Colonial churches of Indore, Madhya Pradesh

While in the  Southern India where churches have been there for centuries even before the Portuguese presence, in the Northern regions of India, more churches came up  only when lots of British people started taking up jobs with the thriving East India company in the 17th century and later under the Raj after 1857. The churches mainly catered to the christian services  badly needed for the European soldiers, traders and others and their families. Invariably the churches were busy during festival times and ceremonies associated with Baptism, wedding, etc. Many churches also had a separate grave yards for  the departed souls. In those days when a soldier dies in action or due to diseases, it is difficult to take his body back to his native place for a decent burial, considering the arduous sea travel from India back to England. Further, a church is the only place for the lonely Europeans in a strange land of different religions to satisfy their spiritual moorings. That is the reason  why many colonial churches have a big grave yard  and innumerable soldiers, traders, missionaries lie buried there. The presence of a large contingent of Europeans in central India gave a fillip to the construction of many churches in this region. The expenses were met by donation from dignitaries and public subscription. The churches were mostly built in Indo-Gothic or Gothic style and the interior is highly embellished with beautiful paintings and Baroque style ornamentation.

Red Church:

Red Church 

 1928, St. Raphael’s School, started in the parochial 
shed of the Red Church

Interior part. Red Church, Indore dare-to-think-beyond-horizon.blogspot

Red Church located near the famous Holkar Palace on Godhra High way, is  a Catholic church. It is in the busy part of the city of Indore  and is being visited by lots of people to seek Lord's  blessings.  It is also famous as St. Francis of Assisi, catering to a sizable Christian community living here. The church is believed to be  one of the oldest  ones in this region. Unfortunately,  I could make only futile efforts to get details about the church. There were many  pictures of this church from some sources, none carried details about its origin and other other information.

The catholic community here started a school near the Red Church. St. Raphael’s School, was  the  cherished dream of one Franciscan priest Fr. Raphael and Fr. D’Silva, the then parish priest of the Red Church transformed Fr. Raphael dream into a reality; he was  parish priest of Indore from 1912 – 1927. In 1932, the  administration of the school was handed over to  one Fr. George Proksch (1932 - 1948)  a great admirer of Indian Culture and a staunch patron of Indian art and music. He  was the first Princi­pal of the school.

White Church:

White Church

Old Red Church Indore.

White Church, built in 1858 by Protestant Christians living in this area, is a beautiful colonial church in the center of the city of Indore near Maharajah's palace Rajwada. It is a nice place to wind up our drab and dull life because the church and the surroundings offer a serene ambiance. The church came up in this part of central India with the help of Sir Robert North Hamilton,  Governor General of India, of the British empire  who bore almost all the expenses. It was almost  at the fag end of the Sepoy Mutiny the foundation work for the church had begun. It was designed by Engineer Ross McMahon who simply followed the European style of architecture. During the colonial days the church was patronized by the army officers, soldiers and others. In those days only churches provided them  an opportunity  to get spiritual experiences to be at peace with themselves. 

Surely visits to such colonial structures  take us right back to the heydays of the British  and such remnants of past history need to be preserved and well maintained for our future generation. In such places, the colonial history is frozen with time and preservation is a necessity.

People belonging to other faiths come here to get the blessings from Christ. On  Christian festival days, the church is well decorated and well illuminated on Christmas Eve. There is a small community of Protestants  living here  and the church conducts regular masses for them. Unlike many Catholic churches, this  Protestant church is not well maintained, perhaps, it may be due to fund crunch!!