Church to renovate South India’s ‘Taj Mahal’
Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh: The Church of South India Trust Association (CSITA) is all set to renovate St. Mary’s Church, known as the ‘Taj Mahal of South India.’ A decision has recently been taken to renovate the heritage site which was built in the early 1800 on a sprawling 12-acre campus in Machilipatnam.
“The renovation work will begin within three months. Replacing furniture including wooden logs, beautification and renovation of walls, slab of the British architectural marvel are a few areas of the project,” St. Andrew’s Cathedral Church Vicar C.L. Jasper told The Hindu.
Mr. Jasper said the CSITA would soon obtain permission from the District Collector to take up the project. The permission for beautification or renovation work must be obtained from the Chairman of the District Chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). The District Magistrate and Collector is the Chairman of the INTACH District Chapter.
According to the INTACH guidelines, the St. Mary’s Church is one of the heritage sites as it was built 200 years ago.
The St. Mary’s Church of the Church Missionary Society came under the jurisdiction of the CSI Trust Association after India got Independence, said Mr. Jasper.
If one is to go by the British military history in Machilpatnam, Major General John Pater, a Protestant, fell in love with Arabella Robinson in 1805.
Arabella was a Catholic and daughter of Captain Robinson, an officer in the British battalion based at Bandarkota area here. She died of malaria on November 6, 1809, according to an inscription available in the St. Mary’s Church. In 1812, Pater sold his property in London to build the church here.
Pater bought 12 acres in Anandapuram area here and buried her in a glass coffin as he was denied burial in any of the churches here. Until recently, the glass coffin was kept open for visitors in the church.
However, the coffin was sealed as visitors were afraid of it. Pater used to visit the Church every day until he was transferred to Madras.
(source: The Hindu)