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Restoration of northeast India’s first church completed 

Guwahati: The revered building of Christ Church located in the heart of Guwahati city and inside Nehru Park at Panbazar has remained a symbol of peace and hope for more than a century. On October 26, the renovated Christ Church will be rededicated by Bishop Michael Herenz of North East India.

Turning pages from its glorious and eventful history, this church marked the beginning of the institutionalization of Christianity in the northeastern region.

It was founded in 1844 when Rev Robert James Bland was appointed as the chaplain of Assam, and consecrated in 1850 by Bishop Daniel Wilson of Calcutta. In the 1860s Oscar Jean Baptiste Mallitte photographed the church for the first time in its neo-Gothic architectural glory. It stood as an epitome of colonial British architecture until two severe earthquakes brought the structure to ruins in 1856 and 1897.

The present-day building of the church was built in 1901. Being the first church of North East India, it is one of the oldest buildings in the city. Given that the building was extensively damaged by termites, Rev Angel Daimari and the pastorate committee of the church took the initiative to restore this historic church and give it a new lease of life. The members of the church contributed toward this cause.

Ranjib Baruah, a heritage conservation architect, supervised this project under the aegis of the Heritage Conservation Society of Assam (HeCSA).

Jayanta Baruah, secretary of HeCSA, said a combination of Tudor-style architecture and Assam-type construction was used to restore this church. “To stabilize the building bamboo, GI lead and plaster were used,” he added.

The restoration process began in March this year and has been completed in record time.

(Source: The Assam Tribune)

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