As the sweet month of December approaches, it brings along with it many delights. There is the nip in the air and the climate gets pleasant, snow shimmers down on hill stations and several places are caught up with the festive spirit. Here are 20 amazing reasons to travel in December. Not that you ever need an excuse to travel, but we nudge you further with these temptations.
Darjeeling for the pleasant chill
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While many escape to the chilly hill stations during the summer months, we suggest that you do it the other way around. After all true appeals of the winters have to be experienced. A rather winning destination is Darjeeling.
The quintessential hill station, it is a sweet sight with its ringing lush tea plantations, mighty Himalayan backdrop and the frosty Kanchenjunga overlooking it. That along with the streaks of colonial architecture, serene monasteries and youthful vibe makes for a beguiling getaway. During December, the weather is at its best and the cold still bearable. What’s more is the great sight of Kanchenjunga snowy peaks the all throughout the day.
Auli and Gurson for a snow trek
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Come winters and the region of Auli and Gurson display a distinct charm. This is when many embark on a snow trek to discover the same. Rising above of Joshimath, Auli is a well-known skiing destination and is cosseted in the Himalayan Mountains of Uttarakhand. The state is often referred to The Land of Gods, with a mixed terrain if lakes, rivers and mountains.
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Your trekking experience is a delightful one where you unravel quaint Parsari hamlets and other Himalayan settlements. Enjoy the cable car experience, making way through snow dusted meadows, apple orchards. Take time off at the hot springs at Tapovan and feast your eyes on the mighty Nanda Devi.
Gulmargto romance the snow
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Flit off to the dreamy destination of Gulmarg to romance the snow. This is one of the regions in the country where you can truly experience the magic of winter. Providing the stunning beauty of the Himalayan Mountains in the background this delight lures tourists constantly. It lies 60kms away from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir, one of the gems of India.
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Coming here during sometime during the last week of December would be ideal for you can celebrate White Christmas where the entire area gets covered with a blanket of snow. This is also the time when the skiing season just opens up. Among the best ski resorts in India, it harbours some of the highest slopes in the country for this activity. Also, when here, you simply cannot miss the experience of Gondola, the Highest Cable Car in the world. Take in awe-inspiring sights from 2690m to 3090m above, over pine forests and other landscapes.
Uttarakhand for Winter Kuari Pass Trek
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Trekking in snow brings in its own charms and challenges. The Winter Kuari Pass Trek in Uttarakhand that takes place during the month of December and January opens up many delights along the way. This alpine meadow has been luring backpackers across the country for many years. It rests on an altitude of 12,200 feet. Though not very high in altitude, this pass offers spectacular sights of Indian Himalayan peaks.
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You will make way through frosty delights, oak and deodar forests, endless meadows, rhododendrons and also other passes such as Vinayak Pass, Tali Top and Kuari Peak and witness the popular trekking destination of Auli. Feast your eyes on summits such as Kamet, Trishul, Chakhamba, Nanda Devi. Also, trudge on the lesser travelled region of Himalayas.
Nagaland for Hornbill Festival
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Displaying surreal pristine beauty, Nagaland makes for a winning destination. Offering a pleasant climate throughout the year, this is where you can feast your eyes on untamed hills, lush valleys, gurgling streams along with great variety of flora and fauna. Another rich quality of the place is the distinct culture.
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Experience the richness of Nagaland with Hornbill Music Festival, among the biggest cultural tourism fests in India enticing travellers all over. It runs over 7 days in December in the midst of pictorial scenery of Kohima. This is an enriching gala where rock contest and several events take place that unfold to you the ethnicity of the place.
Assam for Brahmaputra River Rafting
Ideal for the audacious adventure enthusiast, the winter months of December and January beckon for a rip-roaring rafting extravaganza on the ferocious and mighty Brahmaputra River. Making way and challenging rapids of grade III, grade IV rapids with the occasional Class IV+ rapid on this water body is no mean feat. Your starting point will be Dibrugarh in Assam.
Your experience will entail manoeuvring risky rapids and enjoying the route amidst isolated hilly regions and tribal hamlets in abundant rainforests. The icing on the cake though is making way through what is considered as among the remotest jungle canyons of the globe. Other highlights include rafting on twisting icy waters and setting off to unreachable gorges.
Kangara for a cycling extravaganza
Considered to be the ‘Abode of God’s the mystical Kangara located in Himachal Pradesh displays many stunning sights of Mother Earth. An ideal way to discover the beauty and have some adventure along the way too is embarking upon a cycling extravaganza that takes place in December and January.
