Top 20 places for a holiday in December

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The cold weather has brought along the joy of spending a wholesome vacation. Get set with the lightest possible luggage and pick from a wide number of places we have listed for you.

Dalhousie

Dalhousie’s host of thickly wooded trails, plunging pine-clad valleys, magnificent views, and salubrious climes are exactly what the doctor ordered! This town is like a painting straight out of the pages of a Victorian sketchbook.

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Auli

 

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Rising above Joshimath, 14km by road – and only 4km by the gondola-style cable car – Auli is India’s premier ski resort. Enjoy the awesome views of Nanda Devi (India’s second-highest peak) from the top of the cable-car station.

Goa

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A kaleidoscopic blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures, sweetened with sun, sea, sand, seafood, susegad and spirituality, Goa is India’s pocket-sized paradise.

Andaman Islands

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With shimmering turquoise waters fringed by primeval jungle, fantastic diving, and sugar-white, sun-toasted beaches melting under flame-and-purple sunsets, the far-flung Andaman Islands are the perfect Indian escape.

Amritsar

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Amritsar is home to the spectacular Golden Temple, Sikhism’s holiest shrine and one of India’s most serene and humbling sights. The hyperactive streets surrounding the temple have been calmed to some extent by recent urban landscaping, including graceful pedestrianised walkways.

Bharatpur

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Bharatpur is famous for its wonderful Unesco-listed Keoladeo National Park, a wetland and significant bird sanctuary. Apart from the park, Bharatpur also has a few historic vestiges and a good museum worth visiting, though it wouldn’t be worth making the journey here for these sights alone.

Konark

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The iconic Sun Temple at Konark – a Unesco World Heritage Site – is one of India’s signature buildings and Odisha’s raison d’être. Most visitors are day trippers from Bhubaneswar or Puri, which makes sense, as the temple is Konark’s sole attraction.

Udaipur

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Udaipur has a romance of setting unmatched in Rajasthan and arguably in all India – snuggling beside tranquil Lake Pichola, with the purple ridges of the Aravalli Range stretching away in every direction.

Shillong

As the state capital of Meghalaya, Shillong has rapidly developed into a typical modern Indian town, still retaining some of its colonial-era charm. Top attractions of the city are- Don Bosco Museum, Umiam Lake, Shillong Golf Course, Ward’s Lake and Pinewood Hotel.

Darjeeling

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Spread in ribbons over a steep mountain ridge, surrounded by emerald-green tea plantations and towered over by majestic Kangchenjunga, Darjeeling is the definitive Indian hill station and, for many, West Bengal’s premier destination.

Alappuzha

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Alappuzha – most still call it Alleppey – is the hub of Kerala’s backwaters, home to a vast network of waterways, over a thousand houseboats and an important coir industry. Wandering around the small but chaotic city centre, with its modest grid of canals, you’d be hard-pressed to agree with the ‘Venice of the East’ tag.

Ranthambore

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This famous national park is the best place to spot wild tigers in Rajasthan. It comprises 1334 sq km of wild jungle scrub hemmed in by rocky ridges, and at its centre is the 10th-century Ranthambore Fort.

Gokarna

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A regular nominee among travellers’ favourite beaches in India, Gokarna attracts a crowd for a low-key, chilled-out beach holiday and not for full-scale parties. Most accommodation is in thatched bamboo huts along the town’s several stretches of blissful coast.

Kovalam

Once a calm fishing village clustered around its crescent beaches and backed by a sea of cascading palms, Kovalam now competes with Varkala as Kerala’s most developed resort. The touristed main stretch, Lighthouse Beach, is flanked by hotels and restaurants stretching back into the hillside from the shore.

Tawang

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A mighty gash in the earth fringed by magnificent mountains and speckled with gold-and-white gompas (Tibetan Buddhist monasteries), the Shangri La–like Tawang Valley awaits at the end of a long, spectacular route up from the Brahmaputra plains. Getting here is an adventure in itself as you zigzag up and down mountainsides where colourful prayer flags and stupas proliferate, while the lush jungle gradually gives way to icy passes and peaks.

Dawki

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Drift through the serene clear waters of Dawki. Take a glance at this fairyland where you encounter cascades that drop from the crevices of the magnificent mountains covering them green. Indulge in the beauty of nature as we take you on this peace-filled ride.

Kaziranga National Park

Famed as a haven for the one-horned rhinoceros, one of India’s great wildlife emblems, Kaziranga National Park encompasses grasslands, wetlands and forests for about 60km on the south side of the Brahmaputra River. Its 2400-plus rhinos comprise two-thirds of the world’s population and you’re highly likely to see some on any safari in the park (usually grazing peacefully).

Manali

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With mountain adventures beckoning from all directions, Manali is a year-round magnet. Backpackers are well catered for in some parts of the town where numerous agents offer trekking, climbing, paragliding, rafting and skiing according to season.

Gangtok

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Irreverent, cheerful and pleasantly boisterous, Sikkim’s modern capital is layered along a precipitous mountain ridge, descending the hillside in steep tiers. Viewpoints survey plunging green valleys that remain beautiful even when partly shrouded in mist.

Kochi

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Set on a magnificent estuary, serene Kochi has been drawing traders, explorers and travellers to its shores for over 600 years. Nowhere else in India could you find such an intriguing mix: giant Chinese fishing nets, a 450-year-old synagogue, ancient mosques, Portuguese- and Dutch-era houses and the crumbling remains of the British Raj.