Even if you already have a fair idea of where to celebrate New Year’s, refresh your list of party destinations and remind yourself why you fell in love with these places in the first place. Here’s our list of 10 such destinations.
Dive deep into the ocean to a truly quiet, completely silent place to meditate on what the New Year will bring. Havelock Island, in Andaman, has the bluest waters and dazzling white sand beaches with bamboo huts. You can also go sea kayaking through mangroves or take a boat ride to the oldest lighthouse surrounded by beautiful coral reefs.
Do you love solitude, nature, and the Jungle Book? Like Mowgli, do you like to climb trees, and sometimes have the urge to swing from vines? Then the perfect New Year plan for you would be a stay in a tree house perched above a rainforest canopy in Wayanad, in Kerala. Spend the morning after either birdwatching or keeping an ear out for the laugh-like call of the Wayanad laughing thrush.
Nightclub parties, beach dos, grand dances on lit-up streets, and some of the best trance and EDM events have landed Goa among the top New Year destinations in the world. Begin your celebrations early with Sunburn, the biggest electronic music festival in the country held at Vagator beach from 27 December to 29 December. Or hit the nightclubs scene with joints like Tito’s and Mambo’s (Baga), Club Cubana (Arpora), 9 Bar (Vagator) and Sinq (Candolim) that host New Year parties through the night. For the best under-the-sky parties, head to Anjuna, Vagator, Baga, Candolim. Morjim and Palolem have quieter, more intimate revelries. Maybe you’d like to bring in the New Year on water, and not on land? Hire a boat or try a river or sea cruise with DJs, dance, fireworks and games. To celebrate New Year’s like the Goans have for years, the place to be at is a traditional New Year’s Eve Ball. You can also head to the streets below Club Nacional in Panjim that host one of the oldest, biggest and most popular New Year dances in Goa.
It’s the undisputed heavyweight when it comes to the hippest New Year’s parties, with hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs hosting great events and serving exquisite food. For a five-starred do, head to the Dome at The InterContinental on Marine Drive which has some amazing views across the ocean. The best places to natter and dance in Mumbai are Enigma at J W Marriott Hotel, Juhu; Hard Rock Cafe inside Bombay Dyeing Mills Compound, Worli; the Blue Frog in Lower Parel; Bonobo in Kenilworth Mall, Bandra; B69 at Bhaidas Bhuta Compound, Andheri East; Canvas at Palladium, Lower Parel; Prive & Tetsuma in Colaba; and Hawaiian Shack in Juhu. If you’re looking for laughs, then head to the Comedy Store in Palladium, Lower Parel. Or keep it simple and head to any of Mumbai’s sea-facing places like the Gateway of India, Chowpatty, Marine Drive, Worli, Bandstand, Carter Road and Juhu beach.
The place to be on New Year’s Eve is the iconic Park Street which resembles Times Square with choc-a-bloc crowds, lighting and music. The street celebrations date back to the swinging ’60s, when the city had some of the best food and live jazz troupes in India. Today great live music (with beer) can be found at Someplace Else at The Park, and some good food at Flury’s. The morning after, take yourself and your hangover to the New Year races at the Race Course.
This coastal town will see loads of yearend action on the beach with music concerts and open-air parties. But the best vibe is at the Cochin Carnival which will be held from 20 December till 1 January. Thousands from India and abroad will throng Kochi for the carnival, one of the oldest in India and a throwback to the New Year revelry started by the Portuguese. Celebrations include art shows, food festivals, fairs, dirt bike racing and beach sports. It will all end with the grand finale – burning of the Papani, fireworks, and a spectacular carnival rally. So dress-up and go get silly.
Imagine sand dunes, camel safaris, bonfires, and the winter chill of the Thar desert in the shadow of the Golden City havelis. Stay at the desert camps on the sand dunes of Sam and Khuri – you’ll need to grab a tent quickly if this one floats your party boat as they are fast-disappearing. The deserted town of Kuldhara and the Akal Wood fossils park with 180 million years old wood fossils are a must-visit.
French up your New Year with baguettes, cops in kepis, locals speaking fluent French, and beachfront cafes serving croissant au beurre and poisson du jour. Hire a bicycle and go for leisurely rides over coconut tree-laden backwaters. Pondy (as it is fondly known) is a foodie’s paradise with bakeries and cafes serving divine French and Creole cuisine. Start the first day of the new year with a spiritual journey to the multinational experimental township, Auroville (or the City of Dawn).
Mists in the Himalayan foothills, cobbled streets, Victorian houses and the chance of snow – New Year in Darjeeling can be magical with a retro touch. The Windamere Hotel and The Elgin are grand dames of sorts, with music shows, dances and special menus which include old favourites like roast lamb, chicken with brandy sauce, and ham and sausages. If you want something quieter, the Glenburn Tea Estate lays out cocktails around the bonfire, cultural performances, a four-course dinner with complementary wine, and champagne in front of a firework display at midnight.
Bring in a cosy New Year with a brandy-infused hot punch or a cup of cocoa by a fireside in the winter wonderland of Auli in Uttarakhand. Go skiing on snow-covered slopes which offer a panoramic view of Himalayan peaks like Neelkanth and Nanda Devi. Or check out the local temples, hot springs and haunted spots.