Thursday, 19 April 2018

Early colonial Holy Redeemer Church, Ambala cantonment

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Holy Redeemer Church Ambala cantt. Haryana. Trodly
Ambala in Haryana during the Raj was an important cantonment and it still has  a lot of colonial bungalows and wide tree-lined roads, typical of British cantonments in the subcontinent.
The  military area had early churches to take care of the needs of church services of the British Army.



The Holy Redeemer Church located in Ambala Cantt area is among one of the most famous Christian places of worship here. This church  came up in 1848, under the British rule. That time the East India Company, a proxy ruler of the Crown,  transferred its troops from Karnal to Ambala.  This place assumes strategic importance as it is closer to many regions, including Sind and NWFP (North west Frontier Province, now in Pakistan) Lord Ripon, an efficient British administrator,  was the only Catholic Viceroy of India and he is  said to have paid a visit to this vintage Protestant church while he was on his way to Shimla on official assignment. Because of vagaries of weather and other factors, this church collapsed  and in its place a new one was built in 1905. In 1956 the church was handed over to the Redemptorist group. The church is set in a picturesque place with lots of greenery around


The present day Holy Redeemer Church has tall towers supported by strong  pillars for extra protection to the structure. The elevated roof built in  Gothic style is meant to keep the interiors cool in the hot summer period.  This Church has two large rooms for altogether different purposes - one was originally meant for the British India troops, perhaps for rest and relaxation while on the move. In those days, this small town had no buildings good enough  to accommodate the British Army.  Now, the other room is  converted into a dispensary.
 Within the church compound there is an old house, apparently for the priest to stay. There is a memorial stone  in the north of the church. This 170 year old colonial church, despite its age, has not lost its colonial charm and old glory.
http://www.ambalaonline.in/city-guide/churches-in-ambala