This weekend, experience the holiday buzz at Mumbai's Christmas Bazaar in Khotachiwadi, a historic spot loved by East Indians and Maharashtrians for over 200 years. The bustling marketplace will be filled with art, treats, fashion, and all things Christmas from December 9-10, between 11 am and 7 pm.
The two-day Christmas extravaganza will feature artwork from design galleries 47-A and 47-G, sugar-free dark chocolates and gummies from Caim, accessories from Baro Market, clothing from manufacturers like Erode, Jodi, and Homeland Elegies, as well as Christmas treats from cafe Mag St Bread Co. and more. While exploring the bazaar, visitors can soak in the holiday spirit with live Christmas songs and carols performed by the talented Bernice. Catch her performance on Sunday, December 10, at 5:30 pm to add to the festive vibe.
Renowned for its historical importance, Khotachiwadi welcomes locals and tourists to savour a memorable Christmas every year. The heritage village is replete with colourful houses supported by slanting roofs, painting a vivid picture of Mumbai from centuries past, reminiscent of the 18th century. Preserved through time, these houses reportedly trace back to Dadoba Waman Khot, a wealthy Maharashtrian who sold the land to numerous East Indian Christians. This laid the foundation for the existing bungalows, enticing settlers to this area.
Located within Mumbai's Girgaum, Khotachiwadi's multi-hued houses and narrow lanes evoke a Goan atmosphere. The houses' architectural elements, including verandas, spiral staircases, and wooden panels, exhibit Portuguese influences, setting them apart from nearby towering structures.
Justifying its Christmas grandeur, the village's entrance has a chapel erected in gratitude for surviving the plague in the 1890s. Adorning one of its walls is a colourful depiction of Mary cradling a young Jesus.
Besides Khotachiwadi, Matharpacady is another area where East Indian Christians settled before the introduction of railway lines.
Getting There: To reach Khotachiwadi, you can take a train to Grant Road station on the Western line. From there, it's a short taxi or bus ride to this heritage village. Navigate through narrow lanes to discover its Portuguese-style colourful houses and Christmas charm.
Kolkata enthusiastically celebrates Christmas. Park Street glows with lights, decorations, and a festive atmosphere. Pubs and bars along the streets remain open throughout the night. St. Paul's Cathedral hosts a midnight mass resonating with the sweet melodies of carols echoing across the vicinity.
Goa, with its significant Christian population, hosts a grand Christmas celebration. Its architecture and culture still echo Portuguese influence. Goan Catholics engage in the traditional Missa de Galo, the midnight mass that extends into the early hours.
In Kerala, children visit homes in their neighbourhood with candles and singing carols in groups. Churches display intricate Nativity scenes illuminated with bright lights.
Traditional Christmas feasts in Kerala feature dishes like Neyyappam, Kappa biryani, and stew, often accompanied by homemade wine and plum cake. Given its coastal location, seafood plays a prominent role in the state's cuisine during the festivities.
In Shillong, Christmas is celebrated enthusiastically throughout the month. Decorations and bright lights complement the town's natural beauty. Families gather to enjoy homemade traditional Christmas meals infused with local tastes. The Cathedral Church, the oldest in North East India, draws visitors from across the region. People dress in traditional attire, fostering a pervasive and inviting atmosphere of joy and warmth. Various bands and artists perform gospel music, filling the air with soulful melodies heard not only in churches but also echoing across the town.