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Best place to visit in December in India

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by Hemant Kukreja, Nov 24, 2016.

  1. Hemant Kukreja

    Hemant Kukreja New Member

    I am currently in India where I have come to attend a family wedding which is all over and done with. I am in India until the new year, and I wish to visit some other places in India and would like some suggestions from people to the best place to visit in December in India.

    I have no restrictions to the distance or location, as I would easily be able to get a flight to the destination.
     
  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, welcome to the forum!


    Overview

    December is the beginning of the actual winter season in India. It is also one of the busiest months in the country, due to the large influx of tourists wanting to take advantage of the cooler climate. The higher areas in northern region of India, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand, usually have thick blankets of snow by the end of December. If you want to enjoy seeing snowfall, then these regions won't disappoint you in that aspect. However, roads leading to these higher areas might be blocked as well when heavy snowfall occurs.

    If you love the beaches, December is one of the best times to visit them. The beaches in the southern part of India has calm waters during this time so you can enjoy a myriad of water sports and even swimming. The region also has the lowest temperatures during this time so you can spend your time mostly in the beaches, just lazing around. The hill stations in the southern region has pleasantly cool temperatures that you can also enjoy, especially if you visit them with your loved ones.

    Finally, the western and central parts of India experience quite bearable temperatures in December too. The state of Rajasthan which is usually hot all-year round, has lower temperatures in December so you can explore its numerous forts and palaces easily. The central parts of India also has lower temperatures but it's not the best time to visit the capital, Delhi, as dense fogs enclose the city and sightseeing might not be as feasible especially during early morning. There are still other cities in the plains though that you can visit during December.

    Best Places to Visit in December in India

    To see snow and experience snowfall...

    1. Manali (Himachal Pradesh) - Manali is one of the most popular hill stations in the country. During the start of December, the region experiences temperatures as low as 21°C. By the middle of December, snowfall and snow can be experienced in Manali itself and also in Solang Valley. Temperatures reach below 0°C during this time of the month. You can even try out activities like skiing, sledding and snow mobile riding. But even for people who are not that adventurous, there are many sights to explore around Manali. You only need to bring your heavy woollens to combat the cold climate. Several temples can be found within the hill station, but a visit to the Vashisht Temple is a must. The temple is dedicated to Rich Vashisht, one of the seven Hindu sages. But beside the temple is a hot water springs that you can take a dip in, as it's supposed to heal diseases plus the hot water can be soothing in contrast to the cold climate in Manali. There's also the Hadimba Temple, which has a four-tiered roof and intricate wood carvings. It is dedicated to Goddess Hidimbi and stands as one of the best examples of the ancient temple architectural styles in the region. There are also some natural attractions around Manali with the main one being the Beas River. December is a good time for river rafting as well although the cold temperature can be challenging. On the other hand, you can also visit some of the waterfalls in the region like the Jogini Waterfalls and Rahala Waterfalls.
    • Must visit attractions - Solang Valley, Vashisht Temple, Hadimba Temple, Beas River, Jogini Waterfalls and Rahala Waterfalls.
    2. Auli (Uttarakhand) - Ever wanted to try out skiing in India? Well, Auli is actually one of the best destinations for that. Temperatures for the month of December range between 2°C to 10°C. But it can go below 0°C during the middle half to the end of the month. Auli is a premier skiing destination because aside from the natural snowfall that it receives, the government also has a snow making machine here that makes the slopes smoother. You can access Auli from Joshimath via the ropeway which is about 10 to 15 minutes long. Around Auli, there are only a few attractions though and they aren't suitable much to visit during the winter season. There's the treks to reach the Gorson Bugyal and Trishul Peak, but they might not be easy during the month of December. You can visit the Auli Artificial Lake though, as it is easily accessible from the centre of Auli. This is where the snow making machine gets its water from to make artificial snow for the slopes of Auli. If you're an adventure-seeker that just want to try something new, then a visit to Auli might give you just that.
    • Must visit attractions - Auli Artificial Lake, Gorson Bugyal (Optional) and Trishul Peak (Optional).
    • Related thread - Auli
    3. Dalhousie (Himachal Pradesh) - Snow and snowfall in Dalhousie usually occurs by the end of December. If your sole purpose for visiting the hill station is to witness snow, then make sure you reach it during the last weeks of December. Otherwise, the hill station has a picturesque beauty even in the beginning of the month. The views of the distant snow-capped mountains would sure mesmerise you. Temperatures can go as low as 1°C too which is why you would need heavy woollens too. There are a few churches in the region like the Saint John's Church and Saint Patrick's Church. These churches become even more alive during the festive Christmas season in December. There are some peaks around Dalhousie too like the Dainkund Peak and Sach Pass. But these places are best visited during the early weeks of December. A place that you can visit any time of the year is the Gandhi Chowk Shopping Plaza where you can indulge in shopping and also dining. Sipping a hot cup of tea while strolling around in December? Why not!
    • Must visit attractions - Saint John's Church, Saint Patrick's Church, Dainkund Peak (Optional), Sach Pass (Optional) and Gandhi Chowk Shopping Plaza.
    [​IMG]
    Dalhousie (Image from Delhi to Shimla)

