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Best Places To Visit In January In India

Planning A Trip In January? Here's our list of best places to visit in January In India

January is a month named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions; rightly so, because the month straddles the end of one year and beginning of another. In India, January is usually the peak of winter and depending on which part of the country you are in, it bears its icy claws and their relative intensity. While the upper reaches of Himalayas are beyond freezing, North Indian destinations like Delhi are pleasantly cold. Coming down south, it becomes warmer and pleasanter. Some of the best places to visit in India during January include Delhi, for its grand Republic Day celebrations, Ahmedabad for the kite festival, Kumarakom and other places in South India for their weather, as well as shores like Diu and Mumbai for some cool beach fun. Here is a list of places that feature on our January-must-visit.


Delhi:  Best Places To Visit In January In India
Photograph by http://www.chandrikadaily.com

The capital of India, ‘Dilli’ or the city of hearts is a rich ground of Indian history and contemporary politics. It has also been the seat of power for many a kingdoms and sultanates of India and today boasts of each of their monuments, ruins, temples, mosques and remains. It is a landlocked city, experiencing a continental climate. Therefore the summers here are hot and monsoons heavy. So winter becomes the best time to visit Delhi, with January (12–13°C) being ideal as the Indian Republic Day falls in this month. The three-day-long celebrations that include the President hoisting the flag, a multitude of parades and a host of foreign dignitaries mean a royally put up show. 


Things to Do: 

Some of the best monuments in Delhi include Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, Jama Masjid and India Gate. A walk down Rajpath will be goose pimple-giving at the break of dawn. Visit Chandni Chowk for some lip-smacking street food. As for the special January day, 26th January is the Republic Day of India, when the Indian Constitution was adopted by the country. On this day, an extensive parade organised by the Army, Navy and Air Force is held on Rajpath after the President of India hoists the tricolour on Red Fort. The celebrations in other cities are limited to 1 day but in Delhi, they go on for 3 days. On 29th January it is flourished to an end with the Beating Day Parade at Vijay Chowk, commemorating the retreating after battle at sunset. 


There are a few ways to buy your tickets for these celebrations. You can get VIP passes if you happen to know a government official. They are also on sale at many departmental sales counters like Sena Bhawan, Pragati Maidan, Jantar Mantar etc from 7th-25th January.


How to Reach:

Delhi, being the heart as well as capital of India, is a hub of sorts for all travel in the subcontinent. It is home to India’s busiest airport - the Indira Gandhi International Airport, and fields flights from all over India as well as the world. You can fly in here and use local taxis, buses or auto rickshaws to commute. The Delhi Metro is also great; fast, comfortable and cheap. Ola and Uber cabs are also available for booking via their respective apps. Delhi also has many railway stations like Hazrat Nizamuddin, New Delhi, Delhi Sarai Rohilla etc to catch a train or disembark.


Ahmedabad:  Best Places To Visit In January In India
Photograph by https://theculturetrip.com

Knwon as ‘Amdavad’ in a lilting Gujarati accent, Ahmedabad is one of the biggest cities and erstwhile capital of Gujarat. It is known for its food, Sabarmati river and its shrewd Gujaratis who open their hearts for you. Winter is undoubtedly the best time to visit most of Gujarat as the weather is pretty cool and pleasant, with January as the best for Ahmedabad as the city sky is painted with kites of all colours and sizes for Uttarayan. The city also hosts the famous International Kite Festival that sees an onslaught of tourists and kite enthusiasts from all over the world. So if you wish to combine some great weather, amazing sightseeing, Uttarayan festival and of course, great food - this is the time to go.


Things to Do:

Ahmedabad is filled with many a monuments, especially those to do with Mahatma Gandhi. His Sabarmati Ashram lies on the bank of river Sabarmati and still bears the imprint of his ideals and his life. It is open to all. You can also go watch a movie at an open air theatre- Sunset Drive In Cinema, explore Jhulta Minara, go for shopping at Law Garden and visit the Bhadra Fort. Car enthusiasts, do not miss the Auto World Vintage Car Museum. For foodies of all kinds, Manek Chowk is your go-to for great street food that this city is known for. If you visit this place every night of your trip, you will still not have tried all of their food. And for the festival of kite, Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti is like a state festival in Gujarat after Navratri; schools and colleges shut in the week leading to 14th January as every terrace of every bungalow and home is filled with people flying kites. The International Kite Festival is held from 7th to 14th January and gives you a beautiful glimpse into the making, flying and adventures of the kite.  


How to Reach: 

Ahmedabad boasts of an International Airport and operates flights to almost all big cities of India and many abroad. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport is 10 km away from the city centre and you can find ample autos and taxis to take you. You can take the local bus in the city or hire cars, auto rickshaws when travelling internally. Ahmedabad Junction makes for a hub for trains coming in from almost all parts of India.


