Inspiration Destinations India 6 Places for a Winter Escape in India 

6 Places for a Winter Escape in India 

Snow drapes the slopes of Gulmarg, making it an ideal winter holiday destination in India.

Ski snowy slopes in Gulmarg, attend beach parties in Goa or surf epic waves in Kovalam – get ready to discover India’s best winter holiday retreats.

In India, winter comes knocking with foggy mornings, the aroma of freshly peeled oranges, twinkling fairy lights and evening bonfires. As the summer heat and pouring monsoons wane, India welcomes cooler weather escapes, where days are devoted to soaking up winter sun and chilly nights are spent stargazing.

Planning a holiday between November and February? Pack your bags and read on for six of the top places to escape to in India this winter.  

Kovalam, Kerala 

If crescent-shaped beaches, a palm-fringed coastline, luxe resorts and open-air restaurants with a view tempt you, it’s time to answer Kovalam’s call. A treasured resort town in the state of Kerala, known as ‘God’s Own Country’, winter months here are a delight, spared from summer’s humidity.  

Between parasailing, jet skiing, surfing and scuba diving, the Arabian Sea captivates adventure-minded travellers. Tranquil spas line the beach, offering traditional Kerala Ayurvedic massage for those seeking to slow their pace. And seafood lovers can revel in fresh king crab, tiger prawns and calamari. 

Indulge in a glamorous clifftop stay at The Leela Kovalam, a Raviz Hotel overlooking the Arabian Sea with private beach access. 

Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh 

Norbu The Montanna Dharamshala IHCL SeleQtions is great for a winter escape in India - Luxury Escapes
Norbu The Montanna Dharamshala IHCL SeleQtions.

The winter capital of Himalayan state Himachal Pradesh, Dharamshala is perfect for evenings spent huddled around a bonfire and hugging a mug of hot chocolate as you look out to snow-capped mountain peaks on the horizon. Home to the Dalai Lama’s monastery, this spiritual haven boasts a rich blend of Indian and Tibetan cultures.

Discover local culture as you sip wine made from native rhododendron flowers or feast on a traditional vegetarian Himachali dham, made from a variety of lentils, rice and leafy greens at Hill Ventures Restaurant. If it’s adventure you seek, don snow boots and set off on the popular overnight Triund trek, passing remote tribal hamlets, half-frozen mountain streams and small glaciers. 

Experience the true essence of Tibetan culture with a lavish stay at Norbu The Montanna Dharamshala IHCL SeleQtions by Taj Hotels. 

Jaisalmer, Rajasthan 

Jaisalmer is a desert oasis steeped in history and heritage. Fringed by Thar Desert dunes, Jaisalmer's radiant sandstone architecture has earned this ancient fortress the nickname of ‘Golden City’. The stunning sunsets and clear skies on winter nights make the ideal conditions for stargazing.

For a memorable experience, set up camp in the nearby dunes and trace constellations in the Milky Way. Leave the city behind as you indulge in a camel safari, tap your feet to Rajasthani folk music and dig into a warming plate of spicy laal maas lamb curry.  

Stay near the sand dunes at Karwaan Jaisalmer and indulge in a unique glamping experience under the stars. 

Gulmarg, Kashmir 

As the first layer of snow falls on the slopes of Gulmarg in November, this town transforms into a winter wonderland. Imagine the canvas of a Pieter Bruegel painting with landscapes dusted in snow. A skier’s paradise, Gulmarg has one of the highest gondolas in the world, transporting mountain-goers to an altitude of nearly 4,000 metres. Temperatures get to below zero here, so you’ll likely find yourself finishing copious cups of kahwa – an aromatic saffron-flavoured chai, special to Kashmir. 


If awe-inspiring sundowners, midnight beach raves and silent disco jams are your style, consider heading to India’s ‘Party Capital’. With its pristine beaches and mellow surf, Goa’s coastline invites you to sip a tiki cocktail (or two) while you polish off a plate of prawn vindaloo at a crab shack. A former Portuguese colony, Goa’s bohemian spirit especially comes alive during winter, when the weather is warm and monsoon season has ended. Take it all in on a coastal drive from bustling North Goa to serene South Goa, weaving your way through palm-lined roads, colonial bungalows and the vibrant Latin quarters of Fontainhas. 

Coorg, Karnataka 

Perennially misty Coorg, nicknamed ‘The Scotland of India’ due to its verdant vales and cascading waterfalls, is a picture-perfect winter holiday destination – without the freezing temperatures of its UK namesake. Flanked by coffee plantations and dotted by burbling waterfalls, Coorg is lush and serene. Head out for a plantation walk, cycle through the winding hill roads or embark on an adventurous trek up Tadiandamol Peak. Keep yourself warm during chilly nights by delving into a plate of slow-seared Coorgi pork pandi curry, paired with wafer-thin neer dosas.  

Feature image: Gulmarg, Kashmir.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out Starry Night: Best Places to Stargaze in India.

About Sohinee Basu
Rolling around in word muddles and hopping across inky puddles, this teeny-tiny adult kid can be found downing dumplings with fiery sauce and daydreaming about faraway beaches while keeping her fingers crossed during Roger Federer's matches. Like a cloud, she can't be pinned down (she'll judge if you don't get this reference); she lives for her love of all things artfully poetic and overwhelmingly beautiful.

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