In the heart of December, India unveils its varied charms, from snow-clad mountains to sun-soaked beaches. This is a time when the subcontinent is at its most inviting, presenting a tapestry of experiences that cater to every traveler’s whim.
Whether you’re drawn to the snowy retreats of the north, the tropical beaches in the south, or the cultural marvels spread across the country, India has it all in store for you.
December in India is a magical time when the country dons its winter cloak, offering a plethora of enchanting experiences for travelers.
From snow-capped mountains to sun-kissed beaches, the diversity of landscapes is astounding. In this article, we will unveil the top ten destinations that truly come alive in December.
Whether you’re seeking adventure in the Himalayas, exploring historical marvels, or simply unwinding on the coast, these carefully curated places promise an unforgettable journey through India’s diverse and captivating tapestry.
Join us on a virtual tour of the best places to visit in December, each with its own unique charm and allure.
1. Goa: Sun, Sand, and Celebrations
A Vibrant Beach Culture
Nestled along the Arabian Sea, Goa comes alive in December with an energy that’s infectious. Its long stretches of golden sands, fringed with swaying palms, play host to a myriad of water sports and sun-drenched revelry. As the year draws to a close, Goa dons its party hat, hosting some of the liveliest celebrations in the country.
Recommended Beaches and Water Activities
Baga Beach: Known for its water sports and vibrant nightlife.
Palolem Beach: A serene escape with opportunities for kayaking and dolphin watching.
Water Sports Galore: Try your hand at parasailing, jet-skiing, and banana boat rides.
December Festivities and Events
Sunburn Festival: A world-famous electronic music festival that electrifies the beaches.
Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations: Goa’s churches and beaches light up with festive fervor.
2. Shimla: Snowy Retreat in the Himalayas
Shimla as a Popular Hill Station
Nestled in the pristine Himalayan ranges, Shimla emerges as a quintessential winter wonderland in December. This charming hill station, once the summer capital of British India, beckons travelers with its picture-perfect snow-covered landscapes and an array of winter activities that promise adventure and serenity in equal measure.
Emphasis on Winter Activities like Snow Sports
Skiing in Kufri: Kufri, a short drive from Shimla, is a skiing paradise for both beginners and experts. The powdery slopes and professional instructors make it an ideal spot to try this exhilarating winter sport.
Ice Skating on Shimla’s Ridge: The Ridge in Shimla transforms into an open-air ice skating rink during December. Skating enthusiasts can glide through the crisp mountain air with the town’s colonial architecture as a backdrop.
Recommendations for Sightseeing and Experiences
Mall Road Stroll: A leisurely walk along Shimla’s iconic Mall Road, adorned with quaint shops and cozy cafes, is a must. Sip on hot chocolate or sample local delights while you take in the festive atmosphere.
Visit to the Christ Church: Admire the neo-Gothic architecture of the Christ Church, beautifully lit up during the holiday season. It’s a peaceful spot to soak in the spiritual and serene ambiance.
Shimla Toy Train Ride: Consider a ride on the Shimla-Kalka Toy Train, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The journey through tunnels and over bridges offers breathtaking views of the snow-clad mountains.
3. Rajasthan: Experiencing Royalty in the Desert
Rajasthan’s Rich Cultural Heritage
Rajasthan, the Land of Kings, unfolds its opulent history and vibrant culture against the backdrop of the Thar Desert. December casts a golden hue on the palaces, forts, and markets, offering visitors an opportunity to step into a regal era and witness the enduring legacy of Rajputana royalty.
Highlighting Desert Destinations like Jaisalmer and Jaipur
Jaisalmer: The Golden City: This desert jewel, with its sandcastle-like architecture, exudes a fairy-tale charm. The Jaisalmer Fort, Patwon Ki Haveli, and the Sam Sand Dunes are must-visit attractions.
Jaipur: The Pink City: Jaipur’s regal palaces, including the City Palace and Hawa Mahal, stand as testaments to its royal past. The vibrant markets, filled with textiles, jewelry, and handicrafts, offer a delightful shopping experience.
Suggested Places to Explore Historical and Architectural Marvels
Udaipur: The City of Lakes: Udaipur’s palaces, such as the City Palace and Lake Palace, float on the serene waters of Lake Pichola. The Jagdish Temple and Saheliyon Ki Bari are architectural masterpieces worth exploring.
Jodhpur: The Blue City: Dominated by the imposing Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur narrates stories of valor and grandeur. The blue-hued streets of the old town provide a captivating contrast to the golden sands.
4. Kerala: Backwaters and Blissful Beaches
Kerala’s Unique Natural Beauty
Kerala, often referred to as ”God’s Own Country,” unfolds its enchanting beauty in December. This tropical paradise, adorned with lush greenery, tranquil backwaters, and pristine beaches, invites travelers to immerse themselves in a serene and rejuvenating experience.
