Thursday, 17 May 2018

Jaunpur Raja's residence, Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh

Residence of Raja of Jaunpur, UP.
Residence of Raja of Jaunpur, UP.
Above image; The residence of the Raja of Jaunpur. The Brahmin family members in the past were in banking business and  they took care of the financial needs of the Nawab when he fell short of funds. Details about this building, date of construction, year, total plinth area, etc.,   are quite vague. Perhaps, my search in the Google was not good enough. Basically, the design follows the style of Rajasthan with chhatris gently fused with Music architecture. Except flanks on either side in the facade, it is a two - story structure and at both  extremes there are four floors with three balconies. The rooms are not big and the first floor room has a small roofed balcony on either side. The 4th floor rooms  are arched topped by a dome-shaped pavilion. The center of the building also has 4 floors. The room is fairly big and the top floor is arched above which stands a big dome. The big central dome is characteristic of four  chhatris at four corners, besides a fifth one atop the dome.  This gives a better look to the building. In the front, both in the ground and first floors the roof is supported by 4 arches on either side. The porch is just projecting out at the center  and does not have any structure above it....................... 
Jaunpur city map, Uttar Pradesh. Maps of India
The title of Jaunpur is held by a Brahmin family who owned a vast estate in the past. Shiv Lal Dube was born in 1776 at  Amauli Fatehpur to a rich banker Moti Lal Dube. Shiv Lal, besides regular education also learned the intricacies of business from his father and at one point of time, he  became well-versed  in business dealings. Along with his stature, his popularity also grew and he became a banker to the Nawab Kalb  Ali Baig who is believed to have formed the city of Jaunpur. Shiv Lal took over his father's entire business  after  his demise. He ran the banking business efficiently and there was no person in the business community who did not have contact with Shiv Lal. His good business administration,  effective service and business acumen not only won him admiration, but also got him wide recognition. He was bestowed with the title Raja Bahadur in 1797, besides getting the Taluk of Badlpur.  Both the title and the estate were heriditary in nature as per the award.  When he died in 1836, he took the honor of being  the largest estate owner in that region, including Jaunpur. 

Jaunpur Raja's residence, Jaunpur,
Raja Ram Gulam  received the title and property after Shivlal's death. His son Raj Bal Dutt was not his legal heir for unknown reason. When Raja Ram Gulam unexpectedly died in 1843, his father Raja Bal Dutt got  the title and the estate from his son. After his death, his second son Raja Lachamn Gulam became the legal owner of the estate and title.The estate and title passed  down to several generations.  Presently  Avaindira Dutt owns the property and title.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Lal Darwaza Mosque (1447) built by queen Rajye Bibi, Jaunpur, UP

Jaunpur, UP. Uttar Pradesh Election 2017
1447 AD Lal Darwaza Masjid, Jaunpur, UP. Luxury Trails Of India
1447 AD. Lal Dawaza Mosque, Jaunpurronline.inJ
Jaunpur town in Jaunpur District , Uttar Pradesh is well-known for impressive  mosques of architectural beauty and grandeur. It is repository  of medieval history and monuments.  Being historical, they came up during the reign of Sharqi Dynasty whose rule was  quite efficient and the city flourished during that period.  In 1447 was built Lal Darwaza Mosque or Ruby Gate Mosque. It was a dedication to the Muslim saint of repute Syyid Ali Dawood Kuttubbudin from Queen Rajye Bibi, wife of Sultan Mohmod Sharqi. She belonged to the Jaunpur Sultanate  (1394 - 1479) and, it is said,  the great saints descendants still live here. The mosque is the smallest one as it was a private mosque to be used by the queen to say her Namaz. The proximity of this mosque to the palace confirms this.
Jaunpur, UP. Uttar Pradesh Election 2017
Lal Darwaza (Ruby Gate) Mosque has derived its  name from the vermilion-painted lofty gateway of Bibi Rajye’s royal palace, that stood adjacent to it. It is in the extreme north west and known by names Mohalla Laldarwza or Begum Ganj. The color of the entrance of the mosque  accentuates its appearance. Of late, the color, because of ageing and climatic changes, has turned into pinkish. This mosque has one central pylon and structurally differs from other mosques.  There are three gates to the mosque,
Lal Dawaza Mosque,

