Ten-Second Takeaway

The Church of St. John the Evangelist, or as it’s known to the natives and popularly called, the Afghan Church, is a beautiful church in Navy Nagar in Colaba which was set up by the British to honour the First Afghan War of 1842.

With Love From Britain

11112016_afghanchurch_ap2Bang at the corner of the Navy Nagar turn in Colaba, stands this beautiful landmark of a Church covered from all sides in lush green bushes and soft red blooms- in all its ancient glory. This is perhaps the only church in India which has been constructed as a memorial during the British Raj to commemorate the thousands of people who lost their lives in the first Anglo-Afghan War way back in 1838.

The sole survivor of the war {or as it’s claimed}, Dr. William Brydon lived to tell the tale and commissioned this Church in the memory of the tragic war which also saw martyred Indian soldiers as part of the East India Company’s Bombay’s Army. Hence, a war memorial was constructed in Navy Nagar – an ode to the lives lost.

What We Love

11112016_afghanchurch_ap5The architecture is intricate, beautiful and very Victorian – inside and out. It’s like being transported to England and walking into St Paul’s Cathedral {a miniature one of course}. Apart from its rich history, we admired the work and the dedication it took for workers to build this Gothic Church – full of intricate carvings of statues on to the walls.

Using basalt and limestone, the surreal Gothic arches and high risen glass stained windows with battle standards hung for display are a sight to see. Enter the Church and you’ll find a long aisle led with side rows to sit on for praying. One can even see the huge eight ringing bells that have been installed inside this holy place’s tower bell. Keep a lookout for Marbel Lectern – an 1858 artwork brought to the Church which still sits there. Masses are held here regularly on Sundays.

So, We’re Saying…

11112016_afghanchurch_ap1If you love exploring Old Bombay and have an interest in architecture, then this Church is a delightful place to tick off your list. In fact, now the is best time to visit the church with the beginning of the Christmas season. It’s cheerful, colourful and the eve of Christmas in fact sees thousands of people flocking to the Church for evening service.

Timings: Only Sundays, 8am to 7.30pm

Photos: Athul Prasad/LBB