    4. Almora (Uttarakhand) - Another hill station in the state of Uttarakhand is Almora, known as the cultural capital of the Kumaon region. What sets the hill station apart from the previously mentioned ones is that it has an array of Hindu temples within its premises. The region also celebrates Hindu festivities with such extravaganza and grandeur. During the month of December, temperatures can go as low as 5°C and snowfall can occur. A must visit here is the Jageshwar Dham, a collection of stone temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, built from the 9th to the 13th centuries. There are about 124 shrines/temples here, all has their own Shivalingam but they also have dedicated idols for other deities. There's also the Chitai Temple, dedicated to Golu Devta, where you can find numerous bells. These bells were given by devotees that were granted their wishes by the deity. The Kasar Devi Temple is supposed to be where Swami Vivekananda meditated and received enlightenment. You can reach the temple through a 100-step climb and you'd be greeted by pure serenity once you reach the top of the hillock. Also a must visit here is the Katarmal Sun Temple, one of the only four sun temples in the world. Not many tourists know about this hidden gem and sadly, it is also not that well-maintained. Thus, if you have the time, relish in the beauty of this sun temple right at the heart of Almora. For photography, visit either Zero Point or Bright End Corner, where you can get unobstructed views of the Himalayan mountains.
    • Must visit attractions - Jageshwar Dham, Chitai Temple, Kasar Devi Temple, Katarmal Sun Temple, Zero Point and Bright End Corner.
    • Related thread - n/a
    5. Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh) - The last place on this section is Tawang, a town in Arunachal Pradesh. Although the winters can be harsh here, the beauty of the region is quite stunning. Make sure you visit the region on the first few weeks of December or at least get there before the heavy snowfall occurs. Usually, by the end of December, the entire town is covered in thick blankets of snow. The main attraction here is the Tawang Monastery, the largest monastery in India. It is also the largest Gelugpa sector monastery outside of Lhasa in Tibet. It is a living monastery since there are living quarters, a library and also a cultural centre. The main hall has an enormous Buddha statue and exudes utmost serenity. On the other hand, also quite impressive is their hall of lamps, where numerous lamps are lit by both monks and devotees. Other must visit monasteries here are that of the Urguelling Monastery and Gyangong Ani Gompa. Although frozen in winters, the Madhuri Lake is also worth visiting. The lake was formed due to tectonic activity and its beauty is stunning in different seasons. It is also known as the Shungatser Lake locally. Another must visit here is the Tawang War Memorial, dedicated to the brave Indian soldiers who died in the Indo-China War of 1962.
    • Must visit attractions - Tawang Monastery, Urguelling Monastery, Gyangong Ani Gompa, Madhuri Lake and Tawang Memorial.
    [​IMG]
    Tawang (Image from Holidify)

    Soothing waves of the sea...