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Your experience will comprise of cycling through Chir pine forests, zigzag streets, jeep tracks and tranquil Buddhist locales. Giving you company is the breath-taking Dhauladhars that look like they are soaring above rice paddy fields, cobbled paths, tea garden, ancient shrines and delightful settlements. Adding to the thrill are the great views of snowy peaks, terraced slopes, meandering brooks and colourful flowers.
Uttarakhand for triple adventure of biking, hiking and rafting
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This is for you true blue adventure lovers. As the ideal time for triple adventure of biking, hiking and rafting in Uttarakhand ends in December, we suggest that you opt for this quick before the opportunity passes by. Displaying surreal beauty, Uttarakhand seems to be the ideal playground for rip-roaring activities. It is laced with a dramatic landscape of tranquil lakes, windy rivers, lofty mountain ranges and the rising view of the great Himalayas.
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Enjoy a trek through mixed forest region to Deoriatal, the high altitude lake, go riding downhill to the campsite at Kund, go rafting on the mystical river Ganga and challenge class II – IV rapids. Also, take in splendid views of Himalayas and underlying valleys.
Assam for Kaziranga National Park
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Home to the famous one-horned rhinoceros, the vast grasslands of Kaziranga National Park entices wildlife enthusiast all over the world. It is located in Golaghat district of the Assam and was declared as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The topography comprises high elephant grass, woody areas, rugged reeds, shallow pools and marshes. Other animals spotted here include tigers, bears, Pigmy Hog, Swamp Deer, panthers and more.
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The ideal way to explore the rich fauna and wilderness of the area is with an elephant safari. The peak season to come here is during the winters ideally December when several migratory birds along with other species can be spotted here. Rainy season makes the Park inaccessible whereas the summer months get to scorching due to the tropical climate. It is also said that due to the fog in the winter months, the elephants can go deep in the jungles.
Meghalaya for Caving
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Known as the ‘Abode of Clouds’, Meghalaya makes for a charming destination with the many cotton candy clouds that dot the expansive clear blue sky. Though, the destination is noteworthy not only with what lies above but also what lies around and beneath. This place is home to more than 500 caves and also has the largest network of caves in the Indian sub-continent that stretches around a 1000 kilometres.
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Head to the southern slopes of the states where copious limestone deposits, great levels of precipitation, humid weather, and elevation make it conducive to the creations of many caves. Unravel the enigmas of the underground passages and cavities, gawk at the stalagmites, stalactites and others formations that have been shaped over eons of years.
The ideal time for this experience is during the winter season of December to March. For, this is when the water levels are the lowest inside. Due to the flooded of water during the rainy season, the activity becomes dangerous.
Odisha for Konark Festival
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Surround yourself with the rapture that Odisha provides in the form serene atmosphere, stunning locations and vibrant cultures. Some of the golden features include a delightful coastline running to 480 kilometres, meandering rivers, tranquil lakes and stunning monuments.
The Sun Temple of Konark, the World Heritage Monument is a pride of the state. Built by twelve hundred craftsmen over twelve years, it displays the fine craftsmanship of that era.
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Prodding you to visit this state during the December is the Konark Festival which takes place during the 1st to 5th of the month. This is when the state basks in many culturally rich festivities. It includes performances of classical Odissi, Manipuri, Bharathnatyam, Chau, and Kathak, display of temple sculptures, sand art exhibition, crafts fair and more.
Gopalpur and Chilika for calm amidst the chaos
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If you are the sorts who prefer the calm rather than the humdrum that comes along with the month of December, you can retreat to Gopalpur located in the luminous land of Orrisa. Also referred to as Gopalpur on Sea, it is known for its exquisite and serene sandy delights in the area. The swaying palm trees, unbridled sight of the sea and calming sand dunes is just the antidote for stress.
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An added appeal 45km further is the Chilika Lake, among the largest inland salt water lakes in the country. The clear skies above cast a great reflection on the lucid waters below. This place is especially known for its rich avian life. And for a true bliss of solitude, you can engage in stand up paddling experience here.
Fort Kochi for the Cochin Carnival
A winsome little town, Fort Kochi is a world of its own, with every little corner displaying a distinct charm. When here, revel in mix of Kerala essence, colonial reminisces, vibrant art scenario and more.
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For a true celebration, flit off to this destination during the last week of December. This is when the gala event of Cochin Carnival takes place. Join the jollity as you see painted faces and people in traditional costumes dance by you. The entire place is beautifully adorned and it’s a time when you can make merry with unique games, folk performances, fairs, competitions, music, dance, sight if embellished elephants and many other revelries. The grand finale is nothing short of awe-inspiring with a breath-taking climax of fireworks.
