Christ Church

At this British-built place of worship, an Elizabethan façade with Indian flair conceals one of the oldest Christian churches in India. 

Christ Church is one of the biggest footprints left by the British on the Indian city of Shimla. This pretty, red-roofed basilica is the second-oldest church in Northern India and still functions as a place of worship. 

The church was built and consecrated in 1857 to cater to the Anglican British occupants of 19th-century Shimla. It was designed by British Colonel J.T. Boileau and is still one of the town's most treasured and visited landmarks. 

Admire the impressive bell tower of this classic Elizabethan basilica. This cream tower sits amid a number of smaller spires and has a central clock, which no longer functions. Below, a portico welcomes guests to the buildings through arches that are typically Indian in design.

Venture inside and note the well-preserved detailing and characteristically European feel. Light filters into the main chamber through five stained-glass windows, which depict the Christian virtues. Check out the grand pipe organ, constructed in 1899. 

Walk between rows of pews to the shrine at the head of the stunning main chamber. Here, lavish gold decorations and ornate white columns surround depictions of Jesus Christ.  

Christ Church hosts popular services each Sunday, with worship conducted in both Hindi and English. Within these walls, a large collection of books and manuscripts preserve the history of its construction and those who visited. 

Return at night to see this church at its finest. Well-placed spotlights light up the dramatic façade, creating a spectacular glow. After savoring a quiet moment in the basilica, join the lively crowds along the nearby Shimla Mall Road. Find everything from department stores to artisan boutiques selling pottery, jewelry and textiles. 

Perched atop the Ridge, a popular raised region in central Shimla, Christ Church can be seen from miles away. Use public buses or an inexpensive rickshaw to get here. The church is free to enter.

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