Lal darwaza mosque, tomb of the great saint.
among which the eastern  and the main gate is the largest  and assumes more prominence than the others.  A unique feature of this mosque, which is rarely noticeable in other places,  is the location of Zenana - the exclusive section for the women and girls in Muslim dwelling and place of worship. Here, Zenana is centrally located, invariably it is located at one end of the structure in many mosques.
Prayer room, lal darwaza mosque , jaunpurJaunpuronlinein.

01. Queen Bibi Rajye  founded a religious school in  a place close to  the Lal Darwaza in Jaunpur to impart religious training to the local students interested in Muslim theology and named the school (or Madrasa) as Jamia Hussainia and it exists till day..

02. Mohalla Namaz Gah was named by Bibi Rajye, who also builds here a monastery and a College. Staffed with well read people, teachers and Ulema, it attracts students from many parts of India. 

03. Besides, Queen Rajye also founded a school for women way back in 1441, thus giving due importance to women's rights to education and equal participation in the society. In this regard the Sharqi rulers were quite liberal  and never had any conservative view on Muslim woman and her role in nation building.,_Jaunpur

Historical Atala Mosque, Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh - a national monument

 Jaunpur is historically an old city called  Sheeraz-e-Hind dating back to 1359. Founded by  the Sultan of Delhi Feroz Shah Tughlaq  who named the city  in memory of his cousin, Muhammad bin Tughluq, whose given name was Jauna Khan. In 1388, Feroz Shah Tughlaq appointed Malik Sarwar, an eunuch, who was mad in love with  Feroz Shah Tughlaq's daughter, as the governor of the region. The administration of the Sultanate was chaotic  in 1393 and  Malik Sarwar, who ruled that area for Feroz Shah Tughlaq, taking advantage of the unstable political situation  declared independence from Delhi Sultanate.  He and his adopted son Mubarak Shah  were instrumental in founding what later came to be called the Sharqi dynasty (dynasty of the East).  The Sharqi  Dynasty rule was so good and efficient, the Jaunpur Sultanate was a strong military power in Northern India and consequently  Mubarak Shah (ruled 1402-1440) became a powerful ruler liked both by Muslims and large Hindu population. Subsequently  Husain Shah (1456–76) became a good ruler and had the biggest Army at that point of time.
Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh Wikipedia

Time keeps changing, so are the dynasties and rulers and Jaunpur was no exception.  Jaunpur's independence came to an end in 1480, when the city was seized  by Sikander Lodhi, the Sultan of Delhi. Later the Sharqi kings made only futile attempt to repossess the city.  When Lodi took over the old city, he destroyed many  of the Sharqi  monuments. Fortunately several important mosques  notably the Atala Masjid, Jama Masjid (now known as the Bari (big mosque) Masjid) and the Lal Darwaza Masjid remain least affected.

Atala Masjid, Jaunpur,Wikipedia
 Built in the 15th century, Atala Masjid or Atala Mosque  in Jaunpur,  attracts lots of tourists. It was built by Sultan Ibrahim (1402–1436), Sharqi Sultan of Jaunpur. The foundation was laid during the reign of Tughluq Sultan Firuz Shah III (1351–1388). For various reasons, the work on the mosque got delayed. The work that began in  in 1377 was completed in 1408.  This was the first mosque to be built after the independence of this state from Delhi and the establishment of the Sharqi dynasty. Like many Indian mosques, this one has three domes, symbolic of Prophet and his two close disciples. It has a big rectangular prayer hall with three aisles running north south. The square-shaped central part  has the main mihrab and  the largest dome flanked by two smaller domes on the sides.
Atala Masjid, Jaunpur, UP.Bhaarat Darshan
To get to the  prayer hall of the mosque one has to go through a large stone portal, a fine and impressive  feature of the mosque. The portal consists of a huge pointed arch recess flanked by pylons of a gigantic size reaching up to a height of 23 meters. The facade of these pylons is divided into five sections separated by horizontal mouldings. This monumental gateway, a tradition found in Middle East, is followed here.
Atala Masjid, Jaunpur, UP. TrekEarth

