India is a land of diversity, not only are diverse cultures found here, but also diverse climates. If one travels the length of the country, he/she will be astonished to find these many kinds of weather in the same country. We have collet climates in the Himalayas, little less cool in the states of Himachal and Uttarakhand, and then warm climates in the northern states, ending in the humid and moist climates of various other areas. India’s geographical location also contributes to the country’s diversity. And this is why, India also has a plethora of cold places, from the Siachen Glacier to the towns in the north-eastern states. If you are a foreigner, traveling to India, its good to include any one of these into your itinerary.
Also see: Coldest countries in the world
Coldest Places in India
If you are an Indian in the north or the south, this list of the Coldest places in India is for you, so that you can enjoy your summers as well as escape the heat.
1. Siachen Glacier, Jammu and Kashmir
This glacier lies in the Karakoram range of the Himalayas lies on the Line of Control between Pakistan and India. The name Siachen in Balti Language means the abundance of roses. It is the coldest place in India with the temperature dipping to about -50°C in the winters, the lowest temperature in Siachen has not been recorded because there are no soldier postings on the coldest !paths of the year. Only Indian soldiers that have been acclimatized to the harsh weather are allowed to served and that too for a duration of a few months. The approximately 76 kilometers long glacier is the second longest glacier in the world’s non-polar areas. The Indian Army organizes an annual civilian expedition to the Glacier and for anyone who wants to try and survive in this Indian Antarctica can apply.
2. Dras, Kargil, Jammu, and Kashmir
This town in the Kargil district is also known as the ‘Gateway to Ladakh’. This town at 10,800 feet has an average winter temperature low of about -23°C. The lowest recorded temperature in Dras is -45°C. This town has many tourist places, and all of them provide a heavenly experience. The village of Dongchik, about ten kilometers from Dras, has zero police cases. Also, ten kilometers from Dras is the Manman, a place from which one can view the LOC and the Dras Valley. Dras is also home to the Dras War Memorial and the Tooling Waterfall, the only waterfall in Ladakh. There are also many pilgrimage sites for Hindu and Muslims, like the Ningor Masjid and the Bhimbet stone.
3. Leh, Ladakh, Jammu, and Kashmir
The town of Leh in Jammu and Kashmir has a recorded temperature low of -28.3°C, whereas the average is about -14.4°C. The desert city in the Himalayas is home to many frequented Buddhist sites, the major ones being Thiksay Monastery and the Sputnik, Phyang and Sankar monasteries. The Nubra Valley in Leh is an amazing place, as are the Shanti Stupa and the Leh Palace. The Leh Market makes for a great visit if you are interested in the local culture, the Army’s Hall of Fame also make for a wonderful visit.
4. Srinagar, Jammu, and Kashmir
The largest city of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and it’s summer capital, Srinagar, lies on the banks of the Jhelum river and is also one of the coldest places of India. The average low temperature in winters in -7.6°C and the lowest recorded temperature in Srinagar is -20°C. The place is famous for a lot of things and sights, including the serene environments, the beautiful gardens, the breathtaking waterfronts, and the rare houseboats. The traditional Kashmiri Handicrafts collection and dry fruits from Srinagar should not be missed. The city is very easily accessible, with an airport, a railway station and many national highways running through the city. Even though Shikara boats on the Dal Lake in Srinagar is the most publicized things-to-do in Srinagar, it still hasn’t lost its sheen and you will definitely love this boating experience. Srinagar is also the home to various Hindu and Muslim places of worship among many other locations.
5. Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
This cold desert mountain valley in Himachal enjoys only 259 days of sunlight. The word “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, and it is called so because it lies between Tibet and India. The valley records a temperature of -18°C to -20°C in the winters, and even falls to -30°C. This valley is a cultural and research hub for Buddhists. The Key and Tabo Monasteries in the Spiti Valley are among the oldest Buddhist monasteries. One can also enjoy the picturesque views on the Chandra Tal Lake and explore the Tabo caves. Spiti Valley is one of India’s best natural surroundings, so if any nature enthusiast is reading this, you need to take note.