Kumarakom:  Best Places To Visit In January In India
Photograph by https://www.flickr.com

Kumarakom is a virgin paradise of tranquil beaches, idyllic backwaters and quiet waterfalls in a village of fishermen and farmers. It is really a collection of small islands off the coast of Kerala and not yet on the popular tourist radar. January is the coldest month here, with the temperature range being 22-31°C, making for some great weather for all outdoor and sightseeing activities. The season is dry enough to allow water sports like canoeing and drifting through the backwaters without worrying about rain either. 


Things to Do:

Go bird gazing at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary for wild ducks, teals, herons, owls etc. Rent a houseboat on Vembanad Lake to relax, take a fishing rod along for fishing and also try sailing, canoeing or swimming if you are a water baby. Opt for Ayurvedic massages and spas, as well as guided meditation here, go for luxurious sunset cruises in houseboats and live an idyllic life in this slow village. Pilgrimage can also be big on your list as the town of Vaikom, also known as Dakshin Kashi (Kashi of the south) lies only a few kilometres away from Kumarakom. You must also wade into the waters of Vembanad or backwaters to catch small fishes between your toes as the native women do. Also, for nature enthusiasts, one of the most beautiful waterfalls here is Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls, a 100 feet high and extremely lush place. You are welcome to take a basket of food and picnic up here. 


How to Reach:

You can fly into Kochi Airport (45 km away) from major cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai etc and take a cab or local bus to Kumarakom. Or take a train to Kottayam, which is only 10 km away from Kumarakom. Local state-run as well as luxury AC buses ply to Kumarakom, as well as ferries from Muhamma (a small town near Alapuzha). We suggest the ferry, as waterways are a very scenic way to travel to Kumarakom.


Diu:  Best Places To Visit In January In India
Photograph by http://news.beatmaps.co

Diu is a coastal island town with a bridge that connects it to the state of Gujarat. It is a renowned party and unwinding spot for most tourists and locals of Gujarat. Known for its stretch of beaches, churches and exemption from Gujarat’s ‘dry state’ law, Diu makes for one hell of a January retreat. With winter temperature range here between 16-23°C, the weather is just perfect to aid your parties and relaxation. Festa De Diu is the highlight of this town during January and makes for great beach music festival.


Things to Do:

Explore the 16th-century Portuguese citadel that is Diu Fort, overlooking the majestic Arabian sea. With its lighthouse, canons and imposing architecture, it is one big marvel.Then there is St. Paul’s Church inland, which was built in elaborate baroque style. Also check out the nearby whitewashed St. Thomas Church, which is now home to the Diu Museum. Naida Caves boasts of an intricate network of caves and caverns as well as sunlit canyons, while the Tower of Silence is another great sight of stones and history. Beaches here include Jallandhar, Ghoghla, Pani Kotha and Chakratirth Beach. Bonfires and late night music sessions here create the best vibe, as well as the festive season of Festa De Diu, which is touted as Asia’s longest beach festival. It is also called Daman’s biggest music festival and also arranges for luxurious accommodation in tents by the beach. With a stream of interesting events and workshops, concerts and uninterrupted fun, Festa De Diu makes Diu a coveted tourist destination in January. 


How to Reach:

Diu boasts of an Airport of its own, connected well with major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad etc. Una is the nearest railway station to Diu (12 km away) and the Western Railway plies ample frequent trains on this route. You can also drive down to Diu from Khambhat or Mumbai (only 1 hour of road drive) with great roads in place now.


Jaipur:  Best Places To Visit In January In India
Photograph by https://exoticphototravel.com

Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and the Pink City, named so after its structures and palaces built out of the classic pink sandstone. What Jaipur is also known for is its round of palaces, forts and loads of Rajasthani shopping. January is great in Jaipur, weather wise with day high of 23° and low of 9°. In this month, Jaipur also hosts the famous Jaipur Lit Fest, the intellectual and literary fair that attracts writers, poets, filmmakers, artists and intellectuals from all over the world. 


Things to Do:

Jaipur is filled with palaces to visit, from Hawa Mahal to the City Palace. Explore them all, each with their special traits. Like the Hawa Mahal is known for its ar


Bikaner:  Best Places To Visit In January In India
Photograph by https://www.sid-thewanderer.com

Bikaner is an arid, desert town in the state of Rajasthan, known for its historic places and bhujia (a Rajasthani fried savoury). It was established in the 15th century and has prospered into a beautiful settlement from a once abandoned wasteland. Bikaner is so hot in summers and even through part of monsoon that you cannot venture out in daytime. Hence winter becomes ideal to travel and enjoy the place for what it is. With a temperature range of 7-23°C, Bikaner blooms in January with pleasant weather. Sightseeing is rewarding and you feel a decade younger with the amazing food and air that fills you. January is mostly coveted because Bikaner holds its own camel festival during this time.


