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The Best Places To Visit In Jan In India

Christmas and New Year holidays are the peak tourist season in India.

Travellers from Europe and North America take their winter breaks to escape the chilling cold and dreary weather of the northern hemisphere. What awaits them in India is an exciting and adventure-filled holiday.

From skiing in the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas and the historical splendour of Delhi and Agra to the rocking parties & beaches of Goa, the backwaters of Kerala, the cultural allure of Rajasthan and the Desert Safaris of Rann of Kutch, there is something for everyone in India.

Read on to learn more about why you should visit India in January, the top places to visit, and things to keep in mind before you visit.

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Here’s a list of the best 15 places to visit in India in January.

1. Rajasthan, Jaipur & Beyond: Endless Cultural Extravaganzas and Immersions




With millions of annual visitors from all over the globe, Rajasthan, the “Land of Kings,” warmth and hospitality, is in many ways the cultural heart of India. During this time of the year, Rajasthan is one of the first places in India that tourists typically head to after landing in the nation’s capital, Delhi.

Rajasthan is a land of royal elegance, warm hospitality, magnificent palace, palatial Havelis (medieval mansions), picturesque lakes, towering forts, ancient landmarks, exotic wildlife, great food, and the transcendent Thar Desert. It is arguably the most visited region in India, with Kerala as a close second.

Top places in Rajasthan:

  • Jaipur–  The “Pink City”  with royal allure
  • Udaipur– The “Venice of the East” with its lakeside bliss
  • Jodhpur –  the Lord-Shiva-inspired “Blue City” 
  • Jaisalmer – the “Golden City”  with the desert charm.
  • Ranthambore National Park –  Royal wildlife escapades.
  • Bikaner – adrenaline-filled Cultural immersion.
  • Pushkar – Sacred serenity of the holy lake Pushkar

Two weeks is a great time frame to cover the highlights of Rajasthan (along with Taj Mahal in Agra).

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2. Kerala, God’s Own Country



Known affectionately by the moniker “God’s Own Country,” the southwestern state of Kerala is famed for its picturesque palm-lined beaches, serene backwaters, world-renowned Ayurveda therapies, idyllic hill stations, delicious cuisine, wildlife reserves, and spice, tea, and coffee plantations.

It is not only the most visited state in South India but also one of most visited in country.

On offer in Kerala are:

  • The stunning white sand beaches of Kovalam, Varkala, and Marari.
  • The misty hill stations of Munnar, Ranipuram, and Ponmudi.
  • The serene beauty of the backwaters of Alleppey and Kumarakom.
  • Nature safaris of Periyar National Park
  • Spice and tea plantation tours of Thekkady and Adimalai.
  • Ancient history of Kochiwith its fusion of maritime Arab, Chinese, Dutch, Portuguese and British influences.

What to do in Kerala in January

What you can do in this part of the country depends on how much time you can spend in God’s Own Country. The possibilities are limitless.

10 to 12 days would be enough to cover the major destinations in Kerala at an easy pace.

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3. Delhi: Witness Mughal Splendor



Located at the historical crossroads of the ancient realms of Persia, Central Asia, and Hindustan, —all of which were interconnected by the ancient Silk Roads— Delhi replaced Agra as the capital of the Mughal Empire due to its strategic location at the heart of the North Indian plains.

The nation’s capital is the nerve center of not just the political and administrative spheres of India, but also a proud legatee of its civilizational heritage.

The city brims with historical and cultural attractions. Here is what you should visit in Delhi:

  • The Red Fort
  • Jama Masjid
  • The Qutab Minar and Humayun’s Tomb
  • Chandni Chowk
  • Akshardham & Lotus Temples
  • The Bangla Sahib Gurudwara
  • The National Museum and Gandhi Smriti
  • India Gate

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4. The Lost Karnataka Kingdom of Hampi: Channel Your Indiana Jones in the Timeless Ruins of the Vijayanagar Empire



Hampi is a small village in southern state of Karnataka where some 2000 stunning historical remnants of the 13th century Vijayanagara Empire (the mightiest in all of medieval south India) have stood the test of time.

The Hampi-Pattadkal-Aihole-Badami complex, the hub of the empire, consists of temples, palaces, sculptures, stone art landmarks, cave paintings, and public buildings.

A trip to Hampi is like a trip back in time through a time machine to a realm of wonders.

What Else Can You Do in Karnataka


If you are visiting Karnataka, “City of Royalty” Mysore, known for its opulent palaces; the hub of India’s IT process Bangalore; the Coffee Plantation Tours of Coorg hill station; Black Panther Safaris in the Kabini National Park and the pristine beaches of Gokarna are great vacation options in addition to tours to Hampi.

