Saturday, 4 January 2020

Historical and colonial churches of Darjeeling, West bengal, India

Darjeeling, a famous hill resort town (altitude  6,710 ft ) of the state of West Bengal, is part of the lower Himalayan mountain ranges and attracts lots of tourists every year in the summer season.  There are countless picturesque places  around the town. If you travel farther, you will run into innumerable scenic spots  that make you forget the madding  crowd and  urban din  that you have left behind on the plains. So are the gently undulating tea plantations on the hill slopes, set in the serene and beautiful locations near by. Tea plantations here, as you may be aware, produce the best and  superior quality  premium tea in the world. The nearest airport is Bagdogra and the nearest major railway  station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP). There are many  heritage colonial buildings and churches in this colonial town  that still carry the vestiges of past colonial rulers who encouraged the growth of tea estates  by European settlers,  hospitals and sanatorium for the soldiers.  They also encouraged the missionaries to have churches built to meet the spiritual and religious needs of the European settlers and military people.  Lt. General Lloyd of the East India company takes the credit of having  discovered  the potential of Darjeeling hill site, a place for the British soldiers to relax  and recuperate in the cool weather prevailing on the hill. This nice hill station has more  tourist spots than  vistas of tea plantations on the hill slopes.
Darjeeling, west bengal, India. touristplacesinindia.com
Listed below are some of the historical colonial churches in Darjeeling:
St. Jude Catholic Church, Darjeeling
St. Jude Catholic Churchtraveltriangle.com
There are  some  colonial churches in Darjeeling that are still functional. St. Jude Catholic Church is  said to be one of the oldest churches built in 1892.  The impressive clock tower was built in  1883.  The church came into being  with a view to catering to the spiritual needs of  British India military and  the Catholic community settled on this hill. In the wake of India's independence from the British rule in August 1947, the Church activities declined with the departure of many European families. The church continued to remain non-functional for a long time. The local Indian catholic community  put in a lot of efforts to get the church opened for regular services and prayer. 
 St. Andrews Church, Darjeeling:
St. Andrew's Church, Darjeeling.tourmyindia.com
St. Andrew's Church, an old Anglican Church on the Mall Road in Darjeeling town,  was built in 1844  and the foundation was laid in 1843.  Named after the patron saint of Scotland St. Andrew, it was a fine piece of architecture built in Gothic Style that was widely followed in Europe.  The Gothic  origin of this architecture is believed to date back to 12th century AD. The church, having been damaged earlier due to an earthquake, was rebuilt in 1873. In the colonial period, it was the  primary church for the soldiers of Scottish decent and tea planters on the hill. The seating capacity of the church was about about 200 persons. There is a small brass plaque in memory of Charlotte Countess Canning, wife of the Governor General of that time -1847.
Interior. St. Andrews, Darjeeling, WB mohkum.aminus3.com
The fine features include the pointed arch, the ribbed vault and the flying buttress, most of which is found in the St. Andrew's Church.
It is close to the railway station just 1.5 km.
Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Darjeeling:
Immaculate Conception CathedralDarjeeling, traveltriangle.com
Located on Loreto convent road, in  Chauk bazaar, the Immaculate Conception Church was built in 1892.  Earlier Sunday services were conducted in the chapel of Loreto Convent until 1884. The first  foundation stone for a public place of worship was laid on 19th May 1884 near St. Joseph’s seminary, Sunny Bank, by the Capuchin fathers. Its foundation ceremony was conducted by Archbishop Goethals in the same year of construction - 1892. The dimension of the church is 113 feet  X 28 feet  with fine oratories (private prayer places) on both sides of the sanctuary.  This  church was under the  care and management of Belgium Jesuits till 1947. After  India's independence, the Canadian Jesuits of the Catholic Mission of  Darjeeling,  Fr John Prendergast  was the first  Canadian Jesuit  installed as the Parish Priest.  Ms. Agnes Margaret  was the one who was first baptised  on 3rd November 1846 by Fr John McGirr  after just 24 days of his coming to Darjeeling, according to Church records. Fr Alphonse Scharlaeken, a Belgium Jesuit, not only learned the Lepcha script but also took interestin the tribes  living there and later attracted the Nepalese  to Catholic faith.
St. Columbas Kirk, Darjeeling:
Located in Limbugaon, St. Columbas Kirk is yet another  Scottish church in Darjeeling built in 1894.  Close to the railway station just
 St. Columbas Kirk, Darjeeling, WB traveltriangle.com/
St. Columbus church, Darjeeling, India .trekearth.com
uphill, it is known for its fine structure set in a quiet environment and the stained glass windows in the church enhance the beauty of this place of worship  that was associated the family of Peterson Lennox Black-wood. No doubt, the quiet surrounding place endowed with nature's beauty will calm your mind and create a suitable atmosphere to engage in prayer and meditation.
https://www.darjeelingdiocese.com/parish/the-immaculate-conception-church-darjeeling/
https://www.trawell.in/west-bengal/darjeeling/st-andrews-church

https://www.tourmyindia.com/blog/places-to-visit-catholic-tourists-in-india/
http//www.darjeeling-tourism.com/