Discover Your India

6 ancient beautiful Indian churches to lighten your Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday falling on the 1st Sunday of April every year is generally celebrated with midnight mass, family get-togethers, large lunches, and indulging in timely sweets, including marzipan and easter egg chocolates.

With the continued lockdown across India, it was difficult to celebrate Easter Sunday the traditional way these past two years, but to keep the celebrations alive, here is a list of some of the ancient churches and cathedrals in India curated by that are perfect for an Easter-inspired visit as and when it’s safe to do so.  

Your Easter Sunday inspired must-visit bucketlist:

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 AD by Thomas, one of Jesus’ 12 apostles. It was called Thomaiyar Kovil by the then Chera king Udayancheral.

Easter Sunday St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Thiruvithamcode Arappally
St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Thiruvithamcode Arappally

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 and style is perfect for your next Easter Sunday #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.

Vallarpadam Church
Vallarpadam Church

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 Easter Sunday 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.

St. Paul Church Diu
St. Paul Church Diu

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, especially if you can next Easter Sunday.

San Thome Church, Chennai

Another renowned Basilica, San Thome Church in Chennai is among one of the three across the globe that hosts the tombs of one of Christ’s original disciples.

Santhome Church is better known as Santhome Cathedral Basilica and International Shrine of Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica. The name “San Thome” is derived from Saint Thomas.

Santhome Cathedral Basilica and International Shrine of Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica
Santhome Cathedral Basilica and International Shrine of Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica

It is a revered site as it sits on the tomb which was built over the mortal remains of one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ.  It is believed that Saint Thomas had come to India in A.D.52, and was buried here at Mylapore in A.D.72.  

It is interesting to know that there are only two other Basilicas in the world apart from Santhome Cathedral that have been built over the tomb of an apostle – “St.Peters Basilica”, in Rome and “Church of St.James the great”, in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

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.

All Saints Cathedral, Prayagraj
All Saints Cathedral, Prayagraj

All Saints Cathedral is a perfect example of the Gothic revival era and was designed after the traditional 13th-century Gothic churches found in Europe. Sir William Emerson designed the architecture and basic structure of the church, sometime in 1871.

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, 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 architrcture and design relates to the Gothic Revival style and can accommodate as many as 5,000 people at a time. It was built by Charles Walker Fasnet of British Wesleyan Methodists and the Cathedral was consecrated on 25 December 1924.

The Medak Cathedral'
The Medak Cathedral’s stained glass windows showcase scenes from Christ’s life

The interiors are very vibrant and decorated with six different colors of imported mosaic tiles. Interestingly, these mosaic tiles were brought from Britain while Italian masons laid the seamless decorative flooring. Massive pillars were built from grey stone which support the entire gallery and the complete edifice.

The stained glass windows are another highlight of the church. They depict the ways of the cross from the Ascension till the Crucifixion. The scene of the Ascension is behind the altar, while the scene from Nativity lies in the west transept, and the scene of the Crucifixion can be seen in the east transept.

This magnificent Cathedral symbolises outstanding craftsmanship and if you have been looking for light-through-the-glass photographs, Medak Cathedral is one of the best locations to capture this.

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