As Diwali, the festival of lights, approaches, there’s no better time to escape the ordinary and explore the extraordinary. While many flock to the popular holiday destinations for their Diwali vacations, we’ve dug deeper into the treasure trove of India to bring you the most underrated and offbeat winter destinations. These hidden gems offer a unique and enriching experience for the discerning traveller seeking something different this festive season. So, pack your bags, light a lantern, and let’s embark on a journey to discover the uncharted beauty of India!
Winter Holiday Destinations In India
Bundi - The Blue Gem of Rajasthan
Suitable for: History Buffs and Art Enthusiasts
Nestled in the heart of Rajasthan, Bundi is a town that time forgot. Known for its azure-hued houses, intricate step wells and historic palaces, it’s a haven for history enthusiasts and art lovers. The Diwali celebrations here are a blend of tradition and grandeur, offering a glimpse into the royal heritage of the region. Explore the Taragarh Fort, admire the frescoes, and soak in the charm of this hidden gem.
Mawlynnong - Asia’s Cleanest Village
Suitable for: Nature Admirers and Slow Travellers
Venture to the northeast and discover Mawlynnong, a picturesque village in Meghalaya, often referred to as the ‘cleanest village in Asia.’ Surrounded by lush forests and living root bridges, Mawlynnong is a haven for nature admirers. The tranquillity of this place is a perfect antidote to the urban hustle, and the simple Diwali celebrations here are an authentic experience in the lap of nature.
Khimsar - The Rustic Charm of Rajasthan
Suitable for: Desert Dreamers and Star Gazers
Instead of going to clichéd desert destinations, head to Khimsar this winter. This rustic beauty in Rajasthan boasts vast sand dunes and a centuries-old fort that has been transformed into a heritage hotel. The tranquillity of the desert is unparalleled, and the starry nights during Diwali are a spectacle you won’t forget.
Gokarna - Karnataka’s Hidden Beach Paradise
Suitable for: Beach Bums and Spiritual Seekers
While Goa attracts hordes of tourists, Gokarna remains a well-kept secret. With pristine beaches, lush hills and the sacred Mahabaleshwar Temple, it’s a blend of natural beauty and spirituality. The Diwali celebrations in Gokarna’s beaches are a unique fusion of traditional rituals and beach vibes that will leave you mesmerised.
Spiti Valley - The Cold Desert of Himachal
Suitable for: Adventure Junkies and Solitude Seekers
If you’re an adventure junkie or a seeker of solitude, Spiti Valley is your haven. With its otherworldly landscapes, monasteries and high-altitude villages, Spiti offers an unmatched experience. Diwali in Spiti is a tranquil affair, where you can witness the convergence of spirituality and raw nature in the peaceful surroundings.
Dzukou Valley - The Hidden Eden of Nagaland
Suitable for: Trekking Enthusiasts and Nature Photographers
Dzukou Valley in Nagaland is an untouched paradise, known for its emerald green rolling hills and vibrant wildflowers. It’s a trekker’s paradise and a dream come true for nature lovers. Diwali here offers a unique chance to connect with the Naga culture, and the picturesque beauty of the valley will leave you in awe.
Hampi - The Ancient Ruins of Karnataka
Suitable for: History Aficionados and Culture Enthusiasts
Step back in time as you explore the ancient ruins of Hampi in Karnataka. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a treasure trove of history, with its remarkable stone structures, temples and stunning rock formations. Diwali in Hampi takes on a spiritual and cultural dimension, with the illuminated ruins providing a stunning backdrop for the festivities.
Ziro Valley - The Music and Heritage Hub of Arunachal Pradesh
Suitable for: Music Lovers and Tribal Culture Enthusiasts
Ziro Valley, located in the lush green state of Arunachal Pradesh, is a hidden gem for those seeking a unique cultural experience. It’s home to the Apatani tribe and is known for its scenic beauty and the famous Ziro Music Festival. Diwali in Ziro is a blend of traditional tribal celebrations and the festival of lights, making it a vibrant and unforgettable cultural experience for music lovers and cultural enthusiasts.
Dapoli - The Coastal Paradise of Konkan
Suitable for: Beach Lovers and Seafood Connoisseurs
Nestled along the Konkan coastline, Dapoli is a lesser-known coastal gem in Maharashtra. With pristine beaches, lush greenery and a laid-back vibe, it’s an ideal destination for beach lovers and those who like to savour seafood. Diwali in Dapoli offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy beachside tranquillity while savouring delicious seafood dishes in local, homely restaurants.
Bhandardara - The Lakeside Retreat in the Sahyadris
Suitable for: Nature Enthusiasts and Stargazers
Escape to Bhandardara, a serene hill station in the Sahyadri mountain range. The highlight here is the pristine Arthur Lake, surrounded by lush hills and waterfalls. During Diwali, the clear night skies offer excellent stargazing opportunities, making it a delight for astronomy enthusiasts and nature lovers. Don’t forget to visit the Randha Falls and the historic Ratangad Fort while you’re there.
With these unique destinations, your Diwali vacation options in India are even more diverse, catering to a wide range of interests and preferences. Whether you’re captivated by history, nature, spirituality, adventure, culture or music, these offbeat gems have something special to offer.