Above: Wildflower Hall.
Skiing in Northern India: Shimla
** Where: Himachal Pradesh, northern India.
** Why: The onetime summer capital of the British Raj, Shimla offers a pleasant escape from the heat of the Indian plains. So pleasant, in fact, that the townâ€”a sprawl of Victorian-era villas and modern concrete tenements in the foothills of the Himalayasâ€”draws hordes of visitors during the summer months, making it unpleasantly crowded. Winter offers a quieter season in which to explore this historic hill station.
** Stay: The Oberoi group’s Wildflower Hall (91-177/ 264-8585;Â doubles from USD$521) is a stately homage to Shimla’s colonial heyday. A reconstruction of the former summer residence of Lord Kitchener, the six-story lodge is located outside town amid a forest of pine and cedar. Of the 87 guest rooms, only suites come with fireplaces, making them well worth the upgrade.
** Getting There: Kingfisher Airlines operates a daily 45-minute flight between Delhi and Shimla.
** When: Shimla’s crisp winter runs from December to February. Home to Asia’s oldest ice-rink, the town holds an Ice Skating Carnival each January, complete with fancy-dress competitions and ice hockey. –Lauren Kelana