Atala Mosque. Muslim Heritage
A Madarsa named Madarsa Din Dunia is housed in central courtyard of the mosque. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Directorate of Archaeology, (U.P.) has listed it as one of the important monuments. The unique, but strange feature of this mosque is  no minars are used and the style of Atala Masjid's architecture is known as Sharqi Style. Yet another feature is the use of  bold and forceful characters painted on the huge screen in the centre and side bays of the prayer hall.,_Jaunpur,_Uttar_Pradesh

The legend of Narasimha Avatar - symbolic of victory of the good over the evil forces!!

 In the Hindu Mythology, if you go to the bottom of the legend and interpolate, a clear and transparent picture will emerge. This is with respect to human psychology, human behavior and morality.  Almost all legends carry a  simple message,  how important for a man  to lead a moral and ethical life, irrespective of his circumstances  and how the all-pervading God or Goddess will  help His or Her true devotees when they are in distress . The gist of most of these stories is:  At last, the good comes out victorious over the evil.
The mythological story of Narasimha Avatar is an interesting one and has a similar Puranic story line. The Hindu God Vishnu took the avatar to put an end to chaos, calamity and religious persecution experienced by his devotees on earth caused by a demonic force and to establish Dharma which is essential for peaceful coexistence. 

Narasimha, (Sanskrit: Naran means man; Simham means lion; “Man-Lion”) one of the 10 avatars (incarnations) of the Hindu god Vishnu, one of the Trinity Gods in the Hindu Pantheon. He is the preceptor and also  protector of his true devotees. If occasion demands, he never fails to give them solace and guard them from troubles. 

The underlying aspect  of  Narasimha is:  He an iconic symbol of intensive resistance to unjust things, hope against odds, triumph of the good over persecution, and evil. He is the annihilator  of any  external evil, and also one's own  enemies inside the  "body - speech, and mind". He is an embodiment of everything that produces  positive energy.
Narasimha, Chennakesava temple.  
 Legend has it that  the demon Hiranyakashipu —twin brother of Hiranyaksha, wanted to avenge Lord Vishnu who killed his  brother  in his previous Avatar (incarnation) as Varaha (boar). Both were Daityas, a clan of Asuras (who were jealous of Devas). To get extraordinary mystical power equal almost to immortality for challenging lord Vishnu, Hiranyakashipu  received a special boon from God Brahma (creator) after a long, strenuous  penance. The gist of his boon was: that "he could not be killed by humans or animals or Devas; from inside or outside, by day or by night and that no weapon or force could harm him either in space or on earth".
God Brhma giving boon to Hiranyakashipu.
Above image: God Brahma, the creator is one of the Trinity gods. He is father of Prajapathis and his consort  is  Saraswati (goddess of wisdom). After prolonged penance, Hiranyakashipu received the boon from Brahma..........................

To Hiranyakshipu lord Vishnu  was his sworn enemy and so, he  troubled Vishnu's devotees. Having got special boons from God Brahma, the demon-king misused his mystical power and  grew cruel and tyrannical. Driven by over confidence,  pride and presumption, he troubled rishis (sages) and Devas (Celestial).
Vishnu as Narasimha. Dolls of India
Vishnu as Narashimha killing the demon.
 Above image: God Vishnu as Narasimha(half-man and lion) kills demon Hiranyakashipu who is on his lap; stone sculpture from Halebidu, Karnataka.............................

