Creat. Sp.

Revivalist Style Churches of 19th Century in Ambala Cantonment: An Insight to Holy Redeemer Church Ambala Cantonment

Harveen Bhandari

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Cantonments, Church Architecture, Gothic Revivalist style, Redeemer Group

PUBLISHED DATE January 02, 2017
PUBLISHER The Author(s) 2017. This article is published with open access at Publications

The British Raj in India led to different types of developments in various parts of the country owing to their physical, social and cultural needs. The Cantonments were one such significant development under British rule in 19th century. Out of the different typology of buildings made by the British settlers in cantonments, the most popular and most ornate structures are the Churches found across the country. In particular the churches built in the 19th century exhibit more or less similar architectural character and style as the whole world was experiencing the Revivalist Gothic style. The paper looks into the construction of such Revivalist Gothic churches in the newly formed Cantonment at Ambala during the same time period and analyses the architecture and construction of one of the oldest church of the cantonment. The paper brings to light the first Catholic Church in Ambala Cantonment, Ambala, India that is 100 years old and has survived the test of time and continues to be in use. It is an exemplary built heritage reminiscent of the British era that needs to be adaptively reused seeing it as an important typology of building exhibiting the Revivalist style in India. The present research was done as part of a project undertaken in Masters of Architecture under the able guidance of Prof Kiran Joshi.

Page(s) 165-178
ISSN Print : 2321-3892, Online : 2321-7154

Holy Redeemer Church and other such Churches are examples of neo-gothic style buildings that could establish links to contemporaneous developments in rest of India during the 19th century-the phase of Revivalism that spread to the entire world. Thischurch is one of its kinds Roman Catholic Church in Ambala cantonmentand that has managed to survive the vagaries of time. It continues to be in use for various ceremonies, thus is well maintained from time to time. No major irreplaceable changes have been made to the structure of Church, but there are certain changes which have been made to the finishingwork. Some cracks can be seen on the top of arched windows due to thermal effects. Algae growth is visible on the walls of the rear side. Termite growth is present on freshly painted walls and there is growth of vegetation on some of the buttresses and effl escence is developing on the rear side walls. Cement plaster has been done over the stone pillars which were initially lime plastered. Exterior walls originally had lime mortar pointing but now at some places cement pointing has been done. Electrical conduits which were added few years ago are all exposed in the main hall. Some cornices around doors and windows have broken and need repair. The stone pillars also have been cement plastered rather than the originallime plaster. This church is overall in agood state and maintained but the other two churches like St. ThomasOrthodox Syrian Church and Marathoma Syrian Church are in a bad state. Theyare hardly used and that too for a very few hours in a week. Thesebuildings need to be suitably used and taken care of asthey are exemplaryof a regional hybrid architectural style, including construction and ornamentation systems, of the 18th-19th century that are now forgotten. Churches also signify an important typology of public buildings built by Britishers in India. Also, the loss of St Pauls Cathedral makes it even more necessary to save the other built heritage from deterioration or becoming extinct in near future.

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