5 Best Hill Stations in India to Travel by Road in Winters

Visiting hill stations during winters feels nothing less than a paradise. After all, there are many attractive places and mesmerizing views for tourists to explore. To make your winter holidays a memorable one, below we have mentioned the 5 best hill stations in India, which you must visit by road. Also, we have listed a few tips to keep in mind before you set off for a road trip.

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Top 5 Winter Destinations in India

Winter is the best season to plan a holiday if you love the dipping temperature and the snow. From November to March, winter seals India in its beauty and allows people to experience cold weather with snow at higher altitudes. There are many hill stations in India to make your winter holidays exciting. Here is the list of the 5 most popular hill stations of India that you can travel by road-

1. Gulmarg, Jammu & Kashmir

Kashmir is truly a paradise, especially for adventure lovers. It can be explored when the valley blooms in the spring, the maple leaves fall in autumn, and the meadows are the greenest in the summer. But, winters in Kashmir is extremely special, especially in Gulmarg. Nothing on the earth can be compared to the heavenly snow-covered mountains of Gulmarg, which is one of the most favourite tourist destinations in Kashmir.

Gulmarg offers mesmerizing snow-capped mountain views and enthralling adventure activities. It is ideal for people who wait for the winters all year long and want to experience a live snowfall for the first time. It is also known as the skiing capital of India. Besides, Gulmarg has road connectivity from Srinagar and can be reached in almost 2-3 hours.

Tips for Travelling to Gulmarg: 

  1. Download road map from Google Maps for your references.
  2. Internet connectivity is low at Gulmarg. So, book a hotel with good wifi connectivity.
  3. Book your tickets in advance from the website to avoid any hassle.
  4. Carry heavy winter clothes, like a jacket, gloves, caps, etc., while you can hire gum-boots and skiing equipment.
  5. Buy domestic travel insurance to stay financially protected against any unforeseen adversities.

2. Ooty, Tamil Nadu

Ooty is a top-rated tourist destination located in the Nilgiri hills of Tamil Nadu and is also known as Udhagamandalam. You can spot tea gardens, tranquil waterfalls, crooked country lanes, and charming colonial architecture. It is very popular among couples and honeymooners. Moreover, Ooty is also a hub for Indian spices and herbs.

To reach Ooty, you may choose to hire a car or self-drive depending upon your preferences. The best part about the journey is driving through the gorgeous reserve forests and enjoying the breathtaking views. 

Tips for Travelling to Ooty:

  1. If you are riding a bike, do not forget to carry your helmet, riding gloves, rain gear, and good riding shoes. 
  2. The road is closed for transportation from 09 pm - 6:00 am. Hence, check the time before travelling.
  3. You might encounter wildlife on your way as it is a reserve forest. Therefore, drive carefully.
  4. Buy spices from local shops for authentic flavours.
  5. Buy online travel insurance to cover your trip against any mishap.

3. Auli, Uttarakhand

Auli is a snow paradise located in the Garwhal region of Uttarakhand. It offers a majestic view of the Himalayan slopes & meadows and is flanked by dense woods of oak, pines, and coniferous trees. The icy slopes of Auli start to buzz with the crowd in January and the place is famous for its winter carnival. It has an artificial lake, trekking spots, skiing grounds, a ropeway, a valley of flowers, and many sacred temples.

If you are a peace seeker, you must visit Auli to enjoy natural sceneries, panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain range, and snow-clad mountains during winters. To enjoy skiing and other winter sports in Auli, January and February are the best months.

Tips for Travelling to Auli:

  1. Skiing gears can be rented from local vendors at Auli.
  2. You may encounter narrow roads during your journey. So, it is advised to drive carefully and follow all the safety measures.
  3. Choose well-known routes for trekking in winters.
  4. Since Auli has a limited option to stay, it is recommended to pre-book your stay during peak seasons.
  5. Opt for domestic travel insurance to stay covered against any travel-related adversities.

4. Darjeeling, West Bengal 

Darjeeling is one of the most beautiful hill stations in West Bengal and a perfect getaway for a honeymoon. Nestled amidst acres of tea gardens, Darjeeling is known worldwide for its rich cultural heritage. The district runs a famous toy train, which was established in the year 1881.

The most popular tourist attractions in Darjeeling are tea gardens, ropeway cable cars, monasteries, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, zoos, and botanical gardens. You can also enjoy the taste of freshly brewed tea from the tea estate or get down to the garden and pluck a few tea leaves yourself.

Tips for Travelling to Darjeeling: 

  1. Beware of pickpockets and avoid roaming alone late at night in the town. 
  2. Carry jackets and pullovers during winters. October to December are the best months to plan a trip to Darjeeling.
  3. Carry motion sickness pills if you tend to get car sick on bending roads of mountains.
  4. If you want to ride in a toy train, book in advance. Since it is a heritage vehicle with only two coaches, it gets booked fast.
  5. Also, get domestic travel insurance to stay covered against travel emergencies.

Manali, Himachal Pradesh

Nestled in the Himalayas, Manali is an attractive hill station in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. Also, it is a favourite destination for honeymoon couples. During winters, the temperature goes down to minus 1-degree Celsius and Manali witnesses heavy snowfall. It is the perfect time to enjoy snow sports like skiing, snow trek, scooter ride, etc. Moreover, you can also enjoy an evening walk at the Mall Road, visit the famous Hidimba Devi Mandir, and find peace in the famous Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa Monastery.

This popular hill station of Himachal Pradesh is well connected and perfect for road trips from Delhi, Chandigarh, Ambala, Dehradun, and Shimla.

Tips for Travelling to Manali:

  1. Check the hotel amenities and online reviews & ratings before booking any hotel.
  2. Avoid driving late at night due to narrow roads, low visibility, and safety issues.
  3. For adventure trips during winters, carry heavy woollen clothing, rubber-soled shoes, socks, gloves, and caps.
  4. Also, buy domestic travel insurance to financially protect yourself from any unwanted travel adversities.

Things to Keep in Mind Before You Start a Road Trip

Here are some tips that you should keep in mind before you set off for a road trip-

  1. Get your vehicle checked by a mechanic before heading anywhere.
  2. Download offline Google Maps on your phone.
  3. Buy domestic travel insurance to protect yourself against any kind of possible mishap during the journey. We recommend you to check online travel insurance plans and compare them before buying one.
  4. Check the weather forecast of the destination you are travelling to.
  5. Book your accommodation & activities in advance and enjoy hassle-free holidays.
  6. Ensure that you have all the vehicle documents, such as registration certificate, driving license, insurance documents, PUC, etc.
  7. If you are travelling via a car, check the condition of the spare tyre and carry your toolbox along with it.
  8. If you are on a bike trip, ensure that you have helmets for yourself and the pillion rider.
  9. Take casual breaks while driving and avoid overspeeding.
  10. Pack light and according to the weather conditions. In case you miss or lose your baggage, your domestic travel insurance policy will assist you. 

Summing It Up

No matter which part of the country you live in, you can plan your winter holidays to any of the above-mentioned destinations. Make sure to follow all the tips to enjoy these beautiful places by road. However, do not create chaos by choosing the wrong mode of transport before heading to any of these places. Also, pack your bag efficiently, carry essential medicines, smart toiletries, and vehicle documents safely. But most importantly, do not forget to buy domestic travel insurance for hassle-free travel.

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