Monday, 17 August 2015

Christ Church, Lucknow

Located in the Hazratganj area, Christ Church is Lucknow’s oldest Church, built in 1860. The first Anglican Church in North India, and probably the third in all of India, was the St. Mary’s Church, located inside Lucknow’s Residency. During the mutiny of 1857, it was heavily shelled by the rebels and was completely destroyed. For the next few years, services were held inside the tomb of Nawaab Saadat Ali Khan II. Christ Church was designed by Lt. Swetenham of the Royal Engineers and was consecrated by Bishop Cotton on 26th November, 1860.




Christ Church was built during the Victorian era, and is the Neo-Gothic style that was popular at the time. The brick and stucco church has a prominent five storeyed pointed tower, and though there were not enough funds for a clock to be installed, the insets were provided for it, and are visible today. The Gothic arched windows however appear to be rather small considering the thickness of the walls. There are multiple entrances all around the building. The interiors are magnificent and double height and the ceiling in particular is beautiful.

Christ Church was meant to serve the protestant community of Lucknow as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the mutiny. As such, memorial plaques to the mutiny dead may be found all along the walls of the Church. General Hutchinson designed identical memorial tablets for Sir James Outram and Sir Henry Lawrence which may be seen even today. The stone pulpit itself is a memorial to Captain Nicol Hardy, who died in battle near the spot where it stands. When originally designed, a modest amount of stained glass was used, but the Church has been enlarged and improved twice, in 1904 and 1916, and today two magnificent examples of stained glass may be seen inside the Church. The larger of the two is above the altar, while the smaller (but no less beautiful) one may be seen on the wall directly opposite.

 
Christ Church today continues to serve the city’s small but dedicated Christian community, and there is a caretaker living with his family on the grounds, who will open up the Church and show you around. Entry is free and there are no restrictions on photography, although, thanks to the small windows, the interiors tend to be rather dark. On the whole, the building is well maintained.

 
-          by Deepanjan Ghosh



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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I am grateful to my friend, Devankan Chakraborty for being my guide around Lucknow, to Kalpajeet Bhattacharya for his hospitality, and to my father Debashish Ghosh, and sister, Deepshikha Ghosh for accompanying me, and providing valuable inputs while shooting the monuments. Check out my father’s flickr page here.




SOURCES

Monuments of Lucknow – R.S. Fonia

Lucknow Then & Now – Rosie Llewellyn-Jones (Ed)
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