Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Early colonial churches of Lansdowne, India



St. Mary's church, Lansdowne, www.panoramio.com

During the colonial period, numerous churches were built in those places where the British were active, particularly, in places like the Madras Presidency, Bombay Presidency and Calcutta. Likewise, one could find churches in the cantonment towns of many Indian  cities where European soldiers were  stationed. As time went by after the consolidation of their political hold on India, the British moved uphill to cool themselves off during the hot summer. Being adventurous, as they were, they either discovered new hill stations or developed them into hill resorts that had been in existence before. Thus, numerous hill stations account for  colonial churches as well as military training centers across India.



Lansdowne www.indyabiz.com/l
Lansdowne, a cantonment town in Pauri Garhwal district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, is  a popular, off-beat hill station surrounded by pristine nature wih a fine view of the majestic Himlayas on clear days and during the summer season, lots of people come here  to take long respite from the searing summer heat in the plains. Situated at an altitude of 1,706 meter (5,686 feet) above the mean sea level surrounded  by thick oak and blue pine forests, it was founded and named after the then Viceroy of India  Lord Lansdowne (14 January 1845 - 3 June 1927), a British statesman who served successively as the fifth Governor General of Canada and Viceroy of India (1888-1894). You may not get the feel of a real hill station surrounded by lush green alphine forest. Nor is it famous for its dizzy height with a fine view of the valley and the bluish mountains near-by. This  small cantonment hill town is home to the Garhwal Rifles and the miltary people keep the place fairly clean and preserve the old charm. It may not be a commericial hub lined with countless shops, but here the retired people, in particular, from army can have a leisurely stroll on the quiet roads.  

The two churches here were built by the British masters during their heyday and they are part of British legaacy.

St. Mary's Church:

St. Mary's church, Lansdowne, www.panoramio.com

Church was built in the small town of Lansdowne in 1895 by one A.H.B. Hume of the Royal Engineers of British India. The church was built as the European population on the hill station grew gradually. Further, there were innumerable  British soldiers stationed here to undergo military training  and they needed spiritual guidance. There was a military training center for the  new recruits of  the Garhwal Rifles  under the British and it  is still active now. Drawn by the charm and beauty of this Himalayan mountain range, Hume, a Historian used to visit this place and felt the necessity of building a Catholic church here. It is located in Tip N Top point in Lansdowne. The old church has been restored by Garhwal Rifles recently. But it needs full restoration.

http://www.panoramio.com

St. John church:


St. John Church, Lansdowne.www.indiatravelblog.net
There is yet another church here called St. John church and just like St. Mary's, this one was also built to serve the Christians and the soldiers with the Garhwal Rifles. It is on the Mall road

St. John Church,www.gstatic.com

just below the bungalow on the spur and was built in 1934. After Independence, there was no need for the church sices, the place fell on tough time and became an insignificant one. Later the Church  was turned into a school, a stable and finally a  godown at different times. Considering the historical value of this church, late PM Indira Gandhi in November, 1980 handed over the church  to the Catholic Diocese of Bijnor, the inheritor and rightful claimant. It is the only active church in this area and needs better
 maintenance.

http://www.indiatravelblog.net/places-to-visit-in-lansdowne-uttarakhand/