Want To Escape Winter? Head To These Warm Destinations in India

If the dipping mercury does not suit you, here are some places you can visit and get the summer warmth
Hampi in Karnataka has scenic sunsets and immersive cultural experiences
Hampi in Karnataka has scenic sunsets and immersive cultural experiencesShutterstock

The evenings are shorter, colder and your favourite hoodie just doesn't cut it anymore. Winters, especially in the north, are not for the faint-hearted. Even a cup of tea does little to protect you from teeth-chattering windy days, and for those with a travel bug, winters also mean layering up if you're out and about. But why head north. If you'd like to beat the winter blues in good old travelling style, here are a few destinations that might just be the thing for you. 

Gokarna: Beaches Beyond Goa

Beaches in Karnataka's Gokarna have become popular for water sports
Beaches in Karnataka's Gokarna have become popular for water sports

What has big blue seas, expansive golden beaches, towering palm trees, adrenaline-fuelled water sports and a chilled-out vibe? If you're thinking of Goa, you won't be wrong. But here's another destination just as fun, albeit less crowded. An unconventional yet memorable seaside experience awaits the beach lover in you in Gokarna. For those who like their vacation slow and breezy, look no further. It's the perfect way to beat the winter blues.

How To Reach

Gokarna in Karnataka does not have an airport. It is well connected by road to all major cities like Bengaluru, Goa, Hyderabad, Mangalore and others. The nearest airport is Dabolim Airport in Goa which is 157 kms from Gokarna. You can take a taxi to reach Gokarna.

The nearest railway station is at Ankola, about 20 kms from Gokarna.

Gokarna is well connected by road. Buses go to and fro regularly from Bengaluru, Mangalore, Hubli, and other cities of Karnataka.

Pondicherry: The French Connection

Pondy may be a coastal town, but there is a lot more to it than just seaside shenanigans. Here, every nook and corner is a gentle reminder of the bygone French colonial era. Add to that some expansive beaches with water sports to go along, gorgeous cathedral and churches, the spiritual vibe of Auroville, the bustling markets, some lip-smacking international cuisines and you've got yourself a vacation to remember for a long time.

The French Quarters in Puducherry has quaint and charming bungalows
The French Quarters in Puducherry has quaint and charming bungalows

Places To Visit

The stunning Paradise Beach a 20 to 30 minutes ferry ride from Chunnambar. Basilica of the Sacred Heart was built by French missionaries in 1908 and the first ever basilica in Pondicherry built based upon Gothic architecture. Visit the Pondicherry Museum if you want to know more about the place's history

How To Reach

Pondicherry is easily accessible from most of the major cities in India. It has a domestic airport were flights from Hyderabad and Bangalore fly daily. You can drive down from the Chennai International Airport, which is 170 kms away from Puducherry, earlier known as Pondicherry. You will get public buses from Chennai, which takes around four hours to reach Pondy. You can reach by train and Pondicherry railway station is in the city.

Lakshadweep: White and Blue Heaven 

An archipelago consisting of 36 islands, 300 kms off the coast of Kerala, Lakshadweep, India's smallest Union territory, is dazzling. Think sun-kissed beaches, white sandy shores, beautiful coral reefs, crystal-clear lagoons, and deep blue sea as far as the eye can see. Lakshadweep is all chill, minus the winter. If you are someone who loves mixing a little water with your adventures then this season offers a pleasing weather window that is conducive to water sports such as scuba diving, snorkelling, and surfing.

Places To Visit

Minicoy Island is a cluster of 10 villages. Its many beautiful blue lagoons make it popular among tourists. You can explore the 19th century old lighthouse, indulge in various water sport activities, and visit the and serene Minicoy Thundi Beach.

Agatti Islands is the only island of the Lakshadweep group which has an airport. The island is an ideal beach destination. Adventure lovers will have lots of activities to choose from like snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming, kayaking, and water skiing.

You can also visit the sea museum in Kavaratti and learn more about marine life.

