Snow Snow Snow!

It was the first time I was about to experience snow and I couldn’t be more excited. Just days before we were to travel, there was also heavy snowfall in that region which was super good news for us! But travelling in these conditions and being in a place that cold, isn’t all that easy. Read this travel guide to know more about our holiday at Kufri, the white paradise! Some tips & tricks on how to prepare yourself for the snow, where to stay, what to do and how to get there!

Kufri, Himachal Pradesh

Kufri is in Himachal Pradesh and is located in Shimla district. It’s about 30 minutes from Shimla on a good day. I can give it a thousand names like White Paradise or Winter Wonderland but no matter how I describe it, you have to experience it to believe it.

Kufri Winter Wonderland
Kufri Winter Wonderland

Kufri however, is lesser known. It stands on higher grounds than Shimla and is a very small town with not too much to do. It is ideal for those who want to experience snow (like us!) and just bathe in its white beauty.

Preparing For Snow

Packing for a snowcation was a task. I did not have many winter clothes, so I had to buy new gloves, boots, jackets etc. Here’s a link to a detailed post which talks about what to carry for a snow trip.

Apart from the clothes & accessories, make sure you carry a lot of moisturizers because your skin will dry up and how!

Getting to Kufri

From Mumbai, the quickest and most convenient mode of transport was to fly to Chandigarh and then take a car up to Kufri. The flight to Chandigarh was about 2 hours and the drive from Chandigarh to Kufri is 4 hours on a good day.

You can also take a flight up to Shimla though this can get quite expensive and the lay overs may be long. Also, bad weather conditions may affect flights.

There is a train (toy-train) that goes from Kalka (Haryana) to Shimla taking 5 and a half hours. It’s a nice option only to experience the toy-train once.

There are other passenger/sleeper trains that go up to Shimla as well but again, that’s a much longer route depending on where you are coming from.

Having said all that, our own journey was a bit of task.

The Road Trip

The weather in Kufri can be quite harsh during winters and is prone to landslides. We too faced the same mishap on the day we were travelling. On the morning we had to leave Chandigarh, our driver told us that the roads to Kufri were blocked! After much debate, we arrived at a solution. The private vehicle we had hired, would take us to Sanjauli which is just after Kufri. From Sanjauli, our hotel arranged for a 4×4 vehicle to pick us up. 4×4 vehicles don’t skid on the snow and so the police were allowing only those vehicles to climb the ghats of Kufri.

Cars lined up due to a landslide ahead
Cars lined up due to a landslide ahead

This was completely unexpected and because of it we had to hire a 4×4 vehicle at the last minute and it costed us. We had to shell out Rs. 4000 for a 30-minute ride from Sanjauli to Kufri. By the way, our trip from Chandigarh to Sanjauli cost us only Rs. 3200.

Anyway, in the end, all that mattered was that we arrived safe and sound!

We also had to do go through a similar ordeal on our way back too! The driver we had arranged for, did not turn up and stopped answering our calls on the morning we were leaving! So we made a last minute frantic call at our hotel reception and had a car arranged for us. This time it was Rs. 8000/- for a 4×4 up to Shimla and then an Innova to Chandigarh Airport.

A word of caution for everyone – during bad weather – be prepared to spend more money than you budgeted for or be smart and hire a 4×4 anyway at an affordable cost when you book it on your own.

What To Do In Kufri

Our only focus was to enjoy the snow and that’s exactly what we did! We spent most of our mornings just playing around in the snow, taking a hundred different pictures and freezing our asses off – literally! We found a spot that was away from the other tourists/people which was really beautiful and filled with knee-deep snow and pine trees (I think).

The hills are calling!
The hills are calling!

If you just walk along the roads, it is pretty but there isn’t much else to see. After you’ve taken a million photos of you standing in the middle of an empty road (not so empty actually, cos there were quite a few cars that kept passing, being a weekend) you are sort of done.

Thank You World. Kufri, India
Thank You World. Kufri, India

So walk around for a bit and then try to find an off-road that will lead you to a resort (next to resorts there usually are smaller paths that are empty) or nowhere. There are a few of these, you just need to keep your eye out and spot it through the sheets of white.

Getting Lost in a White Paradise
Getting Lost in a White Paradise

As per trip advisor and other websites there are a few things to do in Kufri like go to the amusement park – Kufri Snow World, or check out the view point at Mahasu Peak. There is also a national park/wildlife sanctuary nearby which is accessible by car. However, when the weather is rough – everything will be closed.

Another awesome thing to do in Kufri is Skiing! Kufri is most known for its ski-hills but thanks to the weather, we did not get to experience it. That’s one thing we did feel bad about.

Where To Stay In Kufri

We saw quite a few nice hotels and campsites (whaaaat!) on the main street. There are also some lovely treehouse options that would be better to experience in good weather.

We stayed at Sterling, Kufri and it was just amazing. The resort is beautiful and is equipped with all amenities (heater, the most important of it all!) and luxuries (Spa!). It is near Fagu hills, on the main road and easy to find. Would highly recommend it!

Most people stay at Shimla and do day trips up to Kufri, which is a good option. But if like us, you want to really experience snow, it’s best to stay at Kufri. We passed Shimla while going towards and from Kufri, and did not see the same amount of snow, we got to see in Kufri. There is also a chance you might get stranded at Kufri if it starts to snow heavily. We did see a lot of parked/abandoned cars on our way back – because the tourists who drove up the previous day, couldn’t drive back when it had started to snow. Many had to walk back all the way to Shimla!

How Much Time To Spend In Kufri

I recommend 2 to 3 days. More than that might get a tad boring – unless you club it with some other places like –

  • Shimla
  • Chail
  • Dharamshala
  • Kulu
  • Manali

All in all, it was a good trip, with our own mix of adventure and fun. And I finally got to see SNOW, Yay! Now that’s one more thing checked off my travel list!