Archive for April 27, 2012

St. James’ Church (Jora Girja), Calcutta (Kolkata)

April 27, 2012 8 comments

St. James’ Church, Calcutta (Kolkata)

Jora Girja, Church with the twin spires

Also see my compilation of Calcutta (Kolkata) Churches

Jota Girja is an important bus – stop on the Lower Circular Road (Presently AJC Bose Road). The name originated from the twin spires of the St. James Church.

St. James' Church, Kolkata (Calcutta) and the foundation stone

St. James’ Church, Kolkata (Calcutta) and the foundation stone

Exterior decoration, St. James' Church, Calcutta

Exterior decoration, St. James’ Church, Calcutta

The original St. James Church of Kolkata (Calcutta) dates back to 1823 and was located in the Nebotola Lane, near Amherst Street. The foundation of the church was laid in 1820 by the first Bishop of Calcutta T F Middleton. The church was open to public by the Bishop Heber in 1823.

But the church had serious construction errors and soon started developing cracks and chunks of masonry soon started crushing down. The church authority were forced to close down the church in 1855.

The present building, sandwiched between the St. James’ and Pratt Memorial School, of the St. James’ Church dates back to 1868 and was designed by the East Bengal Railway Architect Walter B Granville, who also designed the Kolkata High Court, GPO and Calcutta University Senate Hall (the last one no longer exists).

Interior Design, St. James' Church, Calcutta (Kolkata)

Interior Design, St. James’ Church, Calcutta

Built in Gothic style the St. James’ Church or the Jora Girja is one of Kolkata’s elegant churches, with pointed Gothic arches on both its exterior and interior.

The twin spires, one of which contains a clock, is joined by a beautiful triangular pediment. The interior contains a long passageway leading to the alter.

But the star attraction of the St. James’ Church is the beautifully decorated black mahogany wood work at the ceiling. Something so durable, that even the termites of Kolkata have spared it for 146 years. But the termites haven’t spared the wooden floor of the second level. With the church crumbling again the parishioners finally decided to give it a face-lift.

Kolkata based conservation architect Manish Chakraborty was assigned the job of restoring the 146 year old St. James’ Church. The beautifully restored church was handed over to the parishioners of 11 December 2011. I was specially invited by Manish Chakraborty to photograph the St. James’ Church on the eve of the hand over.

Special Thanks:

  • Mr. Manish Chakraborty, conservation architect.

Reference :

  • Swasat Kolkata by Nishitranjan Roy

List of my Blog entries on Calcutta (Kolkata)