Are you planning to travel to India in December and are not sure what to expect? We have visited the sub-continent many times and in different seasons, so we can compare the different experiences we had at different times.
Because of the lovely weather that it’s not too hot anymore and the rainfalls of the monsoon season are over, December is a very popular month to travel to India. Offering a wide and extremely diverse range of experiences, from the harshest mountain peaks to the balmy backwaters of southern Indian Kerala, India in December is an exciting destination.
Our guide wants to be of solid help if you are planning such a trip. Apart from a list of the best places to visit in India in December, we will also mention the different weather conditions in each destination, and we will give important tips on what to pack and what to wear.
All in all, we are hoping we will make it easier for you to decide if you should travel to India in December or not.
Is December a good time to visit India?
December is the best time to visit India. It marks the beginning of winter, which means colder temperatures and the end of the monsoon rains. In India, this is all good news, literally a breath of fresh air.
By visiting India in December, walking around the landmarks and cities streets will be much more pleasant than in August. In fact, August is probably one of the worst months to visit India.
Weather in December in India
In such a huge country, it’s only normal that the weather in India in December varies a lot depending on the state. On average, the weather in India in December ranges between 15°C (59°F) and 27°C (81°F), mostly sunny, with very little rain, from one to two days.
Even though each region has its own temperature in India, this is a reference you can keep in mind wherever you are going. More specifically, in northern India such as Delhi and Rajasthan, temperatures range around 24 to 25°C (75-77°F) while in central and southern places like Goa and Kerala the highest can reach around 30 to 32°C (86-90°F).
Other areas like Ladakh get much colder and temperatures can reach 2°C (36°F) the highest and some -10°C (14°F) the lowest.
Of course, this is considered fresh in India, while tourists from Europe or the US might find these temperatures still warm. But I assure you, it’s a pleasant warmth, unlike the Indian summer-like weather that is really hot and perceived even hotter because of the high humidity level.
December is a pretty dry month, and being the highest temperatures ranging around 27°C (80/81°F), sightseeing becomes a pleasure.
Is December a good time to visit North India?
December is a great time to visit also the popular northern state of Rajasthan and its highlights such as the pink city of Jaipur, the romantic Udaipur, Jodhpur, and the golden city of Jaisalmer.
While Rajasthan is very touristy and has more services, Uttarakhand is wilder and colder. Still, December is a good time to visit also the Uttarakhand state because the heavy rains of the previous season have stopped.
December showcases some snowfalls and this makes it a perfect time for lovers of winter sports. Temperatures range between 6 and 20°C (43 and 68°F) so make sure you dress warm enough.
21 places to visit in India in December
Delhi is one of the best destinations to visit in India in December. Packed with historical sights, markets, and vibrant neighborhoods to explore, Delhi is best to be enjoyed with fresher temperatures than the humid weather of the summer season.
Whether you spend 4 days in Delhi during a 2-week vacation or you decide to stay less, the Indian capital is always a vibrant destination to explore. Hectic neighborhoods like the central district of Old Delhi, historical sights like the Jama Masjid and Humayun Tomb, and the many local markets that line the streets become a pleasure to visit and walk by.
Even though you can’t avoid public transport because Delhi is huge, you will definitely be more inspired to navigate parts of the city on foot. Shopping havens like Dilli Haat and quaint quarters like Hauz Khas where modern urban style meets old Islamic art are perfect places to spend a day in Delhi in December.
If you are a foodie, don’t miss neighborhoods like Defense Colony for great southern Indian and northern Indian foods, or the lovely Khan Market for a scrumptious Persian meal at SodaBottleOpenerWala.
Jammu & Kashmir
Boasting wonderful natural scenery, Jammu and Kashmir in December are covered with snow. Its breathtaking views make it a very romantic spot and one of the favorite destinations for honeymooners.
Some of the best places you can visit in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in December include Gadsar Lake, the hill station of Sonamarg, a popular base for excursions of Ladakh, and Srinagar and its beautiful Shalimar Bagh gardens and Dal Lake.
