Thursday, 9 January 2014

Visit to Sardhana Church

Sardhana is a small town about 20 km from Meerut City off Delhi - Dehra Dun highway NH 58. It is famous for two hundred year old Roman Catholic Church-Basilica popularly called Sardhana Church.

Construction of the church began in 1802 (or as some people say 1809) on the order of local ruler Begum Farzana Joanna Sombre generally known as Begum Samru & is said to have been completed by 1822 at a cost of Rs 4 lacs under supervision of Antonio Raghellini an architect from Italy. All the marble statues were crafted in Italy & shipped to Kolkata. From there the statues were brought in bullock carts & boats.
The church is dedicated to Virgin Mary & is largest in northern India. Pope John XXIII declared this Church a Basilica on 13 December 1961.
This Church is only Basilica in northern India & is one of the 19 Basilicas in India.

Begum Samru was born Farzana Zibuneesa in 1751 & was a courtesan in durbar of Shah Alam II in Red Fort Delhi. She married a mercenary soldier Walter Reinhardt Sombre of Luxembourg.
Begum Samru became a Roman Catholic in 1781 & changed the name to Joanna Nobilis. After the death of her husband she ruled Sardhana jagir ably & with an iron hand. She died at the age of 90. She is said to be the only Catholic ruler in India. Some photos:

Side entry to the Basilica

Beautiful front view of the Church

Side view of the Basilica

Another view
Declared as Basilica on 19 December 1961
One of the several statues in the Church

Jesus being informed of death sentence

Jesus being lowered in to the grave

Jesus have mercy on us

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