Chapel, Lawrence school, campus, Sanawar, HP - one of the oldest colonial buildings in India

Chapel, Lawrence school campus, Sanawar, HP.

.Chapel, Lawrence school campus.  Sanawar, HP.

Nestled in the serene environment in the midst of dense pine and deodar trees forming the canopy against the Shimla hills in the foot hills of the Himalayas (elevation 1750 meters) is one of the oldest colonial buildings in India - the 167-year-old school chapel with its fascinating  large stained glass windows. It  is part of the Lawrence school's sprawling  campus. The school started off as an Asylum for orphans of the British soldiers and their families.  In 1858, it was renamed the "Lawrence Royal Military School." It is believed the school was  first co-educational boarding school in the world.  In 1857, it became the only school to be administrated directly by the British Crown. After India's independence, it ceased to be a military school and came under the control of the Education department of the central ministry.  The school celebrated its 175th Founder’s Day from October 2 to 4 this year. First built in 1847, the Sanawar campus cover 139 acres of  wooded land.

Chapel, Lawrence school campus, Sanawar, HP.

The Sanawar Chapel  came up in 1851 and was designed by the  first  Principal Rev. W.J. Parker himself who was appointed in 1848. It is an impressive building designed in old Gothic style with pointed arches and entrances. Gothic design  was commonly followed in the construction of churches in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. The exterior portions of the chapel are clad in grey stone imparting its fa├žade  a stunning look. In contrast to exterior designs, the interior is smooth with minimum decoration and on both sides there are tall pointed arched windows to let in natural light. The tall  sloping tiled roof ceiling is well supported by jointed wooden frame work resting on both sides of the thick walls.  The chapel designed in an exotic style, is not quite familiar in this part of the Himalayan region and it  effortlessly dominates the landscape and imparts the look of an English village with tall trees and mountains in the backdrop. 

That part of the chapel on the east side  with arched entrance and   porch offers the  most picturesque view of the building. The porch was built in 1858 by Herbert Edwardes. as a memorial for his friend Sir Henry Lawrence who founded the group of  Lawrence schools that are spread across India,  one being at Lovedale, Nilgris, Tamil Nadu.  The Chapel, located  on the school campus boasts of the oldest existing building on the campus. Those who passed out of this reputed school  and visited the on-campus chapel for their spiritual needs, became successful people in their chosen fields. Though success depends on your toil and commitments, the schools have to provide a congenial atmosphere. In this respect the Lawrence School, Sanawar  played a stellar role.