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White wonderlands: Frolic in snow

From unforgettable skiing and snowboarding in Gulmarg to snow trekking, at Chopta in Uttarakhand, or mushing through the Himalayan wilderness, winter can be beautiful. Snow covers rooflines and transforms valleys and mountains into a white wonderland. For those of us who have not been able to enjoy snow this year, we bring you destinations which you can visit as the winter season ends, before the onset of spring.

There is nothing like witnessing fresh snowfall in Gulmarg in Kashmir. “The place itself has the kind of beauty you only see in paintings and when everything is covered in a blanket of pure, white snow, it’s a different kind of serenity that you experience,” says Chhavi Chadha, travel curator. Gulmarg valley, draped in swathes of pristine white is, an enchanting sight to behold from January to March.

“Gulmarg celebrates its snow festival in February every year. There are skiing events and competitions, along with live music, delicious food,” says Jinali Sutariya, travel blogger.

Hand-crafted sleds made by locals are on offer for you to ride around during snowfall in Gulmarg. Porters pull on the sledges taking you along a special sledging track. Be prepared for a thrilling ride down one of the less steep icy slopes.

The summer capital of India, Shimla also turns into a winter wonderland during the months of October to February. Foamy balls of cotton falling from the heavens above leave travellers mesmerised. “The city is laden with a dreamy white ice blanket. It is truly an Alice in Wonderland moment. Experiences like these reinforce pride in our beautiful country,” says Upasana Kochhar, travel blogger.

You can also head to the snow capped mountains of Himalayas. Wispy clouds, winding roads, frozen rivers and charming little monasteries make Lahaul irresistible. Lahaul is the newest winter-wonder that has become far more accessible to travellers, thanks to the inauguration of Atal Tunnel. Lying on the other side of the Rohtang Pass, Lahaul is stunning in winter. “If there is one destination that makes my heart go weak in my knees, it is Lahaul with its numerous Himalayan peaks,” says Nivi Selvaraj, travel blogger.

Known as Queen of Hills, Mussoorie is another breathtakingly beautiful destination to visit in winter with its snow capped mountains and pine trees adorned with snowflakes.

Located in Himachal Pradesh and surrounded by the towering Himalayan peaks and gorgeous valleys, Manali is also a heaven on earth with its magnificent valleys and snow capped mountains.

And for those looking for offbeat destinations, these hidden gems are bound to delight. “Chopta (Uttarakhand), Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh) and Lava (West Bengal) are quaint, lesser known places to witness snowfall, “ says Akshayraj Singh Shaktawat, travel influencer.

Zuluk, a small hamlet in East Sikkim, it also comparatively calmer and peaceful with very little active tourism.

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