Best Places to Celebrate Christmas in India
Christmas in Bangalore
From Garden City to Silicon Valley, Bangalore's transformation has rendered it a melting pot of culture and tradition. The city has a fairly large community of Christian who celebrate the festival with great fevour.
St. Patricks Church
Bangalore has a rich cultural past and a strongly knit Christian community. There are several beautiful churches in the city, most of them built by the British. The prominent ones are St.Patricks Church on Brigade Road and All Saints Cathedral on Hosur Road.
All Saints Church
The All Saints Church reminds you of a quaint little cottage tucked away amidst pretty gardens. The interiors are minimal but elegantly decorated with a crib and five candles on a wreath to signify the five Sundays leading up to Christmas.
Wind up your tour with a trip to Koshy's for some plum cakes and ginger tea. The bakery has been around since 1940s and the extremely popular plum cake is supposedly based on a secret recipe.
Christmas in Mumbai
Mumbai has a rich colonial past and is home to several catholic immigrants, mostly concentrated around Bandra and Hill Road. The best way to experience the spirit of Christmas in Mumbai is to take a stroll around these areas.
The Hill Road area is beautifully decorated during the season with fairy lights and Christmas trees. Here are the most popular churches in Mumbai where you can attend the midnight mass. The midnight mass in Mumbai's churches attracts thousands of people so try to arrive early if you want a seat.
Holy Name Cathedral, Colaba
This elegant cathedral featuring intricate woodwork was constructed in 1903 as a replacement to the one in Bhuleswhwar. On the eve of Christmas, more than 3,000 faithfuls congregate at the church for the mass by 9.30. The mass starts at 10 pm and winds up by 11.30 pm
St. Thomas Cathedral, Fort
A towering white church famed for its exquisite stained glass work, the St. Thomas Cathedral was the first Anglican church in Mumbai. The church was inaugurated on the Christ mas day of 1718, primarily for the Britishers. The Christmas eve mass starts by 10.30 pm and ends by 11.45 pm.
Gloria Church, Byculla
Featuring a classic Gothic architecture inspired by the Canterbury Cathedral in England, Gloria Church was opened to worshipers in 1913. The towers of the Gloria Church are amongst the tallest in Mumbai and the interiors are ornated with beautiful stained glass works. The midnight mass begins at exactly 12.00 am.
Saint Micheal's Church, Mahim
Constructed sometime in the 16th century, this is one of the oldest churches in India. The Christmas mass attracts thousands of faithfuls and commences by 11 pm. If you are unable to make it to the midnight mass, try to schedule a visit on the preceding Wednesdays during the Novena. You will find the church beautifully decorated and lit up with a market on the front pavement selling all sorts of festive goodies like wine and cake.
Mount Mary's Basilica, Bandra
Mount Mary's Basilica conducts the most popular Christmas mass in Bandra and is attended by thousands of faithfuls. The carols start by 11.30 pm and the mass commences by 12.00 am and the entire proceedings is held indoors. The church is around 100 years old and is set on top of a hill overlooking the ocean.
Christmas in Kolkata
Christmas in Kolkata is characterized by the stunning fairly lights in Park Street, the heavenly aroma of freshly baked cakes from Flurys and the season special menus in the restaurants. Preparations for the big day starts nearly a month in advance. The excitement is palpable around New Market where you can spot several vendors selling bells, toy santas, baubles and faux fir trees. Christmas is a time for home coming for the Anglo Indian community who had migrated to New Zealand, US, Canada and UK. The area around Bow Barracks, Wellesley Street, Elliot Road and Ripon Street, where most of the city's Anglo-Indians live are transformed into magical tinsel town.
On Christmas eve, thousands of Kolkatans gather at St. Paul's Cathedral, the first Episcopal Church of the Orient that was established in 1847. The candlelight service is attended by everyone irrespective of caste. You can also attend the midnight mass in St. Thomas Church, St. John's Church and the Portuguese Church.
The Park Street restaurants are famed for their special Christmas menus featuring duck roasts and the Anglo-Indian delicacy known as 'haas and baas' (duck & bamboo shoots). Drop in at Moulin Rouge, Peter Cat, Magnolia and Mocambo to gorge on Christmas delights that have been enjoyed by several generations of Kolkatans.
Another must visit spot in Kolkata during Christmas is the legendary bakery Flurys. This quaint cafe has been around for ages and during Christmas it is stocked from floor to ceiling with delicacies like plum puddings, Yule logs, nougatines, chocolate cones and mince pies.
Christmas in Goa
Goa is easily one of the most visited tourist destination in India thanks to its stunning beaches and charming countryside. Goa during Christmas is characterized by a joyous atmosphere and the celebration is not restricted to Christians but is celebrated by everyone! Also, if you extend your stay, you get to take part in the Sunburn and Supersonic music festivals.
The state has a large Roman Catholic population The several Portuguese style churches in Goa are beautifully decorated during the month. Goa is easily the best place to celebrate Christmas in India and several travel magazines have rated it amongst the best places in the world to celebrate Christmas and New Year.