include the Tibetan Wolf, Eurasian Brown Bear, Red Fox, Golden Eagle, Lammergeier Vulture and Himalayan Griffon Vulture. The high altitude national park in India is also a home to Argali, Bharal, Shapu and Asiatic Ibex. Access to Hemis National Park during the winter season becomes a bit difficult because of its altitude and extreme cold climate. Hence it is recommended only for travellers having prior high altitude experiences during the winter.

Please Note: After the recent flood attack in Jammu & Kashmir, it is recommended for the travellers to hold on their trip to Jammu and Kashmir till the tourism department shows the green card.