WINTER TRAVEL IN INDIA

The best hidden places to adventure in the Indian winter months

India is a great winter destination for an active holiday or even for a truly off the beaten path and culturally immersive leisure holiday. Whether you are escaping the winters in your home countries for active holidays or looking for truly experiential and immersive insights into the mystical ways of this country; you cannot ignore India.

The topography of the Indian subcontinent offers a host of options, from beaches, to deserts, tea and coffee plantations, tropical jungles teaming with wildlife, snowcapped Himalayan mountains, beautiful desert landscape, backwaters and estuaries and the many rivers. And of-course India is a melting pot of culture, a rich tapestry of traditions that changes even with language every 200 kilometers as we explore the length and breadth of this subcontinent.

The Indian winter season varies relatively to where you are in this country. Temperatures can vary from -30 degrees centigrade in the Himalayan high altitude dessert regions to +34 degrees with low humidity along the tropical backwaters of Kerala or the beaches of Goa.  Here are “5 MUST DO” off the beaten path destinations for a winter holiday in India active or otherwise.

HIMALAYAS

The Himalayan winter season is between October and lasts until April. Through this period the Himalayas sink into 2-3 spells of snowfall blizzard and heavy clouds, lasting between 1-2 weeks at a stretch.  The Indian Himalayas for most part hosts the expanse of the Trans Himalayan Mountain ranges that are the high altitude desert regions of the Himalayas. The winter month temperatures in these regions range between +10 Degrees to -25 Degrees or even lower in some regions. Most notable valleys in the trans Himalayas are the Spiti, Lahaul, Zanskar and the Ladakh valleys.

Ladkah and Spiti are the most inhabited valleys in these ranges and are home to some of the oldest tribes in the Himalayas having a lineage to the people inhabiting the Tibetan plateau.  Spiti and Ladakh although cutaway from civilization survives these harsh winters and opens up to some amazing landscapes, natural wealth in the form of wildlife, people and their way of life. Unventured offers a Spiti Winter Hike that is an offbeat experience of hiking from village to village, photographing the landscape, spotting wildlife, staying with the locals in simple homestays and learn of their way of life.  In the winter months Spiti and Ladakh landscape seem like they have been brought back from the wintertime in the Game of Thrones but even more beautiful. If you are interested in exploring the summer months in the Himalayas, here are some less touristy Himalayan adventures to explore, or contact us for a customized adventure for you.

RAJASTHAN

Known as the Land of Roayals, Rajasthan is among one of the TOP designations visiting by traveller from across the world. India’s most popular cultural tour is called the Golden Triangle covering parts of Rajasthan. Sysnnymous for its opulent palaces, with intricate marble work and rich kingdoms, Rajansthan is truly the land of the royals. This dry desert region is also a melting pot of culture and traditions. Delving deep into history, art, architecture and diverse cultures, Rajasthan is a microcosm of India’s beauty and diversity. This land of Maharajah’s has honed its hospitality skills to treat you like Royalty when you arrive into their land. Winters in this desert region are the best time to explore the region with average temperatures ranging between 10 Degrees during the nights to 32 degrees celsius during the daytime.

The most popular destinations in Rajasthan are the cities of Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, but if you are a traveller seeking to go off the beaten path and truly experience life in Rajasthan, then think meeting camel herders and interacting with them, visit lesser known desert dunes north of Jaisalmer, stay at old palaces turned into boutique homestays and mansions, learn about the local food though a cooking experience. Learn about the local ceremonies, visiting a local home, cycling is an ideal way to explore the region’s culture through local interactions. Unventured offers a Rajasthan Cycling Tour, that takes you ona  journey through this land with rich experiences, stories and many unique accommodations. Don’t let the cultural diversity steal you away from its wildlife. With close to 10 national parks in the state, the wildlife enthusiast in you can pick and choose from spotting winter travelers in birdlife or driving through tiger reserves. Take a wild safari with a community of people that are protecting the wildlife of Rajasthan from centuries. Art, History, Culture, Wildlife, Royal opulence, you cannot go wrong picking Rajasthan for a winter vacation that truly makes for a memory of a life time.

