It is almost time for bells, joy and merrymaking. With Christmas celebrations, fancy indulging in a snowball fight or two? Besides, an occasional trip and fall in the snow wouldn’t hurt that much, would it? Snowfall, at these destinations in India, is bound to mesmerise you with its sheer beauty and uniqueness of creation. By Ritika Dixit
1. Sonmarg, Kashmir
Also known as ‘The Meadow of Gold’ — and rightfully so, Sonmarg transforms into a snow paradise during the winter season. So much so that occasionally, while the rest of the country is welcoming summers, one might still find snow in April. Peak winters in Sonmarg are a sight to behold. However, it is suggested that one checks snowfall predictions before fixing an itinerary to Sonmarg. Although rare, there is a possibility of roadblocks and traffic jams.
While you are there: Grab a smoking hot cup of kahwa — which is a speciality of Kashmir — to go with the snowy season.
2. Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Manali has been serving as one of the most versatile tourist places in India over the years. Yet, it is best known for its winter season and snowfall, which usually occurs in the last week of December. Manali will sweep you off your feet with its Mall Road, majestic snowy mountains, blue horizons and warm-hearted locals. The opportunities for skiing and ice-skating here are a cherry on an already delicious cake. Despite tourists’ interest of clubbing Manali and the nearby Rohtang Pass in one single trip, Rohtang Valley is closed for tourists in the winter season due to safety concerns.
While you are there: Have a bite of the famous trout fish, a freshwater fish found in the Beas river, at one of the many hotels on Mall Road.
3. Nainital, Uttarakhand
If you wish to soak in some spectacular views of the snowfall without suffering bitter harsh cold temperatures, Nainital is your calling. With a climate milder than the hill stations up north, Nainital offers mesmerising spectacles of snow-covered mountains to feast your eyes on. Despite being known as the ‘Lake District of India’, Nainital has forever been a beloved hill station for tourists across the country for its panoramic city views. One can always opt for a cable car ride from the foothills of Nainital to the snow viewpoint for a better look at the grand winter scenery.
While you are there: Indulge your sweet tooth in the much loved Bal Mithai of the Kumaon region.
4. Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh
Another hill station in the laps of Himachal, Dalhousie has been known to be a favourite for its winter season since colonial times. Enthralling snow-clad peaks will greet you if you visit Dalhousie between December and January. Dalhousie has a tinsel-town charm with the air of British flavours intermingled. The hill station is also home to the small picturesque towns of Chamba and Khajjiar, both known for their enticing meadows and tranquil lakes. A stroll down Garam Sadak is a must for anyone visiting this city since it offers a sight of the breathtakingly beautiful mountains because of the cosy sunlight it receives.
While you are there: Devour Tudkiya Bhath, an authentic pulao of Himachal, complemented with dal and lime juice.
5. Munsyari, Uttarakhand
Situated in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand, Munsyari is a mesmerising hamlet snuggled in the snow-peaked Himalayas. In the last week of December, the hill station is usually covered in vast sheets of snow. This place can be an adventurer’s retreat as it offers skiing and other snow-related activities in the winter season. As for the others, Munsyari translates to a ‘place with snow’, which means it provides a scenic view of the gorgeous snow-covered five-peaked Panchchuli ranges. The snowline routes and the welcoming locals are bound to make your heart warm despite the cold December season.
While you are there: Relish the Kafuli, an authentic Kumaon dish made using fenugreek and spinach leaves served with rice.