This is something almost all of the frequent Metro Travelers must have seen from a distance. The beautiful Octagonal Dome of the church can easily be spotted from the upper platforms of Delhi’s Kashmere Gate Metro Station. Once you exit the Kashmere Gate metro station, just at walking distance going past some really old buildings you’d find the pale-yellow painted church with a rather peaceful aura standing amidst the intersection of Church Road and Lothian Road.
St. James Chruch or the Skinner’s Chruch, as it is also known, is an Anglican Chruch built back in 1836, making it one of the oldest Chruches in Delhi. The only other Church dating back to that era would be the St. Stephen’s Church at Fatehpur in Delhi built in 1867.
(Below)St. James Chruch as photographed by Priya Chauhan.
To know a little about the person on whom the Church has been named – well,Colonel James Skinner aka ‘Sikander Saheb’ was a renowned Anglo-Indian Adventurer born in Calcutta to a Lieutenant Colonel & Officer of East India Company and an Indian Rajput Princess who commited suicide for unknown reason when James was just 12 years of age. James had 3 sisters and 2 brothers. Due to his partial Indian Origin James could not straight-away serve as an officer in East India Company and hence, was first given the post of a low-rank officer in Mahratta Army at the age of 16. James later joined British Indian Army and in 1803 raised a regiment of light cavalry (horses) and named it as ‘1st Skinner’s Horse’ or ‘Yellow Boys’, referring to their color of Uniforms. After immense success of 1st regiment another was raised, both of which exist even today as a part of the Indian Army. Skinner eventually after earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel became the Colonel of British India and was honoured as CB.
St James Church was built by the financed amount of INR 95,000 sanctioned by James Skinner after he came out alive from a battle, where-in, badly injured as he lay on ground he had promised god that upon his survival he would have a church constructed.
Construction commenced in 1826 and was completed in 1836, the church being designed by Major Robert Smith.
The church depicts excellent Renaissance Style and the octagonal dome shaped central roof closely resembles to that of Florence Cathedral in Italy. The church has 3 portico porches with a roof supported by massive columns framing the entrance to the church and the large windows are seen covered with beautiful stained glasses. The copper ball and cross on top is an imitation of Church in Venice which, unfortunately, got damaged in Uprising 1857 but were reconstructed.
(Above) Stained Glass Window
(Above)A gallery showcasing various newspaper features and historical maps & facts inside the church.
(Above) An old painting adorning the wall of the Church.
The guard on your exit politely asks you to fill up in the Visitor’s register.