Last updated on October 10th, 2018.
Mumbai is a diverse city in every aspect. So many people of different backgrounds, ethnic groups, religions, and communities live together here. The diversity of the population has formed tradition to celebrate holidays from different religions. Christmas is one of them.
It might feel unusual to celebrate Christmas in Mumbai in +30 degrees with a sea breeze, but this city is definitely one of the places in India that will give you a holiday feeling. In this post, you will find some suggestions on places and activities for celebrating Christmas in Mumbai.
- Where to attend Christmas Mass in Mumbai?
- Where to search for Christmas spirit in Mumbai?
- Mumbai Christmas markets
- Christmas food in Mumbai
Where to attend a midnight mass in Mumbai?
Since Christmas is primarily a religious holiday, one of the most important functions of the day is attending a midnight mass.
There are numerous historic churches in Mumbai that hold a special Christmas Mass and attract thousands of visitors following the holiday traditions. On this note, if you want a seat, try to reach early.
The most popular mass in Mumbai happens in Mount Mary’s Basilica in Bandra. According to the history, it is believed that the Portuguese brought the statue of Mother Mary here at the 16th century.
Alternatively, here are a few other big churches that gather many people for Mass: St. Andrew’s Church also in Bandra, St. Thomas Cathedral (Fort), St. John the Evangelist (Andheri) and Gloria Church (Byculla).
Also read: Churches in Old Goa
Christmas spirit in Mumbai
Beyond the religious significance of the holiday, Christmas is also about the atmosphere – the festive lights, decorated streets, Christmas gifts and other elements of the holiday.
During this time, you can see people taking selfies with Santas or instagramming decorated streets, some indians are roaming along the streets in red hats and buying souvenirs for the holidays. And no, I’m not talking only about Christians. Remember, I told at the beginning, that Indians welcome different celebrations?
Where to find the spirit of Christmas in Mumbai? The most festive area of the city I found was Powai – it’s a residential area of Mumbai with numerous cafes and a few shopping outlets. The cover photo was clicked there to give you an idea.
During the winter holidays, it gets decorated with lights and firtrees. There are santas greeting you near some cafes. The overall atmosphere in Powai is something you would expect in a common European town.
You will find a lot of functions and events in Bandra since there is a high percentage of Catholic Christians living there. Nevertheless, in my humble opinion, Powai has way more decorated streets and a festive environment outside.
Another community is in Khotachiwadi (Girgaon). It is a small heritage village where the houses are built in an old-Portuguese style architecture. There is a small Chapel which is also decorated during big festivals.
Overall, you will find Christmas trees and decorations in many malls and cafes, but in this topic I’m talking specifically about exteriors and street celebration.
Mumbai Christmas markets
Christmas in Mumbai is also about gifts and shopping. There are numerous Christmas Markets in Mumbai, but the most happening shopping area is at Hill Road in Bandra. Here you can find everything from decorations to artificial firtrees.
Nevertheless, the most varieties of Christmas trees you will find in in Crawford Market. You can expect also a good amount of Christmas goodies in the famous Colaba Causeway market in South Mumbai.
Other places to chase a Christmas spirit and shop is west Mumbai, specifically Santacruz. This is not the first destination for the biggest Christmas fair as Bandra, but you will find also many stalls there due to the high Catholic population.
Are you a fan of the local markets? Check out my list of unusual markets in India worth visiting.
Christmas food in Mumbai
During the festive week of Christmas and New Year in Mumbai, you will find many cafes and restaurants offering special Christmas meals. Some food places have their santas greeting guests and even distributing small gifts at times.Note, if you wish to dine out at the Christmas Eve itself, make a reservation a few days in advance, because places do get booked out really quickly.
What is Christmas without the holiday bakery? The famous rum and plum cakes I found only in the bakeries of Mumbai (Bandra) and Goa (please let me know if they are available in other places, I love them!).
Among famous bakeries in Mumbai – American Express Bakery (Bandra & Bykulla), Yazdani Bakery (Irani Bkery in Fort area), A-1 Bakery (Bandra), Le 15 Pattesirie – you name it.
Love festive food? Check out famous food festivals in India
Other useful info about Christmas in Mumbai
- All the Christmas spirit in Mumbai starts around 15th of December. During this time you will see first Christmas shops and decorations showing up.
- It’s better to book transport tickets and accommodation in advance (minimum one month in advance) for “better” rates. Moreover, during holiday time, the whole of India is travelling (in millions of people), so it’s not the time to be spontaneous. Check out my guide to train travel in India and how to find accommodation in India.
- If you are a solo traveler, I would choose a private or shared room in a hostel as a base. Christmas is a community holiday and you will have a way different experience of this holiday if you are not alone, moreover in a big city.
Hope this post gave you an idea what to expect from celebrating Christmas in Mumbai. If you have been to Mumbai during Christmas, what was your experience?