Welcome the holiday season with jingle bells, fairy lights, and bags packed with excitement! It’s December, and the Christmas spirit has already begun to pervade the air. And what better way to get into the Christmas spirit than to visit one of India’s magnificent churches decked out in festive decorations and illuminated like stars? You can also enjoy the tranquil atmosphere by engaging in some meditation or singing along to Christmas music! So, here’s a list of a few hidden churches to visit during Christmas in India that you must see.
India is home to many old and sacred churches and this Christmas Day, visit one of these beautiful churches to celebrate this holy day. Christmas is on its way, and if you’re looking for a church to visit for midnight mass services, here are our top five churches to visit during Christmas in India. Most churches on our list host hundreds of people on Christmas Eve, so make your visit a priority!
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Sacred Churches to visit during Christmas in India are –
St. John In the Wilderness Church, Dharamshala
St. John in the Wilderness Church is an old Anglican church in McLeodganj, a lovely valley about 8 kilometers from Dharamshala. The church was built in 1852. It was dedicated to John the Baptist, and Lord Elgin, one of India’s viceroys, was buried here in 1863. The chapel is famous for its spectacular design and neo-gothic architecture, and it is surrounded by deodar woodlands and memorial stones of British soldiers who were stationed here. Without a doubt, St. John is one of the best churches to visit during Christmas in India.
St. John Wilderness Church, which is nestled in a stunning picturesque location, will undoubtedly provide you with a sense of serenity and calm, making it one of the ideal churches to visit during Christmas in India. Although it appears to be an ancient and abandoned structure from the outside, the interiors are well-kept and quite lively.
The church is well-known for attracting a large number of tourists and visitors almost every day, especially on Sundays. The Belgian stained glass windows on the outside are the church’s most notable features, while the polished wood of the altar railing and old brass oil lamps converted into electric light holders make the interior quite appealing.
The holy cross emblems are creatively constructed along the church’s walking path with colorful stones. Normally, security guards keep a close eye on the church to ensure that tourists and visitors do not cause any harm. To know more, please check the 14 best places to visit in Dharamshala.
Timing – Sunday mass is held at 10 a.m. in English and 11 a.m. in Hindi. On the other days, the church is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Entry Fee – Entry at the Church attracts no fees.
Christ Church, Shimla
Christ Church, is one of North India’s oldest churches and, indeed, one of the best churches to visit during Christmas in India. It was founded in 1857 by the British to serve the area’s sizable Anglican British community. The grand beauty of the church and its breathtaking setting make it a must-see in Shimla. Stained glass windows in the church depict faith, hope, compassion, fortitude, patience, and humanity.
It is Shimla’s most famous landmark and one of India’s most visible reminders of British rule. The church is built in the Neo-Gothic architectural style, and anyone visiting Shimla should pay a visit to this magnificent structure. To know more, please check to experience the spectacular snowfall in India at these 9 places.
In Shimla, the yellow building and its silhouette can be seen from miles away, and it is frequently crowded with architecture enthusiasts and fans. Shimla Christ Church is designed in the neo-gothic style, with a front porch, church bells, and five stained glass windows depicting various Christian virtues. This is currently the only place of worship for Christians and is open for service every day.
Despite the commotion on the Ridge, the Christ Church appears serene and removed from reality. This, combined with the fact that it has appeared in a number of well-known Bollywood films, including Black and 3 Idiots, has made it a popular tourist destination.
Timing – You can visit the Church between 08:00 a.m to 06:00 p.m
Entry Fee – Entry at the Church attracts no fees
Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa
The Basilica of Bom Jesus Church in Goa is a one-of-a-kind structure with outstanding baroque architecture in India. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is one of the best churches to visit during Christmas in India. This church’s construction, which began in 1594 and was completed in 1605, coincides with the birth of Christianity in India.
The church is located in Old Goa at Bainguinim, about 10 kilometers from Panjim. St. Francis Xavier’s relics are kept in this church, the oldest in Goa. He was a close companion of St. Ignatius Loyola, with whom he founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). After 400 years, the remains are in good condition and are removed once every decade.
This is the only church in Old Goa that is not plastered on the outside with the words ‘Holy Jesus.’ The triangular roof of the church is finely carved with the initials ‘IHS,’ which is an abbreviation for the Jesuit insignia, which means ‘Jesus, Saviour of Men.’ Please check New Year Edition – Discover the unique places to visit in India to welcome 2022.
The interior floor of the Basilica is made of marble mosaic with precious stones, giving it a melancholy feel. The interior has a screen that runs from the floor to the ceiling and depicts St. Ignatius Loyola protecting an infant Jesus.
Timing – You can visit between 08:30 a.m. to 08:00 p.m
Entry Fee – Entry at a Church attracts no fees
St. Paul Cathedral, Kolkata
St Paul’s Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in the heart of Kolkata’s City of Joy. It is one of the most known churches to visit during Christmas in India. It is a must-see for anyone seeking an educational historical and architectural experience during their vacation. St. Paul is also known for its architecture and also for its impeccable beauty.
This massive structure in the heart of the city harkens back to colonial times and transports you back in time. When visitors arrive in Kolkata, this is one of the first places they want to go. It is especially lovely during the Christmas season, when the cathedral, adjacent gardens, and neighboring streets are all bathed in light and joy.
It is Asia’s first Episcopalian church, built primarily to serve Calcutta’s growing Christian community. The building’s structure is Indo-Gothic in design, with a cascading white edifice, a soaring spire, and colorful tinted windows. It has a large nave, a magnificent altar, and a chancel, as well as carvings and paintings depicting significant events in Christian history.
The cathedral also houses artifacts from previous worshippers and a library with books dating back to the church’s inception, which was donated by founding member Bishop Wilson. St. Paul is one of India’s best churches to visit during Christmas. To know more, please check the complete list of 15 places to visit near Kolkata for 2 days.
Timing – You can visit the church between 10:00 a.m. – 06:00 p.m.
Entry Fee – Entry at a Church attracts no fees
Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pondicherry
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral is a well-known landmark in Puducherry. The architecture of the Cathedral will captivate any visitor, the tranquil setting will entice you to return, and the stunning interiors will compel you not to leave.
The Mother Church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore is located here. It’s also known as “Samba Kovil,” which is a phonetic variant of “Saint Paul’s Kovil,” with “Kovil” referring to a church. The Capuchins’ Church, dedicated to Saint Peter, was originally known as the Capuchins’ Church.
The church is steeped in fascinating history. It was built successfully three times before being destroyed by various parties. When it was finished for the fourth time, however, it became one of Pondicherry’s most important and beautiful tourist attractions and also is one of the best churches to visit during Christmas in India. To know more, please check epic road trip ideas for New Year.
Timing – The Church is open in the mornings from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., after which it reopens between 3 p.m. or 8.30 p.m.
Entry Fee– Entry at a Church attracts no fees
Church tour duration – 2-2.5 hours