Winter has its own charm. And so does the places that offer the best of nature during this time. The abode of six seasons, India’s exuberant and exotic imprints lie scattered in every corner of it. From mysterious places to serene beaches, from palatial magnificence to wandering wildlife, India remains a sought out destination.
Winter in India is as varied as the country itself. There is something for everyone out there. Seeking thrill, tranquillity, adventure or plain relaxation are just to name a few.
The unknown rambling path is why we bring you here. Tread on these paths and opt for lesser-known travel destinations to have an enriching experience.
Let’s open some offbeat chapters this time-
1.Dzükou Valley: Famed for its Dzükou Lily, this picturesque mountain beauty mostly lies untouched. Lying on the border stretch of Nagaland and Manipur behind Japfü peak, this vale displays an ‘unsullied army of lilies’ as its grand spectacle. It can also be dubbed as the ‘valley of flowers’ of the north-east.
Strolling on the handmade bridges on narrow rivulets is like a Disney tale spun in India. In winter, the temperature doesn’t drop below 10 at night. Waiting for lilies to bloom in spring is what pulls you back to this place.
Imagine walking on the meadows with very less trees in sight. Meandering streams solidified at night and delicate ice crystals await you before the sun starts shimmering in all its glory. This is what makes it unique and picture-perfect.
Dzükou Valley also hosts a ten-day ‘Hornbill festival’ held in Kisama village (Kohima) in the month of December (the first week to be precise). This marks the unity of 16 Naga tribes to co-exist in harmony. You get a great exposure to ‘Naga culture’ in this festival. You may also bear witness to winter harvesting festivals of Bushu and Pochuri tribes.
Winter attractions: Trekking, Wildlife sighting, Bird watching, Sunrise and more.
How to reach: A Taxi ride from Dimapur or Guwahati to Kohima or from Viswema village. Or hop on your Fortuner and start the splendid journey! [Avoid Sundays, if going via taxis].
Highlights: Rhododendron tree (tallest in the world standing at 109 feet), 10-Day Hornbill festival, Trekking on Japfü peak for viewing the entire valley, Natural caves, Flora and fauna.
Point to Remember: Get an ILP (Inner Line Permit) for entering the valley at any of the official Nagaland houses in major cities (New Delhi, Kolkata, Shillong, Guwahati etc.) as it is mandatory.
2.Talasari Beach, Odisha: If you thought only Allepey of Kerala has backwaters then think again. Not yet included as one of the top places to go in December, this one is a hidden beauty. The palm trees surrounding the area give the place its name. Located in Baleswar district on the north-eastern coast of India, this gem displays some exotic backwaters to its credit. If you are tired of Digha and Mandarmani beaches in the east, try Talasari. It hosts a scenic and peaceful panoramic view. You can book a boat trip for Bichitrapur to add extras to your journey.
Main attraction: Green paddy fields, secluded and secret beaches, palm and casuarina trees, red crabs and serenity.
How to reach: 10 km from Digha beach in Bengal. It takes hardly 15-20 mins by car.
Highlights: Sand-dunes, calm waves, nearby beaches, virgin sands, Red crab, & the bank of Subarnarekha River.
Point to Note: Solitude lovers will find it much appealing, perfect for rejuvenation.
Recommended: 9 Fun Things to do on your next road trip
3.Goa- The land of carnivals and festivities: This one is a cliché. Agreed! But the winter destinations are not. Goa is not just the party capital of India with major international fests, but also has a transcendent side to it.
There is a lot more in Goa to go for during winters.
Some of them are-
- Rural Goa: NO! Goa is not all sand, sun, beaches, and parties. It also has a soul to look into. Your December holidays need not be full of snow and mountains. You can choose to ditch the norm this time. With Portuguese style rustic houses and local Feni, rural Goa is sure to leave an everlasting taste and impression.
- Cabo de Rama Fort: Did you know where did Ram and Sita stay during exile? It is said they took refuge here in this very fort. Its ruins stand 60 km away in Canacona, from the main capital-Panjim. Barring a few monkeys, old ruins, sea eagles and local fauna, this place offers quietude. Compose your very own ‘The Solitary Reaper’ or feel the waves crashing in front of the lost fort. You won’t regret being a bad poet here!
- Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary: A truly majestic and offbeat treat to the eyes, this place is the next lush mangrove habitat after the Sunderbans of Bengal and Bangladesh. Festooned with migratory birds from Siberia, herons (striated and western reef), it also hosts mudskippers, fiddler crabs, and pied avocet (these birds share the colour code with zebras). A ferry ride across the Mandovi River takes you to this wildly beautiful arena on Chorao Islands.
Main Attraction: You are kidding on this, right!?
Other Highlights: SUNBURN Festival (29-31 Dec 2018), Dudhsagar falls, Fort Tiracol, Devil’s Canyon, Harvalem Waterfalls, Dolphin sighting.
How to reach: Start your Toyota Yaris and check your GPS. Mark your locations. You don’t need anything more.
Point to Note: It’s impossible to capture the spirit of offbeat Goa in one blog. Choose your lot from the wild and passionate Goa.
4.Bundi: Known as the ‘Little Kashi’, Bundi is a masterpiece in itself. Situated in the Hadoti region in Rajasthan, this city has a long history to narrate. The land of 84 cenotaphs, Bundi is not everyday Rajasthan with mere sand or the desert. The view from the Annapurna Haveli of the Naval Sagar Lake is straight out of a novel description. You can choose to go to Baoris, the palace, or the Javit Sagar Lake. Whatever you choose will not leave your psyche for a very long time. Due to its retained historical charm, it qualifies as one of the best places to visit in December.
Main attractions: Reservoirs, Ornate palaces, Lakes, Taragarh Fort, Rock Art Sites.
How to reach: The nearest town is Kota. Drive for half an hour from Kota to reach Bundi.
Highlights: Large Steep wells, Murals & Frescoes, Folk culture, Chaurasi Khambon Ki Chhatri and much more.
Point to Note: Winter is the perfect time for going to Bundi. You certainly don’t want to regret this.
Read more: Head Out To These 11 Stunning Offbeat Destinations in Himachal
5.Rann Of Kutch: ‘Kuch din to guzaro Gujrat me’…this Gujrat Tourism tagline suits Kutch perfectly. This place HAS to make its place in the best places to visit in December. Transforming into a surreal white desert in winters, Kutch is extraordinary. Words fall short in describing its splendor and opulence. Home to the largest salt marsh in the world, Kutch inspires and awes at the same time. Salt bed as far as the eyes can see with Banni grassland make its grandeur intimidating. You would be spellbound when you witness the starry night over the vast marshland of Kutch.
Winter Attraction: India’s biggest White desert festival-Rann Utsav (of 3 months duration, Dec-Feb)
How to reach: The best option is your own vehicle. Don’t wait for X-mas. Get into your Corolla Altis and drive straight.
Highlights: Plush white marshy salt flats and desert festivities
Point to remember: This place is equally good at day and night. Honeymoon couples prefer this place in winters.
The best destination to visit in December is all about beating the cliches and unraveling the new unchartered paths.
Winter is coming and it won’t stay forever! Just go. If we have missed any offbeat winter destinations, share in the comments section below. Comments await you!