Christmas 2023: 10 Indian Cities For Celebrations & Great Food

When it comes to celebrating festivals, no matter what your religion may be, if you are Indian then embodying the spirit and enthusiasm of every festival comes naturally to you. And this especially holds true for the festival of Christmas, which is the most critical Christian festival of the year. Indian Christians, whether they are Syrians or East Indians, Born Again or Catholics, celebrate Christmas with great festive fervour—and non-Christian Indians also join in to be merry, party and indulge in the best of Christmas feasts. 

So, to say that Christmas celebrations in and across India are limited to the Christian communities would be wrong. In fact, certain cities across India, from the South to the Northeast, are known for massive Christmas celebrations that aren’t just organised and engaged in by Indian Christians, but also attract huge crowds from across India and the world. These cities showcase their Christian heritage not only through stunning church and street decorations, carnivals and fairs but also through food festivals and feasts that are held to celebrate local delicacies. 

This Christmas 2023 is just the time to be travelling to these cities and experiencing the wonders of Christmas and Indian Christian traditions. Here are some of the major Indian cities where the Christmas celebrations, and of course, the associated feasts and foods, that simply should not be missed. 

Video Credit: YouTube/Florency Dias


As a state, Goa has a majority of Christians and the region is full of churches with a rich heritage too. Naturally, it is the most obvious Christmas celebrations choice for most Indians who want to experience the festival. The Christmas vibe across Goa is more like a carnival with sparkling lights and carolers, not to mention the many Goan delicacies that are enjoyed. If you are in Goa during Christmas, do indulge in some Dodol, Kulkuls and Guava Cheese. 


As the capital of the British Indian colony, Kolkata has always been home to some of the most vibrant and joyous Christmas celebrations in India. From Anglo-Indian Christians of various denominations to non-Christian Bengalis who traditionally believe Christmas celebrations are an integral part of the city’s rich cultural tapestry, everybody loves to indulge in roasts, plum cakes and other Christmas delicacies served at the many bakeries in this city. Going to Park Street and checking out the goodies at bakeries like Flury’s, Saldanha and Nahoums is a must. 


Many members of the Khasi, Garo and Jaintia tribes of Meghalaya converted to Christianity a few centuries back when the missionaries travelled to the Northeast to spread the word of the gospel, which means that Christmas celebrations in the capital of Shillong are bound to be immense. Combine the breathtaking view of the sky and hills in the state with the beautiful Christmas décor and the even yummier, unique food, and you have the perfect destination. While there, do indulge in dishes like Donheiiong, Jastem, Putharo and Jadoh Snam. 


The state of Kerala has a huge Christian population and Kochi specifically has huge Christmas celebrations that date back centuries. From the entire Fort Kochi area glittering with Christmas lights to a centuries old tree in Veli Maidan being decorated like a giant Christmas tree, the festive spirit in this city is not to be missed. From crunchy Achappam cookies to delicious cakes and roasts, the dishes in Kerala during Christmas gain an added flavour of festivities. 


Home to the East Indian Catholics and many other settlers, Mumbai’s Christmas celebrations are huge and the whole city participates in the festivities with enthusiasm. Areas like Bandra and Hill Road are particularly sparkling with festive spirit, lights and joy. What’s more, because this city is home to some of the most incredible, age-old restaurants and eateries, the feasts on offer are immense too and never lacking in variety.  


The state of Sikkim might have a small Christian community compared to others, but the capital of Gangtok nevertheless has the perfect combination of picturesque landscape, old buildings and massive celebrations during the festival. Gangtok has a few churches like St Thomas and St Paul, which turn into major hubs for those who celebrate the festival and keep the Midnight Mass. Dishes with a regional touch, like smoked pork in brandy, are also prepared along with baked delicacies that shouldn’t be missed. From Roast Duck to Plum Puddings, the city has plenty of delicacies to offer around this time of the year. 


Pondicherry is one of the best places to visit for Christmas celebrations and has been since it was a French territory. Prominent churches here, like the Sacred Heart of Jesus, are decorated with stunning lights and Christmas trees and the midnight mass witnesses huge crowds visiting these places. While here, indulge in a traditional Christmas feast of roast duck, Vivikum cake and plenty of French-origin baked goodies too.  

Video Credit: YouTube/Authentic Kerala


With plenty of stunning heritage churches and a huge Christian legacy, the city of Bangalore or Bengaluru is a major hub of Christmas celebrations in India. Prominent churches like St. Patrick’s at Brigade Road and All Saints Church in Hosur host massive celebrations and Christmas fairs. The city’s bakeries, cafes and restaurants always offer Christmas feasts and buffets, not to mention baked goodies that you can take home too.  


You might assume that Manali is the only snow-laden North Indian hill station worth visiting during Christmas, but don’t underestimate Shimla, the erstwhile summer capital of the British in India. With its colonial architecture, snowy landscape and churches like Christ Church holding Mass on the occasion, Shimla is a winter wonderland that you simply shouldn’t miss. There are plenty of British-era cafes and bakeries, especially around Mall Road, that you must visit for everything from hot chocolate and plum cake to roast meals for Christmas. 


Another hub for Christians since before the British landed, Chennai is home to plenty of churches that conduct Midnight Mass and celebrate the festival with great zest. What’s more, restaurants, cafes and bakeries around the city offer everything from great Christmas feasts, and some even offer interesting buffets that are not to be missed. As a cosmopolitan city, Chennai’s Christmas fare also includes Stollen cake, Manthiri Kothu, Kulkuls and Achappam cookies.