Jammu and Kashmir in December is a perfect destination for ski and winter sports fans. Apart from skiing, you can enjoy trekking surrounded by beautiful views.
The city of lakes in the northern state of Uttarakhand, Nainital is a great destination to include in your list if you are traveling to India in December. The weather is quite cold with the highest temperatures ranging around 12°C (53-54°F) and the lowest around 3°C (37-38°F).
In December, it’s likely to snow in Nainital, and now of the best things you can do is to reach Naina Peak with an adrenaline trek and take in the wonderful scenery. Among the other things you can do in Nainital in December, you will find visiting its lakes such as the beautiful Bhimtal Lake and crescent-shaped Naini Lake.
If you are interested in the local culture, a suggestive place to visit is Kainchi Dham, an ashram and a temple. This modern pilgrimage destination is some 17 km from the city of Nainital, so you will need someone to drive you there. Your hotel will likely be able to arrange this and every other tour for you.
Manila is a secluded little town hidden among jungles and mighty peaks. In December, you are likely to find most peaks covered with snow. It’s also possible to find some roads blocked because of the hostile weather, but then I found the road blocked in May due to the heavy rain so I’m guessing it’s just a matter of luck.
This is truly a hidden gem in Uttarakhand and northern India. Here, in fact, you will find very few tourists and very few people in general. You will drive through narrow two-way mountain roads, you can go for endless hiking, and get lost in the jungle and amidst temples.
Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
Jim Corbett National Park is yet another great destination to visit if you are traveling to India in December. Sure temperatures will be a little chilly, but wearing a warm jacket will be enough to get you going.
Actually, despite the cold weather, I would say that December is a great time to visit Jim Corbett National Park. I went in May and it was OK, but I don’t think the rainy summer months of July and August are a good time.
December is dry and walking is very pleasant. Besides, did you know that December is one of the best months to see the gorgeous Bengal tiger wandering around, which is one of the main reasons the park is famous for?!
The beautiful pink city of Rajasthan is a great destination to include in your Indian December itinerary. With temperatures ranging from 24°C (75°F) the highest and 9°C (48°F) the lowest, the weather in December in Jaipur is lovely. Days are dry and walking is a pleasure.
This is why December is a great month to enjoy Jaipur’s biggest highlights such as the Amber Fort, walk around the city to see palaces like the Hawa Mahal and the many open markets, visit Jantar Mantar ancient astronomy center, and reach the scenic Nahargarh Fort to travel across the stronghold that protected the city.
Don’t miss our guide to the best hotels in Jaipur.
Udaipur is another popular travel destination in Rajasthan, and December is one of the best months to visit mainly because of the favorable weather conditions. The highest temperatures range between 24 and 26°C (75 and 80°F) while the lowest range between 10 and 13°C (50 and 55°F).
Udaipur is considered a romantic city in Rajasthan, and this is why December is also a favorite destination for honeymooners.
Even though a pretty crowded month, don’t miss some of the most iconic Udaipur landmarks such as its sacred places such as the famous Jagdish temple, Jain temple, and Karni Mata temple, the dazzling City Palace, and historical places such as Kumbhalgarh Fort, Bagore ki Haveli, and Sajjan Garh Palace.
At least one evening, treat yourself to a dinner in one of the restaurants of Ambrai Ghat in Lake Pichola.
Jaisalmer is the golden city of Rajasthan and another great destination to add to your December in India bucket list. Amble about its huge fort, walk around its alleys, shop at the local markets and duck into the city’s dazzling and finely carved temples.
The weather in Jaisalmer in December is lovely like for the rest of the state. Dry and with temperatures ranging from 26°C (79°F) the highest and 10°C (50°F) the lowest, Jaisalmer is a perfect winter stop in your India trip.
