Hyderabad: Christmas was celebrated with traditional gaiety and fervor across the country on Monday with believers thronging churches, including the famous churches in major cities for special prayers and mass.

Thousands of devotees visited Medak Cathedral Church, which is Asia's biggest church, to celebrate Christmas. Senior bishops and priests conducted special masses and read out the Christmas message. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Governor ESL Narasimhan, Chief Ministers of both the Telugu states K. Chandrasekhar Rao and N Chandrababu Naidu have extended greetings to the people. Leader of the Opposition in AP Assembly YS Jagan Mohan Reddy too extended greetings to people.

In Chennai, a large number of people thronged the Annai Velankanni church at Besant Nagar in the city, offered prayers and exchanged greetings. Faithful from all over the country gathered in large numbers at Shrine Basilica of our Lady of Health in Vailankanni and also New Jerusalem Church at Tarangambadi, the oldest protestant church in Asia, and offered prayers.

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami and leaders of political parties have extended their greetings to the people.

With the long vacation for government employees from December 23 to 26, Hindus too thronged various temples in Telugu states.