Things to Do:

Junagarh Fort is the most popular tourist attraction in Bikaner, built during the times of Raja Rai Singh. It is a marvel in itself because the fort complex accommodates many more palaces inside, built at different times by different generations of rulers. You can also visit the Lalgarh Palace, the current seat of the royal family. Bikaner is also famous for its havelis, cobbled lanes of the old city and temples (mainly Jain and Hindu), including Bhandasar Jain Temple and Karni Matha Temple (rat temple). For history buffs, visits to Ganga Museum and Prachina Museum is a must, in order to take a sneak peak into the prehistoric age as well as fascinating sculptures, coins and terracotta artefacts on display. Other places of interest are Sursagar Lake, Laxminath Temple, and Bikaji ke Tekri.


In January, Bikaner comes alive with the celebrations and hosting of its own version of Camel Festival. The fest is suffused with camel rides, games, decorated camels and many fair-like fun events. 


How to Reach:

The Nal Airport of Bikaner (15 km away from city centre) is connected by frequent flights to Delhi and Jaipur. You can also opt for a train to the Bikaner Railway Station, which is connected to most major cities of India. You can also drive down from Delhi (500 km) or take RSRTC buses. Within Bikaner, traveling by a hired car would be the most convenient, while auto rickshaws are a cheaper option.

Sundarbans National Park

Sundarbans National Park:  Best Places To Visit In January In India
Photograph by https://theecologist.org

Sundarbans or literally the ‘beautiful forests’ is a collection of mangrove forests on the shore of Bay of Bengal, straddling the countries of India and Bangladesh. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Sight, the Sundarbans National Park is home to the Bengal Royal Tiger, estuarine crocodiles and Ganges River dolphins among many wildlife exotic species of India. With a temperature range of 13-26°C, January makes for one of the best months to visit Sundarbans National Park as the dry season lures tigers and other animals out to waterholes.


Things to Do:

Sundarban Wildlife Safari is what is the most famous in this region. Sajnekhali is the main watch tower of the region, especially built for bird watchers. Tiger lovers are supposed to head to Sudhanyakhali, which is a favourite spot for royal Bengal tiger watching, as it lies near a pond that is frequented by spotted deer. Also look out for saltwater crocodiles in Bhagabatpur; sharks, rays, river dolphins and olive ridley turtles too. If you wish to go sightseeing after a heady wildlife tour, you can also visit Netidhopani, the ruins of a temple dating back 400 years. You can chill and spend a day cruising along the back waterways of Sunderbans. Other popular attractions here include Hiron Point, Sagar Lighthouse, Dublar Char Island, Tin Kona Island and the Mangrove Garden. 


How to Reach:

Kolkata’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport is your best bet if flying in, as it is the nearest airport to Sunderbans (120 km). You can also ride in a train to Canning Railway Station, 29 km from Godkhali (the port from where you can take water transport to Sundarbans). You can also hire a cab from Kolkata to Godkhali (45 km away). Buses are also frequent from Kolkata, leaving almost every hour; the first one starts at 6.30 am from Babu Ghat Bus Terminus, Strand Road.


Havelock:  Best Places To Visit In January In India
Photograph by http://www.photoburst.net

Havelock Island is piece of Ritchie’s Archipelago in the Andaman Islands, renowned for its diving sites, coral reefs and beaches. The island is also home to forests and a wide variety of birds including white-headed mynas and woodpeckers. It makes for a beautiful January holiday destination as the temperatures are in the cooler range because winter is at its peak. With a range of 15°C-34°C, January is touted as the coldest month and also quite dry for all the water sports to be at their best. 


Things to Do:

Beach babies, Havelock is your playground. With as many varied beaches and lagoons, you can choose to spend one relaxing day at each, from Radhanagar beach, Vijaynagar Beach, Elephant Beach to Kalapathar. For water sports, you can go for scuba diving (with an instructor if you are not a PADI certified diver), snorkelling, swimming etc. The coral reefs in Havelock are some of the most stunning sights you will ever see, including the underwater life milling around like turtles, seahorses, eels etc. Dolphins and sharks are also known to venture towards the shore. There is also sea-walking off the coast of Elephant Beach. Other adventures activities here include boating and kayaking, as well as a trip to the interiors of the forests and mangrove thickets to sight rare birds. You can also go island hopping to Neil Island, Ross Island, Port Blair etc. However, the nightlife in Havelock is a little more happening than other islands.


