City Monument – Holy Trinity Church, Turkman Gate
A secluded sacredness.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
A handful of Christian families live in a pleasing coziness in the courtyard of old Holy Trinity Church at the southern border of the Walled City.
Here’s a hushed world of Urdu and Hindi Bibles in this many-domed house of worship built in 1904 in memory of the London-born son of a reverend. Alexander Maitland left the bulk of his property (about 10,000 rupees) to the building of the church in “a distant quarter of the city”—after devoting his short life (41 years) to the Christian mission in Delhi.
The households now established in the church’s compound live in a secluded Macando of their own. The calm compound is in Old Delhi but zillions of miles away from its claustrophobic chaos. Purple sadabahars grow on makeshift hedges lovingly maintained by residents outside their kitchen windows. While pleasing bougainvillea creepers run along the water supply pipes in this quiet world where children play hopscotch and cats prowl around confidently.
One evening a band of boys were enjoying football in the courtyard, while a father and his young daughter sat quietly on the broad steps leading to Holy Trinity. Clothes were spread on a drying stand. An elderly woman in a starched sari was inspecting the peaceful scene from her door.
And last Sunday morning a young woman in salwar-suit stood motionless outside the church that was filled to capacity with worshipers.
A walk around the building showcases its various domes more panoramically, with one of them almost wholly covered by branches of a tree.
The overall setting of the church has blossomed with the passage of time. An old sepia-washed photo of Holy Trinity depicts a desolate setting of leafless trees. Nowadays the compound is lush with a multitude of buildings.
The world of a church