Recommendations for Backwater Cruises and Beach Resorts
Alleppey Backwaters: Embark on a houseboat cruise through the scenic backwaters of Alleppey, where the serene network of canals and lakes offers a glimpse into traditional Keralite life.
Kovalam Beach: Nestled along the Arabian Sea, Kovalam is known for its crescent-shaped beaches and laid-back atmosphere. Relax on the sandy shores or indulge in rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatments.
Varkala Beach: Perched on dramatic cliffs overlooking the sea, Varkala Beach combines spirituality with natural beauty. The Papanasam Beach and the ancient Janardanaswamy Temple are must-visit spots.
Mention of Ayurvedic Retreats and Spa Experiences
Ayurvedic Therapies: Kerala is renowned for its authentic Ayurvedic treatments. Consider a rejuvenating massage or wellness program at one of the many Ayurvedic resorts and spas.
Periyar National Park: While in Kerala, explore the Periyar National Park, a biodiverse haven. Take a boat safari on Periyar Lake to witness wildlife in their natural habitat.
5. Varanasi: Spiritual Sojourn by the Ganges
Varanasi’s Religious and Cultural Significance
Varanasi, often called the spiritual heart of India, rests on the banks of the sacred Ganges River. In December, this ancient city dons a mystical aura, inviting pilgrims, seekers, and curious travelers alike to partake in age-old rituals and experience a profound connection to spirituality.
Suggestions for Exploring Ghats, Temples, and Spiritual Practices
Dashashwamedh Ghat: This vibrant ghat hosts the famous Ganga Aarti, a mesmerizing ceremony that pays homage to the river. Witnessing this ritual at dusk is a soul-stirring experience.
Assi Ghat: A serene spot for reflection and meditation, Assi Ghat is known for its peaceful ambiance. It’s a perfect place to engage in yoga practices or simply soak in the spiritual atmosphere.
Sarnath Excursion: A short drive from Varanasi, Sarnath is where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon. Explore the ancient ruins, the Dhamek Stupa, and the Mulagandhakuti Vihara.
Insight into December’s Spiritual Festivities
Dev Deepawali: Celebrated on the full moon of Kartik month, Dev Deepawali is a grand festival where thousands of earthen lamps are lit along the ghats, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.
Kal Bhairav Fair: This unique fair held at the Kal Bhairav Temple draws devotees who offer liquor to the deity. It’s a fascinating blend of tradition and spirituality.
6. Auli: Skiing Paradise in Uttarakhand
Auli as a Winter Sports Destination
Nestled in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand, Auli emerges as a pristine haven for winter sports enthusiasts. December blankets this hill station with a thick layer of snow, transforming it into a skiing paradise that rivals some of the best in the world. The panoramic vistas of snow-covered peaks provide a surreal backdrop for adrenaline-pumping adventures.
Recommendations for Skiing and Snowboarding Activities
Skiing in Auli: Auli boasts some of the finest ski slopes in India, perfect for both beginners and seasoned skiers. The well-groomed trails and reliable snow cover make it an ideal destination for honing your skiing skills.
Snowboarding Thrills: For those seeking a different kind of snow adventure, Auli offers excellent opportunities for snowboarding. The undulating slopes and wide expanses provide an exhilarating playground for snowboarders.
Mention of Scenic Spots and Local Experiences
Gorson Bugyal Trek: Embark on a trek to Gorson Bugyal, a high-altitude meadow, for breathtaking views of Nanda Devi and other Himalayan peaks. The trail is especially enchanting when draped in pristine snow.
Cable Car Ride: The Auli Ropeway, one of the highest cable cars in Asia, offers spectacular views of the Himalayas. The ride from Joshimath to Auli is a memorable experience in itself.
Joshimath: Gateway to Auli: This quaint town serves as the base for reaching Auli. It is also home to the sacred Badrinath Temple, making it a significant pilgrimage site for Hindus.
7. Mumbai: City of Dreams Comes Alive
Description of Mumbai’s Vibrant Urban Culture
Mumbai, the bustling metropolis on the Arabian Sea, emerges as a dynamic blend of tradition and modernity. In December, the city dons a festive air, with its iconic landmarks, bustling markets, and a culinary scene that caters to every palate. It’s a captivating destination that never fails to leave an indelible mark on visitors.
Suggestions for Exploring Iconic Landmarks and Street Food
Gateway of India: This iconic arch overlooking the Arabian Sea is a testament to Mumbai’s colonial history. Stroll along the waterfront promenade and soak in the maritime atmosphere.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT): This UNESCO World Heritage site is a masterpiece of Victorian Gothic architecture. Explore the intricate details of the station and witness the flurry of activity.
Elephanta Caves: Take a ferry ride to the Elephanta Island and explore the ancient rock-cut caves, which house impressive sculptures and architectural marvels.
Mention of Cultural Events and Festivals in December
Kala Ghoda Arts Festival: Held in the historic Kala Ghoda neighborhood, this vibrant arts festival showcases a plethora of visual arts, music, dance, and theater performances.
