St Stephen's Church Ooty

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Tags : Church & Cathedral

Timings : 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

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St Stephen's Church, Ooty Overview

The St. Stephen's Church in Ooty is indeed a marvellous and breathtaking architectural marvel built in the colonial times. It follows a similar style of architecture and is one of the prettiest places to visit in Ooty. Located on the road to Mysore in Ooty, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the St. Stephen's Church is one of the earliest churches that you will find in the Nilgiris district. The structure dates back to the 19th century and was built by the British government. The date of the commencement of construction was cleverly chosen to coincide with the birthday of King George IV. The fabulous pale-yellow building of the St Stephen’s Church bears testimony to the marvels of British architecture that existed during those times. This grandeur is also reflected in the painting of 'The Last Supper' that can be found in the Church. 

Various attractions that appeal to visitors and tourists in the church include pretty stained glass windows that depict a myriad of different scenes, such as Mother Mary holding Jesus in her arms; the exquisite wooden architecture and the painting of The Last Supper. The St Stephen's Church continues to attract tourists from all across the nation and is till date one of the prime attractions of Ooty. For all those people who intend to visit Ooty, the 'Queen of Hill Stations', during the holiday season, a visit to this wonderful house of worship is indeed a delight.

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History of St Stephen's Church

The foundation of the church was laid down by Stephen Rumbold Lushington, the Governor of Madras, on April 23, 1829. Captain John James Underwood was in charge of the construction and designing of the entire church, and he ensured that only high-quality wood was used for the building of the St Stephen's Church. It would be interesting to note that the timber that was used in the construction process was brought from Tipu Sultan's palace after the British had successfully defeated him. The St Stephen's Church in Ooty is a symbol of the rich history of the place and dates back to the nineteenth century. Stephen Rumbold Lushington, who was the then Governor of Madras, was keen on building a church in the area since he felt that there was a need to construct a church that was exclusively for the British.
The Governor laid the church's foundation on 23 April in 1829. The date was so chosen that it would coincide with the birthday of King George IV. On 5 November 1830, the church was consecrated by John Matthias Turner, the Bishop of Calcutta. The St Stephen's Church was finally opened to the public communion on Easter Sunday- 3 April 1831. Following the independence of the country, the church came under the CSI or the Church of South India.

Architecture of St Stephen's Church

The St Stephen's Church is famous not just because it is a site of great religious importance and value, but also because it is one of the best known colonial structures that exist in the country. The spectacular Gothic architecture of the church is worth mentioning, and the church is renowned for its beauty, elegance and charm.

In charge of the architecture and design of the St Stephen's Church was Captain John James Underwood. A total expense of INR 24,000 was incurred to build the church, which is a tremendous amount in the context of those times. The primary beam of the church and all the timber that was required were both taken from Tipu Sultan's palace after the British had successfully defeated him in the Mysore War. The wood was brought all the way down from Seringapatanam and carried through the Sigur Ghat.

Noteworthy attractions of the St Stephen's Church include its superb wooden architecture and the grand painting of the Last Supper on the western wall. Gorgeous stained glass windows that portray various scenes, like the crucifixion of Christ and the image of Mother Mary holding baby Jesus in her arms, adorn the eastern wall of the church. An ancient graveyard that is located at the back side of the church is also particularly appealing to the visitors.

This church also has an unusual and interesting feature of four hammer like structures. This structure is tied on some inverted-V shaped wooden planks using wires. When these wires are pulled from the floor, the hammer-like structures produce an amazing and magical musical sound.
It is also intriguing to note that even after all these years, the St Stephen's Church shows no sign of wear and tear and has bravely battled all ravages of time.

St Stephen's Church Timing

The visiting hours of the church are as follows:
Mondays to Saturdays: 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
Sundays: Every Sunday, there is a service at the church from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

Best Time To Visit St Stephen's Church

Without any second opinion, the best time to visit the St Stephen's Church is at the time of Christmas in December. There is a very merry and cheerful air to the church at this time of the year, and people are seen rejoicing and celebrating by offering prayers, singing carols and exchanging wishes.

How To Reach St Stephen's Church Ooty

The St Stephen's Church is located on the Club Road in Ooty, on the road that heads towards Mysore. It is well connected to all parts of Ooty via a well-developed road network, which means that you can reach your destination by cab or an auto. Also, the place is just 2 kilometres away from the heart of the city, so if you are staying somewhere close, walking to the church is also a good option.

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