It’s December officially and I can smell Christmas in the air! Joy all around, twinkling fairy lights, stars, the carols, cakes, trees with baubles, toys and bells. It is also St. Andrew’s day today, and the Christmas lights will already have been lit in the western world. The lights and christmas carols have held a special place in my heart. I sang in the school choir, after all. There is no feeling more nostalgic than singing ‘Silent night’ and ‘Jingle bells‘. These carols transport me back to Allahabad days where I grew up celebrating Christmas every year in school and with our neighbours, the ‘Wycliffes’. Christmas is also synonymous with fun, frolic, food, good cheer and what better way to begin the festive season with a visit to the Christmas markets.
Christmas is probably the most international festival, cutting across all religions, nationalities and age groups. It’s celebrated all across India – be it New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Goa or Bangalore. Every city has its distinct attraction, and unique ways of celebrating the festival, the common thread being shopping and Christmas markets. Soak in the festive spirit as we bring to you a list of Christmas Markets from 3 cities in India that you should attempt to visit.
New Delhi – The city is resplendent with the Christmas spirit and there is a flurry of activities and events in the run up to Christmas and the New Year. There are a lot of Christmas markets – right from the one in Select City Walk to the one in Rajouri Garden and Epicentre in Gurgaon. However, here’s our pick for New Delhi:
- The German Christmas Market – The Indo-German chamber of commerce (IGCC) attempts to recreate the magic of the Nuremberg Christmas markets in New Delhi. The German Christmas market is a very popular, with an enthusiastic set of over 10,000 visitors every year. This year it is being held on December 6th and 7th at the German House, 2 Nyaya marg, Chanakya Puri between 11 am and 7 pm. In addition to a gingerbread house, the german cakes, beer, sausages and the signature potato salad that I enjoy very much, there is an array of activities planned for children. Of course, don’t miss the Christmas tree and the happy Santa Claus.
- The Oz Haat – The Australian High Commission’s popular NGO mela, “Oz HAAT” is back in it’s 14th year on Saturday, 6th December. Oz Haat is an annual community-focused event that provides a great platform to NGOs in India to showcase and sell their innovative products. The products at this Christmas market range from hand printed textiles and art, fashion, toys, soft furnishings to paper products, pottery, jewellery, handicrafts, Christmas decorations and much more. There are plenty of entertainment activities for kids too. Oz Haat will be held on Saturday, 6 December 2014 from 11 am to 5 pm on the lawns of the Australian High Commission. Entry is from Gate 5, 1/50 G Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. Don’t forget to take your photo-id card.
Kolkata – In Kolkata, everyone (well, almost!) celebrates Christmas! It is called ‘Burra Din’ by the local community here and is celebrated with a lot of gaiety. If you’re in Kolkata, the cakes at Flury’s and Nahoums are something you would never miss! Visit Bow Barracks to be a part of the festivities, but Park Street – ignore not, specially for the goodies at Flury’s.
- Christmas Market in New Market – this market is characterized by many stalls dotting the length and width of the market, selling all kinds of toys, streamers and crackers and the ubiquitous Christmas trees. There is a constant rush (rather a last minute rush) of people haggling with shop-keepers to further reduce the ‘reduced prices’. In addition to Christmas goodies and decorations, the market exudes a festive spirit with decorated and lit up confectionaries, bakeries, restaurants and shops.
- The Hill Road market, Bandra – this road transforms into a ‘red and green wonderland’ in this season. Shopkeepers – both small and large stores try to attract customers with their gorgeous wares – trees, decorations and even santa and reindeer inspired crockery. It’s a delightful experience as you shop for goodies at this Christmas market along with a lot of other frenzied buyers.
- The Mumbai Christmas Fest – this year, this Christmas market is being held on December 6th and 7th at the Mahalaxmi Race Course grounds. With many shopping opportunities and an even more interesting set of activities for children, this market is surely a winner! There are a lot of details you could check on their facebook page about the participating NGOs/ retailers and the events programme.
Bangalore – this city is delightful, and very special during this festive season. With a little nip in the air, that makes being ‘out and about’ a pleasure, the city hosts a large number of flea markets (as it does throughout the year) as well as christmas markets. The events and festive decorations at various malls in the city is a constant ‘pull’ factor for people.
- Commercial Street – is a shopper’s paradise, buzzing with activities throughout the year but come Christmas, there is an air of festivity and it is transformed into a Christmas market. The street is beautifully decorated with lights that continue to brighten up the place till the New Year. You can get junk jewellery, clothes, cakes…and much more here. If you think you’re exhausted and need your feet to take some time off, head to Woody’s for ‘glass idlis’ and coffee! If you’ve not picked your Christmas decoration and tree from Commercial Street, head straight to Ebrahim Sahib Street or Avenue Road.
- A Hundred Hands – A Hundred Hands is a nonprofit trust whose mission is to help those directly involved in the creation of handmade art, crafts and homemade foods and help them earn a fair and sustainable livelihood from their work. In it’s 5th year, the Annual Handmade Collective is on from 3rd to 7th December at St Andrews Church grounds, Bangalore. Like every year, there is a gorgeous range of handmade christmas goodies on sale . As they say – ‘Making your own gifts this xmas- Priceless…For everything else theres the Annual Handmade Collective’. Do check out their facebook page and website for more details on this Christmas market.
There is a lot more I could write about Christmas Markets, but I’ll leave that to another post.
What a lovely way to start the week – planning for the weekend and carnivals, festivals! I can feel the Christmas buzz, can you?
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