From the hills of Meghalaya to the coastlines of Pondicherry and the quiet town of Mangalore, Glamoursaga takes you to three of the best places to party in December which aren’t Goa!

Shillong

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One of the first tabloids that captured the imagination of the people of Shillong in the Sixties and Seventies was JS magazine – it predominantly covered the lives of local bands and artistes, and advertised upcoming beat contests.

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Even today, passion for Western music runs wild amid its windy, twisty, maze-like lanes, into the living rooms of the locals, where families converse about rock over dinner. It’s an exciting confluence of a charming small-town India and an inherently modern, Western culture.

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If you take a walk, you might turn a corner and enter Middle Earth; and suddenly, among rolling hills and vanilla soufflé clouds, you might think that global warming can’t really be a danger. Yet, not far away, girls exit Sunday church in sky-high heels and tangerine lips; in bars and clubs like Cloud 9, Tango and Mikado Lounge, DJ nights and gigs by local bands every weekend see masses sip on rum and sway to “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Stairway To Heaven”.

Mangalore

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Alternating between sleepy coastal town and rural power-cut-loop nightmare, to an unwitting tourist Mangalore is all Shiva temples and the reminiscence of Tipu Sultan’s reign. But to seasoned partygoers, it offers the perfect balance of untapped secluded beaches and, essentially, regulation-free privacy because of how far spread out and remote the shores are.

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If you’re savvy enough to bring party favours, chances are you’ll get invited to a Berghain-style, no-holds-barred farmstay rager, bonfire and all, hosted far away from civilisation, past narrow dirt roads punctuated by cashew fields. To host one yourself: Access luxe properties via Airbnb (look in the Bolar, Bunder or Kuloor areas).

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Otherwise, stay at The Gateway hotel if you’re keen on room service. And even if you have touristy inclinations, the Sultan’s Bathery is a great spot for peace, quiet and soul-searching via hallucinogenics.

Pondicherry

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A beachy paradise that looks like an elegant French country town that’s been transported to the Bay of Bengal is an exciting premise to begin with. Add to that an underrated nightlife that’s recently found its groove and a tax exemption on liquor, and this seems like a more grown-up, cosmopolitan option to being jostled on the beaches of Vagator.

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Almost everything you do here, whether grabbing a drink or partying on the beach or hiring a yacht or buying cheese, feels vastly more cultured. Expats, people drawn by the ideology of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, French citizens, old Pondicherrians, new settlers – all contribute to the diversity.

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The cheery “Bonjour” you may receive from your auto rickshaw driver adds to the charm.