6. Gangtok, Sikkim
In the heart of the Himalayas lies the beautiful city of Gangtok, and with its cool and nice climate, it is sure to amaze you. Gangtok is the most famous for the Nathu La Pass in the Shivalik hills. Although temperatures fall up to -2.2°C in the winters, Gangtok remains considerably warm throughout the year, which means you can enjoy to your heart’s content without shivering and wearing layers of thermals. Small villages dot the landscape around the city and accompanying them are majestic lakes. One of the Oldest Tibet Monasteries- the Rumtek Monastery and the Chinese pagoda-style monastery- the Enchey Monastery, both lie in this enchanting city along with the National Institute of Tibetology Museum. Travel to the Ganesh Too, and you can be amazed at what you see from the observation deck. Hiking, Camping trekking, rafting – you name it, and you will find it.
7. Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Another north-eastern beauty that can have mercury levels dipping to -15°C in the winters is truly a paradise. Most famous for its snow-clad Sela Pass, a road which connects Tawang to Guwahati, this town at 3,048 meters above the sea level is sure to amaze you. Along with the Sela Pass, you can enjoy the Nuranang Falls and Madhuri Lake, both of which are more than ten kilometers from the city center. The Tawang War Memorial is a go-to as is the Tawang Monastery. A ski lift is also operated on the city, and you can take a ride if you wish to. The P. Two Lake is also nearby if you want to visit.
8. Lachen and Thangu Valley, Sikkim
These two valleys in the North of Sikkim are two hours from each other by road. The Lachen valley is famous for being near to the Gurudngmar Lake, which freezes in the winters. The Thangu Valley is colder and is usually frequented by visitors in the summers. If you are there in summer!er too, don’t forget to watch the Thangu Annual Yak Race. Fairs are common, as are festivals. Any nature lovers will love the truly spectacular lakes surrounding the valleys. The Lachen Monastery is a go-to for any Buddhist tourists. If you’re interested in the culture of the areas, you can look and maybe collect the marvelous handicrafts at the women’s handicrafts center.
9. Sonamarg, Jammu, and Kashmir
This ‘Meadow of Gold’ in the Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir has, in its vicinity, various snow-capped peaks- Sirbal Peak, Kolhoi Peak, Amarnath Peak and Machli Peak, and glaciers- Thajiwas glacier, Kolhoi glacier, and Machoi glacier. It has a very low population, as heavy snowfall and avalanche makes the town inaccessible during the winters. The temperature falls to -11°C in the winters and remains low throughout the year. The Thajiwas Glacier is the nearest and to visit it, you can hire a pony or a taxi, as private vehicles are not allowed.
10. Hemkund Sahib, Uttarakhand
Located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, Hemkund Sahib is the home to the Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib, the highest Gurudwara in the world at a height of 4,632 meters. The name ‘Hemkunf’ comes from the Sanskrit of snow and bowl and you can see the snow everywhere whenever you visit. Near Hemkund Sahib is the Valley of Flowers National Park, which has a lot of flower varieties. Due to snowbound paths and glaciers, Hemkund is inaccessible from October to April. Anyone visiting will first need to reach Govindghat, a town accessible from Rishikesh. From Govindghat, one has to take a nine-kilometer trek to Govinddham and the. A steep six-kilometer path to Hemkund. Overnight stay is not allowed at the Gurudwara.
11. Rohtang Pass, Himachal Pradesh
This road connecting the Kullu valley and the Lahaul and Spiti Valley has its name derived from a Ladakhi Language and means a pile of corpses. It was named so due to unpredictable snowstorms and blizzards that frequent this pass. Open from May to November, this road encompasses all. From majestic waterfalls to the snow-capped peaks and snow-clad roads, any journey taken on this road will truly be a blissful one. To traverse this path, you will have to keep in mind to take an online permit in advance from the Himachal Pradesh Government.
Even though the cold, in literature, is associated with sorrows, these coldest places in India are truly beautiful, and more than enough to lift the spirits of anyone who passed through!