A Himalayan Winter

If you think that the Himalayas are off-limit during the winters, you have been fooled by the daunting, ice-cold peaks too! Yes, a lot of mountain passes higher up start closing as the temperature falls. But there are still many options nestled in these valleys to explore. The blocked passes and low temperatures have been keeping the best of Himalayan secrets. Uttarakhand is one such state. Fret not, we’re here to unveil them!


1. Chamoli, Nanda Devi National Park

Go here for: Snow Leopards

Persian leopard

 

Known to be elusive, snow leopards are a flagship of the Himalayas. Winter is the best time to spot these mysterious cats as they follow their prey to the lower regions. The best place in Uttarakhand to spot a snow leopard is Nanda Devi National Park. Trek the Nanda Devi Peak for better visibility!

Alternative: Govind Pashu Vihar National Park and Sanctuary 

 

2. Dehradun, Rajaji National Park

Go here for:Winter Migratory birds, elephants safaris.

Rajaji National Park

 

If you love wilderness, there is no better time for you to visit Uttarakhand than the winters. A colossal amount of migratory bird species move here during this time.
Most famous for the herds of elephants seen here, Rajaji National Park also hosts many other animals like tigers, panthers, and sloth bears. A bonfire at the end of the day completes the entire “Jungle Book” experience.

Alternative: Jim Corbett National Park

 

3. Joshimath, Kuari Pass

Go here for: A winter trek

kuari-pass
(Image Source: YouTube – Stephen Slater)

Yes, one can trek up the Himalayas in winter. In fact, Kuari Pass trek is mainly known as a winter trek. An easy trek with frozen lakes, snowscapes, and tall deodar trees; Kuari exudes magic. Located at the center of the grand Garhwal region, Kuari is considered as the benchmark amongst all the winter treks in Himalayas, owing to the panoramic views of surrounding peaks – Mt. Mana, Kamet, and Nanda Devi.

Alternative: Chopta, Chandrashila trek.

 

4. Chamoli, Auli

Go here for: Winter sports

Auli

Dreaming of powdery snow trickle down your face as you gaze at the cerulean sky? Make your dreams come true at the snow carpeted meadows of Auli. Of the very few skiing destinations in India, Auli is the best –  be it for a beginner or a professional. A ski lift or a ropeway takes you to the massive 7 km meadow, surrounded by peaks as high as 23000 ft. It has an exquisite view of the sun rising from behind the Nanda Devi peak.   

Alternative: Kedarnath

 

5. Landour

Go here for: Homestays and Bond, Ruskin Bond!


Little Black Book(Image source: Little Black Book)

Winters leave the villages in Himalayas almost deserted. With no tourists around and lovely homestays to unwind at, this is the best way to get to know the mountains. Landour has many exceptional homestay options. Look forward to the cosy La Villa Bethany, a British-era cottage in the cantonment area. Fans of Ruskin Bond, get a chance to see him in person at the Cambridge Book Depot, where he does a book signing every Saturday evening.

Alternative: Sarmoli, Kalpana Pandey’s House

 

6. Mussoorie

Go here for: Winterline

Winter Line

An extremely rare phenomenon, winterline is seen only from certain mountainous areas which have a long and open western horizon. From mid October to January, as the sun sets, the horizon is painted with marvelous hues of yellow, red, orange and mauve. Mussoorie is the only destination in India where you can experience this occurrence!

Alternative: None

 

Surprised? Amazed? Shocked? Well, now you know! Don’t let another season pass by, pack your bags and get exploring. Also, don’t forget to let us know if you happen to discover more secrets of the mountains.

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