How To Reach

Lakshadweep is 400 kms away from the western coast of India in the Arabian Sea and can be reached by air and water only.

Passenger ships operate between Lakshadweep and Cochin and the Aggati Airport in Lakshadweep is connected to Kochi airport only. Lakshadweep is a group of islands and you can travel from one island to by ferry or helicopter.

Rann Of Kutch: The White Desert

For the offbeat traveller in you, The Great Rann of Kutch beckons. A barren but stunningly beautiful expanse of cracked earth seasoned with salt, the Rann Of Kutch turns into a makeshift tented city during the colourful Rann Utsav, a carnival of music, dance, arts, heritage, and all things magical. There isn't a more colourful way to spend your vacation warm, with warm-hearted people.

Places To Visit

The White Rann is one of the largest salt deserts in the world. The dazzling white desert is worth watching during sunset and under the full moonlight. Rann Utsav draws many tourists here as the festive ambience adds to the beauty of the place.

Kala Dungar or the black hill is the highest point in Kutch, from where you can see the expansive white Rann and the Indo-Pak border. Climb higher to 462 metres of Kala Dungar to see the more than 400-years-olf Dattatreya temple.

Mandvi Beach on the Gulf of Kutch is another perfect outing. Take a camel or a horse ride, or go rock climbing and take part in water sports.

Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary is home to the endangered Indian Wild Ass. You can also spot many birds here.

How To Reach

Bhuj Airport is 70 kms away from Rann of Kutch. You can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Kutch. You will also get trains from Bhuj railway station to reach the Rann of Kutch. Taking the road will take you through beautiful landscapes along the way. State-run and private buses ply from major cities of Gujarat to Bhuj.

Kerala: Go On A Backwater Cruise

Kerala's houseboat experience will draw you close to nature
Kerala's houseboat experience will draw you close to nature

Running parallel to the coast of Arabian Sea, Kerala's scenic and pristine backwater region is one of the most popular international destinations and something you should visit at least once. It is an intertwined network of waterways of nearly a thousand kilometres comprising lakes, lagoons, and canals with nature in its purest form. And negotiating though it on a slow-paced houseboat is the best way to experience it. Camera or a book, pick according to your preference. Sunscreen is mandatory.

Hampi: Our Rich Heritage

Once the capital of the Vijayanagar empire, Hampi is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, comprising architectural ruins neighboured by exquisite rock and boulder formations, and temples of religious and historical importance. If you love rock-climbing, you are in for an experience. And if not, there are plenty of gorgeous natural vistas to keep you company. Sunsets, in particular, are breathtaking. Situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra, the historic place will enchant you.

How To Reach

The nearest railway station is Hospet. Hubli airport is 166 kms away and has regular flights from Bengaluru. Public bus services link Hampi to most places in Karnataka.

Ooty: Visit The Queen Of Hills

If you don't want the bone-freezing chill but do want the mountains, Ooty is the place you need to be in this winter. Surrounded by the beautiful Nilgiri mountains, Ooty, the "Queen of Hill Stations" is part of the exquisite Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. And it has a bit of everything for everybody. Picturesque lakes, beautiful gardens, expansive meadows, coffee and tea plantations, rumbling waterfalls, historical toy train ride, some quick treks, well-preserved national parks, and plenty of good places to eat. Take your pick.

Things To Do

Enjoy the train ride on the Nilgiri Mountain Railways. The long ride is from Mettupalayam to Ooty, or you can opt for a short journey from Ooty to Coonor and back. The five-hour scenic route filled with green forests, cloud-kissed mountains and sprawling tea gardens.

The Dolphin’s Nose is a offers a view of the lush green tea plantations and cloud covered misty hills, making you forget the hustle and bustle of city life.

Go on boat rides at Lake Pykara and the Ooty Lake, the popular attractions here.

How To Reach

The nearest airport is in Coimbatore located nearly 88 kms from Ooty.

The nearest railway station is in Mettupalyam, 51 kms from the city. Public and private buses and taxis are the options by road.

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