Shimla used to be the summer capital of the British India and currently it is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh State of India. Blessed with almost all types of natural bounties, Shimla has been and still is a popular tourist destination. The dense forest of Oak, Deodar and Pine; snow capped mountain peaks, rivers like Sutlej and Pabbar and hordes of tourist spots of all genres have made this city , one of the most preferred vacation destinations.
Shimla is mostly populated by Hindus but there are numerous people who believe in other religions like Christianity, Sikhism and Buddhism. Shimla , which was once a small village got discovered by the British. During the British Rule, the city was populated with Christian Community and that is why the city houses many churches. The churches were mostly built to cater to the demands of the British people residing here so that they get a proper place to worship and have their Sunday Masses organized. In this article you will get to know about the popular churches of Shimla. These places of worship were built to pay reverence to the God and now they have become popular tourist attractions of Shimla.
Christ Church in Shimla
Christ Church is located in the Ridge. Among all the oldest churches of north India, it is the 2nd one. The church was built during 1846 to 1857. The church was designed by Col. J. T. Boileau. A clock was placed on the tower of the church in the year 1860 though the clock has stopped working. In the year 1873, a porch was added to the church. The church has entered the list of the most preferred tourist places of Shimla. Visitors get the sight of this church from far off. Devotees and tourists like the serene environment and could not restrain from appreciating its architecture splendor that includes windows with colored glasses and brass plaques of this church. There is fresco surrounding the chapel window and the designer of this fresco was the father of famous writer Rudyard Kipling. Since the time of the British, Sunday Masses have been organized here at this church and it remains the only place of worship for the Christians of this area.
Though the construction of this church was completed in 1846 but it got sanctified in the year 1857 by the bishop of Calcutta. For the travelers who want to enjoy staying here and enjoy the pious environment and breathtaking natural beauty around, there are plenty of staying facilities like hotels, resorts and home stays are available. Tourists get to see a library near the church that was built by James Ransome in 1910. The library was showcase architecture of Elizabethan Era and boasts collection of many old scriptures and books.
To reach Christ Church from the railway station , travelers have to use National Highway No. 22 and then enter the Circular Road that leads to the Ridge. The Church has the US Club very close to it and from the center of the Shimla City the driving distance to this area is about 3.6 km.
Location: The Ridge Days and Timings: All Days of the week from 8 am to 6 pm
St. Michael’s Cathedral in Shimla
One of the ancient churches of Shimla, St. Michael’s Cathedral is famous for its architecture splendor showcasing French-Gothic Style. The cathedral was built in 1886 by the Roman Catholics of this region. As this site for building the cathedral was selected by Lord Ripon, the then Viceroy of India, the place is also popularly called “Ripon Place”. Grey stones have been used to build the outer part of this cathedral and this cathedral is known as one of the well-constructed churches of northern India. There is a statue of Lady of Guadalupe mounted in the church premise. The statue was presented to the church from Mexico. The entire church premise and the surrounding area look charming offering a breathtaking view during night when all lights are lit. This cathedral has become must-to-visit place for the tourists.
Located at the Ridge, Shimla, this cathedral can be easily reached from the center of the city taking the National Highway No. 22.
St. Mary’s Church in Shimla
This popular church of Shimla at Kotagarh near Shimla, was built in 18th century. There is a controversy regarding the construction year of this church. According to some records, the church was built in 1843 and according to some other records the church was built in the year 1872. The church is an architectural marvel and the journey to this church is a never-to-forget one. Travelers and devotees have to drive through the Mustard Fields to reach the church. Blue Hills, lush green surrounding and charming landscapes around make this place one-of-its-kind. Thanedar, an important historical place of Shimla is also in the near vicinity of this church. Samuel Stokes was the main person behind planting of the first apple orchard in Thanedar,Shimla, in the year 1916.
This place is a wonderful site for photo shoots and one can capture clear sky, stretches of yellow mustard fields. Foods can be purchased and sitting arrangement and toilet facilities are also available here.
Location: Kotagarh Days and Timings: On all days of the week from 6 am to 7 pm