Christmas Charisma: Hill station churches in India


The colonized phase of India is regarded as a dark patch in the Indian history, but we cannot simply denounce the British for this. It was their love for comfort and good life which took them to various mountain ranges of India. They evidently brought in the development of hill stations in terms of connectivity, recreation, and architecture, the benefits of which we reap today. And the most enticing feature here is its churches, which are not only structural beauties but are much adored by one and all.

This Christmas, let us take you on a tour of these quaint hill station churches of India.

St. John's Church . Dalhousie

1. St. John’s Church, Dalhousie
A heady mix of beauty and history, the churches of Dalhousie are less explored. The most prominent amongst them is St. John’s Church which holds historical significance of being the first church to be built here. Built in 1863, the architecture of the church is similar to the Roman Catholic’s Church of England; the only difference is that the St. John’s Church belongs to the Protestant community here in India.

What not to miss?

This church is filled with the memories of the British regime and is a perfect place for art lovers, nature enthusiasts, and avid readers. Located in the heart of lush green landscape and pine valleys, the calm and composed church also has a library with books and pictures depicting the history of Dalhousie.
Open Time : All Days : 07:00 AM – 07:00 PM
Service : Every Sunday
Entry Fee : Free

How to Reach : Pathankot is the nearest railhead to Dalhousie.


St. Paul's Church, Mussoorie

2. St. Paul’s Church, Landour(Mussoorie)
St. Paul’s Church is one of the historic churches in God’s own Land. Landour in Mussoorie has the old-world charm and St.Paul’s is one of the crowning gems. This Anglican Church was built in 1840 by Bishop Daniel Wilson. This beautiful church is located to the very famous ‘Chaar Dukkan’, which literally means 4 shops. It also has a connect with conservationist Edward Jim Corbett, as his parents got married in this very church.

What not to miss?

Whether it is a sunny morning or a cool evening, a rain-laden day or a pleasant afternoon, the area near St.Paul’s is easily the most beautiful place in Mussoorie. At a height of 7,750 feet, this also remains the most secluded and beautiful area of the town, with spectacular views of the snow-clad Himalayas, dense deodar forests and peaceful slopes. Landour is a fabulous place to visit though the only thing you can do over there is to take a long walk and relish a variety of local snacks.
Open Time and Service : Only on Sunday : 09:00 AM – 01:00 PM.
Entry Fee : Free

How to Reach : Dehradun railway station is the nearest rail head. You can easily get buses, taxi or cabs to Mussoorie.


St. John in the Wilderness , Mcleodganj

3. St. John in the Wilderness, Mcleodganj
Very true to its name, this church is nicely nestled amidst tall pine trees and lush green foliage. This most ancient structure of the town is a gothic stone shrine amidst the forest in between Mcleodganj and Foresythganj. A tribute to John, the Baptist, this church dates back to 1852. Think of a structure that was born a hundred and sixty-one years ago. 161 years of rain has created moss on its walls, which adds to its rustic beauty. The church, situated just before the entry to Mcleodganj market area is a serene testimony of the British times.

What not to miss?
In the church premises is also the grave of Lord Elgin, the 2nd Viceroy of British India. St. John in the Wilderness morphs as a chameleon in the natural surroundings of the Himachal forests and holds a stark difference from other crowded tourist destinations.
Open Time and Service : Only on Sundays for weekly service from 10 AM onwards
Entry Fee : Free

How to Reach : The railhead is Amb Andora railway station.


St. Stephen's Church , Ooty
4. St. Stephen’s Church, Ooty
Amongst many beautiful churches in this Nilgiri town, the more quaint and prominent one is St. Stephen’s. Built in 1829 by Stephen Rumbold Lushington (the then Governor of Madras), it is the oldest church of Ooty. The stained glass windows are a visual delight. The large wooden beams used to construct the church were carried by elephants from Tipu Sultan’s Palace in Mysore.

What not to miss?
This church is set in a perfect location amidst beautiful greenery. Have a look at its spectacular Gothic structure that has stood the ravages of time.
Services : 10.00 am – 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm – 5.00 pm (Monday to Saturday )
Entry Fee : Free

How to Reach : The nearest railhead is Mettupalayam station which is about 50 km from Ooty.


St. Saviour's Church , Mount Abu
5. St. Saviour’s Church, Mount Abu
The first church built in Mount Abu is the St Saviour’s Anglican church. Built in the year 1834, this Church was built in the memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Smith the daughter of Mr. Lawrence.

What not to miss?
The church has some interesting stained glass windows, carved wooden pews, and a star-studded ceiling. It also has a small library and a museum for history buffs. The surroundings of the Church is all covered with lush green forests and the church looks pristine, pious and untouched in the morning light.
Services : Monday – Saturday:9.00 AM -7.00 PM ,Saturday:9.00 AM -7.00 PM , Sunday:9.00 AM -2.00 PM
Entry Fee : Free

How to Reach : Nearest railhead is Abu Road railway station.


St. Andrew's Church , Darejeeling
6. St. Andrews’ Church, Darjeeling
St. Andrew’s Church is one of the most beautiful structures you will find in Darjeeling. It is located in the most famous tourist spot, the Mall road or Chowrasta. Constructed by the Britishers during the 18th century it is one of the oldest and pristine churches in Darjeeling Hills. The foundation stone of this church was laid down on St. Andrew’s Day on November 30th, 1843.

What not to miss?
The interior of the church is praiseworthy as it has been kept and preserved to its original historical form and one can easily witness the excellence of British architecture. Inside the church, there are many inlaid marble tablets and brass plaques that glorify some of the oldest residents of Darjeeling. It stands as a humble testimony to the grand transformation of this beautiful hill station. The church also holds a Christmas Carol Service which is very popular and attended by many in the area.
Services : Only on Sundays.
Timings : March – November : 9:00 AM , December – February : 09:30 AM
The Holy Communion Service is held on first and third Sunday of every month.
Entry Fee : Free

How to Reach : The nearest railhead is Darjeeling railway station.


So, try exploring these quaint churches, and make your Christmas an unusually beautiful one . 🙂

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