Visiting India in December
December is when the winter arrives to India. India in December will vary depending on the region you visit. While South India gets pleasant temperatures and weather, the north can be extremely cold. It’s more than likely to snow in the mountains and you can go skiing! Plan accordingly to find the best places to visit in India in December.
The tourist season kicks off in the most popular regions like Rajasthan, Kerala and Goa. Christmas time is when many international and domestic travellers take holidays, and India with its constant sunshine and fantastic varied climate is too tempting to refuse. India in December experiences a huge influx of tourists. But, as long as you book in advance and have a strong travel partner like India Someday with you, you can stay within your planned budget when planning your holiday.
December is one of the best months to visit IndiaPlan your trip
North India in December
December is a fantastic time to travel to Rajasthan and the neighbouring states: Gujarat, Madya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. North India is one of the best places to visit in India in December as you can use the full day for activities and sightseeing without it being excessively hot. Those areas are very hot from March to June and September to November. However, it can get very cold in the morning and at night; temperatures can drop to below 10ºC. Hotels will supply warm blankets. Prepare for this and pack warm clothes, scarfs, maybe even a hat and gloves, especially for the desert.
The only issue you might face is the common fog in North India in December and January, especially in Delhi and Agra. This causes flights and trains to get delayed sometimes, and a limited view of the Taj Mahal early in the morning.
For a nice route through Gujarat, check this trip one of our guests did.
We recommend an over-night safari to the desert, possible in Jaisalmer and some others, where you can experience the desert and a mesmerizingly full night sky. There are also two fun and interesting cultural fairs happening in the region in December. The Kumbalgarh (1st to 3rd) and the Mt. Abu Winter Festival (29th to 31st). For some suggestions on travel sites in Rajasthan read here.
Further north at the foothills of the Himalayas, it gets very cold in India in December. Most years it’ll snow in places like Shimla, Sikkim, or Manali. This can be a magical experience but can be quite disappointing for those trying to get a tan. If you’re interested in skiing, then Gulmarg or Auli are good options, but don’t expect elaborate resorts like in the USA, Canada, and Europe.
Changu Lake, located in Sikkim, is a wonderful sight in the snowy winterPlan your trip
South India in December
The retreating monsoon along the east coast ends around mid-December. Sometimes cyclones hit form the Bay of Bengal to Tamil Nadu in places like Chennai, Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram. However, this doesn’t happen often and it would only be in the beginning of the month, if at all. Pondicherry, a former French colony with catholic influences, is a great destination if you want Christmas vibes.
The rainfall stops in Kerala during December. While it’s quite warm all year round, in December it’s pleasantly warm or quite cool. In the mountainous areas like Munnar, Thekaddy or Wayanad, it can be as low as 17ºC. It is peak season on the beaches so prepare for large crowds around Varkala and Koyalam. Off the well worn path, we’d recommend Marari Beach, just 45 minutes away 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.
If you want to spend the holidays in Goa, book months in advance and plan a multiple day stay as hotels don’t accept short stays. Prices are the highest at this time of the year with peak season supplement booking charges from December 20th until January 10th. Prepare for very crowded beaches.
Marari is a little untouched village at the beach, the perfect beach to visit in the winterPlan your trip
In a nutshell
December in India is the main season for many regions. Holidays in December to Rajasthan, South India and Goa need to be booked well in advance, preferably before September. Train tickets are often booked three months beforehand and flights can get very expensive. Emergency bus tickets are available but offer less comfort. Trips to the mountains in the north and northeast require very warm clothes and not every activity is possible, so be careful.
If you like to escape the Christmas madness and cold in December, plan your trip with us now and we’ll help you decide the best places to visit in India in December.
The Thar Desert is one of the best places to visit in India in December, but prepare for the desert chill!