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Srinagar church to celebrate Christmas after 35 years of solitude

Restoration work worth Rs 70 lakh was undertaken by J&K Tourism Department under the Smart City Project last year.

Published: 24th December 2021 09:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th December 2021 09:33 AM   |  A+A-

Devotees sing at the renovated St Luke’s Church in Srinagar.

Devotees sing at the renovated St Luke’s Church in Srinagar. (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

SRINAGAR: Days ahead of Christmas, there was good news for Christians of Srinagar. The renovated 125-year-old St Luke’s Church was reopened on Thursday and bells started ringing over there after 35 years. 

The church on the foothills of the Shankaracharya hillock in Dalgate area of uptown Srinagar, was virtually reopened by J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha. Built by Dr Ernest and Dr Arthurnew in 1896, the church was in bad shape, with the structure having suffered damages.

Restoration work worth Rs 70 lakh was undertaken by J&K Tourism Department under the Smart City Project last year. Under this project, prominent religious places would be renovated keeping in view their heritage aspect. 

A Tourism Department official said the church was closed for 35 years and prayers were not offered there.

“One of the components of the Smart City project is upgradation of shrines, temples and churches. We are restoring all prominent religious places in Srinagar.”

Another official said the material used for upgradation was the same that was used to build the original structure. 

According to Reverend Vino Kaul, associate priest of All Saints Church Srinagar, the St Luke’s Church was open till 1986-87 and prayers were held every morning. Until 1986, a British priest was available for worshippers at the church.

Suhaib Naqashbandi, an architect involved with the project, said it is a valuable initiative by the government.

“The structural components of the church were damaged. The roof was leaking.” Suhaib said the focus was on structural stability. “After the structural components were restored, other works were undertaken. The electrification work was redone,” he said.

With its renovation and restoration, the St Lukes Church is all set for hosting the prayers on Christmas this year.



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