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St. Stephen Church

St. Stephen Church

Are the churches meant to offer sacred prayers only? Certainly not !! St. Stephen Church in Ooty is an exception. This Gothic church is one of the best known colonial structures of Ooty. This hill town, known as the Queen of the Hill Stations, abounds in numerous Churches and places of worship. St Stephens Church one such important church that reflects the rich heritage of the Indian culture.


Background
The church dates back to the 1920s, when Rt. Hon'ble Stephen Rumbold Lushington served as the Governor of Madras. He felt the need for a cathedral exclusively for the British in Ooty, and therefore laid the foundation for the church on April 23, 1829, to coincide with the birthday of King George IV. The church was later consecrated by Rt. Rev. Turner, Bishop of Calcutta, on November 5, 1830. It was thrown open to public communion on Easter Sunday - April 3, 1831.


Architectural Beauty
Located on the Mysore road, near the Collectorate, St. Stephen's Church is one of the oldest churches in the Nilgiris. The most exciting fact with the church is that it is constructed and carved totally from pure wood, obtained from Tipu Sultan's Palace that was brought here with the aid of elephants. When Tipu Sultan, the 'Tiger of south India' was defeated in the Battle of Srirangapattam, the British soldiers robbed all the wood from his palace used it in the construction of the Church at Ooty.

Apart from that, the Clock Tower at the church is another amazing feature. It also has nine tubular bells, which are considered to be heard by the Almighty God along with the prayers of the devotees.

Art lovers will certainly be overwhelmed to see the glass paintings on the eastern side as well as behind the chancel of the church depicting Mary holding baby Jesus in her arms and the crucifixion of Christ among others. The western wall is adorned with large life-like painting of the Last Supper.

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