An overview of December weather in India
With December the winter arrives in India. This can mean different things depending on the region you plan to travel to in India in December. While South India gets pleasant temperatures and weather it can be very cold in the North – so cold, it’s likely to snow in the mountains to even ski!
The tourist season also kicks off in the most popular regions like Rajasthan, Kerala and Goa in December. Since international and domestic travelers have no issues taking an off around Christmas to travel and the constant sunshine in India and fantastic climate is too tempting to refuse, India experiences every December a huge influx of tourists. But as long as you book in advance and have a strong travel partner like India Someday on your side, you can manage to stay within your planned budget to travel in India.
North India in December
December is a fantastic time to travel in Rajasthan and the neighboring states like Gujarat, Madya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Since those areas tend to get very hot from March to June and September to November it would be better to come in the winter to be able to use the entire day for sightseeing and explorations. However, you need to be aware that it can get very cold at night and in the morning hours. Temperatures below 10ºC (50ºF) are not rare. Hotels have no heating systems but often warm blankets. We definitely recommend an over-night safari to the dessert, possible in Jaisalmer and other places, as you can experience the beautiful landscape and an incredible night sky without light pollution. But you would need to pack warm clothes, scarfs and maybe even a hat and gloves for that. Another highlight: two fun and interesting cultural fairs happen in Rajasthan in December: The Kumbhalgarh (01-03/12/2017) and the Mt Abu Winter Festival (29-31/12/2017). For some suggestions on possible travel routes in Rajasthan read more here.
The only issue you might face are the common fog in north India around December and January, especially in Delhi and Agra. This can cause flights and trains to be delayed and a limited view of the Taj Mahal at the break of dawn.
Further north of Delhi and in the North East where the foothills of the Himalayas start it can get quite cold in December. Some years even see snow around Christmas in Shimla, Manali or Sikkim. This can surely be a magical experience beyond imagination but can be quite a disappointment if you came to India to work on your tan. If you are interesting in skiing Gulmarg and Auli are good options. But don’t experience such elaborate resorts as in USA, Canada and Europe.
South India in December
The retreating monsoon along the east coast of India ends around mid-December. In some years cyclones from the bay of Bengali hit Tamil Nadu at the coast at places like Chennai, Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram. In 2015 Chennai got badly flooded with damages up to $16 Mio. However, this doesn’t happen often and, if at all, only at the beginning of the month. As a former French colony with catholic influences, Pondicherry is a great destination if you don’t want to miss out on some Christmas vibes.
Kerala doesn’t get any more rain in December. While it can be quite warm all around the rest of the year it can be pleasantly warm or even quite cool in December. In the mountain areas around Munnar, Thekkady or Wayanad it can be as low as 17ºC (62ºF). The beaches are very pleasant and the main season is 100% underway so expect a high number of tourists around Varkala and Kovalam. To enjoy a more off-the-beaten-path and less crowded beach we would recommend to stay in Marari, just 45min from Alleppey. Kerala has also many Christian influences, especially in the Backwaters and Kochi region so it would also be a great destination for Christmas. See our route recommendations for Kerala here.
Goa has reached its main season by beginning of the month. If you want to spend Christmas and New Years Eve in Goa, you better book weeks to months in advance and plan a stay for multiple days as many hotels don’t accept short stays. The prices are the highest for the whole year with peak season supplement charges for bookings from Dec 20th to Jan 10th. Same applies to the amount of sunbathing travelers at the beaches – be prepared for low availability and crowded beaches.
In a nutshell: December is main season in Rajasthan, South India and Goa where you would need to make your bookings for transport and accommodations as early as possible, preferably before September. Train Tickets are often booked our three months beforehand and flights can get very expensive. In case of emergency bus tickets would always be available but offer less comfort. Trips to the mountains in North and North-East require very warm clothes and not every activity would be possible, we advise against it.
If you like to escape the Christmas madness and cold temperatures at home on December, plan your trip with us now and we make sure that you get all tickets and stays sorted despite the main season buzz.