How to Reach:

You will have to first fly into the Veer Sarvankar International Airport at Port Blair and then you can either take a plane (8 seater) to Havelock as it flies over the islands and seas giving you bird’s eye view of Ritchie’s archipelago; or you can hop onto one of the many government operated ferries from the jetty near Port Blair. There are also a few private ferries with AC and other amenities, with a travel time of around 90 minutes to Havelock.

South India

South India:  Best Places To Visit In January In India
Photograph by http://www.indianwildlifephotographer.com

South India is the tapering part of the Indian Peninsula, the quintessential land surrounded by water bodies on three side, namely - Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. With a culture that is starkly different from North India, this part of the country is home to backwaters, palm trees, rice fields and lots of idli-dosas. Since South India is closer to the equator, it is very hot through the summer and the monsoons are a deluge because of the South West Monsoon Winds as well as so many water bodies surrounding it. But come winter and the land blooms. In January, the temperatures in plains like Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu etc are quiet pleasant for outdoor activities and hence this month is great for tourism.


Things to Do:

There are so many things to choose from, but first you have to put down an itinerary for which cities in the south you wish to visit. You can opt for Kerala’s backwaters and beaches at Kozhikode, Alleppey and Wayanad, or go to Kochi for a tour of the Kochi Fort and to see what the colonial South India looked like. Or you can check out the beaches of Goa, trail for some idyllic French holiday goals in Pondicherry’s cobbled streets and cute cafes and explore the ruins of Hampi and Badami. There are also a hoard of temples that South India is famous for, including those of Madurai, Mahabalipuram and Rameswaram. Or if you want to see the southern tip of India, you can choose to holiday in Kanyakumari. For hill stations, there is Ooty, Coorg and Mysore. The landmass offers so much scope, for tourists of all types.


How to Reach: 

South India boasts of many airports, including Cochin International Airport (Cochi) in Kerala, Chennai and Coimbatore International Airports and Kempegowda International Airport (Bangalore). The Southern Railways operate train services around South and are very well maintained, with fine interior connections, even to smaller towns and villages. While in most cities and towns you can hire cars or find auto rickshaws for transport, in very small ones you will have to get going on foot. Or hire a bike to roam around town.


Mumbai:  Best Places To Visit In January In India
Photograph by https://blog.halla.in

Mumbai, the city that never sleeps, also popularly known as the maxim city, is really one out of dreams. With its blue shores of the Arabian Sea, stone monuments like Gateway of India and the Taj Hotel, hoards of Bollywood studios and also slums that churn out millions of rupees of business every day, the city is one big paradox. Mumbai is usually scorching in summer and wet as a fish during monsoon months. But winter here is amazingly warm, not cold or uncomfortable. January is one of the coldest months in Mumbai, with a mean minimum of 16°C and mean maximum of 30°C, without disruption of rains. 


Things to Do:

Mumbai is likely represented by the Gateway of India and the Taj Hotel, even the colonial buildings and lanes of South Bombay (locally called ‘SoBo'), but the city is a lot more than that. You should plan a trip to make sure you explore the best of the town (SoBo) as well as the suburbs, covering monuments like the Gateway of India and Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, as well as the seascape and promenades like Marine Drive, Worli Sea-face, Bandra Bandstand, Chowpatti and Juhu Beach. For those who want a taste of Mumbai’s nightlife, the many lounges and restaurants of Bandra, Upper Juhu, Andheri and Lower Parel are your waterholes. You can also plan an early morning hike at Sanjay Gandhi National Park or choose to spend an idyllic evening at Hanging Gardens. For foodies, do make sure to eat vada pav, pav bhaji, bhel, sev Puri along with roadside Frankie and dosa that Mumbai streets are famous for. You can also hire a car or use your own to drive up for a weekend to Khandala, Lonavala or Amby Valley (only about 2 hour drive from Mumbai). There is also the Elephanta Caves, Madh Island and Ali Baug for offshore beach holidays; you can head there by taking a ferry from Gateway of India. 


How to Reach:

Mumbai owns India’s best and biggest airport, the second busiest in the country and ranked one of the topmost in the world. You can fly into the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (also called T2) that caters to all International and most domestic flights, or the Terminal 1 airport that only caters to a few domestic airlines. The city also boasts of a number of railway stations, like the Mumbai Central, Victoria Terminus, Bandra Terminus etc, connected extensively to rest of India. For internal travel, the Mumbai local train is an experience worth remembering, as is the red BEST bus. You can also hail a kaali-peeli taxi on the road or auto rickshaw, or hire a car. Ola and Uber apps are also available to take you around the city though their apps.

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