Historical St. Bartholomew's Church, Mysore that was visited by King George V and junior Prince of Wales, Edward VIII

St. Bartholomew's Church,Mysore fabhotels.com

Interior, St. Bartholomew's Church,Mysore Tripadvisor.com

St. Bartholomew's Church in Lashkar Mohalla  on the Nilgiri Road of the suburban Mysore city is an Anglican church and is the oldest among the churches of this region. Built by the Madras Presidency of the East India compny  for their company's military workers stationed in Mysore and for the British officials in the employ of the Mysore Maharajah and the British Resident appointed by the ESI. It is a single-story structure with simple archtecture and may be paaed off as a big bungalow.

The consecration of this church was done on  29 November 1830 by  Bishop Turner of Calcutta on  the church ground. and the construction work was completed in 1832. The church was named after  Saint Bartholomew, who is said to have visited India in the late first century .One of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ, he covered part of  what is now called Maharashtra  state with a mission to spread  Christ's ''Gospel of love'' among the natives. In 2015, the 175 the anniversary  celebration  was held on a grand scale and this colonial church is 190 years old,now, and  stll going strong. Keepig the old tradition alive, the church services at  St. Bartholomew's  are conducted in English by local priests.

Thanks to the munuficence of Maharajah Krishnaraja Wadiyar III (1799-1868) who donated the needed land for building the church. Being a secular dynasty, the later rulers followed suit and pataronized the Christian  missionaries. The  credit goes to  British Resident Arthur Henry Cole (1780–1844) (after whom Coles Park in Fraser Town, Bangalore is named) who plyd a key role and secured the land for the church.from the Mysore ruler.  The costruction cost Rs3500 was met by the European military officers and civilians of the congregation. The church has fine stained class work  depicting St. Bartholomew  and windows, and the cost was borne by  Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV. It  was  opened by Lady Wellington. The fine teak wood paneling  and the well furnished marble altar add more splendor to the interior part of the church.

The church got the Anglican denomination in 1847 and later the English company took up the managemnt. Apart from spiritual services and missionary work, the church was actively involved in the area of education. They began starting an English medium school for  the children of European officers who were employed in the Mysore kingdom. At that point of time, there was no English medium school  functioning either  in Mysore or in Bangalore  So, the early care takers of this church were pioneers in English education in this part of south India.  In 1874, the church  started Sunday school mainly to impart  Christian education to the children, which continues till date. The church was also closely associated with the Holdsworth Memorial Mission Hospital in Mysore.

Bell tower, St. Bartholomew's Church,Mysore en.wikipedia.org

An interesting fact  about the bell tower is it was built away from the church building, a rare construction plan.. The bell used in the tower was cast in France in the 17 century and  was in use at the ' French army base' church in French Rocks, Erode village (now Pandavapura) close to Srirangapatna. Upon the death of Tipu Sultan in 1799 during  the final Angelo-Mysore war, the area came under the control of the ESI which  was later handed over to the early ruler -the royal family of the Wadiyars from whom the kingdom was seized by Hyder Ali, father of Tipu. Tipu's military alley was the French.

When Mysore Maharajah took over the adminitration the French army church was pulled down in 1924 to build  Irwin Canal (renamed  Visvesvaraya Canal). Some of remnants of the old church, including the bell were passed on  to chaplin Rev. G A A Wright of St Bartholomew’s Church to be used by the church. Only 18 years back in 2002, the bell tower was  shifted to the front part and the dedication was done by the Bishop of  the CSI -the Church of South India,

location map, Mysore city, Karnataka evolveback.com

This historical church has the rare distinction of having been visited by a few well known British dignitaries  - Gov. Gen. Lord William Bentinck in 1834, King George V (then Prince of Wales) in the early part of  1906. He offered prayers at this church. and the junior Prince of Wales, Edward VIII in 1921 on a visit to Mysore visited this church.

Yet another histoical fact is some European cemetaries like the European Cemetery on Mysore-Bangalore road, the Benson Cemetery on Mysore-Nanjangud road and the Garrison Cemetery in Srirangapatna are attachd to St. Bartholomew’s Church.