North Indian churches built in Gothic/Gothic-Revival style - 03

The following are are some of the  churches in north India built in Neo or gothic revival architecture. Most of them were built during the oppressive East India Company rule till 1857-48. 

01. The Christ Church, Kasauli, HP:

Christ church, Kasauli, HP.

The Christ Church at the hill station of Kasauli is a landmark church in this part of the sub Himalayan region. It took  quite a long time and also  the builder spent good deal of money on the neo-Gothic church particularly on the steeples. When  the Viceroy of India, Sir John Lawrence, who on a visit to the church  the work was still incomplete  and there were no pews built yet. Quite furious  he asked the builders to go for subscription to finish the work. Finally, the church work was complete with donations from the local residents. The Viceroy also made some contribution. Little known fact is a part of of construction cost was borne by the East India Company. 

 /Christ church, Kasauli,

With  impressive arches, buttresses to bear the additional stress caused by the walls, beautiful frontage, finely-chiseled stone and wooden  pews made from Burma teak, lancet windows on the sides to provide natural light this church is counted as one the best finished churches in this part. Come October26  this year it will be celebrating the 177th year of setting the foundation stone that was laid by Bishop Wilson of Calcutta (Kolkata). On 24  July  1853, the church was  opened for  service  by the Chaplain Thomas John Edward Steel MA, St. John’s College, Cambridge, at Evensong. Consecration was done on  8 January  1857 by the Authority of the Bishop of Calcutta.  Once the the church of the Anglican Communion, is now under the management of Church of North India Lots of worshippers and tourists come here. 

Interior, Christ church, Kasauli, HP.  commons.wikimedia

 Christ church, Kasauli, HP.

Dressed sandstone,  a cruciform floor plan, fine-stained glass windows above the high altar depict the Christ on the cross  are the main features. The church's  belfry can be accessed through a  narrow staircase. The clock on the belfry was repaired  in 2015  and the old   mechanism - cogs and gears was revived with great difficulty. The credit goes to  the local Infantry Brigade of the Army and a good samaritan from Chandigarh. The clock that used to chime every hour worked continually for 50 to 60 years according to the media reports. It is said this clock was made in the 1870s.

The church graveyard covering about one acre is surrounded by  lots of greenery - deodar and horse-chestnut trees and a few flowerbeds. There are several memorial plaques in the church  in honor of those who died in a life-threatening forest fire.  

This church needs repair and restoration work as many parts show damages causing seepage. Structural damages, it is said, are to the minimum. Pieces of furniture including pews need some repair work.


02. The St. John the Baptist, or John's Church, Meerut city, UP:

 Oldest in N.India. St. John's Church, Meerut

image 1905. St. John the Baptist church built,

The Saint John the Baptist, or John's Church of Meerut city is the oldest church in north India built between   1819 to 1821  A parish church in the diocese of Agra of Church of North India, it was built to serve the military garrison stationed in the cantonment  the Rev. Henry Fischer, a Church of England clergyman, posted to Meerut, India.

St.John's church, Meerut city (UP)

As a Chaplain the he felt the need of a church in Meerut to serve the English soldiers and  he was instrumental in founding this church here. Dedication was done by Rt. Rev. Reginald Heber (Bishop of Calcutta).  The church built in Gothic Revival design possesses a non-functioning pipe organ that requires manual operation of its bellows to supply  air to it.  Steeped in history this church was the silent witness to the start of the greatest Indian Rebellion (Sepoy Mutiny) of 1857 against the oppressive and fraudulent East India company. Surprisingly, fairly in good shape are  the wooden pews and kneelers, brass eagle lectern, marble baptistery  and stained glass windows that  all date back to nearly two centuries.

 St. John's Church, Meerut.

The architecture of this oldest church - St John's was quite popular  before the Gothic Revival, this Gothic styled edify is and is modelled on the Palladian or classical style. This was done taking the tropical climate of the  country into account.  It has and the free air-circulation will keep the interior cool even during hot days. The balcony has seating provisions but is not functional.  Despite renovations, its heritage values and the ethos of Anglican  parish church remain unchanged from  1800s.

