Ten must-visit churches in India

The soaring Roman Catholic cathedral in Chennai
Image courtesy: Flickr/Vinoth Chandar/CC BY 2.0

Christmas bells are set to ring and it’s time for some vibrant celebration with close ones. It’s not only the season for cakes and wines but also for quiet prayers in churches. So travellers, do not miss out on the Christmas cheer as India is full of some unique churches to visit. A few of these are listed here!

Santhome Church, Chennai

It is only befitting that this list begin with the church built in the honour of St. Thomas – one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ. The Santhome Church in Chennai is said to be constructed over the grave of this very saint, the one who brought Christianity to India. The present day structure was built in the 18th century, after the initial 16th century structure was broken down. The white cathedral is not just impressive from the outside but will also stun you with its colorful, artistic stained glass art interiors.

Medak Church, Telangana

Around 90 kms from Hyderabad, in a small town called Medak, lies the largest diocese in Asia and the 2nd largest one in the World. The Medak church promises to take your breath away with its enormous size. The gigantic church can be well identified from a distance with its looming bell tower. If rumors were to be believed, then the size was actually reduced on the order of the Nizam of Hyderabad as tower was higher than even the Charminar. While you listen to its stories, don’t miss the colorful ones from the Bible, etched all over its glass interiors.

Our Lady of Dolours Church, Trichur

Discover the Our Lady of Dolours Church in Trichur with its high ceiling halls, adorned with paintings from the Bible. The church occupies a wide area of 25,000 sq feet and has tall belfry towers with bells imported from Germany. The church is so huge that it has not one or two, but 11 altars inside.

Moravian Church, Leh

Pay a visit to the Moravian church, located 11,000 feet above sea level in Leh. The Protestant church was built by the German missionaries in 1885 and is located at the border of India, Pakistan, Tibet and China. Though a small one, this church has been quite influential for it was responsible for bringing in Allopathic medicine to this region. Legend has it that the church was in possession of a diary that had the account of Jesus Christ having visited India.

Read More: Festival of the month: Christmas

All Saints Church, Shillong

Church hopping might be a good idea to get the best of Christmas Fervor in Shillong, as long as you begin or end with the oldest church here– the All Saints Church. Built during the British Raj, the original church got destroyed in an earthquake in 1897. The present day one was reconstructed in the 1900s and is widely used, especially during festivals.

Christ Church, Munnar

If Munnar is your Christmas destination then there is no missing the Christ Church in town. Located on a hill, this was built by the British in the 1900s and was widely used by the workers of British plantations then. It is not unusual to find a lot of British families visiting Munnar for this church as it served as the burial ground for several of their ancestors.

Rosary Church, Hassan

Technically there is no active service in this church but it is one of its kind, for the Rosary church in Hassan is known as the floating church. The church was built by the French and later abandoned, only to be partially submerged in water. Even though in ruins, there is no denying the beauty of the lovely French spires and tall arches. Typically in December, the water around it recedes and it might be well worth to stroll around and experience the beauty of what remains standing.

Read More: Top destinations to celebrate Christmas in India

St. Paul’s Church, Landour

Your winter holidays in the hill stations of Mussorie and Dehradun might just be more fun with a drive to the old British cantonment in these hills at Landour. The St. Paul’s church in Landour was built in the 1890s by the British for their troops stationed here. The little church was restored in present times, and today, you can well enjoy the small service held within its cute little building complete with its stained glass work. What makes the church very charming is its location at the famous Char Dukaan street, with a stunning view of the entire valley of Mussoorie.

St.Aloysius Church, Mangalore

A step into the St. Aloysius Church in Mangalore is sure to transport you to the Sistine Chapel in Vatican. This 1880s church was built by the Jesuit missionaries in India and has every inch of its ceiling and wall covered with paintings that tell you stories of the Jesuit saints. The centuries –old frescos and oil paintings in the church, done by an Italian artist over a period of two years, actually draw people from far and near.

St.Paul’s church, Diu

If you are looking at a beach holiday in a not-so-crowded place and don’t want to miss X’mas, try the beach town of Diu. The baroque styled St. Paul’s church in Diu, was built by the Portuguese in the 1600s, and took around 9 years to complete.  Dedicated to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, it is the central piece of her statue within the church that will wow you. The statue is said to be carved out of a single piece of Burmese wood and it is not just this fact, but the beauty of the entire carving that leaves its visitors spell-bound.

 

AUTHOR'S BIO: Ami Bhat is senior marketing professional, currently on a break to pursue full-time travel blogging. A travel enthusiast, who loves sports, photography and dancing with equal passion.More on: www.thrillingtravel.in