    6. Varkala (Kerala) - A coastal town in the state of Kerala, Varkala is a good beach destination for families. Unlike Kovalam, also located on the same state, Varkala has less crowds and is more serene. During December, the climate here is at its best, with temperatures not exceeding 29°C. The main beach here is the Varkala Beach, the only cliff-facing beach in Kerala. You can indulge in the views by dining at the cliff-side restaurants here. Or just enjoying the waters of the beach itself and even try surfing if you'd like. The Papasnanam Beach is located near the former beach but is not suitable for swimming. Mainly, Hindu after-death rituals are done here so the waters aren't clean. But to witness this one-of-a-kind ritual, head on over to this beach, especially during the early morning. Lastly, there's the Kappil Beach, a bit of an isolated beach, probably the most pristine one in Varkala. The beach is surrounded by many coconut trees and on the other side is the backwaters that add to the charm of the place. It's an ideal beach for couples and families wanting some time away from the crowds. The Kappil Lake is also worth visiting where you can enjoy a boat ride amidst its backwaters.
    • Must visit beaches - Varkala Beach, Papasnanam Beach, Kappil Beach and Kappil Lake (Optional).
    7. Goa - While Goa experiences a hot and humid climate almost all-year round, December is an exception. During this month, temperatures don't exceed 32°C and the humidity isn't as high. The seas are calm enough for all kinds of water sports too. In addition, most hotels and restaurants are operational during this time. Goa has plenty of beaches to keep you busy too, ranging from commercialised ones to remote ones. Of course, Baga Beach is known for its crowds and also for its parties. There's also water sports that you can do here like jet skiing, surfing, water skiing and parasailing. Both Calangute Beach and Anjuna Beach are located close to it to you can combine a trip for these three. On the other hand, there are also some northern beaches that are worth exploring for the solitude-seekers, but they are located on the far end of North Goa. There's Querim Beach and also Ashvem Beach, almost to the border of Maharashtra and Goa. The southern beaches of Goa are more pristine though, especially the not easy to access ones like Cola Beach and Butterfly Beach. But even the Majorda Beach and Betul Beach are quite beautiful, laden with white sands and clear blue waters.
    • Must visit beaches - Baga Beach, Calangute Beach, Anjuna Beach, Querim Beach, Ashvem Beach, Cola Beach, Butterfly Beach, Majorda Beach and Betul Beach.
    [​IMG]
    Majorda Beach in Goa (Image from India)

    8. Andaman Islands - We now go to the Andaman Islands, located off the Andaman sea. Make sure that you visit the islands during the middle of December or until the end of December. During the first few weeks, there might still be rains lashing out in the region. Temperatures are moderately warm though at 30°C. The most pristine beaches in India are located in the Andaman Islands. Craving for pure white sandy beaches along with turquoise waters? Havelock Island is your best bet, as it has the Radha Nagar Beach, known as one of the best beaches in Asia. It also has the Elephant Beach, where snorkelling is a must do activity. If you're lucky, you can spot Rajan, the swimming elephant of the Andaman Islands. For water sports, you can reach the Netaji Nagar Beach as it has an assortment of equipments for that. Neil Island also has different beaches that you can explore, like Sitapur Beach, Lakshmanpur Beach and Bharatpur Beach. For an unparalleled beach destination, the Andaman Islands is a good option, where the beaches are untouched yet by commercialisation and modernity.
    • Must visit beaches - Radha Nagar Beach, Elephant Beach, Netaji Nagar Beach, Sitapur Beach, Lakshmanpur Beach and Bharatpur Beach.
    9. Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) - Visakhapatnam is blessed with natural sceneries and attractions. This is the largest city in the state of Andhra Pradesh and also one of the most progressive cities in the state. While the city has tons of attractions to explore, its beaches are quite underrated in the country. The main beach here is the Rama Krishna Beach, but even this beach isn't as crowded and its waters remain quite clean. There's tons of activities here that the children and even the adults would enjoy. There's also the Rishikonda Beach, about 14 kilometres away from the city centre of Visakhapatnam, a less crowded version of the the former beach. Sunrise here is very beautiful, so make sure you reach it before the sun rises. An hour away from the city centre is the Yarada Beach. It is largely undeveloped though so you cannot expect much when it comes to tourist infrastructures. Make sure to bring your own picnic basket and some water though as there are only a few beach shacks here. The Bheemunipatnam Beach is also an underdeveloped beach here, probably even less developed than the Yarada Beach. Even the road to reach it is quite bumpy so make sure you hire a four-wheeler or bring a vehicle with high ground clearance. It is surrounded by natural beauty though and not polluted yet by modernity. Lastly, the Gangavaram Beach is a perfect beach for surfing lovers as it has high waves.
    • Must visit beaches - Rama Krishna Beach, Rishikonda Beach, Yarada Beach, Bheemunipatnam Beach and Gangavaram Beach.
    10. Lakshadweep - Last on this section is the Lakshadweep Islands. This is located off the coast of the Arabian sea, close to the coast of Kerala. Unlike the Andaman Islands though, the Lakshadweep Islands are not yet that developed. But this downside is also its upside, as the beauty of the beaches here are unrivalled by any other. White sands, blue waters and yet there are no crowds, these are the main features of the Lakshadweep Islands. Although it's a bit inaccessible, the journey to get there is all worth it. The climate here is humid and warm but the month of December has lower temperatures not exceeding 32°C. A must visit island here is that of the Kavaratti Island, where numerous water sports are available. Since the Kavaratti Island is the most developed island, most tourist facilities are here. Agatti Island though is a good option for snorkelers and scuba divers as it has a rich marine life that you can explore. Both the Kadmat and Minicoy Islands are a bit remote but perfect for couples seeking some isolation. Generally, Lakshadweep has this serene and underdeveloped vibe that tourists coming from the city can enjoy.
    • Must visit beaches - Kavaratti Island, Agatti Island, Kadmat Island Minicoy Island.
    [​IMG]
    Lakshadweep (Image from Alekhya Reddy)

