The Most Offbeat Places to Visit in India in December

December marks the end of a year and the birth of the next which calls for a celebration filled with exploration. With the onset of winter and the arrival of the holiday season, people from across the country are eager to catch a break with serenity and exciting activities from the mundane. Whether you are aching to catch the snow or swim by the shore, we have the perfect list of places if you are planning an India tour. India is home to varied climates across the country, with humidity on the low by the coast, and rain and snowfall in near sight, one can truly enjoy their winter vacation without having to worry about bad weather. As the temperature begins to drop drastically throughout India, travellers begin to plan their journeys to explore hidden gems, during this time of the year. Steer clear from the crowd this winter and head to some of the best places to visit in India this December for a wholesome holiday.

Best places to visit in December in India: North India

1. Sonamarg, Jammu & Kashmir

Best places to visit in December in India - Sonmarg

Sonamarg is one of the most beautiful hill stations, located in Kashmir. With breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains and the existence of many glaciers, alpine meadows, and lakes feel like heaven on earth. Apart from the views of the mighty Himalayas, and its glaciers, Sonamarg is a popular rest stop for pilgrims on the Amarnath Yatra. Although the weather may be chilly in December at Sonamarg, it is also the best time to see the picturesque peaks of Kashmir and ski down the slopes. Popularly known as the Meadow of Gold, Sonamarg is home to some of the best treks where you can find yourself knee-deep in snow during December. 

Places to visit

  • Amarnath Peak
  • Thajiwas Glacier
  • Satsar Lake
  • Gadsar Lake
  • Yusmarg
  • Zoji-la Pass

How to reach

Sonamarg is a well-connected travel destination by road, rail and air. The distance between Sonamarg from Srinagar is 80 km and takes around 2 hours to reach by road. The Airport and Railway station are also located in Srinagar, making Sonamarg easily accessible by booking a cab upon your arrival.

2. Nako, Himachal Pradesh

Best places to visit in December in India - Nako Village, Near Spiti

Nako is one of the bucket list destinations for all travellers. If you wish to experience the true essence of the Himalayan and Tibetan cultures, then Nako is ideal for you. Travel back in time with tales from the locals while exploring this beautiful village and its culture. The hidden gems of Nako Village and its untouched beauty are certain to leave you with adoration. A sky full of stars and a blanket of snow during the December months and onwards makes Nako Village a truly offbeat winter getaway.

Places to visit:

  • Nako Lake
  • Nako Monastery
  • Key Monastery
  • Nako Gompa
  • Lipa-Asrang Sanctuary
  • Kinnaur Kailash
  • Sarhan
  • Sangla Valley

How to reach

If you’re travelling from Manali, Shimla, or Chandigarh, you can hire a cab or take the local bus as Nako is in a remote location. Shimla and Bhuntar and the closest airports for transfers, although Chandigarh would be ideal for flights on a budget. Chandigarh is also the nearest Railway Station.

Best places to visit in December in India: Eastern India

1. Bow Barracks, Kolkata

Bow Barracks in Kolkata
Image Credit: Hindustan Times

Tucked away from Chittaranjan Avenue, one of the busiest thoroughfares running through central Kolkata, is a cluster of red brick apartments, called Bow Barracks. It is a small hub of the Anglo-Indian population who have lived here for generations where one can truly cherish the magic of Christmas in December. Most often, the preparations begin a week in advance and the Church and its surroundings are spruced up and decorated with the Christmas spirit, every December. The local community prepares food, games and activities for all during the winter. Here’s a guide to spending Christmas in Bow Barracks with activities and things to do for an unforgettable trip.

Places to visit

  • Jorasanko Thakurbari
  • Shaheed Minar
  • Millennium Park

How to reach

Book a cab from the Howrah city, which is 13.5 km from Bow Barracks and the Howrah Railway station is only 5 km from the destination. Book a cab to travel comfortably from Kolkata Airport to reach the destination in less than an hour.   

2. Gopalpur, Orissa

Gopalpur Beach in Orissa.

Gopalpur served as an important port for seafarers of ancient Kalinga and is one of the cleanest beaches in India. Banked on the east coast of the Bay of Bengal, Gopalpur Beach is a luxurious beach and offbeat destination in Odisha. It is popular for being one of the few sites in India where Olive Ridley Turtles nest. Flanked with coconut and casuarina groves and makes it a perfect outing for an explorative weekend. Gopalpur is ideal to visit in December as the climate is cooler, with lower levels of humidity and more activities for tourists.

