Standing right opposite the famous Victoria Memorial in Kolkata, is yet another marvel called “St. Paul’s Church”. The Church comes under CNI (Church of North India) and is an Anglican Cathedral. A view of this majestic church will take you right back to the colonial age. It is acknowledged by many as the first Episcopal Church of the Eastern World. It is an architectural marvel along with being an active place of worship. It is 247 feet in length, 81 feet in width, and its transept is 114 feet. Its flagstaff rises 175 feet above ground level.
The architectural style is Indo-Gothic. A lot of planning was put in to make it look gothic but also durable to the Indian climate. The church has two frescoes and three stained glass windows in the Florentine Renaissance style. The nave of the cathedral is fitted with well-crafted wooden pews and chairs. There is a square tower on the church that has been fitted with five clocks. On the inside, the church has many plastic art forms. It also has a number of paintings, carvings and the original organ played at the church is still in use. It is surrounded by 63 species of trees all of which are in a well maintained garden. The church also has a library with a number of books donated to it. The entry to this place is through a large wrought iron gate which is named Sir William Prentice Memorial Gate.
The construction of St. Paul Church began in the year 1839 and took eight years to complete. Its construction was initiated by Bishop Daniel Wilson, who was later buried here in a vault under the alter, though no evidence of the same exists today. It was mainly built to accommodate the increasing population of the Christian community in Calcutta. It was built on top of the St. Johns Church and resembles England’s Norwich Cathedral. It got partially damaged in the 1897 earthquake and destroyed in the massive 1934 earthquake after which it was finally reconstructed into its present design.
The church is beautifully lit during Christmas, and the midnight mass and toast the church performs on that day is very famous. Tourists flock in large number from all around and stand in queue to get a glimpse of all the grandeur. New Year is no less and is decorated equally well. Though it is the peak time for crowd and tourist around the church, it is worth a visit just to treat your eye to its beauty.