10 Places to Visit in India in December: Last Minute Bucket List

December is one amazing time of the year and the most awaited party season. And it is undoubtedly great for travelling too. By now, most people who intend to travel in December are all set to fly, chug or drive to their planned destination. If you are yet to plan your December trip, here’s a quick bucket list for you. Choose your destination and get set go!

1. Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam

Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

Rhinoceroses at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary; Picture Courtesy – The Hindu

December is a great time to visit the forests. While the magnificent tigers and lions are less likely to be spotted in December, the majestic rhinos are proficient to make your holidaying experience phenomenal. To spot rhinos in India, Kaziranga National Park and Jaldapara National Park hold the first and second positions. But if you want to avoid the tourist crowd and yet have a fabulous rhino spotting, then visit Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary which houses the highest number of rhinos proportionate to area. Covering an area of merely 38 square kilometres, Pobitora preserves over 93 one-horned rhinoceroses and is also known as the mini version of Kaziranga National Park. Apart from rhinos, this sanctuary hosts leopards, wild boars, wild cats and innumerable species of birds. December is also ideal to spot various migratory birds like Open Bill Stork, Black Headed Ibis, Laser and Fulvous Whistling Duck, Greater Adjutant Stork, Pintail, Common Teal, Graylag Goose, Gadwall, Spot Build Duck, prey birds, etc. in the marshlands of the sanctuary.

2. Mawlynnong, Meghalaya

Mawlynnong

Mawlynnong – The cleanest village in Asia; Picture Courtesy – Mike Marlowe

This is one of the best times of the year to visit the cleanest village of Asia, located in our very own Meghalaya. Situated 90 kilometres from Shillong, the pristine Thailong river and the infamous living root bridges will transport you to a world of omnipresent nature at its purest. The small village has numerous cane dustbins places in every nook and corner and the collective effort of the locals to keep their village clean is truly praiseworthy. This more-than-beautiful hamlet is a perfect destination for hiking. Tempting flowers and orchid gardens uplifts senses; the serene and pollution-free environ makes you feel like staying back forever.

3. Yuksom, Sikkim

Yuksom

The Captivating beauty of Yuksom; Picture Courtesy – Travel, Art & Beyond

Go for a picture-perfect holiday in Yuksom, Sikkim. An amazing mountainous terrain, snowy peaks, beautiful monastery, breathtaking waterfall, lush green valley – this place also hosts the starting point of some of the most fantastic trekking routes in India. If you are a trekking person, do not miss out trekking to fascinating Dzongri. December is just one of the perfect times of the year to visit as well as trekking. Yuksom also has a rich history and is presently maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. The fabulous scenic beauty of Yuksom can be vouched for a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious experience. Yes, you read that right.

4. Manikaran, Himachal Pradesh

Manikaran

On the banks of river Parvati, Manikaran is both a sacred place and a powerhouse of scenic beauty

If you are traveling with your parents, you can visit Manikaran, located in the Parvati Valley on Parvati river in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. Himachal is a travellers’ paradise throughout the year and there is a significant drop in temperature, sometimes to zero degrees, in December. While most of the destinations in Himachal observe the beginning of snowfall during this period of the year, some places including Manikaran is a great relief, especially if you are travelling with aged parents. Considered as a sacred place by the Hindus and the Sikhs, this is also a pilgrimage site. Amidst the beautiful landscape of Parvati valley, feel the spiritual connection, get enamoured by the temples, Gurudwara, the sacred hot spring which is believed to have curative powers and the amazing landscape. There are separate places for men and women to take bath in the holy hot spring water.

Manikaran also has a number of sites of attraction for the youngsters. Go hiking to explore the locale; visit Kasol (4 kilometres ), trek to the hamlets of Grahan and Pulgaon to experience outstanding nature.

5. Bhimtal, Uttarakhand

Bhimtal

The beauteous Bhimtal; Picture Courtesy – Mapio

Chill out amidst mind blowing scenery beside the fascinating emerald green lake surrounded with hills at Bhimtal. Located about 22 kilometres from Nainital, this place is gaining much popularity among travellers who are inclined to avoid the crowd in Nainital. With lots of staying options at great locations, Bhimtal is great place for holidaying. Explore the place hiking; enjoy boating and paragliding, spot numerous birds, visit temples, go sightseeing, enjoy the chill and much more. And the bright clear weather in December makes the lake water appear even emeraldier.

6. Kutch, Gujarat

Rann of Kutch

The out-worldly scenic beauty of Kutch on full moon night; Picture Courtesy – Rann Utsav

Kutch is undoubtedly loaded with extraordinary scenic beauty in December with the vast expanse of white sands and the infamous Rann Utsav that adds myriad colours to the bare white desert. It’s in December that the entire place that remains submerged in water throughout the monsoons get entirely dry, providing an incomparable spread of salty land with a sprawling area of 30,000 square kilometres. And the colourful Rann Utsav will add eternal colours to your memory that you will cherish for a long time. Enjoy hot-air ballooning, cultural programs, stay in camps, visit Flamingo Sanctuary and Wild Ass Sanctuary, get to see the local life in Bhuj and Dholavira village and lay back at the beaches of Mandvi. Plan your trip so that you can be a witness of the bewitching beauty of the white desert on a full moon night when the land turns blue under moonlight!

