Monday, 31 July 2017

Colonial St Andrew's Kirk - Simla - 1915, a vestige of British era

St Andrew's Kirk - Simla - 1915. eventseeker.com 

Located at the junction of Mall road and Kali Bari road, (Standing just above the General Post Office on the Mall), Simla, then the summer capital of the Raj and,now, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, the St Andrew's Church building, a typical colonial structure  made of raw bricks, is easily recognizable and any visitor to this city can not miss this strikingly a European design. 

St Andrew's Kirk - Simla www.flickr.com 

St Andrew's, or the Sccot Kirk used to be the place of worship for the Scots and others under the Church of Scotland. Earlier, it's site was occupied by the Union Church and  it was designed free of charges by architect John Begg, himself a Scotsman.The Indian government has designated it  as a Heritage Sit as its  colonial link of the past should not get lost.

The construction cost of this church was borne through public subscription and Rev. James Black, the first minister of St Andrew's Kirk was the driving force behind it. The Viceroy, Lord Hardinge, laid the foundation stone on 30 August 1914 according to the inscription in the church written in Scottish dialect: "This Kirk was Biggit Be Godlie Men in the year Of our Lord 1914." On 8 May 1915, the senior Presidency Chaplain of Bengal, the Rev. DN Gillan assisted by the Rev Black at Simla did the dedication services.


Simla, Himachal Pradesh, Map. Weather-Forecast.com

Post-independence the church shifted to a different location. With the town became commercially less active soon after the British had left, the church stopped functioning. This old building was then taken over by the city Municipal Corporation and since then a division of the Himachal State Library has been functioning there. The other branch of the library is located next to the Christ Church at the Ridge. The Library of Himachal Pradesh, has  thousands of old and rare books of value from the Raj-era.

Tit-Bits: 

 01. In India, the following places have a Scottish Church 

St Andrew's Church, Chennai,
St. Andrew's Church, Mumbai,
St Andrew's Church, Kovilthottam,
St. Andrew's Church, Puducherry,

02. St. Andrew's Church (The Kirk) follows the Scottish Presbyterian tradition and continues to belong to it. Its form of worship and system of governance continue to be truly Presbyterian in nature. However, it is free to follow and does include other orders of service used by any other Church with which it doctrinally has close agreement. 


03. During the colonial time, there was a large community of Scott in the main Presidencies across India, holding position of power and influence and they made valuable contribution to education in India.

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