St. Mary's Cathedral of Madurai, TN - a colonial structure of architectural splendor

St. Mary's Madurai, India

St. Mary's Madurai

Above image, St Mary's cathedral, Madurai: A  fine example of gothic architecture with large arched windows and ribbed vaulted arches that enhance the beauty of the interior, particularly the prayer hall. 

St. Mary's cathedral  Madurai

St. Mary's

St. Mary's madurai

St. Mary’s Cathedral , also known as the Church of Our Lady of Dolours, is one of the most popular churches not only in Madurai but also in Tamil Nadu. Its architectural  grandeur and nicety is so overwhelming, it is a paradise for architects and civil engineers.  A visit to  Madurai will not be complete if this impressive cathedral is missed.  More than 177  years,  built with a mix of  European , Roman and continental architectural styles, it is  on South Veli Street, close to the railway junction - about 2 km.   

 St. Mary's madurai  trip advisor 

More prominent design style is gothic  with  a series  of columns and tall vaulted preciously placed  arches with well - decorated  stucco molding  inside the church that support the  curved roof and arched windows and entrances. Spacious aisle in the center and  passages on sides  allow easy movement of people.  The color glass arched windows light the interior during the day.  Began as a small Chapel by Fr. Garnier over a piece of land bought in 1840 by Fr. Bertrand SJ, one of the pioneers of Madurai Mission then, to cater to a small community  the church  was  built in 1841 to accommodate more people. Fr. Hibolite sj and Br. Lemothe expanded  the church a few times. The expansion included the construction of lofty bell towers.

The present structure was built in 1916 before the establishment of Madurai Diocese  in 1938. Earlier  on the feast of Our Lady of Seven Dolours in 1912 the foundation was laid.  The contraction work on the church got delayed owing to WWI that broke out in Europe  and this led to  financial  constrains.  The work was later completed under the direction of Fr. Planchard, sj and Mr. Saverimuthu, the architect.  The bells in the bell towers were imported from Europe and installed later.  St. Mary's  church  was up-graded to cathedral  in 1969 and it became  the seat of the Madurai Roman Catholic Archdiocese.

 The two tall bell towers - height 42 meters along with  magnificent spines piercing the sky   and richly decorated  fa├žade  not only  stand majestically but also dominate the  skyline of  this part of the city. Obviously, it is a landmark building in this busy street.  The church is built with very high ceiling  to avoid radiation and heat. Gothic styled big well  decorated circular widows allow free flow of fresh air inside the hall. 

Christmas is celebrated on a grand scale with midnight mass.