Some of the places and activities you can’t miss in Jaisalmer in December include Gadisar Lake for some fantastic pictures, Maharaja’s Palace and Patwon ki Haveli for their sophisticated carvings, and a safari in the desert.
Don’t miss our guide to the best hotels in Jaisalmer.
Called “the blue city” due to the color of the houses in the old town, Jodhpur is another popular destination in India’s Rajasthan in December. Jodhpur’s highest temperature in December is around 27°C (81°F) while its lowest touches 11°C (52°F).
The days are dry so since the weather is not hot or humid, walking becomes an easy and pleasant task.
Jodhpur is packed with majestic buildings from forts to palaces including the must-see Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Bhawan Palace (now a museum and a hotel), and Jaswant Thada memorial.
Make sure you check out our guide to the best hotels in Jodhpur.
Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Agra is famous for its Taj Mahal and the imposing structure of its Fort. The weather in Agra in December is like most of the rest of northern India: temperatures between 24°C the highest and 10°C the lowest, and generally dry.
It marks the beginning of winter so the climate is very pleasant, not too hot anymore and not too cold either. The coldest month in Agra is January, but it hardly becomes really cold and it hardly snows.
I suggest staying one day in Agra to visit its two most famous sites. You can either do it as a day trip from Delhi or as a stop on your way to Rajasthan.
Ski, climbing, and winter sports lovers are likely to head to the Himalayas in December.
The northernmost part of India is shaped by the mighty peaks of the Himalayan mountains. Here, it definitely gets very cold and covered in snow. Ski lovers can head to places such as Auli, while if you want to enjoy the view from a city and engage in activities such as trekking and also make it a departure point for skiing, you can consider popular destinations like Manali, Shimla, or Sikkim.
Sikkim is on the border with Tibet and Nepal, while Shimla is the capital of Uttar Pradesh and is located in the Himalayas’ foothills. Shimla is famous also for its shopping hubs such as Lakkar Bazaar, natural landscape, and colorful temples.
Spiti Valley is a remote region in the northern Indian Himalayas. The views are truly breathtaking and in December even more because of the snow. However, Spiti Valley in December is really for the snow passionate and for those who don’t fear cold weather. The temperature in the Spiti Valley in December, in fact, is between -1 and -5°C (23-30°F) the highest, while the lowest reaches -20 to -25°C (-4 to -13°F).
As the snow starts in October, in December the only way to reach Spiti Valley is from Shimla because the local municipality closes the other roads. Foreigner travelers need to apply for a special permit to visit Spity Valley. This is called Inner Line Permit and you need to apply from the district local offices in Shimla.
If you are determined to visit this Indian remote corner, keep in mind that the harsh weather might cause also a lack of running water in case of frozen water pipes, possible cuts in electricity, hotels with very basic facilities, possible food shortages, and sometimes even weak mobile network signal.
If adventure is your motto, Spiti is for you, but probably if you go in December, I suggest booking a tour with a local guide!
Leh is the largest city of the Ladakh province, a union territory ruled by India in the larger state of Kashmir. Leh Ladakh is also very cold in December, so only for the brave and the lovers of winter sports, activities, and vibe.
If adventures like ice climbing, ice skating, trekking in the snow, or even trekking in frozen lakes are your cup of tea, then book your trip to Leh Ladakh if you are visiting India in December!
Even though cold and hostile (6°C/43°F the highest during the day, -22°C/-8°F the lowest at night), a trip to Leh Ladakh in December is easier than one to the Spiti Valley. You can attend local festivals and visit Hemis National Park where, if you are lucky, you will see the gorgeous snow leopard.
Varanasi is the holy city of India. Forget Himalaya’s temperatures, here, with 25°C/77°F during the day and 10°C/50°F at night, it’s warm and pleasant. This is a very touristy city in India, with both local and foreign travelers. December is a popular month thanks to the pleasant weather.
