st. mary’s church in camp, the oldest anglican church in the deccan

For some obscure misguided reason, I was under the assumption Camp [the Cantonment] area in Pune would be just one road. To add to it, my rather simplistic imagination envisioned Pune’s famed historical churches, built to serve the then Poona’s British Raj gentry, to be standing sentinel on both sides of it in a homogenous line. I could not be more wrong.

After being driven through a maze of wide, empty streets on a Sunday morning, I found myself dropped outside a poker faced, art deco facade by a cab driver with the announcement, “Old church.” Before I could ask or argue he had sped away, and there was I in the slowly rising heat, wondering, my brows raised towards the heavens, where the hell was I?

Almost, as if in answer, a woman with a beaming smile stepped out and wanted to know what I was looking for. Her name was Sheeba Reuben Deshmukh, a counsellor and committee member of the Oldham Methodist Church, the church I had been dropped at.

I explained to her I was a blogger from Mumbai and exploring Pune that weekend.

“Have you been to St. Mary’s?” Continue reading

the prettiest church in bandra


Just across the road from where I stay is a quaint, whitewashed 19th Century Protestant Church with red shutters, exquisite stained glass windows, and wooden rafters holding up the ceiling. Just across the road is a little bit of England.

The St Stephen’s Church of the Church of North India Diocese of Mumbai, was built in 1845 by wealthy English entrepreneurs who had made Bandra their home during the British Raj. In the mid-19th Century, Bandra was but a small village with Kolis and Kunbis. To cater to ‘the spiritual needs’ of the British Protestant Christians in the area, the British parishioners got together and pooled in a then magnificent sum of Rs. 8,000. This was, however, not enough. John Vaupel, a high court judge at that time, pitched in with the balance. Continue reading