Posted 25 November 2022

The best Indian cities to visit in December for a Merry Christmas

India is home to 25 billion individuals who worship Lord Jesus. One of the largest Indian Christian Communities is in Mumbai. A lot of Christians in Mumbai are Roman Catholics. In India's smallest state, Goa, which is on the west of India, about 26% of people are Christians. Many of the Christians in Mumbai came from or have roots in Goa. The states of Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram (all on the very east of India) have high populations of Christians as well. In Southern India, Christians often put small oil burning clay lamps on the flat roofs of their homes to show their neighbours that Jesus is the light of the world. In north-west India, the tribal Christians of the Bhil folk, go out night after night for a week at Christmas to sing their own carols the whole night. They go to surrounding villages singing to people and telling the Christmas story.

Travelling during Christmas has got to be a once in a lifetime experience, especially because of the merry environment all around!

Here are some of the best places one can explore in India during the peak Christmas season:

1. Goa

Around one-third of the entire population of Goa identifies as Catholic. Other than this, India’s smallest state also bestows you with some stunning golden sand beaches and blissful blue skies. Now imagine what Christmas would be like in Goa? Let us fire your imagination! Christmas is the time when the entire Goa basks in festivities and is decked up like a bride. After the meal, Christians head to Church for a midnight mass service. After the service, the church bells ring to announce that Christmas Day has arrived.

Travel tips

  • The Goan weather requires the use of sunscreen and hats throughout the day, as well as a light sweater at night. So keep that in mind when packing.

How to reach Goa?

  • By road: You can also reach Goa through roadways as there are numerous buses that offer their services to travellers. The nearest bus stand is Kadamba bus stand of Panaji which is considered as the main bus station. Goa even has its own bus service that connects major cities inside and outside of the state.
  • By rail: Via railways, it is quite easy to reach Goa as the major railway stations in Goa are located in Margao. These railway stations are well linked with Mumbai and other major parts of the country.
  • By air: Dabolim International Airport is situated at a distance of almost 29 km away from Panaji. You can avail direct non-stop hassle free IndiGo flights to Goa from major cities. 

Best time to visit and weather conditions

The average maximum temperature during the day in Goa is 32.4°C in the month of December, while the average low temperature after dark is 20.6°C. The first week of the month is usually the warmest. You can attend midnight masses at any one of the 400 churches present in Goa. Witness the picturesque fireworks that Goa has to offer. Anjuna Beach offers a myriad of colours and light as the entire beach area goes partying until dawn, with the crazy crowd and colourful cracker show it’s one of the most significant things to be a part of while in Goa. Treat yourself to an extravagant Christmas feast including pork sorpotel, roast turkey, and an assortment of grilled seafood. Do not miss out on the traditional fruit cake made of wine and dry fruits without which a Goa Christmas party is incomplete.

Read more about: Top four reasons to discover Goa - a perfect destination for beach lovers

2. Shillong, Meghalaya

This amazing north-eastern city in Meghalaya has a considerable population of Christians who celebrate the birth anniversary of Christ with pomp and show, which makes it a picturesque place to celebrate Christmas in north-east India. The streets, the churches and the homes are decorated with beautiful lights and one can easily feel the excitement in the air.

Travel tips

You can visit the Shillong Catholic Cathedral, Laitumkhrah Presbyterian Church, All Saints Church to attend the night-long masses on Christmas eve

  • Gorge on some delicious cakes and other dishes
  • Watch the lighting on the century-old fir tree in Shillong

How to reach Shillong?

  • By road: Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) and Meghalaya Transport Corporation (MTC) run buses from Guwahati to Shillong. The main interstate bus stand is located near Guwahati railway station. Reasonable prices for different types of buses like AC, AC Sleeper, luxury and Volvo buses are available for Shillong. Some of the places nearby which you can visit are Cherrapunji (55 km) and Jowai (61 km).
  • By rail: There are as such no proper rail lines in Meghalaya. Guwahati railway station is the nearest railway station situated at a distance of 105 km from Shillong. The city is well connected to all other major cities of the country via rail medium. There are also taxi as well as bus facilities for Shillong.
  • By air: Shillong Airport or Umroi Airport is located 30 km away from the city centre. IndiGo operates a daily non-stop flights to Shillong from other major cities across the country.

The nearby airport of Guwahati, the state capital of Assam, is also close to Shillong. The journey from Guwahati to Shillong can be completed with a 4-hour drive via NH 40.

Best time to visit and weather conditions

December is one of the coldest months in Shillong, with lows of 6°C and highs of 18°C, making it essential to layer your warm woollens. The temperature ranges from 5 to 17°C, with the average temperature being around 12°C. Even if the temperature is unbearable for some, the views of the Khasi hills on Christmas are worth it.

Read more about: Love the monsoons? Here’s why Shillong is the perfect rainy getaway

3. Puducherry

The “Little France”, as it is known in those parts of the country, is gifted with wonderful architecture, beautiful beaches and delightful French cuisine.

You can enjoy the celebrations of Christmas in India in its true form in Puducherry. From decked up Christmas trees set in malls and other public places to all-night masses in famous churches like Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Our Lady of Assumption Church, Puducherry offers you the best Christmas experience.

Travel tips

  • Since the city gets packed during Christmas, and traffic becomes slow, we recommend you to travel to Puducherry at least two or three days before the big day.
  • Although it may be chilly and comfortable for a large group of travellers to roam around without needing to wear additional clothing, it is recommended to bring light woollens when visiting Puducherry in the winter.

How to reach Puducherry?