Feeling secure, he began to trouble heaven and 
earth. His atrocities that caused untold miseries, having gone far beyond tolerance, Devas sought the help of Vishnu. The demon king  did not spare his own son   Prahlada, an ardent disciple of Vishnu and tried to kill him because he was worshiping Lord Vishnu. One day while  the demon- king  had a heated argument with  his son over Lord Vishnu, he kicked the near-by pillar and asked  his son  whether he could see his God Vishnu in the pillar. Prahlada said, ''He is omnipresent and you can find him in everything" -  in Tamil "Thoonilum erruppar, Thurumbilum erruppar"meaning he is in the pillar and also in the dust. At that point of time Hiranyakashipu was ready to slay his own son who uttered the name of Vishnu - Om Namo Narayana.
Hiranyakasihipu ready to kill his son.
In a jiff, the pillar which the demon kicked cleaved into two and out came a fierce-looking strange form with a human body and a lion's head - 
Narasimha coming out of the pillar to kill the
Narashimha Avatar (neither human nor an animal nor Deva. The time of his appearance was neither late evening nor early night, it was twilight. Narashimha dragged the demon to the outer most entrance of the building, sat right below the entrance (neither indoors nor outdoors) put the Asura right across his lap (neither earth nor space) and tore him apart with his long nails (no weapon was used). That was the end of demon-king Hiranyakashipu. It was the victory of the good over the evil.  Lord Narashimha knew that  it was the only way to kill this fearsome Asura.  The lord took the avatar of a strange creature, chose right time, right place and finally used his long nails and lap.  After killing the demon, Narashima was in an uncontrollable  ferocious mood  and was roaming around the near-by forest aggressively and there was no sign of the lord getting back to his normal mood. At the request of Devas,  Narasimha  was subdued by his consort Lakshmi, taking the form of Senchulaksmi.  According to another version his devotee Prahlada himself subdued him.


01. It is to be borne in mind that Vishnu is widely worshiped as Narasimha and there are countless  Narasimha temples in Peninsular India. 

02. Narasimha iconography is an interesting one and has been around for several centuries. The earliest known iconography of Narasimha is variously dated to between the 2nd and the 4th-century CE,

03. The image of Narasimha is always shown with a lion face, clawed fingers fused with a human body. In some images, he is emerging out of a pillar signifying that he is  in everything and  in everyone (both inanimate and animate things). 

04. At a few temples such as at Ahobilam, Andhra Pradesh, the iconography is more elaborate, and includes nine other icons of Narasimha in various moods
Lakshmi narasimhar
and posture: Prahladavarada: blessing Prahlada; Yogānanda-narasiṃha: serene, peaceful Narasimha teaching yoga; Vira-narasimha: warrior Narasimha and  Malola-narasiṃha: with Lakshmi his wife may be worthy to mention.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Sowmya Narayana Perumal temple, Thirikoshtiyur, TN where great Sri Ramanuja revealed the moola mantra!!

Thirukoshtiyur Sowmya Narayana Perumal Templetemple@dinamalar
Thirukoshtiyur Sowmya Narayana Perumal TempleTripAdvisor
Sowmyanarayana Perumal Temple in Thirukoshtiyur, near Thirupaththur Tamil Nadu, is  quite popular and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is a significant Divyadesa Shetra glorified in the Divya Prabandham, the early medieval Tamil canon of the tamil Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD.  The main deity is  Sowmyanarayana Perumal and his consort is Lakshmi as Thirumamagal.  This temple assumes social and religious importance because it was here the great Vaishnava philosopher Sri Ramanuja  not  only expounded, the  Vaishnavadatta philosophy but also preached the holy ashtakshra "Ohm Namo Narayana" to all people irrespective of their caste. Thus he became the first  social reformer in South India setting aside the caste differences, etc., several  centuries ago. Even today he still remains the greatest  social reformer and gives the right meaning to basic worship of God, ie., people regardless of caste,  creed and birth  can chant Narayana  mantra and before God everybody is equal. This temple follows Vaishnavite tradition of Thenkalai Samprathayam  that follows  Vaikasana aagama
Thirukoshtiyur,Sowmyanarayana PerumalDivine Traveller
Sowmyanarayana Perumal is said to have appeared as Narasimha  to the Devas, the celestial deities before killing the demon king Hiranyakshipu.
Thirukoshtiyur temple, Narashimhar. Tamilnadu Tourism
When Vishnu was  about  to take the Narasimha avatar to annihilate  the demon king Hiranyakashipu, Devas were very anxious to see his new Avatar before he would take it.  So, lord finally agreed and showed them the avatar. The vision was so mesmerizing, the Devas and sages requested Lord Vishnu to show them more. Thus lord Vishnu appeared in three 
forms of standing, sitting and resting posture at Thirukoshtiur. Since Vishnu showed his form  through the  hardship (in Tamil: Thirukkai) of Devas, the place came to be known as Thirukoshtiur
Half human,half lion, Narashimha avatarDolls of India
This temple follows Six daily puja protocols  and holds many annual festivals  among which which the float festival during the Tamil month of Masi (February–March), Navrathri during September–October and Vaikunta Ekadasi during Margazhi (December–January)  are significant. The temple is maintained and administered by Sivaganga Devasthanam.