Among the best things you can do in Varanasi are a boat ride on the Gange river, discover famous local temples such as Shri Kashi Vishwanath, Maa Annapurna, Tulsi Manas, Sankatha, and the very popular Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Don’t forget to explore the ghats, and enjoy the romantic local sunset.
Tamil Nadu is a southern Indian state. In December, the weather is very warm but pleasant because the rainfalls of the previous season have stopped. Temperatures range between 17°C/63°F and 35°C/95°F and the green landscape is always inviting for long hikes.
If you decide to make Tamil Nadu a stop in your December India trip, don’t miss places such as Ooty and Kodaikanal hill stations and the coastal town and beach of Kanyakumari.
Lakshadweep is one of those dreamy places where any time of the year is a good time to visit. A tropical archipelago of more than 30 islands and gorgeous coral reefs in the Laccadive Sea off the coast of Kerala, Lakshadweep offers its visitors a wonderful scenery and a lovely weather with temperatures ranging between 20°C/68°F to 32°C/90°F.
With such a warm weather and beautiful sea bed, some of the favorite activities in Lakshadweep include snorkeling and other water sports such as scuba diving, kayaking, and canoeing. Explore Lakshadweep’s islands and enjoy every day a new view.
What about going to the beach at Christmas? Well, if you are traveling to Goa in December, that will probably be the case!
Goa is a very popular tourist destination, so if you are planning your India trip in December and want to include Goa in your itinerary, book ahead your hotel, your flights, and whichever guided tour you want to join.
Some of the best things to do in Goa include water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking, a trip to Dudhsagar Falls and Mollem National Park, and of course wandering around the city and visiting its temples and local markets.
Kerala is in far southern India and the weather is pretty warm with the highest day temperatures being around 30°C/86°F and the lowest at night around 24°C/75°F. Mostly sunny with some chances of rainfall, what’s to be enjoyed in Kerala is its natural landscape that gives countless trekking opportunities.
Take a tour to the wonderful Wayanad luscious green orchards and spice plantations for a regenerating trek or explore the tea plantations of Munnar. Plan a day trip to Kumarakom, the quaint village on the Vembanad Lake in Kerala’s famous backwaters and where you can visit the bird sanctuary.
A cool destination to visit in Kerala is also Kochi, a tranquil fishing town, while for hilltops and natural landscapes, head to Idukki in the western ghats of Kerala. As everywhere in southern India, enjoy tucking into the ambrosial local spicy foods.
A city in the Indian West Bengal state, Kolkata in December is pretty warm. It’s a dry month but temperatures range between 27°C/81°F and 13°C/55°F. With a mix of spiritual sites, architectural feats, and natural scenery, a trip to Kolkata never runs out of things to do.
When in Kolkata, take a trip to Sundarbans to admire the local wildlife, duck into the cities’ temples, visit Victoria Memorial Palace to admire the dazzling architecture, wander around the streets, and take your kids to the lively Nikko amusement park.
Karnataka (Devbagh Island)
Karnataka is quite warm in December, even though in the evening is fresher and a shawl might be required. Average temperatures in Karnataka in India in December range between 26°C/79°F as the highest an 15°C/59°F as the lowest.
With such a pleasant and mostly dry weather, all activities are possible in Karnataka in December. Enjoy the lush greenery of the rural district of Coorg, also called Kodagu and explore Mysore district for a local history overdose and majestic architecture.
When in Karnataka, visit Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary for a chance to spot local wildlife species such as leopards and panthers, and of course devote at least a day to explore its capital city Bangalore.
The Andaman is an archipelago of around 300 islands in the northeastern Indian Ocean in the Bay of Bengal. With balmy temperatures ranging between 22°C/72°F at night and 30°C/86°F during the day in December, the Andaman Islands are a charming mix of sandy tropical beaches and rainforests.
If you are planning a relaxing holiday in India in December, then stay away from the cities’ chaos and just stay in the Andamans. With plenty of water sports such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking across a forest of mangroves, you can regenerate before heading back to daily life.
