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Famous India > Editorials > Stained Glass Churches In India
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Stained Glass Churches In India

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By Nidhi Gadgil

It wasn't the winters, but the beginning spring. The winds were flowing, smoothly, touching me face. The roads were not completely filled with the cabs – as they mostly are. Its a cleaner part of Calcutta, the Jawahar Lal Nehru Road where the Birla Planetarium is located. But here I was not to see the Planetarium but a building washed in white – the famous St. Cathedral Church.

St. Cathedral Church – Indias first Catholic Church built in Indo – Gothic Style also happens to be the first Stained Glass Church. St. Paul Cathedral Church or the St. John Church – there isn't much difference between the Churches of Catholists and Protestants (though they differ in ideologies). This can be very clearly seen in the Churches throughout India. In this tour of Indian Churches I could see a number of things.

My journey begins with the roundabout of the famous Churches of Allahbad City in Uttar Pradesh. The All Saints Cathedral built in the 13th century, filled with Gothic Style figures. It is one of the finest Cathedrals of India. Taking 40 years to be completed, it can seat around 500 people at a time. What is interesting is the fact that the lower Apse of the Church his a copied design from the Fatehpur Sikri; a place near Agra.. Adding to the beauty of the Church is the stained glass panel adoring massive interior. It also has the original Burne and Jones creation on its stained glass panels.

The Stained Glasses used in the Churches have a different story. These Stained Glasses depict characters and scenes from Bible. It also pictures the lives of saints from half of the 9th century. The technique used in making and painting pictures in STAINED GLASSES originated in Egypt and Mesopotamia. There is a vivid difference between the common Glass. Whereas the Common Glass reflects the light which passes through it, the stained glass instead of drawing or coloring the surface puts the light on the paintings drawn on it. So when you enter a Church your eyes get glued to the PAINTINGS and not on the SIDE SURFACED GLASS.

A different class of glass work and design of Church can be seen in Red Church, Pachmarhi of Madhya Pradesh. Built in the year 1892, this Church boasts of French Architecture and Belgium Stained Glasses. It also has Cemetery developed in the honour of the World War I and II martyrs. There is also the Black Church nearby which is supposed to be the most beautiful Church in Madhya Pradesh. The Stained Glass used in this Church were Imported from Europe. The fact that no pillars have been used in the nave of the Church makes it more interesting.

The last church I visited was the Church of Kasauli – a hill station in Himachal Pradesh. With figs and grooves of Chestnut it has elobrate stained glass paintings on the main wall. The paintings in this Church depict Joseph and Mary on Both sides of Jesus Christ. The glass of this painting was imported from Spain and Italy. Kasauli is a bit different from other hill stations like Kashmir, Manali and Nanital which do not have any historical Churches.

The travel story of Churches of India has been magnificent. It raises a number of questions but all stop at one point – faith of human kind. The outlines, the designs, paintings are come below one common factor – the trust and blindfolded faith one keeps.



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