KERALA

Kerala is a southern Indian state abounding with natural wealth and beauty. A tropical lush green state; Kerala has the mountains and the coastline and everything in between to offer for the discerning travellers. This land of “Black Gold”, brought the first of the traders through its ports looking for the treasured spice – pepper. Seeped in external influences of the Dutch, Portuguese and the British, Kerala holds for the traveler a delight for every sense. A cuisine so delicately spiced, the aromas of a cooking hearth hits you as you set foot into the land and sends on a taste-bud tingling journey through your travels. Home to Ayurveda, Theyyam (Local dance form) and unique martial arts (Kallaripayattu), the reminiscence of its ancient history goes beyond kings and queens and all the way to mythical lords, Gods and Goddesses.

The winter season between Octobers to early January is apt with temperatures between 22ºC – 32ºC for all things outdoorsy in Kerala. The lush green western ghat mountains are home to the rich wildlife, tea and spice plantations, Many waterfalls and beautiful landscapes and vantage points, a treat to the eye. Unventured offers a host of local, authentic and unique experiences of Kerala that bring you closer to the region, its people and their way of life. We can even custom curate an exciting experience based on your interests. Cruising along the backwaters or simply resting by its beautiful Arabian sea shore, Kerala beckons you with the claim of “God’s own country” and you’ll know its rightly so as you travel through listening to stories, experiencing local hospitality and soaking in Southern India’s coastal paradise treasures through its cuisine, culture and way of life.

GOA

Synonymous for its sun, sand and sunshine, Goa is more than a beach destination for the true traveller looking to look deeper. Goa’s old colonial Portuguese influenced towns and villages, traditionally Goan food, rich tropical forests and the slow laid back lifestyle makes this the ideal destination for both an active and relaxed vacation.

Goa is home to some very unique boutique homestays and BnB’s that host travellers in old Portuguese Bungalows tucked away in quaint villages amidst old churches. The old cities and towns bear testament to Portungese history in the region, rich with stories, legends, local walking tours of the markets an dold town are a great way to account for the history of the region If history is The many island villages spread across the expanse of the Mondovi river and its tributaries are hidden treasures to explore on a bicycle. If nature is your thing, then go hiking into the hills looking for beautiful unspoiled waterfalls. Early morning bird watching opportunities offer the sights and sounds of some endemic bird species. Goa’s beach side shacks are a great place to soak in the sun and relax, early morning Yoga session and evening sunsets are the thing of beach life in Goa. Unventured offers some unique bike tours in Goa that offers and well rounded insight into Goa, its people and the local way of life. We can even custom curate non-active experiences that are immersive, local and adventurous.

Goa is home to some very unique boutique homestays and BnB’s that host travellers in old Portuguese Bungalows tucked away in quaint villages amidst old churches. The old cities and towns bear testament to Portungese history in the region, rich with stories, legends, local walking tours of the markets an dold town are a great way to account for the history of the region If history is The many island villages spread across the expanse of the Mondovi river and its tributaries are hidden treasures to explore on a bicycle. If nature is your thing, then go hiking into the hills looking for beautiful unspoiled waterfalls. Early morning bird watching opportunities offer the sights and sounds of some endemic bird species. Goa’s beach side shacks are a great place to soak in the sun and relax, early morning Yoga session and evening sunsets are the thing of beach life in Goa. Unventured offers some unique bike tours in Goa that offers and well rounded insight into Goa, its people and the local way of life. We can even custom curate non-active experiences that are immersive, local and adventurous.

HAMPI AND BADAMI

Among the richest kingdoms in the subcontinent of India, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the largest open-air museums. Hampi is the capital of the Viajayanagara Empire located in the South of India 300+ kilometers from Bengaluru (Bangalore). Established in the Early 1400 and ruled well into the 1700.  Hampi is synonymous today for its rich history, stories of legends, mythology, beautiful landscape, remote villages and beautiful rocks formations and an opportunity for the adventurer to explore. Badami is another historical town north of Hampi, known for its cave temples, traditional local food, rock formations and the local way of life. The best time to visit Hampi will be between November and February months.

Exploring Hampi the touristy way is by hiring a guide to gather factual information about the monuments. But there is more to Hampi’s rich history, and if you are traveller seeking explore this region like a local; there are a host of activities, experiences and places beyond the regular monuments to adventure out to. Unventured Hampi adventures and experiences cater to different traveller types, from families to, solo travelers, silver surfers and groups for friends. Our Hampi experiences revolve guided walks in the ruins with stories, bike tours exploring the ruins and little villages, hikes up little rocky hills for sunrises and sunsets, local experiences like food and cooking; activities like bouldering and rock climbing all integrated as a well-rounded story and insight into the region.

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