How about spending this new year at a place you always wanted to visit? And of course within your budget? No worries. When it comes to places of beauty, you have a lot of options in India. The best part is that there are hotels here that charge from Rs 500 depending on your budget. Yes, so what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, we have just the right places you can travel on a budget.
Srinagar: One of the most popular holiday destinations in India, there is a reason why Srinagar is called the paradise on earth. With a history of over 2000 years, Srinagar is a modern Water world, dominated by Dal Lake and its twisting waterways, tree-lined Nagin Lake, and the Jhelum River. You can rent one of the wooden boats called shikaras for a daytime or twilight cruise. On land, stroll through the terraced hillsides of the 400-year-old Mughal Gardens, created by Emperor Jehangir for his wife, and shop for indigenous crafts like hand-woven silks and embroidered shawls. While there please, do try their various cuisines and bread.
Pahalgam: Pahalgam is famous for its scenic beauty and is the jewel of the picturesque Liddar valley located in the high Himalayas. It provides an ideal setting for hiking, trekking, and fishing. Surrounded by the Lidar River and the Bethab Valley, Pahalgam is bordered by beautiful valleys and rivers. River rafting is an option at Lake Lider. You can purchase traditional cashmere items from the market. The tall pine trees that cover the city offer a spectacular morning view. The whole of Pahalgam will be covered with snow this time of the year. Known as the 'Valley of the Shepherds', Pahalgam is a base camp during the Amarnath Yatra. Visitors to Pahalgam (located in Anantnag district) are greeted by mustard fields and green fields full of saffron flowers.
Gulmarg: If you want to experience one of the greatest ropeways in the world and the magic of winter, head straight to Gulmarg. Situated at an elevation of 3979 m above sea level, the views from the top on the ropeway are breathtaking. Gulmarg is now covered with snow everywhere you look. Known as one of the best skiing destinations in India, Gulmarg is perfect for family and honeymoon adventure lovers alike. While in summers the valley is flocked with day-trippers from Srinagar and tourists from across the world, the winter season sees ski and snowboard enthusiasts rushing to Gulmarg- India’s premier ski resort. But the numerous places to visit in Gulmarg are open throughout the year for those who wish to capture the beauty with their cameras or merely their eyes. Also summers the snow will melt to reveal various types of flowers all around.
Sonamarg: Sonamarg, popularly known as the 'Grassland of Gold', is located at an altitude of 2740 m above sea level, in the foothills of the Himalayas. In the spring, the area will have flowering plants with golden flowers. Sonamarg is located at a distance of 80 km from Srinagar. Not only sights but also trekking and hiking await the tourists. The Sindh River flows through the valley. Ponies can be hired for the trip up to Thajiwas glacier, which is a major local attraction during summer. Sonamarg is also the base of a major trek that passes along several mountain lakes — Vishansar, Kishansar, Gadsar, Satsar, and Gangabal. It is also the takeoff station for the drive to Ladakh across Zojila, a major pass in the Great Himalayan Range, through which the Srinagar–Leh Road passes. It is also a base for undertaking the yatra to the holy Amarnath cave, during Sawan Purnima.
Pangong Lake: Pangong Lake becomes a magical place in the month of January. By the end of the month, the lake is completely frozen and will remain so until February. Pangong Lake is a lake in India and China, situated at an elevation of 13,900 ft in the Himalayas. The best way to get to Pangong Lake is by road. However, the only challenge on this route is the Chang La Pass. You can enjoy a day trip and stay in Spongmic, Tangse or Merak. Note that campsites may not be open during the winter, so you may choose to stay in a rural homestay.
Lamayuru: Lamayuru is a small village in Ladakh, but it is also a great place to relax on the way from Kargil to Leh. According to the oldest legends of Ladakh, this place was once a lake and later it dried up. The landscape of the village resembles the surface of the moon. Lamayuru is known for its monastery, and for its “lunar” landscape – quaintly promoted as a “Moonscape” for tourists. The landscape is certainly incredible with its spectacularly odd geological formations, though this is not unique to Lamayuru. Lamayuru monastery is ancient, built into the 'moonscape'. The soil is claimed to be similar to that on the moon, hence the name- Moonland.
Tso Moriri: The road from Leh to Tso Moriri attracts a range of wildlife, including migratory birds, marmots, and rarely the Tibetan wolves. Tso Moriri lake in the Changthang region of Ladakh is one of the most beautiful, calm, and sacred (for Ladakhi’s) high altitude lakes in India. Mountain Lake is open all year round. It is the largest high lake in India, located entirely in the Indian subcontinent. Like Pangong Lake, this place gets cold in winter. Tso Moriri attracts a range of wildlife, including migratory birds, marmots, and rarely the Tibetan wolves.