Cinnamon-scented air, red everywhere, and faint echoes of chimes&ndashChristmas surrounds you with warmth even in the harshest winters. You can&rsquot help but catch yourself in childlike glee. This isn&rsquot just true of European countries, where come November, lights go up, and festive fever finds a firm grip over many. Many cities across India are known to celebrate on a grand scale too. If you&rsquore planning a Christmas getaway, do give these destinations a chance for a magical affair
Visit the hill station at any other time of the year, and you&rsquoll get your peace. But during Christmas, it takes on a completely different avatar. Lights go up days before, bakeries announce their Christmas specials way in advance, and churches are decked up in fairy lights of every colour&ndashShillong sure does know how to get drunk in the Christmas spirit.
Head to popular and central shopping areas like Police Bazaar and Laitumkhrah street to see the lights and enjoy some delicious cakes from the old bakeries there. The best way to spend an evening before you head to the Cathedral of Mary or Laitumkhrah Presbyterian for the midnight mass would be to enjoy live gigs at popular cafes like Dylan&rsquos Cafe, Swish Cafe, and Cafe Shillong.
Since Christmas in Shillong is big, we recommend you make bookings and reservations in advance. The best way to explore how the hill station enjoys this festival would be by foot&ndashwalk as much and wherever you can.
The City of Joy knows how to celebrate a festival. If you thought Durga Puja was it, then Christmas in this city would prove you wrong. It&rsquos celebrated with as much fervour, if not more. The decoration in Park Street could give competition to London&rsquos Regent Street.
The best way to experience it would be to walk the whole stretch&ndashsince the street is covered with swarms of people all in awe, driving isn't a good idea. After seeing the lights, treat yourself to warm bakes from Flurys and a delicious Christmas dinner at gourmet institutions like Mocambo&rsquos and Peter Cat.
Next, after dinner, head to St Paul&rsquos Cathedral at Maidan to attend the soulful midnight mass. Since it&rsquos the biggest church in Calcutta, people from all over the city and outskirts visit to witness the magic at midnight.
If you&rsquove not had enough of the Christmas fever the city finds itself in, find your way to Bow Barracks to revel in it until the sun comes up&ndashit is a street party that goes on till the wee hours.
As the party capital of India, there&rsquos no way Goa will fall behind when it comes to celebrating a festival. There&rsquos so much you can do here&ndashif you want to immerse yourself and experience Christmas the authentic way, tour the churches dotted throughout the state. The midnight mass at the Basilica of Bom Jesus or the Church of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception should definitely feature in your Christmas eve plans.
Church of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception at Panjim
If you want to add more sparkle to your celebrations, head to famous beaches like Baga and Anjuna, where you can let your hair down, party for as long as you can, and also see some enchanting fireworks.
Although Pondicherry makes for a serene getaway during other months, it comes alive during Christmas week and how. Since it&rsquos home to a significant Christian population, the coastal city wears Christmas celebrations on its sleeve.
You can start your day with a hearty Christmas brunch across cafes in the White Town, then head to Marche de Noel or the Christmas market held at Lycee Francais&ndashhere you can pick up cute curios, taste incredible cakes and cookies made by home bakers amid other things.
After you&rsquore done shopping, you must head to Mission Street to check out the lights, followed by midnight mass at the Church of our Lady Lourde or Sacred Heart of Jesus.