The temple covering 2 acres of land has a 5 tier entrance gopuram. The temple is enclosed within 
the boundary walls made of granite.  The main sanctum houses the image of the presiding deity, Uragamellayan Perumal in reclining posture on a serpent's coiled bed - Adishesha similar to that of Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple.  Also present are the images of Sridevi and Bhudevi. There  are two life size images of Narasimha, the avatar of Vishnu. One of them is shown holding the demon Hiranyakshipu and other slaying him.

Here, the festival deity is  Sowmya Narayana Perumal  and the idol is made of panchaloha (a combination of many metals, including gold). 
The vimana, the shrine over the sanctum is Ashtanga in architecture style, which has eight parts. It is a rare piece of Hindu  temple architecture. Though the Dravidian architecture is followed here, the Astanga Vimana is a rare style. Here, the vimana raising to a height of 25 m (82 ft), is taller than the gopuram of the temple, such a  feature is seldom found in Dravidian temples.

As for the shrine of Lord's consort, Thirumamagal it is located to the south of the main shrine. Close to the sanctum are the small shrines dedicated to Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Andal, Manavala Munigal, etc. The shrines of Garuda, Anjaneya, Ramanuja, Vedanta Desika and Azhwars are  in the second prakara. A rare feature in a Vishnu temple is the presence of Shivalinga Lord Subramanya and Vinayaga -

Sri Ramanujar. Divyadesams
Thirukoshtiyur is the birth place of  Nambigal, the mentor of Ramanuja.  He taught Sishya Ramanuja  the gospel / moola mantra Ohm Namo Narayana and instructed him not to reveal it to anyone. The very mention of narayana means, you will get salvation and mukthi and you wont be troubled by rebirth. Ramanuja made up his mind to let everybody know about this mantra. Besides breaching his Guru's instruction, he risked his own life, climbed the tall tower  and loudly revealed the mantra to all - no caste discrimination.  His Guru. Nambigal, though taken aback, was pleased with his spirited appeal   and commitments of Ramanuja and named him Emperumanar (meaning my superior). Later a life size image of Ramanuja was housed in the Ashtanga Mandap of the temple. Thus,  at this temple Sri Ramanuja became the first social reformer, showing the way to salvation to all people.

The  positioning of sub-deities in this temple is almost similar to those at Appakkudathaan Perumal Temple at Koviladi, Veeraraghava Perumal temple at Thiruvallur, Rajagopalaswamy temple at Mannargudi and Rangantha temple at Srirangapatna.

02. It is to be noted that the Ashtanga Vimana that we have here in this temple, is found in only three places, namely, the Uthiramerur, Koodal Azhagar Temple and Cheranmadevi temples.


Monday, 14 May 2018

Breath-taking Krishnapuram palace, Kerala - a heritage monument

Krishnapuram palace and pond. Justdial
 Among the palaces of Kerala that are designed as per Vasu Sastra norms and at the same time taking into account the climatic conditions of this region, the Krishnapuram Palace near Alappuzha is unique and majestic in its simplicity. Kerala palaces  are just awe-inspiring in spite of the fact, they lack overwhelming artistic work and embellishments. That is the reason, they stand apart from other Indian palaces that are big and  highly ornamented. Since heavy monsoon rain is a  fact of life here, stability and durability of the structure should be given priority. Since , Kerala has many forests, wood is widely used in the construction work and frequent maintenance is a must.

