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7 cold destinations in India to escape the summer heat in May

7 cold destinations in India to escape the summer heat in May
As the scorching summer sun beats down upon the Indian subcontinent, seeking refuge in cold destinations becomes a compelling choice for many. While India is renowned for its sweltering summers, it also boasts several picturesque locations where one can find respite from the heat and revel in the beauty of nature's cooler landscapes. From snow-capped mountains to lush green valleys, here's a guide to some of the most enchanting cold places to visit in India during May.

Ladakh captivates visitors with its otherworldly landscapes. Accessed via adventurous roads or by air, it boasts Pangong Lake's ethereal blue waters, the ancient monastic serenity of Thiksey and Hemis Monasteries, and the magnetic charm of Magnetic Hill. Trekking through Nubra Valley's sand dunes or rafting down exhilarating rapids are just a few of the adventures awaiting in this high-altitude desert, making Ladakh a haven for thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.
How to Reach: Ladakh can be reached by air or road. The Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is well-connected to major Indian cities. Alternatively, adventurous souls can embark on a thrilling road trip via Manali-Leh Highway or Srinagar-Leh Highway.
Best Places to Visit: Ladakh is adorned with breathtaking landscapes. Visit Pangong Lake, Nubra Valley, Magnetic Hill, Shanti Stupa, and Leh Palace for a memorable experience.
Things to Do: Explore monasteries such as Thiksey Monastery and Hemis Monastery to delve into the region's rich cultural heritage. Adventure enthusiasts can indulge in activities like trekking, river rafting, and camel safaris.

Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Shimla, the erstwhile summer capital of British India, continues to enchant you with its colonial charm and scenic splendour. Accessible by road, rail, or air, it offers strolls along the bustling Mall Road, panoramic views from the Ridge, and spiritual solace at Jakhu Temple. Christ Church's Gothic architecture and the snowy escapades at Kufri add to the city's allure, making it a beloved destination for families, honeymooners, and nature lovers seeking respite from the summer heat.
How to Reach: Shimla is accessible by road, rail, and air. The nearest airport is in Chandigarh, approximately 113 kilometres away. The Kalka-Shimla Railway offers a scenic train journey, while buses and taxis ply regularly from nearby cities like Delhi and Chandigarh.
Best Places to Visit: Mall Road, The Ridge, Jakhu Temple, Christ Church, and Kufri are among the must-visit attractions in Shimla. Don't miss a ride on the historic Shimla toy train.
Things to Do: Enjoy panoramic views of the Himalayas, go trekking in the surrounding hills, or simply stroll through the lush greenery. Indulge in shopping for local handicrafts and souvenirs on Mall Road.

Darjeeling, West Bengal
Darjeeling is known for its misty mountains and tea-scented air. Reached via scenic train rides or winding roads, it offers sunrise spectacles at Tiger Hill, spiritual introspection at Peace Pagoda, and playful moments at Batasia Loop. The Himalayan Zoo's red pandas and the historic charm of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Museum add to the region's allure, making it a beloved destination for tea aficionados and mountain enthusiasts alike.
How to Reach: Bagdogra Airport is the nearest airport, situated around 70 kilometres from Darjeeling. New Jalpaiguri Railway Station is well-connected to major cities like Kolkata and Delhi. From there, you can take a scenic drive or board the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, famously known as the "Toy Train."
Best Places to Visit: Tiger Hill, Batasia Loop, Peace Pagoda, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, and Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Museum are some of the top attractions.
Things to Do: Experience the ethereal beauty of sunrise at Tiger Hill, take a joy ride on the Toy Train, explore tea estates, and sample delectable Tibetan cuisine at local eateries.

Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Manali, cradled in the arms of Himachal Pradesh, beckons you with its snow-capped peaks and gushing rivers. Accessible by road from bustling cities, it offers adrenaline-pumping adventures in Solang Valley, ancient spirituality at Hidimba Devi Temple, and a walk through Old Manali's cobbled streets. Rohtang Pass's panoramic vistas and Manu Temple's tranquil ambience add to the region's charm, making it a hotspot for adventurers, honeymooners, and nature lovers alike.
How to Reach: Manali can be reached via road from cities like Delhi and Chandigarh. The nearest airport is Bhuntar Airport, approximately 50 kilometres away. Regular buses and taxis ply from nearby towns and cities.
Best Places to Visit: Rohtang Pass, Solang Valley, Hidimba Devi Temple, Manu Temple, and Old Manali are popular attractions in Manali.
Things to Do: Engage in adventure sports like paragliding, skiing, and river rafting in Solang Valley. Trek to picturesque villages like Malana and Tosh, or simply unwind amidst the serene surroundings.

Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Tawang enthrals you with its pristine beauty and ancient monastic traditions. Accessed by air or adventurous road trips, it offers spiritual enlightenment at Tawang Monastery, breathtaking vistas from Sela Pass, and serene moments at Pankang Teng Tso Lake. The heroic tales at Jaswant Garh War Memorial and the cascading beauty of Nuranang Falls add to the region's allure, making it a haven for spiritual seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.
How to Reach: The nearest airport is in Tezpur, Assam, approximately 317 kilometres away. From there, you can hire a cab or board a bus to Tawang. Alternatively, you can reach Tawang via road from Guwahati or Tezpur.
Best Places to Visit: Tawang Monastery, Sela Pass, Jaswant Garh War Memorial, Pankang Teng Tso Lake, and Nuranang Falls are some of the must-visit places.
Things to Do: Explore the ancient Tawang Monastery, witness the stunning vistas from Sela Pass, and visit war memorials to pay homage to the brave soldiers. Enjoy yak rides and savour local delicacies for an authentic experience.

Keylong, Himachal Pradesh
Situated in the rugged terrain of Himachal Pradesh, Keylong welcomes you with its serene beauty. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks and verdant valleys, it offers a tranquil escape from the summer heat. Chandratal Lake's shimmering waters, the ancient charm of Kardang and Shashur Monasteries, and the adventurous allure of Baralacha Pass beckon travellers to explore this hidden gem. Keylong's pristine landscapes and rich cultural heritage make it an idyllic destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.
How to Reach: Keylong is accessible by road, and the nearest airport is Bhuntar Airport, approximately 180 kilometres away. Keylong can be reached by driving from Manali via the Manali-Leh Highway.
Best Places to Visit: Surrounded by towering mountains and lush green valleys, Keylong offers a serene ambience. Chandratal Lake, Kardang Monastery, Shashur Monastery, and Baralacha Pass are among the prominent attractions.
Things to Do: Explore the captivating beauty of Chandratal Lake, embark on treks to nearby villages, and visit ancient monasteries to experience the region's cultural heritage. Enjoy camping under the starlit sky and relish local delicacies for a wholesome experience.

Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand
Set against the majestic backdrop of the Himalayas, Pithoragarh exudes an aura of mystique and tranquillity. Blessed with breathtaking vistas and historical landmarks, it offers you a captivating blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage. Explore the wilderness of Askot Sanctuary, delve into the ancient history at Pithoragarh Fort, or seek solace at the sacred Kapileshwar Mahadev Temple. Patal Bhuvaneshwar Cave Temple's mystical chambers add to the region's spiritual allure while trekking trails and birdwatching spots beckon adventurers and nature lovers to uncover the treasures of this Himalayan paradise.
How to Reach: Pithoragarh is well-connected by road, and the nearest airport is Pantnagar Airport, approximately 200 kilometres away. Regular buses and taxis ply from nearby cities like Haldwani and Almora.
Best Places to Visit: Pithoragarh is renowned for its scenic beauty and historical significance. Visit Askot Sanctuary, Pithoragarh Fort, Kapileshwar Mahadev Temple, and Patal Bhuvaneshwar Cave Temple for a memorable experience.
Things to Do: Explore the rich biodiversity of Askot Sanctuary, witness panoramic views of the Himalayas from Pithoragarh Fort, and seek spiritual solace at ancient temples. Trekking, birdwatching, and nature walks are popular activities in the region.

These cold destinations offer a perfect escape from the scorching heat of summer, providing a refreshing retreat amidst nature's bounty. Whether you're seeking adventure, cultural exploration, or simply tranquillity, these places in India have something to offer for everyone. So pack your bags, embark on a journey, and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of these captivating destinations.

Frequently asked questions
1. What is the best time to visit Ladakh?
Ladakh is best visited during the summer months, from May to September, when the weather is pleasant and roads are accessible. However, some adventurous travellers also visit during winter to experience the magical frozen landscapes and unique winter festivals.

2. Are there any altitude sickness concerns when travelling to Shimla?
While Shimla itself is not at a very high altitude, some visitors may experience mild altitude sickness, especially if coming from lower altitudes. It's advisable to take it easy for the first day, stay hydrated, and avoid heavy meals. If symptoms persist, seeking medical advice is recommended.

3. How can I travel to Darjeeling from Bagdogra Airport?
From Bagdogra Airport, travellers can hire a taxi or take a shared cab to Darjeeling, which is approximately a 3-4 hour drive depending on road conditions. Alternatively, one can take a pre-booked private transfer or opt for a scenic train ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station.

4. What adventure activities are available in Manali during May?
In May, visitors to Manali can indulge in a variety of adventure activities including paragliding, river rafting, trekking, and zorbing in Solang Valley. The weather is ideal for outdoor adventures, and several local adventure operators offer guided tours and equipment rental services.

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