Places to visit

  • Gopalpur Beach
  • Gopalpur Lighthouse
  • Markandi Beach
  • Dhavaleshwar Island
  • Chilika Lake

How to reach

Gopalpur is well-linked by road and is a part of the Golden Quadrilateral via NH5. You can fly to the Bhubaneswar Airport which is about 180 km from the beach town. Tourists can take a cab from the nearest Airport or from Berhampur Railway Station which is 15 km away.

Savaari travel guide

Best places to visit in December in India: North Eastern India

1. Katao, Sikkim

Katao in Sikkim

Katao is often known as the Switzerland of the eastern Himalayas. Offering a panoramic view of the snow-capped Himalayan range, the town is known for being the rival of Yumthang Valley in terms of scenic beauty. Katao in December is ideal for exhilarating adventure activities such as snowboarding and skiing. With apple orchards, peaches, and apricots, Katao is a bucket list destination in India. The market of this city is filled with handicrafts such as exquisitely woven rugs and blankets that make this town ideal for shopping sprees.

Places to visit

  • Yumthang valley
  • Hot Springs
  • Seven Sister Waterfall
  • Lachung Monastery

How to reach

The nearest airport to Katao is the Bagdogra Airport which is about 222 km away. The nearest railway station to Katao is the New Jalpaiguri Station. You can book a cab from Bagdogra to reach Katao with ease.

2. Kohima, Nagaland

Hornbill Festival in Nagaland

In the state of Nagaland, lies a town of splendour known as Kohima where the Hornbill Festival takes place annually. The vibrant festival takes place mostly in the first week of December every year. The Hornbill Festival occurs between the 1st and 10th of December every year. It is a vibrant event that depicts the local heritage with cultural performances, handlooms and handicrafts, rich local cuisine and much more. The festival is celebrated to encourage inter-tribal interaction and to preserve, protect and revive the uniqueness and richness of the Naga heritage. The humid summers of the plains can be unpleasant, although, during December, Kohima is the perfect escape with mesmerizing scenic beauty and memorable experiences. Check out this detailed travel guide to know more about the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland.

Places to visit

  • Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Meghna Cave Temple
  • Kile Pakho
  • Tarin Fish Farm

How to reach

The preferable way to reach Kohima is by taking the train or flight to Dimapur which is roughly 70 km in distance. You can book a cab from Dimapur to reach Kohima via Medziphema over a two and a half hour roadtrip.

Best places to visit in December in India: Western India

1. Rann of Kutch, Gujarat

Rann of Kutch

The Rann of Kutch is famous for its white salty desert sand and is reputed to be the largest salt desert in the world. Rann of Kutch is a massive expanse of cracked earth, inland from the sea, that promises to take your breath away. One can also attend the Rann Utsav, which celebrates Kutch’s rich cultural and artistic heritage that occurs annually between November to February. Winters are the best time to visit Kutch for various activities like night desert safari and camping under the stars. The temperature during these months is also perfect for sightseeing. Gain more insight into the incredible Rann Utsav Festival with this detailed article.

Places to visit

  • White Desert of Kutch
  • Prag Mahal
  • Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Dholavira
  • Narayan Sarovar
  • Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary

How to reach

This city does not have an airport, but people can reach Ahmedabad Airport which is the nearest airport connected to other cities and states. The best way to get to the Great Rann of Kutch is by taking a train or flight to Bhuj. Then from Bhuj, you can book a cab to the Rann of Kutch which is 85 kilometres away.

2. Udaipur, Rajasthan

Best places to visit in December in India- Udaipur in Rajasthan

Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the east’ or ‘the city of lakes’, Udaipur is located around azure water lakes and is hemmed in by lush green hills of Aravallis. The famous Lake Palace, located in the middle of Lake Pichola is one of the most beautiful sights of Udaipur. The best time to visit Udaipur is during the winter season, typically in December for stargazing and astrophotography. The temperature remains comfortable and is ideal for visiting the monuments and other places of interest, compared to summers here. One can also attend the Shilpgram Festival which offers a glimpse of rural life through art. Read this detailed travel guide to learn more about things to do in Udaipur before your journey.

Places to visit

  • Jagdish Temple
  • City Palace
  • Bagore ki Haveli
  • Lake Pichola
  • Ambrai Ghat
  • Fateh Sagar

How to reach

The nearest airport in Udaipur is called the Maharana Pratap Airport which is situated about 20 kilometres away, while the Railway Station is only 3.8 km away from the city centre. Upon your arrival at Udaipur, you can hire an Airport Taxi for easy accessibility for commutes and transfers.

