City Monument – Church Windows, Gurgaon
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Delhi Walla celebrated this monument some years ago, but not this particularity. As it rains out of season, this distinguishing aspect makes the landmark one of the most ideal destinations in the entire Delhi region to enjoy the deluge. Make haste to the Church of Epiphany, in Civil Lines — the Civil Lines in Gurgaon, not its noisier counterpart in Delhi.
On reaching, take off your shoes by the church door, step inside, find a pew to sit on. Now, you may watch the rain fall outside through the most beautiful windows of this British-era stone edifice.
The church was consecrated in 1866 by the Bishop of Calcutta. A stroll around the building gradually unfolds its long-ago aesthetics—the tiny bell tower, the gabled roof, and the tall thin lancet windows. They look as startlingly beautiful from outside, as they do from within (see photos). These windows are so tall that on rainy days, you vividly see the slanting silver ropes of the showers slamming into the ground, plowing it up like gunfire.
Unlike Delhi’s great churches, like St James in Kashmere Gate or the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Gole Daak Khana, this church is not grand. It is tiny, but old and rare. This becomes especially noticeable on gazing upon a new wing built some years ago, within the same compound. Larger and sleeker, that building is like a flashy NRI cousin visiting us in Zila Ghaziabad from New Jersey. But its modern-day walls and windows are just like any Delhi wall or any Delhi window.
Entering the old church is like escaping from today. The ceiling rests on a frame of timber roof. The coffee-coloured wooden beams exude silence and slow time. The altar is a simple metal cross. Switching on one of the low-hanging fans fills the restful space with creaking sounds. Calmness intensifies as one watches the outside world through the quaint panoramic windows. The extremities of the weather seems at a comfortably safe distance from the self, like watching a cataclysmic storm on the TV news.
Indeed, in the wet days, it is snug to sit inside the church and watch the rain fall through these heavenly glasses.
Windows to a monument