Kolkata, the ‘City of joy’ is world famous due to its rich culture and heritage. The inhabitants of the city are of diverse religion. The diversity is well reflected in its food, festivals, culture and architecture . Due to this diversity, it beckon tourist from all over the world. Tourist loves to come in the city to experience the zestful vibes.
The ‘City of Joy’ is blessed with splendid architecture. Some of the marvelous examples of diversified architecture are Nakhoda Masjid, Victoria Memorial, Jain temple, Birla mandir, Dakhinewar Kali mata temple and many more.
St. John church at B.B.D. Bag is one of them. It is pride of Kolkata. It is located amidst the hustling and bustling of the city life. The place is very serene and peaceful. Achieving inner peace of mind is very difficult. This place lets you to find your inner peace and brings harmony of life. When you step inside the compound of the church and stand in front of the altar and pray to the almighty God, your soul blooms with peace.
The church has special feelings on the heart of Bengalis as the church area had the Mausoleum of Job Charnock and his family. Job Charnock was an administrator of East India Company. And he is best known as the founder of Kolkata.
Every brick and stone of the church is tells about the history of evolution of Kolkata. It is a landmark of the city and is a real treasure of Kolkata .
The compound also had memorials of Lady Canning, Black hole memorial, grave of Begum Johnson and Cenotoph of Second Rohilla warandmanymore.It is still having the largest pipe organ in Kolkata.
The church organizes free clinic which includes not only providing health care but to eradicate the disease. They give free medicine and incurred 90% of the medical expenses.
The church is located in a very busy area and Raj Bhavan is in the opposite lane. GPO, Millennium Park and the holy river Ganga is just walking distance from the church.
The landscape of the church is enchanting. The carpet of the green grass is lying almost all over the church area and it is very soothing to the eye. In winter, blooming flowers makes the whole ambiance very charming and pleasant.
The atmosphere of the church functions like a heart. When you step inside the compound, positive vibes starts pumping. All the negative thoughts from your mind gets eradicate. And our mind gets filled with inner peace and new hope.
In this busy city life, this piece of land is a bundle of peace, hope, divinity and harmony. And the serene divinity compels me to come here often. This is the place where you will embraced with peace. This is one of my favorite places of the city and simply love the place.
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History It is among one of first public building erected by East India Company. It is 3rd oldest churches of Kolkata and was designed by architect James Agg . The founder of the Shovabazar Raj Family, Maharaja NaboKishenBahadur donated the land for the construction of the church. Before the construction of the church, the land was a burial ground. The construction of the church was built on mausoleum and only the graves of Job Charnock and his family, Lady Canning, who was the wife of the Governor-General and Viceroy of India, Charles Canning had been kept intact. The church was open to public in 1787.
On 6th April, the foundation stone of the church was laid by Warren Hastings, who was the Governor General of India at that time.
The main building material used to build the church are stone and brick. In 18th century, stones were rarely available in Kolkata. From the ruins of Gour, Malda, stones were borrowed. And shipped down the Hooghly River.
The architectural design of the church has resemblance with ‘St. Martin-in-the Fields’, church of London.
Due to extensive use of stone in the construction of the church, the local residents gave its nickname “Pathure Girja.”
The wide portico supported by columns, enhances its elegance.
The design of the church was in neoclassical architectural style. The striking feature of the church is the 147 ft. tall stone spire holding a giant clock in it.
The church is ornate with beautiful tall columns and a long portico at the entrance welcomes you.
For proper daylight, long windows with stained glass were used.
The floor is build with grey marble that were brought from Gaur, Malda . The walls of the church showcases many remarkable tablets, statues and plaques.
There is a spiral stair inside the prayer hall.
The altar is adorn by a semi-circular arch and the beautifully designed . The simple design makes it more sophisticated. And the floor of the altar is made with stone of dark blue colour..
The last Supper, painted byJohann Zoffan, is hanging at the left of the altar.
It is one of the musical instrument that produces sound by driving pressurized wind. It was installed in 19th century. The introduction of Pipe organ makes this church a unique place. Till now, it is the grandest pipe organ in Kolkata and functioning smoothly. The magnificent instrument is on the left side of the altar.
Mausoleum of Job Charnock
The founder of “KOLKATA” is Job Charnock. His contribution to form Kolkata was enormous. To form the city of joy, he combined 03 villages, Govindopur, Sutanuti and Kolikata.
He left for heavenly abode in 1693 and buried here. In memory of him, his son-in-law, Charles Ayer erected the octagonal tomb in Moroccan-style.
The Black Hole Memorial
Black hole of Calcutta is the most controversial event of Indian history that occurred on 20th June, 1756. The Nawab of Bengal, Sirajud-Daulah imprisoned 146 British prisoners in one room measuring 4.3 m by 5.50 m (14 x 18ft). Among 146 prisoners, 123 of them died due to suffocation.
In memory of the dead prisoners, the British erected a 15 m high obelisk. The obelisk was re-erected in 1940 at St. John’s Church grave yard.
Cenotoph of Second Rohilla war
Rohillas are a community of Pashtun tribe of Uttar Pradesh region. They ruled Rohilkand and Rampur. Rohilkhand is the northwestern part of Uttar Pradesh in between Bsreilly and Moradabad.
In 1794, the second Rohilla war took place between British India and the Rohillas of Rampur. Approximately 25,000 of Rohillas were defeated by the British.
In the church compound, the cenotaph of the war was built with a semi-circular dome supported by 12 pillars. These was built in memory of deceased persons of the East India Company on Second Rohilla war.
Lady Canning Memorial
Lady Canning was the wife of Charles Canning, the General Governor and Viceroy of India.
She died due to malaria and buried at Barrackpore. A memorial also erected at St. John Church also. The beautiful memorial is lying at the northern corridor of the church.
Grave of Begum Johnson
Frances Croke , known as ‘Begum Johnson’ and was the oldest British resident in Bengal. She married 04 times and she lived her most of her life in Kolkata. She died in Kolkata in 1812 and her tomb lies at the far end of the church compound. It is a circular tomb and the epitaph describes her entire life.
Address – 2/2, Council House St, opp. Dewars Garage, LalDighi, B.B.D. Bagh, Kolkata, West Bengal 700001
By train – The nearest railway station is BBD Bag. Circular train runs in the route daily. If you are coming from Howrah, the easiest way is to avail the jetty service of Fairlie. Buses are available from Sealdah station toBBD Bag route.
By Bus– Nearest bus depot is BBD Bag bus terminal. .
Nearby places you can also visit
BBDBag is an historical place. There are many things to visit near the church. For a one day trip, you can also visit GPO, Metcalfe Hall, Millenium Park, PrincepGhat and Howrah Bridge.
You can also troll in New market, which is one of the oldest market of Kolkata. The market is just 3.3km from the church.
So, if you are fond of history and architecture, then this place is perfect for you.