Best places to visit in December in India: Central India

1. Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh

Best places to visit in December in India- Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh

Pachmarhi is one of the most popular destinations in the heart of incredible India and is a treasure trove of rich history and nature’s bounty. It is famously known as the ‘Queen of Satpura’, as Pachmarhi sits amidst the Satpura range at 1100 mts in Madhya Pradesh. Pachmarhi is a perfect tourist destination for spending holidays even during winter. The best time to visit Pachmarhi is December, which is a preferred choice as the weather is ideal to explore and you can also witness the Pachmarhi Utsava, a six-day local festival. Adorned with gorgeous waterfalls and ancient caves, there are plenty of captivating places to visit in Pachmarhi.

Places to visit

  • Satpura National Park
  • Jatashankar Temple
  • Panch Pandav Caves
  • Bee Falls
  • Handi Khoh
  • Dhoopgarh
  • Pachmarhi Catholic Church

How to reach

Bhopal serves as the nearest airport to Pachmarhi at a distance of 220 km while Pipariya Railway Station is 52 km away, being the closest to Pachmarhi. For a hassle-free and comfortable travel, you can book a cab from Bhopal to Pachmarhi.

2. Mainpat, Chhattisgarh

Mainpat is an underrated hill station with lush foliage, deep valleys and breathtaking waterfalls. The lesser-known hill station has a charm of its own and with fewer tourists as well. Mainpat is often called the ‘Shimla of Chhattisgarh’ or ‘Mini Tibet’ owing to its huge Tibetan population and influence over the area. The best time to visit Mainpat is either during monsoon or winter as only then can one cherish the invigorating chills of the hills with serene views as compared to the dry hot summers. Explore this handy travel guide for more details about your journey to Mainpat.

Places to visit

  • Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Tiger Point
  • Fish Point
  • Ulta Pani Visarpani
  • Ghunghutta Dam

How to reach

The Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi, Jharkhand is located at a distance of 298 km from the hill station. On the other hand, the Ambikapur Railway Station is located 56 km away from Mainpat. You can book a cab from any of these destinations for a hassle-free journey to Mainpat.

Best places to visit in December in India: South India

1. Bangalore, Karnataka

Bangalore is also a gem of a tourist destination with a bustling metropolis, beckoning with vacationers primarily for its scenic lush green spaces and happening events. Bangalore is renowned for its eateries, quirky cafes, coffee roasters and unique pubs located in almost every nook and corner of the city. Apart from the stereotypical activities, one can do in the city, Bangalore is also home to the famous Echoes of the Earth Festival which is an ecologically crafted music festival that happens during the first week of December every year since 2016. It is a 2-day event with various stages for different genres, unique art installations, intriguing workshops and beyond. December in Bangalore is usually chilly and cold, but ideal for travelling with little or no rainfall.  

Places to visit

  • Cubbon Park
  • Indian Music Experience
  • Prani – The Pet Sanctuary
  • Nandi Hills
  • Vineyard Tour
  • National Gallery of Modern Art

How to reach

Bengaluru Railway Station is located in the heart of the city while Bengaluru International Airport is located at a distance of 40 km from the city. You can book an Airport Taxi or a cab from the Railway Station to explore the beauty of Bangalore.

2. Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

Best places to visit in December in India - Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is rich in beauty and heritage although due to high temperatures and humidity, hoever, December is one of the few months when you can enjoy the coasts of Tamil Nadu. Catch dance performances by the glittering shores at the Mamallapuram Dance Festival during December. The famous temple town is also beautiful, filled with frolic, beaches, and activities. It is the town of ancient temples, fascinating architecture and appealing beaches. November to February is considered the ideal time to visit Mahabalipuram because of the pleasant weather. However, summers are too hot, and monsoon experiences heavy rainfall in Mahabalipuram, which makes these two seasons unfavourable for tourism.

  • Places to visit
  • Crocodile Bank
  • Shore Temple
  • Tiger Cave
  • Indian Seashell Museum
  • Dakshina Chitra Heritage Museum

How to reach

Chennai Airport serves as the closest airport located around 58 km away from the temple town. The nearest train station is Chengalpattu Junction which is connected to Chennai and various parts of Tamil Nadu. Upon arriving in Chennai, you can book an Airport Taxi for a comfortable journey.

Experience the beauty of these offbeat winter destinations in India by booking a car rental to take you to all these places with a chauffeur. Install the Savaari cab booking app for offers and discounts on outstation rentals.

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Swati Deol

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