St. Stephens Church: a mute witness to the colonial history of the Nilgiris
Ooty was the summer capital of the British India, under the Madras Presidency. Udhagamandalam, otherwise called Ooty is the Queen of the Nilgiris, a town center nestled within the tea plantations of Ooty. The British gave prime status for Ooty and its plantations. Many British officers were stationed in Ooty during the British era and a church in Ooty was very much a need then. The church was built in 1831 and was open for prayer on an Easter Sunday the same year.
As a South India tour operators we suggest Ooty during our South India tours where guests could either connect to Mysore from Kerala. The
The St. Stephens Church is a lovely church located on a small hillock not very far from the Ooty town center. It was the first church to be built in the Nilgiris, exclusively for the British officers in Ooty. The Church was constructed with wood and mortar and has stained glass art that depicts the crucifixion of Christ and Mary holding baby Jesus by hand. It has large windows on one side which naturally lights the interior. The St. Stephen’s Church is very calm and enhances a divine ambiance. Most of the wood and the main beam of the church are believed to be brought from the Palace of Tipu Sultan from Srirangapattana, close to Mysore. The gangway to the Altar is carpeted, and there are long wooden benches facing the altar just like in any other church. A pulpit is located on the left side, just before the Altar. A clock tower could be seen right on top of the main elevation of the church as seen in the picture.
Today the church is more of a local attraction for visitors to Ooty. The church would depict the kind of architecture and construction technology that was followed once upon a time by the officers of British India. After the British had left India, the church came under the Church of South India since 1947. There is an old cemetery right at the rear of the church where most British officers of that time were buried. This little historical gem in Ooty is close to the Collectorate and that Chinese restaurant. Ours was a quick visit, rest is for you to come and explore this charming little church.