Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Graces, Sardhana, UP -Why is it so popular?

Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Graces, Sardhana

Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Graces, Sardhana

Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Graces,Sardhana dreamstime.coin

 Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Graces, Sardhana, UP

Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Graces, Sardhana, UP

Above images:  Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Graces, Sardhana,  Uttar Pradesh. Look at the gently sweeping flight of steps on both sides with balustrades on the upper portion of the side walls, Fluted columns with simple entablature. Tall ceiling with wooden rafters (commonly known in S. India as Madras terrace).  Building was constructed using lime-sand mortar using old techniques. simple decoration all around the entrance doors to the rooms/halls.....

Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Graces, Sardhana of UP,  one of 23 minor basilicas in India,  is the only minor basilica in North India and the special status was bestowed  on December 13, 1961 by Pope John XXIII.  In 2007 the historical minor basilica saw the Golden Jubilee Commemoration celebration  that was attended by a  delegation from the Vatican, including the Ambassador.

Often  known as ''Churches among the Churches'', it was built by  Joanna Nobiis Somru, wife of Mercenary army owner Walter Reinhardt Sombre of  Austrian decent. Upon the death of her husband in 1778, she inherited vast properties and the well-trained  mercenary army of her husband.  Born Muslim Farzanna  became a Catholic convert in 1781 and changed her original name to Joanna Nobilis and became a devotee of Virgin Mary.  She also took the distinction of being the first ever Christian ruler of a small principality near Meerut with a capital at Sardhana,  

Devoted to Virgin Mary, Madam Sambru had a  church built  in Mary's honor.  The architect of the Church was Antonio Reghellini, an Italian from the city of Vicenza and  he took 11 years to complete it. The date of dedication is a bone of contention and  some suggest 1820 CE.  Dedicated to Virgin Mary the cost of construction of this church was Rs. 4 lakhs - a whooping sum in those olden days.

Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Graces,

The Church  was built on the model of  St. Peter's Basilica in Rome with a touch of Palladio and some Indian architectural elements. The altar and  and much of the interior was made of quality  marble set with colored stones. There are many marble images in the church that bear testimony to the superior  craftsmanship of the sculptor. It is well highlighted  from an octagon set in the dome, from which the sun streams in. The splendor of the building is highlighted by many European architectural features  such as -  the well-built  Greek colonnaded veranda with impressive Doric columns, sweeping  flight of steps to access the building, an elevated altar with a stained glass dome and  two tall spires and three Roman domes- large one in the middle over the main altar and the smaller ones over the wings – are similar to the domes of St. Peter’s Basilica,  The massive steeples on both sides are quite attractive and they pierce the sky; the one on the left holds two bells whereas the other used to have a clock. The central dome is adorned by an octagonal lantern with perforated slates capped with a small onion-like dome giving Persian touch

Tomb of madam Sambru, Sardhana church,UP.

There is a fascinating  18 foot high edifice over the tomb of Begum Sambru.   Carefully made by Italian sculptor Adamo Tadolini in Italy itself, it was transported to this place for installation. Initially it was outside the church and later it was moved over  to the present site within the church.  Photo credit: