Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas at St. Thomas Cathedral, Bombay (Mumbai)

The cathedral of St. Thomas (part of the Church of North India) is in the heart of Mumbai's business district, which is still called "Fort" (it used to be a walled-off fort in the early British settlement, but nothing of the wall remains now). The church was built in 1718, a century before the British defeated the Maratha rulers of western India. In 1718, Bombay was just a spot of British territory in a vast swathe of native-controlled territory.

Below is the fountain in the small hemmed-in front yard. I took the picture just a few days ago. No white Christmas in Bombay!

Embossed on the fountain are the words, "Whosoever drinketh the water that I shall give him shall never thirst". Bit ironic in a city suffering from an acute water crisis entirely because of utter disregard for nature and greed for profit. The fountain is dry as a bone, although there were a hose and two earthen pots of water nearby, and the yard looks well-watered.

Below is the entrance to the church. For some reason I couldn't avoid the haze.

Below is the view of the church from the narthex.

Below, a memorial to a colonel of the Bombay Army. The walls and floor of the cathedral are crammed with memorials of varying degrees of ornateness. A remarkable number of them commemorate people who died in their 30s or 40s. This stone is faded and stained, perhaps from moisture, but most are in good condition.

Below is the crib. I tried to shoot it in as Christmas-card-like a manner as I could.

Below, a longer shot of the crib. As you can see, it's tucked between memorials.

Below, a memorial to the Old Toughs. It reads: "To the Glory of God and Sacred to the Memory of All Ranks of The 'Old Toughs' who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1918, and in the many campaigns through which the battalion served since it's [sic] formation in 1668 till it's [sic] disbandment July 31st 1922. This tablet is erected in the city of their origin and their home for over 200 years by their comrades on disbandment in proud and grateful memory of the sacrifice they made for King - Country. 'Spectamur Agendo'.".

Below, Christmas tree and eagle lectern. Where I'm standing is the crossing, where the nave and transepts of the church meet.

Eagle lecterns are commonly seen in churches. The eagle is a symbol of the apostle John.

Below, an historic pew. The lesson I learned from this photo: wear gray or brown to make a non-descript reflection if you want to stay out of the picture!

Above, a memorial to Robert Money. The name is familiar to many people in Mumbai because there's a high school and technical college named after him. It was founded in 1836, a year after the East India Company civil servant died of illness at age 32.

Below, stained glass window to one side of the entrance, depicting saints Gabriel, Thomas and Michael.

Merry Christmas!


wendy z said...

fankyoo for such lubly pikshurs! Merry Ebryfing to yoo an yors.

Linda said...

Thanks so much, Moe! This is very touching. I love teh carbinbs an teh bench!

Anonymous said...

Fanks foar sharing awl teh lubley (and sum ironic wuns!) piccies!1! Eet was grate ub yew tew fink ub yoar Frenz!!!!! -Astarid