The next site that I decided to visit was the Saint Mary’s Church which is located at Bhagat Marg in Pune. I have an inclination towards British architecture and hence I had an ardent desire to visit this particular place. The timings for visiting the St. Mary’s Church are 8:00 hrs to 18:00 hrs on week days as well as on holidays. This place of worship dates back to the year 1825 when it was built to serve as a place of worship dedicated to British officers and soldiers.
It is a protestant church and is one of the oldest in the city and was sanctified by the bishop Heber. The church building is archaic in displaying Gothic style of architecture along with a blend of Anglo- Indian architecture. The church beholds the mortal remains of the renowned writer of religious lyrics and the former governor of Mumbai, Sir Robert Grant. Pipe organs that are almost 130 years old are used for worship in the church till date in an attempt to keep the heritage of the past alive.
The church was previously beautified with a steeple which was later replaced in 1982 by a shorter concrete one. In the year 1874 the altar and the baptistery were fitted with stained glass in the reminiscence of Lieutenant Trotter. This stained glass is no ordinary one as it was fabricated in London and brought back to Pune to be fitted in the St. Mary’s church. Apart from this the church also features some rare regimental flags. Moreover the interior of the church houses a memorial plaque which is preserved in memory of one of the survivors of the Battle of Balaclava, Colonel William Morris.
Due to its historic relevance and long existence surviving the wraths of time the St. Mary’s church is often commonly referred as the “Mother Church of Deccan”. Being a garrison church the edifice of the church also features numerous memorials of British soldiers who offered their services in numerous battles and wars. This church seemed to me like a portal in the long and cherished history of the British. Hence my visit to St. Mary’s was indeed a very soulful and knowledgeable experience.