Kolkata, the city of beautiful historic monuments has so much to offer. Among the places that you need to visit in Kolkata, St Paul’s Cathedral Kolkata definitely comes on top. This beautiful church is one of the places that would be like a perfect destination for a day out in Kolkata. The colonial structure, beautiful ambience and the perfect set up of this ancient cathedral will be an ideal stop over for you. In this article I will add all the information that you currently need about the St. Paul’s Cathedral Church in Kolkata. So keep on reading.
Location: Maidan, Kolkata, West Bengal
Entry fee: Entry is free
Timings: From Monday to Friday the timing is 9 am to 12 pm and 3 pm to 6 pm. On Sundays the timing is 7:30 am to 6 pm
How to reach St Paul’s Cathedral Kolkata:
The area is well accessible by roadways. You will get buses to this location. Just take any bus going towards Park Street or Dharmatala. The nearest bus stops are Exide and Park Street. You can also take cabs or yellow taxis to reach here.
The nearest metro station to the church is Rabindrasadan Metro Station and Maidan Metro Station. From there you can take a small quick walk to reach the church.
About St Paul’s Cathedral Kolkata:
The St. Paul’s Cathedral Church is located in a perfect location just adjacent to the Victoria Memorial and beside the Birla Planetarium. You can observe the reminisces of the colonial period in the architecture of this church. A full white structure, this is the first Episcopal Church in Asia. This magnificent white Cathedral looks beautiful almost all the time. But it looks its best during the main festival of Christmas when it is decorated with lights. Most of the visitors love visiting the Cathedral during this time. Not only Christians but people belonging to other faiths and religions also visit the church.
History of St Paul’s Cathedral Kolkata:
The main motto behind the construction of Cathedral Church Kolkata was to accommodate more number of people offering their prayers at a single spot. As the European Community started growing in Kolkata during 1810 the St. John’s Church appeared small. However, there was a need for a cathedral that is much bigger in size and grandeur. The idea was proposed by the Governor General of Bengal at that time. Bishop Middleton put forward the preferred location of the Cathedral. But there was a continuous delay in getting permits. Therefore the whole process slowed down and was pushed.
However Bishop Middleton passed away much before the construction was started. Under the guidance of Bishop Daniel William the work finally started in 1832. The basic design was created by Major William Nairn Forbes. He was the Major General of the Bengal Engineers. Architect C K Robinson assisted him in the process. The foundational stone of the Cathedral was laid on 8th October 1839. It took 8 years for the construction to get completed. The consecration took place in 1847 8th October. This event was attended by the European Community along with the local people as well. Furthermore Queen Victoria, the Empress of England had also sent 10 pieces of silver gilt plates to mark the holy occasion. At that time the costing of the whole construction was 4. 36 lakhs approximately.
In the recent past however it was discovered that the church has an inner vault beneath the altar. The area has a coffin inside a glass enclosure. This coffin belongs to Bishop Daniel Wilson, the founder of the Cathedral.
St Paul’s Cathedral Kolkata Architecture:
Originally this church was made in the Gothic architecture style. This is one of the architecture of the colonial period that still stands in its own glory. The structure of this church has gone through many renovations. These led to a few changes which are a little different from the original structure. The current structure of the church has elements of Indo Gothic style of architecture. Elements of Gothic revival are followed here to face the tropical climate of Kolkata.
The design of the Cathedral Church was done by Sir Arthur William Bloomfield from London. It is designed keeping in mind the style of Norwich Cathedral of England. The building of the church is made with bricks which are lighter in weight. Moreover, the compression strength of these bricks would be favourable to withstand the extreme climatic conditions and natural disasters. The stones used here are Chunar Stones or dressed stones. Furthermore, the outer and inner parts of the building are plastered with fine lime plaster. This is known as Chunam which is very similar to Stucco.
There is only one single hall inside the Cathedral and that too without any side aisles. The ceilings here are unusually high and look marvelous. You can notice beautiful carved paintings and murals on the walls. Alongside, some of the artefacts from the pre independence era are also seen here. Some of the finest artists from the British Empire designed the sculptures you will find here. There is a shallow curve in the roof of the church. This was done with the doubt whether the ground will be able to take the weight of such heavy pillars. That shallow curve has around 151 iron trusses for the support. The whole premise is very well maintained. It is surrounded by gardens on all sides that has almost 184, 700 varieties of plant species.
Furthermore you can notice three stained glass windows in the western wall of the cathedral. You can observe the heavy impact of the Florentine classic renaissance style here. Sir Edward Brune Jones designed these stained glass windows in the memory of Lord Mayo. The stained window at the eastern side also previously had stained glasses but it was destroyed in the cyclone of 1964. However, it was later restored in 1968.
Moving forward you can notice many pictures and paintings on the walls of the cathedral that depict the importance, significance and life of the Cathedral. Sir Arthur Blomfield is the artist behind all the paintings you will see in St Paul’s. Furthermore, there is a huge library on the western porch of the cathedral. Bishop Wilson was the person who ideated this and also donated more than 8000 books to the library. Also there are various manuscripts donated by him which were a part of his personal collection.
Places to visit near St Paul’s Cathedral Kolkata:
St. Paul’s Cathedral Kolkata is situated at a location where you will find many places to visit nearby. You of course need to visit the Victoria Memorial which is just adjacent to the church. Then there is Birla Planetarium just beside the Cathedral. Other places are Nandan, Rabindrasadan Complex, Elliot Park or Mohor Kunja, Maidan, Princep Ghat, Fort William. You can also go to Park Street and gorge on some delicious food from the multiple restaurants there. However if you are a shopper then do not miss out street shopping from Esplanade New Market and Hogg Market. These are shopper’s paradise and the affordable items from streets will make you spend a lot.
Even though churches and cathedrals are religious sites for the Christians, these are even sites of great historical reminisces as well. Especially the St. Paul’s Cathedral Kolkata is one such monument in Kolkata that is still standing tall in its glory. A popular sight for tourists, this is one of the destinations that you cannot miss visiting in Kolkata. The beautiful greenery and the white massive structure will evoke a sense of peace within your own self. I am sure you will enjoy the peaceful ambience and atmosphere of the Cathedral. Do let me know when you are going to visit this beautiful church in Kolkata. Also don’t forget to let me know whether this article was helpful for you in planning a visit here. I would love to know.