Reviving the Past: The Renovated Afghan Memorial Church in Colaba, Mumbai

“St John The Baptist Memorial, also known as the Afghan Memorial Church or the ‘Afghan War Memorial Church’ of Mumbai, stands as a prominent and historic church in South Mumbai. This remarkable Gothic-style structure, the Afghan Memorial, is a unique and iconic landmark situated in Colaba. It can be easily accessed from the nearest stations, Churchgate and CST.”

Afghan Memorial Church
Afghan Memorial Church

The Old and Newly Renovated Afghan Memorial Church

Opens to Public on 3rd of March 2024.

The Afghan Church, originally known as St John The Baptist Memorial, was built in 1847 in Colaba to honor soldiers from various Indian states who died in the Afghan Wars of the 19th century. The church underwent renovations in 2021 and 2022, with extensive repairs and restoration work completed during this time. It serves as a tribute to soldiers from the Madras, Bengal, and Bombay regiments, as well as British soldiers who lost their lives in the second Anglo-Afghan war from 1878 to 1880. Consecrated in 1858 as the Church of St John the Evangelist, it is now used by the Church of North India congregation, formerly part of the Anglican establishment.

Established in 1847, over a hundred years ago, a bell tower was erected in 1865 along with various interior renovations that continued until 1900. Throughout this time, the bell in the 210-foot tower served as a guiding light for ships arriving at Bombay port. The architectural blueprints for this church were originally drafted by Mr. Henry Conybeare, a renowned civil engineer who also introduced piped water supply to homes and establishments in Mumbai.

Swati Chandgadkar, a skilled stained glass artisan with experience working alongside church committees, has now dedicated her talents to the restoration project of the Afghan Church. The World Monuments Fund India (WMFI) spearheaded the renovation efforts of this stunning neo-Gothic church, utilizing funds raised from corporate sponsors and various social initiatives. Leading the planning process is the renowned conservation architect, Kirtida Unwalla, along with a team of dedicated collaborators.

Anupam Sah, a skilled conservator, dedicated her expertise to restoring the artifacts, including the wooden pulpit, Burma teak roof, lectern, plaques, metal screens, mosaic, and more. Thanks to her efforts, the Church is now ready for a variety of events such as concerts, social gatherings, and cultural events. This collaborative project was made possible by funding from the public, corporations, and various social entities.

Art work inside Church

Inside the Church, you’ll be captivated by the exquisite artwork. The choir stalls boast solid structures with intricately designed open squares, adorned with beautiful floral patterns made of wrought iron. As you approach the altar, you’ll notice the brass altar rails and supporting standards, adding a touch of elegance. However, what truly catches the eye is the magnificent stained glass window that greets visitors upon entering this sacred space.

Huge Ringing Bell

Prepare to be amazed by the colossal ringing bell within the Afghan Memorial Church. Comprising a total of 8 bells, this impressive creation by John Taylor was generously donated by the esteemed Colaba resident, Sir Charles Cayzer, to commemorate his wedding. The sheer size of this bell is awe-inspiring, and the recent addition of the vibrant blue color around the walls enhances its grandeur even further.

Marbel Lectern

Step into the Afghan church and you’ll be captivated by the timeless beauty of this exquisite artwork. Dating back to the 2nd of May, 1865, it has gracefully stood the test of time, radiating an aura of antiquity that perfectly complements its surroundings.

Beautiful Walls

Explore the walls, entrance, and various spots indoors to discover that Kurla stone was used for the construction. The piers, arches, cornices, and decorations are all crafted from Porbunder stones.

Those Tiles

Witness the exquisite craftsmanship of imported encaustic tiles adorning the church floor, meticulously procured all the way from England in the year 1903.

Reaching Afghan Church

Situated on Colaba Causeway, between Colaba and Old Woman’s Island in Mumbai, this structure was built by the British East India Company. To reach there, one can alight at Churchgate Station on the western line and then opt for a taxi or cab from there. Another option is to take a bus from Regal Cinema or Churchgate Station to Colaba, which typically takes around 20 minutes. Alternatively, CST station is also conveniently located at a similar distance to Churchgate.

Check this map link on how to reach from CSMT & Churchgate.

Address: Nanabhai Moos Marg, Navy Nagar, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400005.

Places Near St John This Baptist Memorial (The Afghan War Church)

See more attraction at Churchgate, Nariman Point, Marine Drive, RBI Money Museum, Regal Cinema, Eros Cinema, Flora Fountain, Fort Market, Fashion Street.

Read More about the Renovation at Bing News.

See More in    Holy Places

Greetings, I am Deven, the founder of Mumbai77. With immense passion, I have dedicated my full-time efforts to continuously learn and update important information about Mumbai city. Currently, I am a full-time blogger residing in Mumbai. Since its establishment on July 7, 2007, Mumbai77 has attracted millions of pageviews. Our website aims to provide valuable information, including my personal reviews and experiences, to assist individuals worldwide in their search for updated information about Mumbai city.
331 Google reviews
Milind Sonar
Milind Sonar
It was helpful
mahendra mehta
mahendra mehta
Give us 2024 bus timing for all rout .remove old time table
Suneeta Mestry
Suneeta Mestry
Good information about all stops. Thank you so much

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