St Michael's Cathedral - Simla - 1885 Lord Rippon's favorite church

St. Michael's Cathedral, Simla Flickr

St. Michael's Cathedral, SimlaTour My India

St Michael's Cathedral, first  Roman Catholic cathedral in Simla is one of the oldest churches in this region and it was built in 1885 during the time of the Viceroy, Lord Rippon. Located just above Army Headquarters, this is the Roman Catholic cathedral 's architect was Henry Irwin, the then Superintendent Engineer and Architect of the PWD in Simla.It was built in n the French Gothic style dressed gray stone in the construction of this church makes it appearance different from others. The belfry is fitted with a chime of bells, quite unusual and a new experience or the people living here. It is said the chime was quite pleasing to ear and melodious.  Though St Michael's Cathedral is a little one (vide
"Thackers Guide of 1890", the 'Lonely Planet' for Victorian travellers), it is elegant and a legacy of the British rulers who spent much of their time in Simla during the summer. When you are in the Mall, this cathedral  that still retains the old time ambiance inside the church can not miss our attention.  As in other churches in India, St. Michael's Cathedral incorporates a nave, a vestry, a confessional room, a baptistery room and two aisles. It is said this church has the best organ in North India. The silhouette of Simla’s most impressive place of worship - St. Michael’s Cathedral is quite breath-taking in the backdrop of huge mountains thick with swaying pine trees. One can take refuge in peace and tranquillity in this venerated place

An interesting fact is Lord Rippon himself was a convert to Catholicism and no doubt not only did he select a huge plot for the place of worship but also made a fat contribution to meet the cost of construction. Dedication of the church was done by the Archbishop of Agra. Lord Rippon was well supported by  by fellow-Catholic Sir Dennis Fitzpatrick, the then Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab. It was opened to public 1885.  and a steeple (now removed) was added in 1900.The full name of this church is the Cathedral of St Michael & St Joseph.The glass window panes over the altar have images of St. Francis on the left and St. Joseph on the right painted on them. Hence the full name is Cathedral of St. Michael’s and St. Joseph’s.  A beautiful steeple was added in 1900, but now it is not there. The church has an  old statue of "Our Lady of Guadalupe," which is a gift from Mexico

The prayer  services are conducted at 6am and 6pm and the Friday mass  has been  a tradition for a long time and is ever broken. After the  capital of British India was shifted from Calcutta to Delhi on the 11th of December 1911, the catholic population came under the jurisdiction of the Simla diocese.