Religion is one of the most important and unique differences between India and the people of India, a secular country with different religions. Various religions have repeatedly come to the fore in the history of India. Symbolic shrines of all religions are being formed in different parts of India in different periods.
Due to the large number of Hindus in this country, we often see a lot of temples, but there are many traditional churches in the history of India that many may not know about! So be sure to read today’s special cover to know in detail about 10 famous churches in India.
Christianity, the third largest religion in India, according to history, was introduced to India in 52 AD by a Christian person named Thomas on the Malabar Coast of Kerala. Gradually, from Kerala to Goa, Tamil Nadu and other parts of India, churches symbolizing this religion were built one after another. There are currently over a hundred churches built in India, 10 of which are listed here. These churches have a unique tradition in the history of India.
1. Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa:
The Basilica of Bom Jesus Church is one of the oldest and most famous churches in India. It is a Roman Catholic church located in Goa. At one time this Goa was the capital of the Portuguese and this church is considered to be one of the best examples of Portuguese colonial architecture. It is also worth noting that this church is one of the seven wonders of Portuguese architecture.
Construction of the church began in 1594 and was completed in 1605. The interior decoration and marble work of the church is amazing to the tourists. One of the attractions of this church is the mummy of the body of the Christian pastor Francis Xavier. The church also has a museum where various items related to the history of the church are arranged and the church is now under the care of UNESCO.
2. Christ Church, Shimla:
Christ Church is another ancient and traditional church located in Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. The church was built in 1857 right in the middle of the city of Shimla. This church is a prominent example of Shimla, built in the Neogothic style of architecture.
This church has 5 special windows made of fine glass and each of these windows symbolizes the 5 main qualities of Christians such as faith, charity, hope, patience and humility. The largest pipe organ in India was installed in the church in 1899.
3. St. Paul’s Cathedral, Kolkata:
Another famous church in India is St. Paul’s Cathedral Church in Kolkata, West Bengal. This church was built in the Gothic Renaissance style. Construction of the church began in 1839 and was completed in 1847. According to various sources, this church is the first episcopal church in Asia.
The church has been dubbed the “Attractive Island” in Calcutta in view of the growing European population. The huge crowd at this church during Christmas is especially noticeable. The church houses the tombs of Bishop Daniel Wilson, the founding of the Cathedral, and Acting Chief Justice John Paxton Norman. The extraordinary frescoes on the glass windows throughout the church symbolize outstanding art.
4. Church of Saint Francis, Kochi:
This church is located in Kochi, Kerala in the southern part of India. The fascinating history of St. Francis Church in Kerala as well as its incredible architectural work fascinates tourists in particular, with crowds of tourists flocking here at different times of the year.
The site once housed the original remains of the famous explorer Vasco da Gama, but his remains were returned 14 years later in the city of Lisbon, but the exact location of his tomb is still clearly marked in the church.
Its architecture reflects a great blend of Portuguese, Dutch and British influences. The church features a gambit timber framed roof and two stepped pinnacles perched on the Chancellor’s roof. The church was declared a protected monument in April 1933 under the Protected Monuments Act of 1904. The church is now under the Archaeological Survey of India.
5. St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica, Chennai:
Another famous church in South India is the St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. This church is one of the most important historical churches in India.
The church was built in the 16th century on the tomb of St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, but was later rebuilt by the British in the 19th century in a neo-gothic style. The height of this church is about 210ft and the interior walls of the church are beautifully decorated with paintings and lovely frescoes. The museum inside the church also doubles the tourist attraction.
6. St. Philomena’s Cathedral, Mysore:
Considered to be the largest church in India, this church located in Mysore, Karnataka, is also known as the second largest church in Asia. The church was built in 1936 using the Neo-Gothic style, and historians believe that its architecture was inspired by the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.
The church accommodates about 800 people and displays beautiful paintings on various stages of Christ’s life, including his birth, the Last Supper, and the crucifixion. The pillars of the church are also decorated with great floral designs. The church is frequently seen in many films, such as the scene from the church in the famous 1977 Hindi film ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’, which was shot inside the church.
7. St Joseph’s Cathedral, Hyderabad:
St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hyderabad, one of the best churches in India. It is a Roman Catholic church. The church accommodates about 500 people. The main attraction of this church is the 5 bells placed in 1892 on the head of the church.
Ascending the bell-tower stairs of this church, one can see the breathtaking view of the city. These bells are from Italy in 1892, here the bells are rung in such a way that various Christian hymns, especially the hymns of Our Lady “Ave Maria” can be heard on different themes. The main alcove inside the church has an imitation of the famous sculpture Pietà by Michelangelo.
8. All Saints Cathedral, Allahabad:
This is one of the oldest churches in India, at All Saints Cathedral in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. This cathedral is one of the churches that gained special popularity in the 13th century, inspired by the Gothic style of architecture.
Built during the British rule in India, the church was designed in 1871 by Sir William Emerson, the eminent British architect who was the chief designer of the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta. The church can accommodate about 400 people. The glass and marble works of the cathedral are still intact after more than 125 years, and the cathedral has many plaques depicting the deaths of various British citizens in India.
9. Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pondicherry:
The church is located in the southern state of Pondicherry, the Union Territory of India. Here this church is known as ‘Samba Kovil’ where the word ‘Kovil’ means Church. The church was built in 1791 and bears a striking resemblance to a church in France. It is considered as an impressive example of French architecture in the traditional history of India. It is one of the various tourist spots in Pondicherry and Mother Teresa visited the church during her visit to Pondicherry.
10. St. Mary’s Church, Thiruvithamcode:
It is an Orthodox church located in Thiruvithamcode, Kanyakumari district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The Christian community believes it is the oldest church in India, built by St. Thomas in 57 AD, and on December 16, 2007, the Metropolitan of Malankara declared it an international St. Thomas pilgrimage center. It is the oldest church in India which has not been rebuilt yet.
The entire church is divided into three main parts and its walls are built of local stone, connected with a multi-tipped chisel, a technology known in Kerala that probably came to India in the 16th century through foreign connections. The church is currently maintained by the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.