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Label :

Tags : Church & Cathedral

Timings : 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM,
Prayers: 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Time Required : Less than 1 hour

Entry Fee : No entry fee

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St John's Church, Kolkata Overview

St John's Church is one of the oldest churches in Kolkata that was built during the reign of the British Kingdom when the city was the capital of British India. The church served as Anglican Cathedral till St. Paul's Cathedral was made the Anglican cathedral in 1847. It is a splendidly well-maintained structure that draws history and architecture buffs for its uniqueness and ancient features. One may notice the unique tall features of St John's Church which is a characteristic part of the neoclassical architecture. The colour scheme and the stained glass windows add to the character of the structure. The church maintains utmost silence to allow the visitors to sit in peace for at least a moment.

The regal edifice was built on land which once was used as a graveyard so that visitors will find a lot of memorials and tombs in the compound. Each of these memorials or tombs is a piece of art and history that make some mourn while they inspire some. These stories not just offer a glimpse into the melancholic stage of human beings, but also force us to appreciate the present and inspire us to make our lives even better. St John's Church is a perfect attraction for those who wish to immerse themselves in the divine powers of the God or those who are always searching for a spiritual escape in the city. Visiting the church is a blissful experience in itself.

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History of St John's Church

The construction of St John's Church began in 1784 on a piece of land donated by Maharaja Nabo Kishen Bahadur who was also the founder of Shovabazar Raj Family. A public lottery system helped raise money to build the church. The contributions came in large numbers and helped collect a sum of INR 30,000 at that time. The architect behind this historic monument is James Agg who designed the church as per the neoclassical style. The stones used in the structure belonged to the ruins of Gour and were shipped down River Hooghly to build the church. The foundation stone of the Church was laid by the then Governor General of India, Warren Hastings.

St. John’s Church has a rich collection of artefacts about Kolkata and the Church that are considered to have significant historical value. The land donated for the Church was an old burial ground that was unused since 1767. The founder of Kolkata, Job Charnock, was buried here with his family. When the church was built, it was built on top of the old mausoleums, but the remains of the deceased were taken away. The graves of Job Charnock and his family were left as it is and can still be seen inside the premises. The compound was also chosen as the burial ground for Lady Canning, wife of the Governor-General and Viceroy of India, Charles Canning, after her death in 1861. The Black Hole Monument which was moved into the Church premise in the 1940s.

Architecture of St John's Church

St John's Church is an illustration of the neoclassical style of architecture built with brick and stone. It is also known as the Stone Church or Pathure Girja. The basic structure is square shaped. Stones were a rare find in Kolkata, so these stones that were used to build the church were shipped from the ruins of Gour. The tallest part of the church is the 174 foot tall spire with a massive clock. A portico lined with columns leads to the entrance of the church. The structure has beautiful stained glass windows, magnificent pillars, arches and domes.

The opulent church has several religiously important paintings are hung on the walls. The interior is also beautifully decorated with marble bass relief work and splendid wood carvings. The church houses statues and memorial plaques of several civil servants and British Indian officers. The premise also has several memorials and tombstones that are considered to be of historic importance. 

How To Reach St John's Church

St John's Church is located about 4 kilometres away from the centre of Kolkata and can be easily reached by local government-run buses or taxis via Ganesh Chandra Avenue, and Shashi Bhushan Dey Street. One needs to take Surya Sen Street to get to Raja Ram Mohan Sarani and continue on Shahshi Bhushan Dey Street and head to Raja Subodh Mullick Square. From here, take a left to get on to Nirmal Chandra Street and continue on Ganesh Chandra Avenue to reach Council High Street where the church is located. The closest landmark is Raj Bhavan.  

Another route goes via BB Ganguly Street. Take the Radha Nath Mullick Lane to reach College Street. From there, head to BB Ganguly Street and Binoy Badal Bag E to reach Red Cross Pl in Lal Dighi and continue forward to the Church on Council House Street.

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