We may not have snow-topped churches in India, but these ones are a good throwback to an era where great large buildings were at the heart of a community.
Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Basilica of Bom Jesus blends Corinthian, Ionic, Roman, Composite, and Doric architectural sites. Even though the interiors are subdued, it’s impossible to not be in awe of the structure that houses the relics of St Francis Xavier and panels depicting 32 scenes from the life of the saint.
Se Cathedral, Old Goa
Built to commemorate the victory of Afonso Albuquerque, Se Cathedral with its mosaic work and intricate wood carvings is among the most important churches in Goa. Don’t miss the 18th century organ on the side and the majestic paintings that adorn its walls.
Christ Church, Shimla
Built in the year of the First War of Independence, 1857, Christ Church stands at in heart of Shimla. The church, with its fine stained glass windows and Neo-Gothic style of architecture also houses a pipe-organ, which was the largest in the Indian subcontinent and was first installed in 1899.
Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Puducherry
Puducherry’s Immaculate Conception Cathedral stands over the ruins of multiple older structures that were destroyed by various colonisers—from the Dutch to the British. The structure you see today was completed in 1790 with the bell tower and the choir loft being built as late as the last century. The esplanade before the Cathedral was remodelled as late as 1987. What you see today, thus, is a result of centuries of masonry and faith and a fine example of French architecture in India.
St Philomena's Cathedral, Mysore
One of the largest in the country, St Philomena's Cathedral in Mysore is also a Neo Gothic work of architecture with scenes from the life of Jesus depicted on its walls. Dedicated to St Philomena, the cathedral’s design doffs its hat to Cologne Cathedral.
St Thomas Cathedral Basilica, Chennai
Constructed over the tomb of St Thomas the apostle, this basilica has been constructed in the Neo-Gothic style of architecture. The cathedral’s façade is some 210 feet high and the inside contains some spectacular artwork including paintings and frescos.
St Paul’s Cathedral, Kolkata
Surely, you’ve passed it even if you may not have visited Kolkata’s St Paul’s Cathedral. The majestic cathedral with its splendid arches and stained-glass windows is a sight to see, especially on Christmas Eve.
St Joseph’s Cathedral, Hyderabad
Even though the church was Established in 1820, construction on the structure you see today didn’t start until 1869. St Joseph’s Cathedral was thrown open to public on Christmas Eve of 1875. The façade and its bell towers got completed in 1891 and the bells, imported from Italy, were installed in 1892. What makes the bells special is the way they’re tuned and lend themselves to different hymns including Ave Maria.
Gloria Church, Mumbai
Restored and reopened in 2018, Mumbai’s Gloria Church is hard to miss as it stands just off the city’s main street connecting the south to the north. The building you see today was erected in 1913 and was built in Gothic Revival style. However, the church itself was founded in the early 1600s making it one of Mumbai’s earliest church sites.
Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, Mumbai
Like the Gloria Church, history of Mount Mary’s Basilica also dates back to the 1600s. The story of the church, also called, Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount is fascinating and involves many characters—from Arab invaders to Jesuit priests. There’s also the matter of someone having a dream of a Mother Mary statue floating in the Arabian Sea that eventually led to the foundation of this church.
All photographs: Wikimedia Creative Commons