On visiting ‘the ugliest building ever erected’

There’s something magical about visiting a church in the night time, around Christmas. The way the exterior is all decked up, and the bright lights from the interior filter out through the pretty stained glass windows is special, something you have to experience to know how it feels. The feeling of being witness to something magical, out of fairyland, is only intensified when the strains of music and singing from within the church reach your ears. You can’t help but loosen up, and soak in the wonder of that moment.

These were the exact sentiments of the OH and me as we visited the St. Marks’ Cathedral on 1, MG Road last weekend. I could only wonder why we never managed to make it to this renowned and beautiful place before. Sigh!

How can this view not inspire awe?
The main entrance, beautifully decorated. What’s to not love?

With construction of the church being completed in 1812, it is now over 200 years old. It has been modeled on the lines of the 17th century St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and was chiefly constructed as a place of worship for the British army soldiers and officials stationed in the Bangalore Cantonment in those days. The church, in its early days of birth, was quite a plain structure, and has been called ‘one of the ugliest buildings ever erected’ in writings about it. Much of the church’s original structure has been retained till date, but it is no longer an ugly or plain structure. There have been several additions to the church over the years – a marble pulpit, a large German pipe organ, candlesticks from Oxford, a grand cross and dome- which have made it the beauty that it is today. After a fire in the church in the 1920s, the interiors were revamped, lending to its prettiness.

The church apparently got stained glass windows in the year 1816, after they were blessed by the Bishop of Calcutta. These are the very stained glass windows that exist today, I am assuming, and are stunning in their intricate designs.

One of the stained glass windows of the church
Another colourful stained glass window
More stained glass

The ornate doors of the church and the carvings inside it are works of art in themselves. There are also several plaques within the church, commemorating various British army officers and soldiers.

I need a lot more visits to this church, probably in the daytime, to see all of it and to understand what it really stands for, in the hearts of regular visitors.


8 thoughts on “On visiting ‘the ugliest building ever erected’

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