On the Church Trail

The history of Churches in India and Pune in particular, is fascinating. The oldest living Church of the world is in India. Christianity came to God's own country before it reached many European countries including Rome. In fact while St Thomas was building Churches in God's Own Country, Nero was busy persecuting the other Apostles.

Probably the most powerful Emperor of his time, Akbar has a Church to his name that was built on land donated by him and also with the funds donated by him, right in his capital. Pune also has its share of glory, as the first Church in Poona was built on land donated by the Brahmin Peshwa, who had also contributed financially in the construction of the Church that was built for his Catholic Portuguese soldiers.

Thereafter different flavors from across the world arrived in Poona, giving the city a cosmopolitan touch long before the word was conjured. It has brought not just different cultures to add to the diversity of the city but also different kinds of architectural designs. The Churches that were built during the period, which are now much more than a century old were not just a witness to history in real time, but also played a pivotal role in influencing the course of history. These institutions provided spiritual nourishment to the Christian soldiers who had come to Poona to help the Peshwa fight his battles and the subsequent militarization of the city.

There are probably about hundred Churches in Pune, each of them with its own story to tell, but some very interesting stories are to be found literally on the floors of the Churches, where some of the stalwarts are resting. These stories do not stand in isolation in the overall environment as the whole nation was in a state of transition with its impact on the global polity.


Direction / Edit / Cinematography / Motion Graphics: Bidit Roy

Writer & Producer: Sanjay Dongre

Still Photographer: Sanjay Dongre

Music: Mayank Singh

Presenter: Shilpa Alva