    History, modernity and religion...

    11. Jaipur (Rajasthan) - Jaipur is a part of the Golden Triangle tour and even though both Agra and Delhi might be too foggy to enjoy during December, the same won't ring true for the Pink City. December is one of the best months for visiting Jaipur, as the temperature here is at its lowest, not exceeding 31°C. Jaipur is part of the desert region of Rajasthan and so summers, even monsoons, can be extremely harsh here. Once ruled by the royal Rajputs, the traces of the bygone era can still be found here. Starting with the City Palace, where you can get an insight of how the royals lived back then. Several rooms/museums are located here that displays artefacts used by the royals back then, like weaponries, jewelries and even textiles. The architectural style of the palace is a mixture of Rajasthani and Mughal which in itself is worth seeing. Also a must visit is the Hawa Mahal, also known as the Palace of Winds, since it remains cool despite the heat of the summer. Its main purpose though is so that the royal women can look out the windows and observe the festivities happening in the streets. A few kilometres away from Jaipur's city centre, you can visit the Amer Fort and Palace. Its architectural style is that of the Mughals and Rajputs as well. The fort and palace can take a whole day to explore since it is quite big. It has several halls and palaces that can keep you busy for a while, as well as huge courtyards that look quite picturesque amidst the mountainous backgrounds.
    • Must visit attractions - City Palace, Hawa Mahal and Amer Fort & Palace.
    12. Chennai (Tamil Nadu) - Want to learn more about modern India? Well, Chennai is a very modern city yet it has held on to its heritage too. December is a perfect time to visit the city, especially by the end of December, as temperatures don't go beyond 33°C. Rainfalls aren't as rampant during this time too as compared to the first few weeks of December. Chennai is a very family-friendly destination as it has a wide array of fun attractions suitable for children. There are six amusement parks in Chennai alone, but the best-rated ones are Queens Land and VGP Universal Kingdom. It also has lots of museums to keep the little ones learning, even during a family trip! There's the Railway Museum which highlights the history of the Indian Railways or the Egmore Museum which has about five buildings dedicated to different sections like sculptures, geology, botany and bronze collections. The Arignar Anna Zoological Park is another enjoyable attraction, where you can spot wild animals like deers, zebras, monkeys and elephants. The beaches of Chennai are not too clean but good enough for just enjoying a few hours watching the seas crashing into the shores. Marina Beach, Elliot's Beach and Breezy Beach are some of the most popular beaches here. Chennai also has the Guindy National Park, which is one of the few national parks located within the premises of a city proper. It is quite small but you can spot jackals, black bucks, deers and even snakes here. So if you need an alternative city to visit, Chennai should come at the top of your list, especially if you have children with you.
    • Must visit attractions - Queens Land, VGP Universal Kingdom, Railway Museum, Egmore Museum, Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Marina Beach, Elliot's Beach, Breezy Beach and Guindy National Park.
    [​IMG]
    Chennai (Image from Lazgaz)

