As seasons change, so does the charm of popular (and less-visited) travel destinations. Be it the cosy winter sun in Delhi or the icy, snow-covered mountains in Gulmarg, winter travel is a must for those looking for adventure and a unique experience. And, what better way to explore this than with Bollywood’s favourite locations?
Travelling is like a soothing salve on a tired soul. The act not only lets one discover themselves, but brings much-needed exposure to cultures, destinations, and other people, helping them broaden their perspective in life and enrich their worldviews to make them well-informed.
Travel inspirations in life can come through social media, documentaries, blogs and movies. Bollywood, with its scenic locales, has given us many movies that have inspired travel – be it road trips thanks to Dil Chahta Hai, or fort tours after watching Jodhaa Akbar.
Winter travel destinations inspired by Bollywood movies
Ooty is a beautiful hill station that has been featured in several movies now, including Karwaan. The place, a haven for tourists, is known for its lush greenery, serene calm and rainy skies. The air here is crisp, and the winter weather will fluctuate between warm sunshine to chilly nights, allowing you to experience a soothing winter complete with cups of warm tea and delicious food!
Among the most popular winter travel destinations is Goa. Known for its sandy beaches, casinos and some of the best New Years’ parties, Goa makes for a stunning destination for winter weddings or honeymoons. The state has been featured in several Bollywood movies over the years – be it Dil Chahta Hai, Chef, Golmaal or others – and has given Bollywood buffs travel inspiration like none other.
Gulmarg and Kashmir
Gulmarg has emerged as a popular travel destination in the last couple of years, especially during the pandemic. With ample adventure activities and stunning locales, the place, that has featured in movies such as Haider, along with other Kashmiri destinations, is a must-visit for nature lovers. Snow-capped mountains, lush greenery, warm bonfires and scenic views will await you in the place, which makes for a great travel destination as well as a honeymoon spot.
Manali’s scenic locales have been rather well-explored by travellers, thanks to the many hostel stays, adventure activities and leisure spots. Most famous for the song, Yeh Ishq Hai from Jab We Met, Manali and the nearby Rohtang Pass are great travel destinations to visit and experience the chilly winters – however, the pass might be closed. Manali, however, will allow you to spend a serene time in the mountains, and you’ll come back home rejuvenated.
Yes, we know Delhi winters are synonymous with its poor air quality, and a lot of locals try to visit places around the city that have a better AQI for some respite. However, there’s a certain charm around Delhi winters that cannot be explained – it only has to be experienced. The city, which has been featured in umpteen Bollywood movies including Raanjhanaa, Fanaa, and more, boasts of sun-kissed mornings that warm you from the inside and monuments that are best visited during the afternoons. Cool evenings here make for the perfect coffee date, while the chilly nights are ideal for you to snuggle up with your bae. Oh and, the food available here during the winters, including halwas, kadak chai and more, will take you to food heaven! Need we say more?
If watching Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Dhadak wanted to make you pack your bags and head to the beautiful white city of Udaipur, we suggest waiting till the early winters. The city, located in the heart of Rajasthan, boasts of beautiful lakes and age-old alleyways. Manoeuvring these in broad daylight, with the hot sun above you as a cool breeze fans across your face, is an experience you will not regret. During the nights, settle in with a cup of hot chai, soup or rabdi, a local beverage, as you wrap yourself in the warm embrace of a blanket or your loved one’s arms.
Kolkata has been featured in several movies, some of the most prominent ones being Piku, Parineeta, Kahani and Devdas. The City of Joy has a whole new look in the winters, with the weather playing the perfect host to travellers. Enjoy local food, visit the temples in the destination and see the popular spots as you make the most of your winter travels!
The City of Dreams has been the backdrop for many movies across seasons and vibes. Be it Wake Up Sid, which depicts the best of Mumbai monsoons, to the hustle for work, love and more shown in Life In A… Metro, the city vibes with all themes and scenes. That’s not all. Mumbai, with its cool evenings and warm afternoons, makes for the perfect destination to visit over the winters. The sultry humidity is at bay, and the weather is just hot enough to not make you sweat buckets as you walk around its streets, sit by the beaches and experience its nightlife.
Jodhpur and Jaisalmer
The picturesque cities of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer boast of hill forts, sand dunes and a traditional Rajasthani vibe. The destinations have been featured in several movies, including the iconic film Dor, and makes for a beautiful winter travel destination. In Jaisalmer, visit the Jaisalmer Fort, among the only living forts in the world, and spend a night at the sand dunes. The trip, we assure you, will be worth it all!
A great weekend getaway from Delhi, Chandigarh and Gurugram, Jaipur is a haven for those wanting to understand Rajasthani culture but in a modern setting. The Pink City houses several forts, such as Jaigarh and Nahargarh Forts, as well as the Amer Fort, which is among the forts in India where Bollywood movies have been shot. Here, you’ll catch a glimpse of places where Mughal-e-Azam, Jodhaa Akbar and Bajirao Mastani, among others, were filmed. The city makes for a great winter destination thanks to its warm sun and cool nights, typical of Rajasthan. What’s more, the indulgent food and lively markets will definitely make a place in your heart!
The hill station in Kerala is a popular tourist spot, especially in the winter. The Kashmir of the South, Munnar experiences a comfortably cold winter, unlike the snowy winters of the northern mountains. Visit the destination for the perfect winter getaway, complete with fragrant, crisp air, clear mountain views and lush greenery – all you need to rejuvenate yourself to bring in the new year!
Hero and Featured Image: A still from the film, Jab We Met
This story first appeared on Travel+Leisure India and South Asia.