How to plan a trip to India in December
December is a pretty busy tourist month in India so in order to enjoy your trip, some thorough planning is in order. Whether you are visiting the warm south or the cold Himalayan regions, planning ahead is a must for every December trip to India.
I strongly recommend to book ahead hotels, international flights, and domestic transportation, be it a flight, a train ride, or a coach. Whether you are heading to places with fully-fitted accommodation options or not, booking ahead is very important in that you have more chance to find better services.
Take a tour
If you are going to harsh destinations, especially in the Himalayas, such as the Spiti Valley, or want to visit more cities in a limited time, booking a tour to India might be a sound choice.
Guided tours are always led by a local expert and you are going to have private transportation, a car, a van, or a minibus. If you prefer to just enjoy your trip and have the difficult logistic aspects taken care of, I think you should consider a tour with a reliable company.
Plan an itinerary
Even though planning exactly everything is pretty impossible and it’s always better to have some room to make changes on the way, if you plan your itinerary in advance, your trip will run smoother.
If you are going to northern India, you might want to plan your itinerary from Delhi to states like Rajasthan or Uttarakhand. While if you are headed to southern India, you might start your trip in Mumbai and from there fly to Goa or Kerala.
India is not an easy country to explore, so planning an itinerary before traveling will make things much easier once there.
Pack depending on the destination
As we saw, the weather in India in December varies a lot depending on the region and the state.
If you are visiting northern Indian states and cities like Rajasthan and Delhi, a jumper and a light jacket will be enough. In these places hotels are well-equipped with all facilities so at night you will have the heating on.
If you are visiting cold regions such as the Himalayas, you will want to pack warmer clothes and definitely your usual flu medicines!
When visiting India, don’t forget that it’s a conservative country and some area very religious. Women should avoid too revealing clothes as well as miniskirts and tights pants and dresses. You can wear leggings with a longer shirt on top.
Shoe-wise, there is not really a rule, you can simply wear what’s most comfortable for you and what’s best depending on the weather and what you are going to do, whether it’s trekking or walking in the city.
Make sure you read our complete guide to planning a trip to India.
What to wear and what to pack for India in December
Each region has different packing needs. One thing I recommend packing whichever your destination in India is, is the SteriPen to purify your water before drinking it.
What to pack for North India in December
- Long-sleeve tops. Perfect for layering.
- Light jacket.
- Leggings or other comfy trousers.
- Cotton socks.
- Runners or sneakers.
- Creams and moisturizers. The skin might become dry.
- Shawl or light scarf for the night.
- Backpack or cross-body bag.
- Travel bottle. To carry drinking water always with you.
What to pack for the Himalayas in December
- Warm long-sleeve tops. Better if thermic ones.
- Wool socks.
- Trekking shoes.
- Warm, padded boots.
- Wool sweaters.
- Warm, heavy jacket or coat.
- Warm hat, gloves, and scarf. You will need them every day, whether you head for the mountain or stay in the city.
- Sunscreen. That’s right, in the snow-covered mountains you will need to protect your skin from the sun!
- Flu medicines/remedies. Apart from the fact that you might get a cold, it’s also possible that pharmacies are not immediately easy to reach.
- Creams and moisturizers. The skin will definitely become dry.
- Backpack. Necessary to carry what you need when hiking or trekking.
- Travel bottle. To carry drinking water always with you.
What to pack for South India in December
- Sunscreen. Sunny and beach-friendly, so whichever your destination in southern India is, a sun protector is a must.
- Light and wide-leg trousers. Comfortable to walk and to keep you fresher.
- Cotton short-sleeve tops.
- Some long-sleeve tops. For the evening just in case.
- A light jacket.
- Dresses. Loose and comfortable to walk with.
- Sneakers or comfortable walking sandals.
- Shawl. For the evening, in case it becomes humid.
- Backpack or cross-body bag to carry around.
- Travel bottle. To have drinking water always with you.
For more tips, check out our full guide to packing for India.