  • By road: One of the most cost-effective and convenient ways of reaching Puducherry is via well-maintained motorable roads. A number of state and private buses ply at frequent intervals from most South Indian cities, including Chennai (170 km), Bengaluru (375 km), Coimbatore (380 km) and Mahabalipuram (100 km). Those travelling from Chennai are in for a visual treat as the East Coast Road (ECR) leading to Puducherryis an extremely picturesque highway, having sand dunes on one side and sea on the other. Besides, there are several Bengaluru to Puducherry and Chennai to Puducherry buses available at regular intervals.
  • By rail: Villupuram Junction railway station, just 37 km away, is the closest railhead to Puducherry. The railway station is well linked to places like Chennai, Trichy and Madurai via an extensive rail network. After reaching the railway station, travellers can easily avail bus and taxi services, easily available and extremely comfortable. The trains from Bengaluru to Puducherry are available on a regular basis and take around 9 to 10 hours.
  • By air: Chennai International Airport connects Puducherry to other airports. One of the busiest airports in the country, Chennai airport is about 150 km away from Puducherry and is well linked with not only prime Indian cities but also with international destinations. Non-stop flights are operated by IndiGo from Chennai airport to major cities.

Best time to visit and weather conditions

The months of November to February are considered to be the finest for visiting Puducherry and experiencing it to the fullest as the weather remains good and temperatures remain low but never fall below 17°C, making it quite comfortable. Celebrate a different type of Christmas with some of the best and cleanest beaches like Promenade, Paradise and Serenity Beach.

4. Kolkata

Kolkata’s Christmas celebrations make the festive mood extravagant, as not only Christians, but people from different communities, celebrate the festival with joy, and offer prayers and sing carols during the midnight mass in the churches. There is so much to do during Christmas in Kolkata that the list is endless!

Christmas and Park Street go hand in hand! Watch live performances at Allen Park, food extravaganza, courtesy food kiosks laying out an array of items, crowds of people, loud music and songs, different stalls selling Christmas goodies, the beautiful twinkling lights teamed with the vibrancy of cheerful people all around. Wine, fruit and plum cakes, fresh bread, turkey and duck roasts, the Christmas special buffet at various places, are long awaited! There are several amazing restaurants that offer discounts at this time alongside amazing deals too. Visit the largest and the most popular cathedral in Kolkata, hold the midnight mass, and enjoy music by children in the form of choirs and carols. The church is decorated beautifully for the occasion. Adorned with a Christmas tree, lights, silver bells and streamers, Kolkata hosts a grand celebration. Lastly, with Kolkata and its plethora of clubs and pubs, you can definitely party away like there is no tomorrow.

Travel tips

  • Since the city has narrow lanes, do not carry much baggage when venturing out

How to reach Kolkata?

  • By road: West Bengal state buses cater the city. There are various private buses as well that you can get from here to reach different parts of the country at reasonable cost. Some places near Kolkata are Sunderbans (112 km), Puri (495 km), Konark (571 km) and Darjeeling (624km).
  • By rail: Howrah and Sealdah railway stations are the two major railheads situated in the city. Both of these railway stations are well connected to all the important cities of the country.
  • By air: If you are worried about how to reach Kolkata by air then worry not. The Kolkata International Airport, better known as Subhash Chandra Bose International airport located in Dumdum connects the city with all the major cities of the country as well as the world. IndiGo operates over 100 daily non-stop flights to Kolkata from other key locations in India and abroad.

Best time to visit and weather conditions

December, the first month of winters, is still a hot month in Kolkata, India, with average temperatures ranging from 27°C to 14.5°C. Still, pack a number of hoodies and warm clothes for nights.

Read more about: These seven reasons are enough to entice you to a Kolkata trip

5. Mumbai

Being a cosmopolitan city, Mumbai is one of the best places to enjoy Christmas in India. The roads are decked with lights and props, and delicious aroma of cake wafts from stores. You can witness markets and other public spaces adorned with beautiful props, and shops busy catering to the last-minute rush. The western suburb of Bandra is a place to see in Mumbai during Christmas.

Hill Road is decorated with flowers and lighting during Christmas. One can also spot decorated Christmas trees on the pavement of the Hill Road which the local families put up in the spirit of the festival. The churches in the city are also beautifully lit and decorated with people from all religious backgrounds seen enjoying with their friends and family.

Travel tips

  • It gets cold during evenings and at night so carry a jacket on Christmas eve.

How to reach Mumbai?

  • By road: Mumbai has luxury coaches on the state roadways and private buses. You can easily travel to nearby places in Mumbai like Ahmednagar (253 km), Pune (152 km), and Shirdi (245 km).
  • By rail: The city is the main headquarters for both the western and central railways. These rails connect Mumbai to other major cities through superfast, express and passenger trains. You can reach the Mumbai railway station through taxi, cab, bus, etc.
  • By air: Mumbai’s airport is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport and has many international airlines flying to Mumbai. These flights connect Mumbai to almost all the major international and domestic locations. The airport consists of two terminals, one is 30 km from the city centre of Nariman point and other is 4 km from the domestic terminal at Santa Cruz.IndiGo operates non-stop flights to Mumbaifrom across the country

Read more about: Nine things you should definitely do on your next trip to Mumbai

Best time to visit and weather conditions

December to January is dry, with warm days and mild evenings; nonetheless, it is usually chilly, so bring a waterproof base layer, a trendy jacket, or other cool winter accessories to keep you warm.

Final Note

Travelling around the holidays is a lot of fun. Get out of your city to see the places where Christmas is the most vibrant. With that in mind, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

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