This Christmas, check out these travel destinations with your loved ones

| Updated: Dec 21, 2016 22:43 IST

New Delhi [India], Dec. 21 (ANI): Festive buntings and lights, puddings, gifts, family dinner and midnight mass- Christmas is an incredibly popular festival in India that symbolises kindness and joy. Celebrated by people from all religions and states, the day is a great occasion for coming together with friends and family and reveling in festive cheer. As it heralds the New Year, Christmas is also a great time to travel to an exciting destination. Here are five of the best travel locations in the country, listed by Travelyaari, for you and your loved ones to visit this year- 1) Puducherry: Puducherry has many shades, not least of all because of the influence of French culture on the region. From beaches and clubs to cozy cafes and peaceful restaurants- the Union Territory has everything you need to relax and unwind. With the finest selection of steak and wine on offer in the restaurants, Puducherry is perfect for bidding adieu to 2016 amidst hearty feasts. The best part is the pleasant weather during Christmas, which allows travellers to indulge in sightseeing. Visiting the beautiful gothic churches that dot the region is also a good idea if you wish to partake in the Christmas spirit. 2) Gangtok: If you appreciate the beauty of hills and the way cool breeze hits your face while trekking, Gangtok is the place for you. The picturesque capital of Sikkim is also known as the 'Switzerland of the East' because of the exciting hiking opportunities it offers. The town is famous for its cleanliness and the breathtaking sunset and dawn views that it offers. Established as a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the 1840s, the town is now a destination for both meditation and treks through Sikkim's Himalayan mountain ranges. There simply cannot be a more thrilling destination to celebrate Christmas than this town that is situated at an altitude of 5410 feet. 3) Gokarna: Rent a hut on a beach in Gokarna, this Christmas! The temple town in Karnataka is popular for both its pilgrims as well the vacationers who swarm to the region. Home to Lord Mahabaleshwara, the town is a Hindu pilgrimage center, with several avenues for meditation and indulgence in a peaceful, spiritual quest. At the same time, it is the perfect holiday destination and a beach-lover's paradise. It is rather easy to book accommodation in a secluded area in the town, which is why so many travel enthusiasts visit the town to get some quiet time away from the maddening rush of urban spaces. The scenic beauty of Gokarna is unparalleled, with blue skies, clean sand and streets lined with colourful shops and houses. 4) Shillong: To begin with, Shillong is not as famous a Christmas destination as the others on this list, making it a great location to aim for in case you want to avoid the festive crowds. Christmas is celebrated in the region with much pomp and gaiety, with everything from houses and churches to the streets being decorated with twinkling lights for almost a month. The churches in Shillong are a delight to visit, as one can observe bands playing gospel music and youngsters singing hymns and carols. The traditional cuisine of the area is lip-smacking to say the least, and the weather is very pleasant. Joining the sizeable Christian population in the hill station to celebrate the birth of Jesus is an ideal way to get an authentic Christmas feel. 5) Goa: No list of Indian party destinations can be complete without a mention of Goa. The sumptuous seafood, affordable liquor and exciting carnivals make Goa the perfect festive getaway. The assortment of culinary options available in the region will have you spoilt for choices, while the several party locations will make sure that your nights in Goa are extremely memorable. For those less interested in revelry, the region also offers interaction with a wide range of biodiversity from sea-eagles to water buffaloes. Goa is home to many Christians, and one can attend grand midnight mass services, along with indulging in caroling and visiting gorgeous churches. (ANI)