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5. Agra: Historical Mystique



Home of arguably the greatest monument in India, the Taj Mahal, Agra is a city that teems with historical mystique, heritage, myth, and mystery. The erstwhile capital of the Mughal Empire along the divine Yamuna river is famous not just for the Taj Mahal, but also for its old mausoleums, forts, ancient bazaars, temples, and sumptuous Mughlai cuisine.

What to See and Do in Agra in January

The Taj, of course. But there is so much more.

  • the Agra Fort – A UNESCO HERITAGE SITE
  • The abandonded city of Fatehpur Sikri
  • Sikandra – The Maosoleum of the tomb of Emperor Akbar
  • Itmad-ud-Daulah – (Commonly called ‘The BABY TAJ’.
  • Kachpura village for a heritage walk.Do not forget to dine at a great restaurant specializing in traditional Mughal royal delicacies.

Off-the-trail activity you can enjoy in Agra are a visit to the
Wildlife SOS Bear and Elephant Rescue Facilities where rescued animals are looked after and make a stop at Sheros Café – run by acid attack survivors.

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6. Rann of Kutch, Gujarat  –
Makar Sankranti: Joyous Kite Flying Festival and White Desert Safaris


Makar Sankranti

Gujarat’s history dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization, one of India’s oldest great civilizations that thrived 5,500 years ago.

This Western Indian state is famous for its historical attraction like Dandi, Shree Somnath Jyotirlin Temple, Rani ki Vav, Modhera Sun Temple, Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram, Shree Dwarkadhish Temple, and the Sabarmati Riverfront.

What You Should Do in Gujarat in January

If you are visiting famous tourist sites in West India, like Mumbai and Goa, adding Gujarat to the itinerary would also be a good idea.

The state hosts the famous Makar Sankranti Festival in January (Jan 14) to worship the sun god.

The festival is a time for rejoicing, thanksgiving, and burying old grudges. Kite flying competitions are a famous hallmark of the festival and a big hit with the younger generations.

Another popular Gujarati attraction is the Rann of Kutch, Known as the White Desert, Rann of the Kutch is a white salt desert that exudes an otherworldly beauty in the golden twilight sun and moonshine.

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7. Tamil Nadu: Pongal Delights


Tamil Nadu

There is more to South India than Kerala. Often eclipsed by its popular southern neighbour, Tamil Nadu is also a great place to visit, especially in January when the region is celebrating Pongal.

Dedicated to the sun god Surya, the Pongal Harvest Festival is celebrated by the Tamils of India and Sri Lanka with tremendous fervor and enthusiasm.

It usually falls on the 14th or 15th of January as per the Tamil Solar calendar and last three days.

Pongal marks the end of the winter solstice and beginning of the sun’s 6-month-long journey into the Capricorn (Uttarayana). The word refers to the delicious dish of the same name made from jaggery (raw sugar) and rice boiled in milk—which is offered to the gods and goddesses first to seek peace, blessing and a great harvest for next year.

Visiting Tamil Nadu around the time of the Pongal is an absolute joy. You will be received with warmth and hospitality everywhere you go.

What Else Can You Do in Tamil Nadu

  • Visit the Great Living Chola Temples of Thanjavur, Cholapuram and Darasuram
  • Beach holidays at Mahabalipuram, Kanyakumari, Covelong, and Pondicherry.
  • Madurai – Visit the Meenakshi Amman Temple (finest exhibit of Dravidian architecture)
  • Visit wildlife sanctuaries at Mudumalai, Annamalai, & Kalakadd.

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8. The Vibrant Colors of Punjab: Celebrating Lohri



Celebrated in Northern India, especially in Punjab, Lohri is a popular folk festival that marks the end of winter solstice.

Officially a holiday in Punjab, the festival is celebrated on the 13th of January and is also celebrated in Haryana and Delhi by Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims.

The festival of Lohri is also linked to the legend of Dulla Bhatti, a Punjabi folk hero, who rescued two Punjabi girls from the clutches of the Mughals.

This festival is celebrated by lighting bonfires, making festive food, eating sheaves of roasted corn, and various dances like Gidha, Hiran, and Chajja. In Lohri, children go around houses singing Lohri songs in return for snacks and money.

What Else Can You Do in Punjab?

  • Visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar, one of the most sacred places of the Sikh faith. Also known as Gurdwara Harmandir Sahib, the temple gets its moniker from its gold-leaf-covered outer sanctum and is the resting place of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holiest scripture of Sikhism.
  • Jallianwala Bagh monumenterected in memory of hundreds of protesters who lost their lives under the British Raj in 1919 in Amritsar.
  • Partition Museumin Amritsar.
  • “Beating Retreat Ceremony” at the Wagah border with Pakistan—a highly charged ceremony that involves a flag-lowering and synchronized parade in the backdrop of patriotic drum beating and songs.

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9. Auli – A Skiing Paradise in Uttarakhand



What! Skiing in India?

We kid you not.

