December is about a month away, but planning for the winters has already begun. Children have their winter vacations, and many of us look forward to spending Christmas, New Year and days leading up to the festivities exploring new destinations. So, if you’re beginning to plan, here are the best places to visit in December in India.
We’re in November now. The weather is changing, and winters are here. It’s the perfect time to bring out those jackets, and start looking forward to spending the vacations at a destination away from home. If you are beginning to plan for your year-end trip, check out these 20 of the best places to visit in December in India.
Best places to visit in December in India
Thajiwas Glacier, Jammu and Kashmir
Winters in Kashmir are nothing short of magical. The entire destination gets covered in fluffy, white snow, and local clothes and cuisine have an altogether different warmth against the biting cold. A great place to visit at this time is Thajiwas Glacier. Located just a few kilometres from Sonamarg, Thajiwas is amazing for winter activities such as sledging, snowboarding and skiing.
How to reach: You can hire a pony or trek to the top of the glacier
Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh
Lepakshi is a small village in Andhra Pradesh. The heritage destination is most known for its temples, especially the Veerabhadra Temple. The place site can get a bit hot to visit in the summers, making December the perfect month to visit this incredible destination in India. After visiting the temple, be sure to explore the traditional crafts available here, such as Kondapalli toys, cotton and jute mats, scrolls and more.
How to reach: Bengaluru is the nearest airport, located about 125 kilometres (2 hours and 3o minutes) from Lepakshi
Goa isn’t called the party capital of India for no reason! Undoubtedly among the best places to visit in December in India, Goa boasts of a robust nightlife that comes alive during this time of the year. The weather is warm but not sultry, making hanging out on the beach a wonderfully pleasant experience. What’s more, the state hosts several Christmas and New Year parties, along with fun casino events, to make it an engaging experience for all!
How to reach: Goa is well-connected by road, trains and flights from all major cities
If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, this one (and a couple more below) are for you. December is a great time to go tiger spotting or birdwatching. So, if you want to visit a place that boasts of wildlife, pay a visit to the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. The national park is known for its variety of wildlife. This includes tigers, birds, elephants, langurs, deer and much, much more, which will make your experience a wholesome one.
How to reach: Mysuru is the nearest airport and train station. From here, Bandipur is about 79 kilometres (1 hour 30 minutes), on the route to Ooty
Maharashtra is home to several wildlife sanctuaries. One of them is Tadoba, which is also among the newer ones. The weather here during December is quite pleasant. What’s more, the slight nip in the air means that animals will be attracted to the open air for some sun, making for some really great sightings! Spot tigers, deer and various species of birds here.
How to reach: Nagpur is the nearest airport, which is connected to major cities. From here, hop onto a cab to reach Tadoba, which is about 140 kilometres (3 hours) away
If you’re looking for a white winter, visit Mukteshwar. The hill station is great for those looking for some quiet time in the midst of nature. The destination is also popular among trekkers and adventure lovers. Apart from scenic 360-degree views of the Himalayas, Mukteshwar also has the Mukteshwar Dham, a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Enjoy short treks on various hill trails, and spend your December soaking in the clean, winter air, away from Delhi’s pollution.
How to reach: Delhi is the nearest airport, and Mukteshwar is 358 kilometres (8 hours and 15 minutes) from here
If you thought cold hill stations were only in the North, you’re wrong. Daringbadi in Odisha is among the most beautiful places to visit in December in India. The relatively lesser-known destination will provide you with the ultimate comfort and calm. Named after Daring Sahib, a British official, the destination offers views of pine forests and waterfalls, making it a nature lover’s heaven, This is not all – the place is surrounded by plateaus and valleys, coffee and pepper plantations and a lot more interesting things for you to explore.
How to reach: Bhubaneshwar is the nearest airport. From here, Daringbadi is almost 250 kilometres (six hours)
There’s no doubt that Alleppey makes for a calming, peaceful travel destination, but the city takes on a whole new flavour in the winter. Rent a houseboat, spend some time in the backwaters, and experience its rustic charm. From local cuisine to clear waters and ambient weather, Alleppey boasts of it all.
How to reach: The nearest airport is Kochi. From here, hit the road to reach Alleppey, which is 53 kilometres (1 hour 15 minutes) away
Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh
Gwalior is the perfect destination to visit if you want to explore a new destination but do not have much time in hand. Located mere hours away from Delhi, it houses the Gwalior Fort, which is the main attraction here. Spend a day exploring the many temples here, and visit the tomb of Tipu Sultan, among other interesting places.
How to reach: Gwalior is well-connected by air, roads and train with all major cities.
There’s nothing we can write about Munnar that hasn’t been written before. The magnificent hill station is also called Kashmir of South India. While the temperatures may not be freezing cold here, Munnar is pleasantly cool in the winters, providing a respite from the harsh Northern winters. Explore the many waterfalls here, or spend your time walking in the tea gardens. Munnar is also great for nature hikes.
