What is Christmas about? Christmas tree, stockings, presents, Santa Claus, jingle bells, all the sweets and the Christmas feast? You will always hear somewhere or the other every once in a while that it is so much more than that. It is about the spiritual importance of the festival, the true spirit of Christmas. Where could you go to feel the spirit of Christmas in the air?
1. The Cathedral of the Holy Name
This quaint cathedral in Colaba, more famously known as the Wodehouse Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral belonging to the Latin Rite of Mumbai. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Bombay and the headquarters of the Archdioscese of Bombay. The beautiful frescoes, immaculate interiors, neatly arranged pews, grand altar and the music of the pipe organ in this cathedral will help make your Christmas classic.
2. St. Thomas Cathedral
This cathedral established in 1718 is the first Anglican church in Mumbai. In addition to the tower, clock and stained glass that set this cathedral apart, there are elaborate marble memorial tablets engraved with touching elegies and eloquent messages for the tombstones of many British generals, clerks and young maids all lying together.
3. The Church of St. John the Evangelist
This church, better known as Afghan Church, is an Anglican church in Navy Nagar, built by the British to commemorate the deceased of the disastrous defeat in the First Afghan War of 1838. The stained glass windows, geometric floor patterns, Gothic arches and eight large bells in the bell-tower lend this church the solemn ambiance that would be perfect for the reverence and prayer you offer this Christmas.
4. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount
This 100-year old Roman Catholic Basilica in Bandra, more famously known as Mount Mary Church, was finally completed in 1904 after surviving many catastrophes, their devastating impacts and being rebuilt time and again. The illustrated walls and the immaculate altar don’t even begin to describe the beauty of the chapel the way the statue of Virgin Mary does. People from all walks of life and believers of all faiths unite here in prayer.
5. St. Andrew’s Church
This church, on the sea-shore in Bandra, is one of the oldest churches in Mumbai. It was built by the Portugese Jesuits in 1575 and was the only church there till the first quarter of the 17th century. Statues of Sacred Heart aka Jesus Chirst, Virgin Mary and St. Andrew rest atop a tall altar. Smaller statues of St. John the Baptist, St. Sebastian and Christ silently watch over wooden side altars, carved and painted in a traditional Portugese style.
This Christmas, nourish your spiritual longings and feel the true spirit of the festival resonate in your veins and sing in your soul like prayer in a church.