The most prominent building on the Mall is the yellow Christ Church, reputed to be the second oldest church in northern India. The silhoutte of this can be seen on the skyline for miles around. It was designed by Colonel JT Boileau in 1844, but consecrated only after 1857. The clock was donated by Colonel Dumbleton in 1860, and the porch added in 1873.

In Shimla’s 75 years of reigning as summer capital, a long line of officials and other notables of the Raj came to the church for their Sunday prayers. The seasonal influx would be so great at times that space would pose a big problem. and once it so happened that a vicar was even prompted to preach a sermon against the space taken up by women’s crinolines. Lo and behold, next Sunday, the chastened ladies turned up in riding outfits! Now, of course, the congregations have dwindled and there is no lack of space.

More than half a century has slipped by since the last Viceroy of India has prayed here, but nothing much seems to have changed in Christ Church. It still has those lovely stained glass windows for which it is so famed.

Check out the one that represents the virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Patience and Humility. But around the chancel window used to be a beautiful fresco designed by Rudyard Kipling’s father, Lockwood Kipling, who was the principal of Mayo School of Art in Lahore. Sadly, nothing of it remains today. Note the interesting brasses and plaques. English language service is held every Sunday.

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