How to reach: The nearest airport is Kochi. From here, Munnar is 127 kilometres (3 hours 45 minutes) away
Somnath and Dwarka, Gujarat
If you want to go on a spiritual journey right before the new year begins, we suggest visiting Dwarka and Somnath. The towns are known respectively for the Dwarkadhish and Somnath temples, and are visited by lakhs of devotees each year. The weather around this time of the year is perfect, and will make for a comfortable, pleasing stay. This is what makes it among the best places to visit in December in India.
How to reach: The nearest airport is Janmagar. From here, Dwarka is 131 kilometres (2 hours 30 minutes) away. Somnath is about 235 kilometres (4 hours) from Dwarka
Kufri, Himachal Pradesh
If you really want to experience snowfall but don’t want to visit the more mainstream destinations, we suggest heading to Kufri. The hill station will be filled with snowy peaks, icy roads and cool breeze during December. Kufri is also popular among trekkers and hikers, and the winter chill will add to your experience.
How to reach: The destination is about 20 kilometres from Shimla
If you want to explore some historical structures in India this December, head to Bekal. The small town in Karnataka is home to beautiful beaches and an old-time fort, built by Shivappa Nayaka of Keladi. The fort is the largest in Kerala and overlooks the sea, providing some mesmerising sights.
How to reach: The nearest airport is Mangalore, which is 65 kilometres (1 hour 30 minutes) away
Mathura-Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh
The holy destinations of Mathura-Vrindavan are amazing to visit in the winter. The cool air makes visiting the holy temples a comfortable experience. This is not all – winters are among the best times to enjoy street food here. Be it chaat-papdi or kulhad waala doodh or makhan malai, December is the month to try it all!
How to reach: The nearest Airport is in Agra, while Mathura also has a railway station connected with most major cities
Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh
The picturesque town boasts of some stunning Himalayan views in the summers. In December, its Deodar trees ge covered with white snow, making it an absolutely breathtaking sight. This is not all – winters are also great for trekking enthusiasts, who will be able to make the most of the chilly weather. Visit the whispering woods, Khajjiar and the Dainkund Peak for some mesmerising sights.
How to reach: The nearest railway station is Pathankot, and you can reach Dalhousie, which is about 80 kilometres (2 hours) away, by road
Kurseong, West Bengal
The beautiful destination close to Darjeeling in West Bengal, Kurseong is an absolute must-visit when it comes to the places to visit in December. It is also called the ‘Land of White Orchids’. Kurdeong is famous for its stunning waterfalls, orchids, misty views, and temples. Also popular here are the Buddhist gompas, served with one of the most stunning views in India.
How to reach: Hop on to the Darjeeling Mountain Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to reach Kurseong
Dooars, West Bengal
Dooars is a less popular hill station in west Bengal. Located close to the Bhutan border, this place is among the must-visit destinations in December. The hill station is known for its tea estates, exquisite views, forests and the river Teesta. It also has a wildlife sanctuary, where you can see reptiles, deer, elephants, birds and a lot more.
How to reach: The nearest airport is Bagdogra, which is 80 kilometres (2 hours) from Dooars
Another great destination for wildlife enthusiasts, Ranthambore in Rajasthan will provide you with the perfect weather to go tiger-spotting. Once you’re done viewing the wildlife, head to the Ranthambore Fort to learn more about the history of this rich, cultural state. If you have the time, be sure to visit Dastkar for some beautiful handicrafts and handmade animal printed clothes.
How to reach: Nearest airport is Jaipur, which is 188 kilometres (4 hours) away
All seasons are great to sip on some wine, but winters make it extra special. So, if you want to visit Maharashtra, spare some time out to visit Nashik. Here, you can head to one of the many wineries to see how wines are made. What’s more, you get to bring home some freshly made (and aged) wines and savour them in the comfort of your own home!
How to reach: Nashik is well-connected to all major cities by air, rail and road
Harike Wetlands in Punjab
Birdwatching enthusiasts, unite! If you want to go birdwatching in a destination that’s slighly off-beat, head to the Harike Wetland. Located next to the Harike lake, this place is a hotspot for the beloved avian creatures. The winter chill makes it a great time to spot the birds, such as greylag goose, Eurasian coot, bar-headed goose and more.
How to reach: The nearest airport is Amritsar, which is 94 kilometres (2 hours) away
Hero and Featured Image: Courtesy of Shutterstock
This story first appeared on Travel+Leisure India and South Asia.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Some of the places you can visit are Shimla, Dalhousie, Thajiwas, Gwalior, Kutch and Jaisalmer.
Answer: Rajasthan, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand are some of the best destinations to visit in India in December.
Answer: Coorg has a moderate climate and ambient temperature, making it a great place to visit in December in India.