7. Chilka, Odisha

Chilka Lake

Birdwatching in Chilka; Picture Courtesy – Mayfair Hotels & Resorts

If you are a birdwatching person, then think no more and plan your trip to Chilka, Asia’s largest salt water lagoon located in Odisha. The lake, covering an area of 1,100 square kilometres is home to multifarious native and migratory birds. There are a few islands on the lake that exhibit diverse flaura and fauna. Take a boat ride in and around the brackish water of Chilka and enjoy spotting dolphins at a hand stretching distance from Satpada. Catch the beautiful sunrise from behind the beautiful hills of the Eastern Ghats at Rambha, situated at one corner of the lake. Feel like you are in the middle of an ocean at Barkul. The clean and relaxed lake experience is surely a mesmerising one.

8. Suntalekhola, Darjeeling

Suntalekhola

The undiluted nature at Suntalekhola; Picture Courtesy – Miles2go

With a captivating medley of green hills, river, forest, waterfall and streams, the place is as unique as its name. In Bhutanese, ‘Suntala’ means oranges and ‘Khola’ means river. December is the harvesting season of oranges and Suntalekhola is an orange hub, located about 84 kilometres from New Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. The place gains an incredible sight with ripe oranges all over in November-December. Explore by hiking, enjoy camping and campfires by the side of the river, walk on the hanging bridge – it’s an enticing abode for relaxing in the lap of unadulterated nature. Sightseeing also includes Samsing, Rocky Island and Satam hamlet.

9. Gir National Park, Gujarat

Gir National Park

Asiatic Lions of Gir National Park

Mostly known for its population of the magnificent Asiatic lions, the dry and deciduous forest area of Gir National Park is also home to leopard, deer, antelope, jackal, striped hyena, fox, various birds and reptiles including marsh crocodile, King Cobra and lots more. December is a great time to enjoy the wilderness of the woods though chances to spot the wild beasts are a bit low. But in Gir, you get to see lions even outside the enclosed area. So, you need not worry about spotting them out in the wild. Jeep safaris and guides are available. Tourists can also take a 20-30 minutes of drive according to budget. There’s no chance of getting disappointed either way.

10. Auli, Uttarakhand

Auli

Auli – Winter’s Paradise; Picture Courtesy – Mouthshut

What is winter without winter sports? If you are in search of fun and adventure, then book your tickets for Auli. The popularity of Auli needs no introduction. It attracts tourists and travellers across the globe throughout the year but during the winter months the attraction is at its peak. Try your hand at skiing and make the most of it; have an exciting playful time in this snow wonderland. It’s simply one of the best destinations to head on along with your buddies. This is gonna be a cherishable trip in your life for years to come.

So, where are you travelling to in December? Even if you don’t have any plans, just go for it and come back with an unforgettable experience. I bet after this trip, you will fall in love with December. Happy tripping! Let me know your pick from the list in the comment section below.

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15 Responses

  1. Very well compiled list and amazing pics!

  2. jessica says:

    We traveled to India in the winter a few years ago and it really does seem to be a great time to visit! I had never heard of Manikaran before. It looks amazing!

  3. Gypsycouple says:

    Love the idea of a last minute bucket list. That said this is a wonderful piece of curation and can (and probably will) be very useful.

  4. Joaquim Miro says:

    Omg all these places look amazing! Took a while to find out where each is but totally worth it 🙂 I shared the post on my travel blog as well!

  5. Colleen says:

    I love this list and your photos are amazing! I’m headed to India for Holi in March, I’m going to bookmark this so I can try to go to all the same places, especially the wild life sanctuaries. So cool!

    • Mango Lady says:

      Thank you so much Colleen for your kind words. March is a great time to be in wild life sanctuaries, especially for spotting the beasts. I will also come up with a list of destinations for March soon. Hope you will find that helpful too 🙂

  6. I spent several months working in India yet didn’t even know about half of these places. Great list!

  7. Oi Meira says:

    INDIA HAS SNOW!!???? I didn’t know that! Okay let me pick some. Mawlynnong, Yuksom, Auli, Kutch! So, you have been to all of these places? That’s awesome.

    • Mango Lady says:

      Of course, India has snow and a lot of snow! 😀 There’s Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh. You just need to know the right seasons to visit them so that you don’t end up visiting when the roads are closed 🙂

  8. SamH Travels says:

    This is an awesome list of things to see and do in India. The photos are amazing and I just wish I was visiting India in December so I could try them out! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  9. Liana says:

    I love this list, and your photos are so good! It makes us want to go to India and visit even tho I bet the tickets are way overpriced for December! There’s something I’d love to do and it’s trekking, so going on for the Yuksom, Sikkim route is something I’d quite enjoy. I’m such a lover of beautiful backgrounds and meeting people with different cultural background, and I know India is the place I definitely want to visit!

  10. Maria says:

    Thats a great bucket list for December 🙂 No question that these are incredible places. Never cease to be amazed by the diversity of India.

  11. Vyjay says:

    This is a lovely list. In fact, we had planned for Kutch and later changed it to Auli, before finally dropping both because of unavoidable circumstances. Hope to get to these destinations next year.

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