Built in the 18th century by Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma (1729–1758 AD), the Travancore kingdom (1729 to 1949),  the Krishnapuram Palace is a nice royal residence, following typical  architectural style of Kerala with gabled roof, narrow corridor and dormer windows (with roofed structure). It is in Kayankulam (near Alappuzha) close to  the Krishnaswamy Temple at Krishnapuram.
Krishnapuram palace., kayankulam. Shutterstock
This palace, named after  the Krishnaswamy Temple at Krishnapuram is set in a quiet village  about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) south of Kayamkulam town and is surrounded by lush greenery. It is atop a hill encircled by  terraced garden with fountains, ponds and lawns. The nearest city is Allepey just 47 kilometres (29 mi) away on the way to Kollam.

The palace complex en composes  many other buildings, that exhibit a  combination of traditional and Western architecture. The present three-storied structure within the complex, was renovated in the 1950s by the Archaeological Department of Kerala in using modern  scientific techniques prescribed for the protection of heritage buildings. The heritage aspect is well-preserved and it is now a protected monument.
Palace museum, Kayankulam Kayankulam Vaal Alappuzha
Krishnapuram palace, balcony roof details.
The palace also houses a museum and is being managed by the Kerala State Department of Archaeology . On display here are the exhibits related to the  Palace and its former occupant, the Travancore Maharaja Marthanda Varma. An unusual feature of this palace complex is the presence of a secret underground passage connecting the bottom of a pond to the nearest exit point. It was a sort of escape route normally found in many Indian palaces in case of emergency. This would ensure safe passage of the royal members from threats of capture and killing, if overpowered by enemies.  It is also famous for a large pond within the palace complex. 

Visitors to this palace will be captivated by the Kerala-sytle paintings among which a mural painting named Gajendra Moksham, a nice piece of work, is worthy of mention. It is believed to be the largest in Kerala, measuring 154 square feet (14.3 m2). Other exhibits include 18th century double edged Kayamkulam Vaal (sword; used by early rulers) and 4 stone images of lord Buddha (10th century) in meditating posture excavated in Alappuzha District. It suggests the existence of Hinayana Buddhism in this part of Kerala. Among the countless exhibits, mention may be made of copy of the Bible in Sanskrit printed in Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1886.  Fine miniature Panchaloha (five metals of bronze alloy with gold as an ingredient) idols of Varuna (god of rain) and Vishnu.
Small Durbar hall.Krishnapuram Palace KeralaGoibibo
 In the Odanad–Travancore War of 1746 king Marthanda Varma of Travancore came out victorious and built this palace, replacing the old one  built by the King Veera Ravi Varma of Odanad (reign 1700–1775 AD).  Odanad was a a medieval feudal state established in  the 11th century. Originally it was a traditionally built one-story structure and of small size locally referred to as  Ettukettu, with an adjacent pond, temple and Urappura under the administration  of Prime Minister Ramayyan Dalawa. Subsequently the palace was enlarged by Prime Minister Ayyappan Marthanada Pillai.

The type of Kerala-style of design followed here 
is called Pathinarukettu, that features  gabled 
roofs, narrow corridors and dormer windows. Frequently it is referred to as a miniature replica of Padmanabhapuram Palace, now near Nagarkovil, Tamil Nadu which was once the headquarters of Travancore Raja. Originally, the palace stood on a plot of 56 acres and over a period of time, due to negligence and poor maintenance, many palace buildings were in ruin. The unfortunate fact is the original palace land had shrunk to about 2.55 acres.

