There’s no better way to spend the nippy months of autumn than being surrounded by stunning fall foliage in India. By Kanika Khokhran

1. Srinagar, Kashmir 

 

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Kashmir is known to don a magical avatar during the winter months, with snow-laden landscape and golden sunrises… But, the ‘heaven on earth’ is known to wear a mystical regalia during the autumn months too. Think rusty brown chinar leaves embellishing the lanes of Kashmir. If you are planning to take a trip to Srinagar during October, a Shikara ride on the dal lake is a must-try experience to witness fall foliage in all its glory. After the boat ride, indulge in some delectable local delicacies like Goshtaba (soft meatballs), Rogan Josh and Korma with butter naan, and of course, the celebrated Wazwan. Finish your meal with some sweet Firni or Kahwa — a local tea prepared with aromatic spices. You can also take a stroll in the colourful Mughal Gardens, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site to soak in the warmth of autumn hues of nature. 

Best time to visit: September- October 

Where to stay: The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, The LaLiT Grand Palace 

2. Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh 

 

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Located in the Dhauladhar range, Dharamshala is a treat to the eyes during the autumn months. In October, a blanket of crimson canopies envelope the quaint little hill town while nature’s sweet notes blend with the crisp air like sugar in milk. You can trek to the Bhagsunag waterfall and spend a quiet morning at the Dalai Lama temple in McLeod Ganj, which is just 10 kilometres away. When here, visit one of the cosy cafes to dig into delicious Tibetan meals. In McLeod Ganj, we’d recommend you drop in at Cafe Illiterati that’s known for its warm ambience and yummy Italian food.  

Best time to visit: September-November 

Where to Stay: Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort, Camp Dharamshala 

3. Leh, Ladakh 

 

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Autumn is a great time to visit Ladakh because the barren landscape gets ornamented with bright shades of orange and yellow leaves. You will realise this better once you stand in front of the Pangong Lake and Nubra valley! Soak it all in and get yourself a scrumptious bowl of local Thupka along with steamed momos and a spicy dip. For us, this sums up a perfect autumn vacation! On your way back, don’t forget to sip on some hote butter tea, and do pick up some homemade apricot jam and Churpi (Yak cheese) –similar to Italian ricotta, made from the milk of domesticated yak called ‘dzomo’.

Best time to visit: September-October 

Where to stay: The Grand Dragon, The Indus Valley Hotel 

4. Mussoorie, Uttarakhand  

 

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Uttarakhand is home to some of the most beloved hill stations of India. And, Mussoorie is a popular choice for road trippers in North India. The drive, especially from Delhi to Mussoorie is a scenic one during autumn months. When here, find a quiet green patch for yourself, lie down and let autumn sunshine fall on your face like comforting molten butter. Later on, head to Landour Bakehouse to satiate your hunger. P.S — they have some delicious desserts on the menu! 

Best time to visit: September-November 

Where to stay: JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa

5. Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 

 

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Lovingly known as the ‘Queen of the Hills’, Shimla is a sight to behold during autumn in India. You can see streaks of orange and yellow contouring the mountain peaks. Enjoy a scenic toy train ride amid pine forests, shop for knick-knacks at the Lakkar Bazaar, and take pleasure in a creamy softy or a warm cup of hot chocolate at the Mall Road, with scintillating fall foliage in the backdrop.

Best time to visit: October-November 

Where to stay: Taj Theog Resort & Spa, The Oberoi Cecil, Shimla 

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