WB Govt offers spcl Christmas tours of churches, midnight mass

To celebrate the Yuletide spirit, the West Bengal government has come up with a special tourism package in which faithfuls will be taken on a Christmas tour of the churches in Kolkata, Bandel and Chandannagar.

West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation (WBTDC) officials said that the whole night tour will begin tomorrow evening with a visit to the St Andrew’s Church, St John’s Church and St Paul’s Cathedral in the city.

The midnight mass on Christmas day will be at the 417-year-old Bandel Church on the banks of River Hooghly, 40-km from Kolkata.

After a visit to the Chandannagar church late at night, the tourists will be brought back to the city early in the morning.

On a visit to Bandel shrine during the Christmas season over 100,000 visitors of all religious beliefs are expected to see larger than life size statues of popular Christian saints like Mother Mary, Mother Teresa, Don Bosco, St Joseph, St Francis Xavier, St Ignatius of Loyola, St Augustine and larger than life size Stations of the Cross depicting 14 scenes from the final hours of Jesus’ life with 54 odd statues.

“This is the first time we installed a statue of St Augustine as the saint is connected to the friars of the Augustinian Order who established the Christian community in Bengal,” said Prior of Bandel Church, Fr T L Francis.

The crowning marvel of the visual fiesta this year at Bandel Church is the music fountain showcasing popular Christmas carols in sound, light and water.

“We want to do something spectacular for the people who come to Bandel Church during Christmas and New Year,” says CEO of Church Art Kolkata, Subrata Ganguly, explaining the reason for the visual treat.

The church was established by Portuguese Augustinian monks in 1599.