Monday, 4 July 2016

A church carrying Mogul 's name !! Akbar's church, Agra

Akbar’s Church” from 1772 with additions in 1835.Archbishop’s house, within the complex has the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception (1848) and Akbar’s Church; a large colonial mansion.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (1848).
The famous city of Agra near Delhi in the state of Utter Pradesh is not all  about the Taj Mahal and equally well-known  Mogul  monuments built centuries ago. It is needless to say, it has more to offer  to the travel hungry people, considering its proximity with Delhi, once the capital of the moguls and later the British. The city is  replete with  structures blended with mogul as well as other architectural styles. It is a confluence of Hindu, Muslim and Christian cultures that survived through centuries despite several upheavals, battles and treaties. There is an English Church called Akbar's  Church built during the mogul period, The name of the church may sound odd, a Christian prayer house bearing the  enigmatic name of a great Mogul ruler!! Positively it will kindle our curiosity to know  about this monument built during the Muslim rule.

Among the Mogul rulers, Akbar was not only a dynamic and sagacious  leader, but also a secular administrator.  Built in the late 16th century, it was pulled down in the middle of  17th century and at last rebuilt in 1772. Fittingly it is named after Akbar, considering his secular credentials and his liberal attitude toward people, following other faiths.

The early church was built by the missionaries during the reign of Akbar who allowed them to preach the Gospel of Christ and convert the natives to Christianity. The  subsequent demolition of the church points out the fact that the later mogul rulers like Shah Jahan and Aurangazeb were not tolerant towards other faiths. Aurangazeb, in particular, was tyrannical that caused his down fall. The present church, as it stands now,  was rebuilt only after the British gained supremacy in this part in the later years of 1761 with the fall of mogul and other Indian rulers.

Standing close to Akbar's church, a new church was built in 1848   to manage the growing congregation  during  church services. The space was not adequate enough to handle a huge gathering.  Further, the christian community also had begun to grow slowly. The large new church complex with imposing building to meet the additional crowds  is called the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. It is very much similar to Akbar's church except the altar. The new church has baroque exterior in the front that makes it look majestic. In Wazirpura, the Roman Catholic Complex is a huge colonial site with   imposing baroque Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception,

St Patrick’s School built earlier in 1843 is in the same complex. Also included in this complex is St. peter's college which is housed in an impressive building that has been around since 1840s. This particular colonial building is characteristic of big ornate porch and arcades.

The Akbar's church is a legacy of Mogul as well as British era and their roller coaster rule over the Indian subcontinent.

                              (corrections made:18th July, 2016)