In January, the Himalayan Mountain Range offers some great destinations for skiing enthusiasts. Located 9,200 feet above sea level in the Garhwal mountains in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand, Auli is India’s premier ski haven.

The word Auli, which in the local Garhwali language means “a meadow”, is not only a great ski destination but also the sight of one of India’s lesser-known miracles. Every year between the months of June and October, an estimated 520 species of rare high-altitude flower species sprout in this region, attracting nature lovers, botanists, and hikers.

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10. Gulmarg, Kashmir



In January, another great place to visit is “Paradise on Earth” Kashmir. Famed for its natural beauty, verdant valleys, serene lakes, and nature treks, Kashmir is one of best places to visit in North India. It is also one of the country’s favorite honeymoon destinations.

The “Meadow of Flowers” Gulmarg is a scenic snow-clad valley in Pir Panjal Mountain Range of Kashmir which boasts a world-class ski resort, the highest golf course, and Gandola Cable Car in the world.

We particularly recommend a stay at the Khyber Ski Resort which is located in the Pir Panjal Range at a height of 8,825 feet. With exclusive views of Affarwat Peaks and seven acres of sylvan coniferous forest, 5-star luxuries, world’s highest gold course, and amazing ski slopes, the Khyber is the ultimate ski vacation.

What Else Can You Do in Kashmir

  • Take a Shikara (gondola) ride in the Dal Lakein Srinagar.
  • Spend a night in a cozy houseboat in Dal Lake
  • Visit the famous gardens of Srinagar.
  • Go camping or river rafting and enjoy the local cuisine.

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11. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands – White Sand Paradise



January is a great time for a relaxing sun-kissed beach holiday and there are very few better places than the secluded collective of 527 islands of Andaman and Nicobar—only 37 of which are inhabited.

Located on the crossroads of Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea a few hundred miles south of the Indian mainland, the Andaman Islands are famous for their white sand beaches lined with coconut trees, biodiverse coral reef ideal for snorkeling & deep sea diving, dense tropical rainforests, mangroves, and water sports adventures.

If you are looking for a quintessentially Indian alternative to Maldives, look no further than the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

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12. Goa: Beach Paradise



If you do not have the time to veer off mainland India on your itinerary or the budget to fly to Andaman Islands, India’s premier beach holiday destination is one of most popular destinations for globetrotting tourists for a beach holiday.  Goa is India’s answer to Ibiza.

What Can You Do in Goa

With a crystal-clear 100-mile-long shoreline that is home to some of India’s greatest beaches, Goa is thronged by holidayers all year round.

The beach town is extremely popular among tourists for its crazy rave and beach parties, nightlife, water sports, and sea cruises.

But there is so much more you can do. As an erstwhile Portuguese trading colony, Goa teems with a heritage that is a fusion of Portuguese and Indian civilizations. Heritage tours of old town (the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Velha Goa”) are an absolute must in Goa.

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13. Goa Alternatives: Gokarna and Puri



Goa is high-octane, wild, and festive. If you are looking for a lowkey relaxing beach time at secluded beaches with fewer crowds, then the offbeat coastal temple town of Gokarna (Karnataka) renowned for its nature walks, temple tours and serene beach bliss is a great option.

Another great Goa alternative you can look at is Puri in North Eastern state of Odisha which attracts millions of devotees every year to the famous Jagannath Temple and other Hindu shrines.

This coastal town is also home to such beaches as the Golden Beach which is considered one of best in India. Combining a beach vacation with some spirituality and meditation in this holy town is a combination hard to find elsewhere.

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14. Rishikesh, Uttarakhand: Yoga, Blessing, and Meditation



Speaking of spirituality and meditation, the idyllic little town of Rishikesh in Uttarakhand is known as “Yoga Capital of World” and is site for biggest annual yoga festival in the world. As the site for many ancient sacred temples and the divine river Ganges, Rishikesh is a holy place for Hindus.

What Can You do In Rishikesh

-Seek Spiritual enlightenment at an Ashram (spiritual community) in the holy city.

-Enroll in a yoga program with renowned masters of Yoga.

-Attend Satsangs (spiritual discourse lectures) from masters and gurus.

-Check into a destination Spa for a posh “me time” with Ayurveda, Detox, and Western therapy options. Some of India’s best resort spas outside of Kerala can be found in Rishikesh.

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15. Jim Corbett National Park: Wildlife Adventures


Tiger reserve main


Established under British Raj in 1936, this National Park is oldest in country and one of its most important.

This home of the Royal Bengal Tiger is a deciduous lush green sub-Himalayan forest of Sal, Haldu, Peepal, and Rohini trees.

Some 50 species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles, 580 species of birds, and 110 species of trees find their home in 201 sq. m. Jim Corbett National Park.

A Royal Bengal Tiger Safari is a great option for a visit in January in India.

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