Friday, 1 November 2019

St. George's Garrison church, Wellington, Nilgiris built during the early period of the Raj

George's Garrison church, Wellington, Nilgiris, TN alamy.com
Hill stations like Ooty, Coonoor, Wellington, etc on the Nilgiri hills in the Western  Ghat  of Tamil Nadu are dotted with many  colonial churches whose heritage aspect is very much retained. First discovered by colonial Collector of Coimbatore John Sullivan
(15 June 1788-16 January 1855) in 1819 after a strenuous uphill journey  with a group of men and hunters, at his initiative, a British settlement was founded in Octacamund (Ooty) without disturbing the hill tribes living there. As the mild weather on the hills and the serene, quiet  surroundings there reminded him of  the English country side, independently, Sullivan and other officials from neighboring districts  built summer residences at Ooty  in the main part of the Nilgiris. Their settlement here attracted a steam of Europeans
living across the  southern regions  for reasons of health, comfort, adventure and leisure.Yet another advantage they had was they wanted to be away from the summer heat  and dusty winds on the plains. As the European population swelled, Catholic churches, etc were established one by one. In the later period, the British established a garrison at Wellington, close to  Ooty.
Inside St.George's garrison church, Wellington, Nilgiris. ootytourism.co.in
The  St. George's Garrison Church, built in the year 1885, as a place of worship for the British troops stationed in the Nilgiris,  is  a fine-looking one  and is noted for its impressive architecture. The church  boasts of  the loftiest spire with a lighted Cross atop, which can be seen from far. Inside the church the oak choir-stalls, pulpit and the brass altar-railings were specially imported from England. This colonial church that can   accommodate about 600 persons at a time during services  is well-known for its acoustics. The major attraction is the antique pipe organ  made in England  that was erected between 1900 & 1902. It is said it was erected in this church in memory of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. According to Annie Israel, who has been playing the pipe organ for the past 30 plus years, the organ is in perfect condition and when played the music reverberates and fills the church, confirming church's fine  acoustics.
Pipr organ, St George's Garrison church, Wellington, Nilgiris sheilakumar.in/
Considered as  the biggest church in the Nilgiris,  the main activity of the Church is on Sunday closest to the National Martyrs' Day (January 30).  A Special Service of Remembrance in honor of our martyrs is held in the church, when the Station Commander, Wellington, lays a wreath on a plaque, which reads “When you go home, tell them of us and say, for their tomorrow, we gave our today.” 
http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/Church-steps-into-history/article16300114.ece