Christ Church (Shimla)

Christ Church, Shimla, is the second oldest church in North India, after St John's Church in Meerut. It is a parish in the Diocese of Amritsar in the Church of North India. Its current incumbent is The Rev. Sohan Lal, whose ecclesiastical designation is presbyter-in-charge. Worship is conducted in Hindi and English.[1]

ShimlaChurch
Christ Church on a sunny day

History

Built in the neo-Gothic style in 1857 to serve the largely Anglican British community in what was formerly called Simla, Christ Church is situated on The Ridge. It stands out as one of the prominent landmarks of Shimla and its silhouette is visible for many kilometres around the vicinity of Shimla city. Christ Church is one of the enduring legacies of the British Raj.

Christ Church was designed by Colonel J. T. Boileau in 1844, and the cornerstone was laid on 9 September 1844 by Bishop Daniel Wilson, Bishop of Calcutta. The church was consecrated on 10 January 1857 by Bishop Thomas Daltrey, Bishop of Madras. The estimated cost of construction at that time was 40,000 to 50,000 Rupees. The clock adorning Christ Church was donated by Colonel Dumbleton in 1860. The porch was added in 1873. A British manufactured pipe-organ was installed in 1899 which was extensively renovated in 1932.

On September 11, 1918, Guy Gibson, leader of Operation Chastise, the famous "Dambusters Raid" of 1943, was christened here.[2]

Christ Church survived the 20th-century partition and the subsequent political upheavals on the Indian subcontinent. The first Indian Chaplain of Christ Church Shimla was Rev. B.S. Chander (1948 to 1957). Christ Church continues to be well maintained and is in relatively good condition. The clock's original mechanical mechanism has more recently been replaced with an electrical equivalent. However, currently whilst all 4 faces of the clock remain in synchronization they rarely reflect the correct time.

Architecture

Christ Church Shimla India
Side view of Christ Church Shimla (1) from Mall Road

It is designed in the neo-Gothic style. The church is lit at night to illuminate it.

The church contains five fine stained glass windows. One represents the Christian virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Patience, and Humility. The chancel window was designed by Lockwood Kipling (father of Rudyard Kipling). The pipe-organ of Christ Church is the largest in the Indian subcontinent; it was installed in September 1899.[3]

Among the church's holdings are a great collection of books and ancient scriptures.

References

  1. ^ "Christ Church Shimla". Christ Church Shimla. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
  2. ^ Geoff Simpson, "Guy Gibson - Dam Buster", Pen and Sword, 2013
  3. ^ "Christ Church, Simla, India, by J. T. Boileau". Victorianweb.org. 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
Church of North India

The Church of North India (CNI), the dominant Protestant denomination in northern India, is a united church established on 29 November 1970 by bringing together the main Protestant churches working in northern India; it is a province of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It is the successor of Church of England in India along with the Church of Pakistan and the Church of South India. The merger, which had been in discussions since 1929, came eventually between the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon (Anglican), the United Church of Northern India (Congregationalist and Presbyterian), the Baptist Churches of Northern India (British Baptists), the Church of the Brethren in India, which withdrew in 2006, the Methodist Church (British and Australian Conferences) and the Disciples of Christ denominations.

The CNI's jurisdiction covers all states of the Indian Union with the exception of the four states in the south (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu) and has approximately 1,250,000 members (0.1% of India's population) in 3,000 pastorates.

Shimla

Shimla (English: ; Hindi: [ˈʃɪmlaː] (listen)), also known as Simla, is the capital and the largest city of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Shimla is also a district which is bounded by the state of Uttarakhand in the south-east, districts of Mandi and Kullu in the north, Kinnaur in the east, Sirmaur in the south and Solan in the west. In 1864, Shimla was declared as the summer capital of British India, succeeding Murree, northeast of Rawalpindi. After independence, the city became the capital of Punjab and was later named the capital of Himachal Pradesh. It is the principal commercial, cultural and educational centre of the state.Small hamlets were recorded prior to 1815 when British forces took control of the area. The climatic conditions attracted the British to establish the city in the dense forests of Himalayas. As the summer capital, Shimla hosted many important political meetings including the Simla Accord of 1914 and the Simla Conference of 1945. After independence, the state of Himachal Pradesh came into being in 1948 as a result of integration of 28 princely states. Even after independence, the city remained an important political centre, hosting the Simla Agreement of 1972. After reorganisation of state of Himachal Pradesh, the existing Mahasu district was named Shimla.

Shimla is home to a number of buildings that are styled in the Tudorbethan and neo-Gothic architectures dating from the colonial era, as well as multiple temples and churches. The colonial architecture and churches, the temples and the natural environment of the city attracts tourists. Attractions include the Viceroy Lodge, the Christ Church, the Jakhoo Temple, the Mall Road and the Ridge, which together form the city centre. The Kalka–Shimla Railway line built by the British, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also a major tourist attraction. Owing to its steep terrain, Shimla hosts the mountain biking race MTB Himalaya, which started in 2005 and is regarded as the biggest event of its kind in South Asia. Shimla also has the largest natural ice skating rink in South Asia. Apart from being a tourism centre, the city is also an educational hub with a number of colleges and research institutions.

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