It’s Christmas time and lot of folks are planning vacations with families. For last few days, we have been receiving various queries about destinations to celebrate Christmas. And we never really thought about it. We definitely thought about planning cost effective travel plans during last week of December when most of the tourist destinations are very expensive. But this post mainly focusses on relevant places where Christmas can be celebrated in best way with your family and friends.
As we started looking into our old Travelogues by Travellingcamera team and guest bloggers, few options were quite obvious. But we spent significant time in exploring other options as well. We have tried to share appropriate reasons for choosing that particular place and it’s pros/cons.
Goa is popular for it’s beaches and nightlife. At the same time, it’s best place to celebrate Christmas in India. Goa has Portuguese legacy and has significant Catholic population. Christmas is much awaited time for Goan people and the place changes drastically to celebrate the special Christmas & welcome tourists with unique colors. There are lot churches in goa and all of them are decorated with beautiful lights and flowers. Kids are super excited during Christmas week and sing Christmas carol late into the night. Folks of different age groups head towards churches for midnight mass. The Christmas is another reason apart from beaches & nightlife, which attracts tourists from different parts of the world.
Shillong is a beautiful city in Meghalaya, which is in north-east part of India. This city has significant Christian population and hence there are various reasons to celebrate the birth anniversary of Christ - Christmas. Shillong is beautiful place having amazing landscapes. This place is also popular for Christmas celebrations in north-east. All the places in city are beautifully lit and one can easily feel the excitement in the air. If you know about Diwali, then you can relate to the excitement level in the city. The midnight mass sees lot of folks in churches of the city and music bands performing at various places. If you haven’y been to North-East India, Christmas is a good reason to plan a trip there.
If you love traveling and have never been to Pondicherry, then Christmas can be a very good reason for you to plan a trip to Little France of India. There are some very interesting places to visit in Pondicherry and recommended experiences to have. Pondicherry tourism has been growing but you find peaceful environment here. That’s the beauty. Unlike other places, you can enjoy Christmas in this union territory at peace. Pondicherry is just off to Tamilnadu. Like Goa, Puducherry also has a significant population of Roman Catholic population. Christmas is the time when Puducherry becomes brighter (well lit) and you can feel the excitement of celebrations. During Christmas one can plan to visit Church of the Assumption, The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges (The Church of Our Lady of Angels), The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, and Church of Our Lady of Good Health are quite a sight to witness. Most of these places are wonderfully decorated to celebrate the special day.
Christmas celebrations in Kolkata is an exceptional experience. The Park street is decorated with colorful lights and it’s a must experience thing. The whole Park street is decorated with the brightest lights, you can see late night parties and rock music at the restaurants and pubs. There are queues of Christmas trees in front of most of the eateries around Park Street. Kids enjoy walking around the street, where various Santas meet them to share chocolates. There are some interesting bakeries around Park Street, where you can find nice cakes to share with friends on Christmas. Flurys is one of the popular stores to grab Christmas cake. People come here well dressed and ensure that they make best of this time. And this happens for a week. Although there are not many Chritians in the city as compared to Goa or Pondicheery, the churches are decorated beautifully. People love shopping during this time on Park Street.
Daman & Diu has significant Portuguese influence and hence it becomes one of the best places to celebrate Christmas in India. Christmas Carols in Daman & Diu are quite popular.Christmas is special time to watch cultural shows and Portuguese dance forms like Corrindinho etc. Beautiful and vibrant lamps look awesome, especially in night. During Christmas one must visit Saint Paul's Church, Se Cathedral and Church of Our Lady of Rosary. Daman and Diu is a good alternate to Goa, if you are looking for same level of excitement and similar landscapes.
Last year I was in Wayanad (Kerala) and noticed that almost every house had Christmas decoration in the courtyard and star shaped decorative items hanging around the balconies. Although we were there after Christmas but still we could sense the mood of celebrations. Christmas cakes were still in demand and our hosts offered different kinds of cakes. Kerala is another place where Christmas is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm. The state has a very strong Christian population with countless churches across the state. We noticed churched in small villages which were very well maintained and a medium of community strength. All bigger & smaller churches remain open throughout the night and folks gather at churches across the state to sing midnight mass. Apart from Christmas festivities, one can explore the beautiful state through it’s beaches, tea estates, backwater experiences etc. Supposedly Kerala has largest populations of Christians in India. Midnight mass at Kochi is one of the city's heritage cathedrals, St. Francis Church is quite popular. This Church is built by Portuguese traders and oldest European church in India. It is also the place where explorer Vasco da Gama's remains were temporarily buried.
WHITE CHRISTMAS IN MANALI -
Lot of folks in North India prefer to head towards Manali or Shimla for white Christmas. This year, Manali has already got the snowfall. And there is always a probability of fresh snowfall in Manali & Shimla. There are few churches in almost every hill station in Himachal Pradesh - Shimla, Dalhousie, Kasauli, Mcleodganj, Manali etc.
METRO CITIES LIKE DELHI, MUMBAI & BANGLORE -
HOME - And if nothing works out this year, plan to decorate your house, invite friends and celebrate Christmas at home. Celebrations with friends and family are always special.