Not too far from the Afghan Church in Colaba is a century old Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Name. From the outside, it looks like any other building in the neighborhood with typical Gothic architecture built by the British. The narrow roads and thankfully some trees do not allow the full view of the building from the vicinity. But you can see the elegant building in grey stones outlined in white. If you let your neck move around you may be able to see it’s imposing spires.
Cathedral of the Holy Name, Colaba – Heritage of Mumbai
This cathedral has seen quite a bit of history. It was built here to replace a church that used to exist elsewhere. While replacing an Old Portuguese church that once stood very close to this place. Formally it was a church built in the first few years of the 20th century and completed in 1905. It rose to be a cathedral in 1964. And was declared a heritage building in 1998. It is the seat of Archbishop of Bombay.
Features of the Cathedral
A most beautiful feature of this Cathedral is the frescos or the paintings on the ceilings and the walls. Architecturally it has a narrow tall hall with vaulted ceilings. And an impressive altar with three colorful stained glass windows with a chandelier hanging in the front. Ceilings in rich yellow color depict the scenes from Christ’s life. The white lines crisscrossing across the ceiling provide the outlines. And create the sections while providing a pattern. Arches below have the frescos on a pale green background while the empty spaces are filled in yellow and pink with geometric designs. The whole play of bright yet pleasant colors is what makes this place vibrant and charming. There are idols on the walls that add to the beauty.
Gift from Pope
A white stole with golden embroidery, a gift from Pope John XXIII to the Cathedral is prominently displayed. When I visited there were few women sitting and chatting inside the church. While others were silently praying. It is always a humbling experience to go around buildings that have been around for a long time and still stand tall. And in places where prayers are said every day, irrespective of who says them and to whom.
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