Christmas Celebrations: Mumbai decks up in festive lights and decorations during December. Attend midnight masses at iconic churches or explore the local markets for seasonal delights.
8. Andaman and Nicobar Islands: Tropical Paradise
Andaman’s Pristine Beaches and Marine Life
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal, offer an idyllic escape for travelers seeking a blend of natural beauty and adventure. In December, these islands come alive with balmy breezes, crystal-clear waters, and an abundance of marine life, making it an ideal destination for beach lovers and water enthusiasts.
Recommended Water Activities like Snorkeling and Diving
Havelock Island: Underwater Wonders: Known for its stunning coral reefs and vibrant marine life, Havelock Island is a snorkeler’s and diver’s paradise. Explore sites like Elephant Beach and Radhanagar Beach for unforgettable underwater experiences.
Neil Island: Serene Snorkeling Spots: With its calm waters and thriving coral gardens, Neil Island offers excellent snorkeling opportunities. Head to spots like Laxmanpur Beach and Natural Bridge to witness the diverse marine ecosystem.
Mention of December’s Favorable Weather for Island Hopping
Ross Island: Historical Ruins and Natural Beauty: Once the administrative headquarters of the British, Ross Island now stands as a testament to history. Explore the remnants of colonial buildings amidst lush greenery.
Baratang Island: Mangrove Magic: Baratang’s dense mangrove forests and limestone Explore its intricate architecture and learn about its historical significance.caves are a unique natural wonder. Don’t miss the chance to witness the awe-inspiring stalactites and stalagmites formations.
9. Darjeeling: Tea Gardens and Himalayan Vistas
Darjeeling’s Scenic Beauty and Tea Plantations
Nestled in the eastern Himalayas, Darjeeling unveils a picturesque landscape of rolling hills adorned with emerald tea gardens. December brings a crisp, invigorating air to this hill station, making it an ideal destination for those seeking both tranquility and adventure amidst the awe-inspiring vistas of the Himalayan ranges.
Recommendations for Exploring the Himalayan Ranges
Tiger Hill Sunrise: Wake up early to witness the mesmerizing sunrise from Tiger Hill. The panoramic view of the snow-clad peaks, including Kanchenjunga, is a sight to behold.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute: For adventure enthusiasts, the institute offers courses in mountaineering and a fascinating museum dedicated to mountaineering history.
Mention of Cultural Experiences and Local Cuisine
Visit to Peace Pagoda: This iconic monument offers not only spiritual solace but also a breathtaking view of the town and the surrounding mountains.
Sampling Darjeeling Tea: A trip to Darjeeling is incomplete without a visit to a tea estate. Witness the tea-making process and savor some of the finest brews in the world.
10. Delhi: Historical Marvels and Modern Marvels
Delhi’s Blend of History and Modernity
Delhi, the capital city of India, seamlessly blends the grandeur of its historical past with the pulsating energy of its modern present. In December, the city dons a pleasant cloak of cool weather, making it an ideal time to explore its myriad attractions, from ancient forts and tombs to bustling markets and cultural events.
Suggestions for Visiting Historical Monuments and Markets
Red Fort: Icon of Mughal Architecture: A visit to this UNESCO World Heritage site takes you on a journey through the Mughal era. Delve into its intricate architecture and uncover the profound historical significance it holds.
Humayun’s Tomb: A Glimpse of Mughal Grandeur: This stunning garden tomb is a precursor to the Taj Mahal and offers a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Qutub Minar: Ancient Marvel in Stone: Marvel at the towering Qutub Minar and explore the surrounding complex, which showcases Indo-Islamic architecture.
Chandni Chowk: Delhi’s Oldest Bazaar: Dive into the chaotic charm of Chandni Chowk, a bustling market known for its street food, vibrant textiles, and traditional wares.
Mention of December’s Pleasant Weather for Sightseeing
Comfortable Temperatures: December in Delhi offers a respite from the scorching summer heat and monsoon rains, allowing for enjoyable outdoor exploration.
Ideal for Outdoor Activities: Whether it’s exploring sprawling gardens, taking leisurely walks in historic sites, or indulging in street photography, the weather provides a perfect backdrop.
Ready to Embrace the Winter Magic? Plan Your December Getaway Now!
As December unveils its magic across the diverse landscapes of India, the options for memorable experiences are boundless. From the sun-soaked beaches of Goa to the snow-covered retreats of Shimla and the regal splendor of Rajasthan, each destination offers a unique tapestry of culture, history, and natural beauty.
Whether you’re seeking adventure on the slopes of Auli, spiritual solace by the Ganges in Varanasi, or the vibrant energy of Mumbai, India in December caters to every traveler’s desires.
Remember, the best time to plan your December escapade is now. As you chart your course to one of these extraordinary destinations, anticipate a journey filled with enriching experiences, delectable cuisine, and warm hospitality.
Embrace the spirit of exploration, and let December in India be the backdrop to your unforgettable travel story. Prepare your luggage, and embark on this exciting adventure!