    13. Konark (Odisha) - Fulfil the history buff in you with a visit to Konark, located in Odisha in the eastern side of India. December is the peak tourist season in Konark primarily because it is the most suitable season for exploring around the town. Temperatures remain at a comfortable 20°C during this time, sometimes even lower. If you get cold easily, pack some light woollens, especially as the nights can be chilly. There is one prime attraction here which is the Konark Sun Temple. It is very elaborate and intricate, at least the remaining parts of, which is why it was even regarded as one of the seven wonders of India. The Konark Sun Temple was made to replicate the chariot of the Sun God, Surya, It has a set of 24 wheels, which also double as sundials, and seven horses (only one remains intact now) seemingly pulling the vehicle. The insides are equally beautiful, with various sculptures of people and animals. The temple has stood the test of time, despite numerous attacks and climate changes. After visiting the temple, reach the Archeological Museum, about a kilometre away from it. Here, you can view the ruined parts of the temple, which got detached from it due to erosions and other reasons. There's also the Chandrabhaga Beach, and during the month of December, you might be able to witness the International Sand Festival. Various sculptures are displayed on the sand, in relation to a specific theme.
    • Must visit attractions - Konark Sun Temple, Archeological Museum and Chandrabhaga Beach.
    14. Alleppey (Kerala) - You might have heard of the famous backwaters of Kerala and here in Alleppey, you can indulge in such a houseboat tour. Each tourist's visit to India won't be complete with a tour of the backwaters in an authentic houseboat. Revel in the simplicity of the rural life along with the bountiful beauty of nature. Temperatures aren't that high too when you visit during December, as it won't exceed 31°C. But of course, once you're done with a houseboat tour, there are plenty more to explore around Alleppey. The Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is famous though for the payasam that the temple management gives to devotees. The Sree Subramaniya Swami Temple is dedicated to Lord Muruga and requires a bit of a climb to reach. It is about 1,000 years old already though and has a black idol of the deity in the main sanctum. Also worth visiting here is the Saint Mary's Forane Church, a fairly new church but on its location stood a prior church believed to have been built around the 15th century. If you have the time, several beaches around Alleppey are quite scenic like the Marari Beach and Thottappally Beach.
    • Must visit attractions - Backwaters, Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple, Sree Subramaniya Swami Temple, Saint Mary's Forane Church, Marari Beach and Thottappally Beach.
    15. Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) - Last but certainly not the least is Varanasi. This destination is placed on the last part as you need quite to be experienced as a tourist in India before visiting Varanasi. This is primarily because Varanasi can be an overload to a foreign tourist, or even a local tourist. It is not that modern nor traditional but it proves to be one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites in the country. As such, a visit to Varanasi would open your eyes to the unique side of Hinduism in the country. The sights of cremation, evening aartis, slums, poverty and religion might be a bit overwhelming at first. But keep in mind that these are all aspects that make a country what it truly is. Several ghats line the city, some are used for aartis, like the Dasaswamedh Ghat, while others are used for cremations, like the Manikarnika Ghat. Home to the mighty Ganges River, the city has numerous temples that you can visit too. But the most visited ones are that of the Vishwanath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and of course, Durga Temple, dedicated to his consort, Parvati. Aside from being important to Hindus, did you know that Varanasi is also revered holy by Buddhists? This is because, a couple of kilometres away from the city, you can find Sarnath, the place where Buddha delivered his very first sermon. There are some stupas and monasteries here too, established hundreds of years ago by Buddhists, evidences of the huge importance of this religion even during ancient times in India.
    • Must visit attractions - Dasaswamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Vishwanath Temple, Durga Temple and Sarnath.
    [​IMG]
    Varanasi (Image from Hotel Plaza Inn)

    Conclusion

    With the cooler climates in December, there are varied places that you can visit in India. Whether you're into snow, or maybe the sun and beach, or even heritage sites, India has a lot in store for you. Most foreign tourists also enjoy this month because it's neither too cold nor too hot in many low lying areas of India. The local tourists though enjoy reaching the higher areas, where there is snow and cooler temperatures. Do enjoy your trip to India and take home lots of memories. Good luck!
     

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