This Christmas I will take you through the churches of my native city, also known as the City of Joy. Yes, Christmas has an archetypal charm in the old city of Kolkata and its surroundings. Kolkata and its surroundings witnessed different colonial settlements and hence had a diverse effect on its culture, people and religion. Irrespective of the religion Christmas is celebrated here as a maas festival where every household celebrates the occasion ‘Borodin’ in their own way. Not delving much into the type of festivities, I take you through a tour of churches in Kolkata this Christmas.
So let’s start our Church tour:
St Paul’s Cathedral
Location: Chowringhee Road
The most celebrated and the most popular of all the churches in Kolkata is the St Paul’s Cathedral. Spread across a sprawling compound this large and beautiful institution is located very close to many other places of interest in the city like the planetarium and the Victoria Memorial Hall. The church was consecrated on 8th October 1847. It was built to replace St. James church which became smaller for the growing Christian community at that period. The architecture of the cathedral resembles the Gothic revival style. It is the largest church in the city.
St Thomas Church
Location: Mirza Ghalib street
St Thomas Church is a Roman Catholic Church located at Middleton Row. The church was established in 1842 and is the second parish church in the city. The church was built during the British era and has a beautiful Gothic style of architecture.
Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth
Location: Armenian Street
The Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth was built in the year 1688 and was later rebuilt in the year 1724 after the original wooden church was destroyed in a fire. The church is located at Armenian Street in Kolkata. The interior of the church is richly decorated with paintings of “Holy Trinity”, “Last Supper” and “The Enshrouding of Our Lord”.
St John’s Church
Location: BBD Bagh, Council House Street
St John’s Church, locally known as ‘Pathure Girja’ because of its architectural built made of stone and brick. The construction of the church was completed in 1787. The distinctive feature of the church is its tall 174 ft spire which has an ancient watch that is wound daily to date. The church is located close to Raj Bhawan in the BBD Bagh area.
St Andrew’s Church
Location: Brabourne Road, BBD Bagh
This is the only Scottish church among the churches in Kolkata, also known as The Scotch Kirk or Lat Saheb ka Girja. St Andrew’s Church is an Anglo-Indian Presbyterian Church and was established in 1818. Located in the Lal Bazar area this church can be distinguished by its spire with a bird on top of it. The tower of the church also has a clock designed by M/s Burn, Currie & Co.
Church of Christ the King
Location: Sayed Amir Ali Avenue, Park Circus
Located near Park Street this large yet beautiful structure is a peaceful place to worship and for the non-religious a serene place to indulge in some meditative thoughts.
Church of Lord Jesus
Located in Taltala this church was initially established as a Church of Scotland Presbyterian place of worship. Later in 1969, it was handed over to the Jesuits. This church is commonly known as ‘Prabhu Jisur Girja’.
Roman Catholic Metropolitan Archdiocese of Calcutta
Location: Mullick Bazar, Park Street
This church comes under the clergy of the Latin Church within the Catholic church of India. The church was established in 1834 as the Apostolic Vicariate of Bengal, it was later renamed as Apostolic Vicariate of Western Bengal in 1850. After the formation of the Catholic hierarchy in British India, the vicariate was upgraded to the metropolitan archdiocese.
Mar Thoma Syrian Church
Location: Ahiripukur Rd, Rowland Row, Ballygunge
The Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, often shortened to Mar Thoma Church, also known as the Reformed Syrian Church and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, is an autonomous Reformed Oriental church based in Kerala, India. This beautiful church is situated in the Ballygunge area and comes under the church of Kerala.
St James Church
Location: Acharya Jagdish Chandra Bose Road, Entally
St. James Church was established in 1962. The twin spire of the church gave it the local name of ‘Jora Girja’.
With this short blog post on the tour through the churches of Kolkata. I wish you all a very Happy and Blessed Christmas.