Visit a 105-year old, yet little-known Church in Ooty

 A little-known, but phenomenal church situated a short distance away from Ooty, calls for our attention.

Ooty, home to one of the three heritage rail tracks, is known for its many splendor things. Among them are its historical buildings, and more specifically, the churches. For the more religiously inclined and even the die-hard history lovers, a trip to see the architectural elegance of the two churches, namely St.Stephen’s Church and St. Thomas Church, among seven others, is a must.  However, there’s another little-known, but phenomenal church situated a short distance away from Ooty, that calls for our attention.

The 105-old Ascension Church locate inside The Lawrence School campus in Lovedale
The 105-old Ascension Church located inside The Lawrence School campus in Lovedale Picture Courtesy: Panoramio 

The Church of The Ascension at Lovedale is situated within the premises of the well-known 158-year-old Lawrence School. This lovely little church was built a good 56 years after Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence, who founded and established The Lawrence School in Ooty, including the two at Sanawar in 1847 at Sanawar, at Mount Abu in 1856, and at Ghora Gali, Murree (located in present-day Pakistan) in 1860. The school in Ooty was the third to be constructed in 1858.

According to The Hindu, On October 5, 2011, the church celebrated 100 years of the laying of the foundation stone of the church. It was effected by Sir Arthur Lawley, who was the Governor of Madras in 1911. The special service was solemnized by the then Lord Bishop of Madras. In May 1914, the church was finally consecrated on Ascension Day, which is believed by Christians to the day Jesus Ascended into Heaven.

The Lawrence School, Lovedale Picture Courtesy: Shubhra Rishi
The Lawrence School, Lovedale Picture Courtesy: Shubhra Rishi

The Church of The Ascension is a remarkable heritage building that displays breathtaking gothic architecture. Inside the church is a stained glass altar panel which portrays the central theme of the church–the ascension of Jesus into Heaven.

Another striking feature of this Church is its majestic Great Pipe Organ which was installed in 1918 and is one among the many Churches comprising some of the oldest pipe organs in India.

Example of an organ pipe Picture Courtesy: http://www.northwestorgan.com/
Example of an organ pipe Picture Courtesy: http://www.northwestorgan.com/

So while you  sip the famous Ooty tea, take a bite of the chocolate, walk in the touristy rose garden, and ride on the heritage Nilgiri rail, make sure visit this 105-year old petite church located in the lap of The Lawrence School at Lovedale in case you plan to visit Ooty for the Go Heritage Run taking place on the 29th May 2016.
Note – the date of GHR Ooty was incorrectly mentioned as 22 April earlier, we regret the confusion caused.

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Shubhra Rishi

Writer. Editor. Traveler.

7 thoughts on “Visit a 105-year old, yet little-known Church in Ooty

  • Avatar
    April 19, 2016 at 7:23 am
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    I was confirmed in this Church, circa 1949.

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  • Avatar
    April 19, 2016 at 7:28 am
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    Thanks for writing about this fine church which I attended from 1952 to 1957.
    Glad you have changed the Heritage Run to 22 April. You have better chances of fair weather than end May.

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    • Ajay
      April 19, 2016 at 2:28 pm
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      Dear Thomas, the date of GHR Ooty 2016 was incorrectly mentioned as 22 April earlier, we regret the confusion caused.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    April 19, 2016 at 7:17 pm
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    I was christened in this church as a kid. My parents taught in Lovedale from 1946 to 1961. I attended service on Sundays with my fellow students and we took turns in the organ room to pump the organ, pictured in the site.

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  • Avatar
    May 2, 2016 at 3:47 am
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    Hi
    I attended this Church from 1951to1957. I also pumped the manual organ.My mum Mrs C K Sabapathy was Headmistress of the Prep School and taught Maths from 1950 to 1957.My Dad John Sabapathy who died on 8 March 1952 had his funeral service held at the Church and is buried in the School Cemetery. I have happy memories of this lovely church and had my confirmation classes given by the wonderful priest Rev C F Ash former Headmaster at Lovedale and then Headmaster of StGeorge’s Ketti. Thank you for doing this article

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    • Avatar
      May 6, 2016 at 5:10 pm
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      I was interested to read that you had the Revd. C.F Ash for your instruction in your confirmation classes. I did too!…(The initials stand for Charles Ferris – I have always remembered his names for some reason ! – perhaps because I thought very highly of him). I was confirmed in the Church of the Ascension in 1942 , by the Bishop “Michael + , Madras” (as he signed it, in the small prayer book we were given to commemorate the occasion.)……I treasure my memories of the School, from which I “passed out” in 1946.

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    • Avatar
      May 6, 2016 at 5:21 pm
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      I was interested to read that you had the Revd. C.F Ash for your confirmation classes. I did too ! (I’ve always remembered the C. F. stood for Charles Ferris – don’t know why…perhaps because I thought so highly of him.) I was confirmed in the Church of the Ascension in 1942. I treasure my memories of the School.

      Reply

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