Netrani Island for Water Sports
This is for all of you water babies out there. The pristine and serene Netrani Island beckon for some rip-roaring water adventures! Situated close to the Murudeshwara Beach, the striking uninhabited place is rather secluded and surrounded by the glistening waters of Arabian Sea. It is also known as ‘Pigeon Island’ due to the sheer presence of the bird over here. As you approach the island, it will appear like a massive cake iced with green foliage.
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One of the allures of the place is it being home to some mesmeric corals. December is just the right season for you to discover the underwater world with snorkelling and diving activities. The water and climate at this time is just perfect. For during the monsoons, the water becomes too rough. Apart from corals, you also get to witness butterfly fish, trigger fish, parrot fish, eels and shrimps.
Rann of Kutch for Rann Utsav
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Soak yourself in semi-arid charms of the largest salt water desert in the world. The vast white expanse of Rann of Kutch sparking on a full moon night makes for a surreal sight indeed.
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December is the time to dash off to Gujarat and take in the splendour. For, the place especially gets lit up with culture and celebrations during Rann Utsav. New Year celebrations in this desert make for a memorable experience. Witness spectacular fireworks colour up the dark night and cast the tent city in a myriad of hues. Heightening the festive mood are dancing, singing and other revelries.
Goa for Divar Island Walk
Since you already must be aware about the Goa and its crazy party scene during the winter season, we will skip that and get right to the Divar Island Walk. The appealing island derives its name from ‘Divaddi’ that is translated to the ‘island of lamps’. The place is especially known for its old world charm heritage homes.
A walking tour would unravel to you heritage homes owned by the renowned Albuquerque family, colourful alleys and other parts of the island. December is the ideal time to engage in this activity as the area is more lively and vibrant due to the festive season.
Sam Sand Dunes for New Year’s Celebrations
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For a truly unique New Years’ experience, saunter off to Jaisalmer on to the vast Sam Sand Dunes of Thar Desert. Around 42km from the city, this place is ideal for desert camping, camel safaris, jeep parasailing and dune bashing. The endless expanse of gold sands makes for quite an experience. A spectacular sight here is that of the sun setting over the horizon.
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To get a fine feel of the vast deserts, stay overnight Swiss Tents in the camps. Bringing in the cheery and gala factor are the celebrations marking the end of the year and beginning of another. The whole place gets enchanting with folk performances, dance and music events, bonfires, sumptuous food and other revelries. Be treated like nawabs and watch the magic unfold in front of you.
Sirsi for a heritage walk and trek
To steep yourself in the beauty of nature and heritage, ramble away to the refreshing hill station of Sirsi, located in Western Ghats of Karnataka. Once ruled by Kadamba Dynasty, the destination is an engaging one. It is ringed by bountiful forests and cascading waterfalls. Other features include terracotta-tiled houses, Jain Basa temples and ancient Hindu places of worships. The nearest city to this place is Hubli.
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December is the ideal time to indulge in heritage walk and trekking as the weather is just right. The highlights of this experience include unravelling the ruins of Konikote, sleeping amidst the pleasant embraces of Mother Earth and trek to the Sivaganga Falls.
Shekawati in Rajasthan for Magnetic Fields
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Music and art lovers can treat themselves with a trip to Shekawati in Rajasthan for the event of Magnetic Fields. The fiesta is held in 17th century palace offering an evocative experience. It provides a complete sensory feel of visual spectacle, contemporary culture, heritage, art and more. Over three days, revel in the fine mix of performances that include underground International artists, fresh Indian sounds and cultural acts by local icons.
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Plonked in North Rajasthan, Shekhawati is made up of Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Churu and Nagaur districts. It is a semi-arid historical area where affluent Marwari merchants constructed grand structures outdoing one and another in the process.
Chennai for religious and artistic pursuits
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A fine destination where the old and new reside harmoniously, the bustling town of Chennai basks in its distinct appeal. The coastal city has beautifully retained its age old religion, cuisine, architecture, music and dance with many amazing places to visit. Though the main complain that people seem to have of this place is the sweltering heat. That is why; the month of December seems just perfect to unfold the glory that is contained within the metro.
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History buffs can saunter off the Fort St George that displays many artefacts, the religious can pay their respects at Sri Parthasarathy Temple, the oldest of its kind in the city and Kapaleeshwar Temple that displays stunning architecture. What’s more, somewhere around the mid-month of December is the Chennai Music Festival which celebrates traditional South Indian Carnatic music and dance. It is also considered by some as the biggest cultural event of the world.