Easter-inspired getaway to churches

Vallarpadam Church was built by the Portuguese missionaries who came to India to spread the word of God. It is believed to be one of the earliest European churches built in India…writes Siddhi Jain.

Every celebration brings happiness and unity among people. Easter which falls on the first Sunday of April every year is generally celebrated with midnight mass, family get-togethers, large lunches accompanied with an indulgence in timely sweets, including marzipan and easter egg chocolates.

With new lockdowns being announced on a daily basis across India, it may be difficult to celebrate Easter the traditional way this year, but to keep the celebrations alive, Booking.com has curated a list of some of India’s ancient churches and cathedrals that are perfect for an Easter-inspired getaway as and when it’s safe to do so.

Thiruvithamcode Arappally, Kanyakumari

Currently known as St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Thiruvithamcode Arappally is known to be India’s oldest church. It is claimed to have been built in 57 A.D. by Thomas, one of Jesus’ 12 apostles. It was called Thomaiyar Kovil by the then Chera king Udayancheral. Located in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, this church is surrounded by beautiful coconut groves and a lotus pond. Despite its age, the church built from quarry stone is very well kept and captivates the viewer with its granite pillars that make up the door frame and lamps, tiled roof and latticed wooden foyer. An orthodox church with a rustic vibe is perfect for your next #wanderlust post.

Vallarpadam Church, Kochi

Vallarpadam Church was built by the Portuguese missionaries who came to India to spread the word of God. It is believed to be one of the earliest European churches built in India. The church was hit by a major flood in 1676, but was rebuilt on the land provided by the government. Pope John Paul II designated the church as a Basilica in 2004. The locals are a big patron of Mother Mary, or Vallarpadathamma as they call her; and the Basilica is considered to be the National Shrine of Our Lady. The Basilica holds an annual feast every 24th of September. So make a mental note of this and consider capturing the festivities for your next blog.

St. Paul’s Church, Diu

Diu’s one and only church, St. Paul is a large structure compared to most churches, with rich wood carvings, unique spiral scrolls dating back to the Corinthians and shell-like motifs that adorn the walls. The Church follows a Baroque-style architecture and the main altar has 101 burning candles offered to Our Lady. The Church is a major tribute to the Jesuits who came to India and have established churches and schools across the country. When it is safe to do so, one must go to this church to experience its grandeur and aesthetics.

San Thome Church, Chennai

Another renowned Basilica, San Thome Church is among one of the three across the globe that hosts the tombs of one of Christ’s original disciples. The interiors are rustic and stepping in is almost like taking a step back in time and entering a different century. What is even more interesting is that the church is also partly a museum that showcases some of the souvenirs that have been preserved over time. Remember to carry a camera along with you to capture moments from the past.

All Saints Cathedral, Prayagraj

Patthar Girja also known as All Saints Cathedral, an Anglican Christian Church constructed in 1871, and it is a must see if you have been on the lookout for Gothic-inspired churches. Walking through the main entrance, the carved glass panels allow natural light in that reflects across the room. The main altar is made of marble from the colonial era. If you look around the church, you will find plaques of British nationals who were martyred at the time. Vlogging a walkthrough of this church should be added to your to do list!

Medak Cathedral, Medak, Telangana

While its name may be simple, Medak Cathedral is one of the largest Diocese churches in Asia and amazingly, the second largest Cathedral in the world following the Vatican, being 200 ft long and 100 ft wide. The interiors are very vibrant and decorated with six different colours of imported mosaic tiles. The stained-glass windows are another highlight of the church. They depict the ways of the cross from the Ascension till the Crucifixion. If you have been looking for scenic light-through-the glass photographs, Medak Cathedral is one of the best locations to capture this.

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