Thanks to the sincere efforts taken by the Kerala Government  and its Archaeology department that resurrected the 3 story monument by carrying out 
the major restoration work as per Vastu Sastra norms with meticulous care and putting the palace back on to past glory.  The palace has 16 blocks or Kettus with four Nadumuttam or open area in the center or courtyards for sunlight. The ingenious feature is the placing of the windows, doors and ventilators that  ensures fresh flow of air and natural lighting in all  rooms. All  22 rooms (which open into the shady internal courtyards) have  ornamental wooden partitions with carvings. Additional openings were provided to prevent any negative effects of "Murmavedham".

Locally available laterite stones, rubble, teak, rosewood and Angili wood were extensively used for the construction work.  The red tiled- roofing consisting of Mangalore tiles  is steep and this enhances the appearance of this building.  Wooden hinges and locks for doors and windows, instead of metallic fittings and fixtures are all done in an artistic way, using special type of carpentry known to this place.  Yet another feature  is all around the outer wall is well protected from frequent rain falls in the monsoon season as it is surrounded by veranda that  serves as a passage. Here, the flooring is not done in wood, instead it consists of polished wood and also of black and red oxide-coated concrete. Straight, spiral and curved stairways, nice wood works and well-polished granite steps accentuate the palace's past glory. Added feature is the air-conditioning effects one gets indoors. This being due to the presence of an underground pond close by. As mentioned before, a secret escape route is built for the royal family close to the pond in case of emergency.

This palace with a well-maintained museum is worth a visit, if you happen to be in Allepey.

Sumi Baptist Church, Zunheboto,Nagaland, the largest in Asia!!

Sumi Baptist Church, Zunheboto,Nagaland, India  DNA India
Sumi Baptist Church, Zunheboto, Nagaland, India IBTimes India
Do you know where the largest church in Asia is? Yes, it is in Nagaland, NE India, the region once known for headhunters. The credit goes to American and European missionaries who ventured into this poorly developed land during the colonial days and brought about some changes in the life-style  of Nagas without  disturbing their culture.

 The nine-storey tall Sumi Baptist Church (SBCZ), is said to be the largest church in Asia. The church built at a cost of Rs 36 crore is in Zunheboto, s small town in Nagaland. The dedication was done in  March, 2017.  The cost of construction was met by public donations, Church members and well-wishers. Part of the money was in the form of a bank loan.
The Church has a main hall and 27 rooms. The project was so big, it took 10 

years to complete the construction work  - from  May 07 to March 2017. The church could accommodate 8500 people at the same time. Included in the church are the quite indispensable facilities like  a conference hall, a seminar hall, a meeting hall, a sick room and  a children's  playroom. In addition, there are dressing rooms   for brides and grooms, Baptism pool and a cafeteria. To take care of administration,  there are  14 office rooms too. The total plinth area is 23,73,476 sq ft in.  The actual structure measures 203 ft in length, 153 ft in breadth, and 166 ft in height. The church bell weighs about 500 kg  made mostly of brass and was imported from Poland. The sound of the bell has a radial outreach of 1.5 km.
Nagaland state, NE India.What is

Sumi Baptist Church, Zunheboto, Nagaland, IndiTopYaps
The church  is quite visible from any part of the town as it stands on a hill at a height of 1,864.9 meter above mean sea level. The architect of the building is M/s Akitektura Dimapur, 38 year old Naga woman  and the engineer is M/s Map Project Services Pvt Limited, Kolkata.


01. Edapally church (Edappally Mar Geevarghese Sahada Palli), is one of the biggest churches in India with  88000 sq ft and it can hold 5000 worshipers at a time in 19500 sq ft.

02. Sé Catedral de Santa Catarina, known as Se Cathedral, is said to be the largest in Goa and one of the best in the world.

03. Saint John the Baptist is the oldest church in North India and still houses a huge but non-functioning pipe organ.

04. The Christ Church of Shimla is the second oldest church in North India. It was built in neo-Gothic style in 1857 and is situated on The Ridge.

05. Of all the churches in India , the oldest ones are in Kerala and in Tamil Nadu founded by St. Thomas, the Apostle in 52 AD. They are called Seven and half churches; six are in Kerala and the last one is  in Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu.