|Christ Church and the clock, Shimla. Wikitravel|
Any visitor to Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh can not miss the iconic Christ Church, which 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.
Shimla was once home to a large Anglican British community and in the later colonial period it served as the Summer Capital of the Raj. Built in the Neo-Gothic style in 1857, the church stands on The Ridge and forms one of the prominent landmarks of Shimla and is quite visible at distance from the place. Besides, it is one of the most photographed monuments of this place. A lasting British legacy, its architect was Colonel J. T. Boileau (1844) and the church was consecrated after 1857 (after the end of Sepoy Mutiny).
The impressive church has a beautiful clock that was donated by Colonel Dumbleton in 1860. Because the old church has fallen into neglect, with no proper response from the state government to repair it, the clock also stooped working a couple of decades ago.
|Christ Church and the clock, Shimla. en.wikipedia.org|
The old timers of this town still recall the the jingles of the church bells that stopped ringing quite long ago. In the past, some German engineers were brought in to fix it. The clock did work for sometime, but later stopped working. The growth of vegetation inside hampered the proper functioning of the clock and the bell. Years ago, the state government made some restoration work, but the work was inadequate because of paucity of funds. Representations were made to the government by the Christian community living here and by the local people. According to media reports in June 2016, the state tourism department was going to do the restoration work of the church to be funded by the world bank. A sum of Rs, 5.3 crores had been sanctioned for the restoration work including the church clock. The government was in touch with some firm in Kolkata and else where, specializing in repairing old buildings and the clock bells. Illumination, change of plaster on the outer walls of the church, flooring in the interior, etc., would be given due attention. The local people were looking forward to hearing the ticking of the clock and the chiming of the bells.