St Paul Cathedral
At a distance of 11 km from Kolkata Railway Station, St. Paul Cathedral is an Anglican church located in Kolkata, West Bengal. Situated to the east of the Victoria Memorial, it is one of the largest churches in India and among the popular places to visit in Kolkata.
St. Paul's Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral of the Church of North India and the seat of the Diocese of Calcutta. The construction of the church was initiated in 1839 under the benefaction of Bishop Daniel Wilson. Completed in 1837, it is said to be the largest cathedral in Kolkata and the first Episcopal Church in Asia. It was also the first cathedral built in the overseas territory of the British Empire. The edifice stands on Cathedral Road on the 'island of attractions'. The cathedral was severely damaged during the great earthquake of 12th June 1897, when the upper part of the steeple fell, to be restored later but it was completely destroyed in the earthquake of 1934, after which the tower was constructed in place of the spire on the lines of the Bell Harry Tower of Canterbury Cathedral.
Noted for its Gothic architectural style, the church was designed by Major W.N. Forbes. St Paul's Cathedral features a very long nave with fitted wooden pews, two frescoes done in the classic style of Florentine Renaissance period and three stained glass windows on the western side of the church. These windows were designed by a Pre-Raphaelite master Sir Edward Burne-Jones who created them in the memory of the deceased Lord Mayo. The central spire rises to a height of 201 feet and the tower on which it stands is square in shape and was patterned on the lines of the 12th-century Canterbury Cathedral, England. The tower was fitted with five clocks, each of which weighed about three tons. The main hall of the cathedral is very large that can accommodate 800 to 1000 people.
The interior of the church truly offers a visual splendor with outstanding floral designs and paintings depicting great moments and events of Christian history on the walls. There are also burials of Bishop Daniel Wilson, the founder of the cathedral and John Paxton Norman, an acting Chief Justice who was assassinated in 1871 in the underground chamber of the church. The cathedral complex also houses several memorabilia of past congregants and a library where books as old as the church's foundation time still exist donated by founding member Bishop Wilson.
The cathedral is well maintained in a serene and peaceful atmosphere. People of all religious denominations can visit the church. Service is held regularly. Christmas is a special occasion when a large number of people assemble to participate in the festivities. The whole church premise is decorated wonderfully during Christmas and truly offers a visual treat.
Timings: 9 AM - 12 PM & 3 PM - 6 PM from Monday - Saturday & 7.30 AM - 6 PM on Sunday