Christ Church, Bardhaman, West Bengal - Why does it assume much importance ?

oldest Christ-Church-Bardhaman, W.Bengal.

The small town of Bardhaman is one of the oldest towns in India like Varanasi (UP) dating back to about 5000 BC (the Mesolithic or Late Stone Age ?).  The name is derived from Vardhaman Swami-Mahavira (599-527 BCE), the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism.  According to the Jain scripture of Kalpasutra, this place was renamed as Vardhamana in his honour of Mahavira who spent many years here. 
Christ church, Bardhaman, WB,

The city has many tourist spots and monuments that were built centuries ago.. There are churches, Hindu, Jain temples and Muslim structures pointing out the existence of  a town that had different cultures. 
oldest Christ-Church-Bardhaman, W.Bengal.

Among the places of Christian worship, the Christ church is an interesting one, it is the oldest church in the eastern India and  was built in 1816 under the direction of  Captain Charles Stuart of the East India Company that had been operating in undivided Bengal. The Purpose of this church was to cater to the spiritual needs of Europeans who moved in large numer here, seeking job prospects with the English company. The English company came to India as mercantile traders in the 17th century and it was here in Bengal their Imperial ambition got a hold on them. It all began with Robert Clive who began his career as a clerk in the English company in Madras (Chennai). He was brought to Calcutta to tackle the ruler - Nawab Siraj-ud-daulah (1733 – 2 July 1757) who disliked th  British officials for their dishonesty. They never paid the customs duty fees, taxes, etc, besides fortifying Ft. William without the ruler's consent and illegally operating trades under different names. When Clive reclaimed Ft.William in Calcutta taken over by theNawab in June 1756, he decided to eliminate Siraj. After the elimination of  Nawab Siraj in July 1757, the EIC became well established and was a force to reckon with. After Bengal cam under their control, the company ran a proxy government on behalf of the British Crown. As the company expanded their activities, they needed more men from England. Thus churches began cropping up to meet the need of the Europeans.

 In undivided Bengal Christianity arrived back in the 16th century. The Portuguese first established a settlement in Bandel with the Bandel Church  in 1599. Owing to a fire mishap, the church was rebuilt in 1660. Christians lived mainly in places like Barddhman, Bankura, Kolkata and Hooghly districts. British missionary William Carey landed in Bengal in 1793 and later founded the Baptist Missionary Society  to spread Christianity among the natives. The EIC was not cooperative, so he worked in  the Danish colony of Serampore in Hooghly and engaged  in the translation  of the  Bible  into Bengali and Sanskrit. Later, as a missionary, he paid more attention to education and founded a college in Serampore in 1818 called Serampore college.   

''Christ Church''  was the first one ever built in European style in this part at that point of time and is being well- maintained as of now. Being a famous landmark in this part of the city, it is in the midst of an impressive courtyard. Close to the Curzon Gate,  it was built by  the Church Missionary Society that bought the land at a rock-bottom price from the ruler.  Roughly 70 km from Kolkata (Calcutta), this historical Christ Church, with red color on the exterior is in a serene ambiance. It is made of brick and lime and mortar with slanting roof. It is not a big church with attarctive features like  well-decorated altar and relious paintings.. Nor does it have an antique pipe organ or stained  color glass windows. It has strong thick walls and beams to support the roof. Its builder Captain Charles Stevart continued to maintain it for the benefit of the local Christian community. Unlke other churches in West Bengal or else where, here, the Christmas is a sort of low-key affair. Christmas is a puritan affair here.