The History of India is colossal, influenced a lot by the colonial culture. The reason being invasion by voyagers from Portugal, Britain, France and the Netherlands. Cathedrals and churches form a major part of the Indian architectural treasure trove, proudly upholding the historical heritage of the country. Their intrinsic beauty and magnificence is worthy of tremendous appreciation and praise. The architectural grandeur proclaims the inherent talent and skill of the artisans and the craftsmen of ancient India. In this article, I will share with you some of the exclusive and prominent churches of India, sure to amaze and bewilder you.
St. Paul’s Cathedral in Kolkata
I am being little biased here, to mention at first the St. Paul’s Cathedral in Kolkata (Capital city of the state of West Bengal – eastern part of India). Being born in this place and now it’s my work location, I always treasure the history of Kolkata. Its construction dates back to the year 1839 when the foundation stone was laid and followed by the consecration ceremony on 8th October 1847. The cathedral was constructed under the pioneering supervision of Bishop Wilson. The master brains behind the design and architecture of the church were Major William Narin Forbes and C.K. Robinson. Indo-Gothic style of architecture is predominantly observed in the massive structure. Being Asia’s first Episcopalian Church, it is one of the most visited and oldest churches in India. Artistic paintings and curated images adorn the church walls, columns and the ceilings.
There is no entry fee and you can visit Monday till Sunday at stipulated times. During Christmas, the church and the lush green lawn surrounding it are decorated with colourful lights and glitters.
Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa
Goa had been a Portuguese colony for a considerably long period of time. The 16th to 17th century churches are a testimony to the colonial rule in the place. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is one of the prestigious and renowned churches in India, located in Goa. Being established in the year 1594 and consecrated on 1605 by the then Archbishop of Goa, Fr. Alexia de Menezes. The earthly remains of the legendary St. Francis Xavier is preserved in a ornate coffin inside the church.
The architecture of the church represents the Baroque style and design. The marble mosaic floor, the studded gemstones and the intrinsically embellished interiors mesmerise visitors year after year. A unique feature of the church is its collection of Italian paintings, the key among them being “Genesis” and the “The Last Judgement”.
St. Andrew’s Basilica Arthunkal in Alleppey
One of the most renowned and popular churches in India, situated in Alappuzha or Alleppey in Kerala (southern part of India). The church is the world’s largest shrine of Saint Sebastian. Constructed in the 16th century by the Portuguese, the exemplary architecture of the church draws thousands of tourists every year. The decor has been mainly carved out of wood, imparting an ethnic look throughout the entire building.
Saint Sebastian has been said to be prosecuted by the Roman Emperor for adopting Christianity. He was brutally tortured by the emperor’s men. Inside the church, you can find a mammoth statue of the Saint, sculptured originally in Milan.he name Arthunkal was conferred on the church as mark of respect to Arthunkal Veluthachan or priest Jacomo Fenocio. He had renovated the church in 1584.
All Saints Church in Coonoor
Amid the lush greenery of Coonoor, stands high an old Anglican church. Constructed in 1854, it is one of the oldest churches in India. Its grandeur and charm lies in its classy architectural beauty and elegant structures. The environment surrounding it magnifies the eccentric aura of the church. The interiors have carvings of wood and stained glass windows.
The church is somewhat offbeat among the many churches in India, a place to experience solitude and tranquility. If you want to sit and relax in peace to avoid crowds, you must visit the church and feel the essence of purity.
St. Paul Church in Diu
The church is an example of the artistic talent of the Indian architects, designers and craftsmen. Embellished by superior woodwork, exclusively designed motifs, splendid facade and exquisite sculpture work are noteworthy. It is frequented by visitors to observe a glimpse of its astonishing beauty. Plastered in white, it is an iconic landmark building in Diu. At night the church glitters with the lights encompassing the building and its surroundings.
Established in 1601 AD, the church is dedicated to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. Inside the church, you can observe the altar of St. Mary, carved out of wood. Masterpiece paintings adorn the walls of the church, magnifying the beauty of the interiors.
Mount Mary Church in Mumbai
Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra (western part of India), comprises of a fairly large population of people belonging to the Christian religion. Churches and cathedrals form a major part of its historical and architectural monuments and buildings.
Mount Mary Church is one such amazing building, portraying the craftsmanship of the ancient Indian artisans. Located at the top of a hillock overseeing the majestic Arabian Sea, the church building is an epitome of spectacular beauty. It is dedicated to Our Lady of the Mount, Mother Mary. Devotees visit the church in huge numbers to offer their prayers and seek the blessings of Mother Mary.
The designers had followed the gothic style of architecture with stunning doors and windows carved out of stone and wood. On 8th September, a grand fair is held near the church as the feast of Mother Mary. The celebrations last for 8 days with lots of joyful and fun-filled events and activities, entertaining the devotees, locals and visitors.
A travel enthusiast craving to explore the exotic destinations in the world, deciphering the mysteries and the thrill concealed in them.