03. St. Paul’s Cathedral. Ranchi, Jharkhand, India.

St. Paul cathedral, Ranchi, JH

St. Paul cathedral on  Church Road,  Bahu bazzar of  Ranchi city, Jharkhand state is a modest colonial  building  built in Neo- Gothic style as confirmed by its pointed arched doorways, pointed arched windows and steeply slanting cottage type roof. Most impressive  feature is the towering steeple that is visible in the neighborhood. 

St. Paul cathedral, Ranchi, JH

Set in a quiet  and serene place surrounded by  large trees and a park on one side,  devotees come here during the service time.  Designed by a British architect of the Army, the old church still carries the aura of  British legacy.  Its old structure still remains  unchanged and  a small stone plaque etched  atop the arched doorway right before the porch states that this church came into being in  1870.  

On 1st September 1870, Commissioner Dalton  (under the British Crown administration) laid the foundation stone of the church. Surprisingly,  General Rowlatt, Judicial  commissioner 
took up the responsibility of  its construction work. Consecration  of the newly built church was done by  Anglican Bishop Robert Milman   on 9th March 1873. The patron is  St. Paul – an apostle of Christ  who lived and spread Christianity in the 1st century A.D. He was  an inspiration to Gossner who as a priest had crossed swords with the authorities in Berlin  over not showing any interest in his missionary work.  Gossner,  quite disappointed with dull response from Germany  for the Lutheran Mission work in India,  finally made a request to  the Church of England to run  his mission.

Believed to be the second oldest  church in this city, this Anglican church had affiliation with the Church of England, as most of the English churches in India.  The religious divide not only existed between Protestants and Catholics but also with other denominations like  Lutheran Missions. This church silently witnessed the nasty politics going on in the places of worship among  missionaries of various  denominations. This church was developed by missionaries who switched over their affiliation from other group to  Church of England.  Both these  - Lutheran Missions and the Catholic Mission function independently staying strictly to their confines of frame work.   Stone plaques  in the church has listed the  names of pastors and others of the past period. 


04. Christ Church, Bareilly, UP:  

.Christ church, Barailly, Uttar Pradesh.

Christ Church built roughly 183 years ago during the East India Company rule is one of the oldest churches in North India.. It is a moderate structure with a porch  prayer hall and altar built in Gothic  architecture. Two  50 feet  high tall pointed towers at the corners of the porches on each side highlight the old conventional Gothic style. This small church can accommodate about 200 people in the center hall that is supported by 4 sturdy pillars. The roof over the central hall is made of concrete sheets well supported by wooden frames. The cost of construction Rs.7000 was met by the EIC. In the 1857 great rebellion, the church suffered severe damages caused by the rebels.  By 1860, the church was repaired and restored. 

In the olden days the  members used to come here  for services  on buggy, horse carts, etc.  As for higher officials they  could get off near the porch and junior officers had to get off  near the gate. to come to the services in automobiles. 

05. St. Stephen's Church on Church, Delhi:

St. Stephen's college, Delhi.

St. Stephen's Church on Church Mission Road in Delhi  was built in 1862  by Anglican missionaries and DPW Engineers.  The Anglican Mission Society for the Propagation of the Gospel was behind the construction of this old church. Later the Cambridge Mission (that founded the St. Stephen's college, Delhi) to Delhi supported the cause of the mission.
Highly influenced by the Romanesque architecture  with emphasis on conventional Gothic style, the church has fine  stained glass rose window, ornate walls and ceilings, impressive interior with   motifs, pictures, carvings and beautiful furniture. A distinctive feature is the interior is well-lit and this being due to  baroque styled  arched windows which allow the sunlight to brighten the interiors. Other features include  ornate columns made of sandstone and  a series of fine plasters forming the  arcade on either side with lined columns. 

The red color of the Church is symbolic of  the blood of St. Stephen, the first Christian Martyr and patron saint of the city.  Here it symbolizes   the blood of the first Christian martyrs in India who were killed in Delhi in 1857  great rebellion against the unjust, highly corrupt  and repressive EIC rule that rendered India, once a rich country, a poor one. 
The St. Stephen's Church, Delhi compound also has the famous St. Stephen's College and St Stephen's Hospital.