The CSI (Church of South India) Christ Church is a prominent church located in Munnar, a popular hill station in the Idukki district of Kerala, India. It is one of the oldest churches in the region and holds historical and architectural significance.
The CSI Christ Church in Munnar was built by the British in the late 19th century and stands as a testimony to the colonial era. The church showcases a blend of colonial and traditional architectural styles, with its beautiful stained glass windows, wooden pews, and a distinctive bell tower.
The church holds regular worship services for the local Christian community and welcomes visitors of all faiths to explore its premises. The serene atmosphere and the peaceful surroundings make it a place for spiritual solace and reflection.
Apart from its religious significance, the CSI Christ Church also attracts visitors for its historical charm and architectural beauty. The stained glass windows depict biblical scenes, and the church interior is adorned with intricate woodwork. The church grounds offer a tranquil environment, making it a peaceful place for visitors to spend some quiet moments.
Visiting the CSI Christ Church in Munnar allows one to appreciate the architectural grandeur, delve into the region’s colonial past, and experience the serene ambiance of this historical place of worship.
C.S.I Christ Church a century-old church, built in 1910 constructed using rough-hewn granites in Gothic style owing its legacy to the British tea planters in Old Munnar.
A century-old church, owing its legacy to the British tea planters in Old Munnar, is a place where visitors from Britain, who are the third or fourth-generation descendants of the planters, arrive to find the life their ancestors led in a faraway land.
The present CSI church, built in 1910, is well preserved. It was constructed using rough-hewn granites in Gothic style. The stained glasses on the sides of the church depict the saints and Biblical characters. It has a number of memorial brass plaques with the names of prominent planters inscribed on them.
The history of the church is linked to the missionaries who arrived here. The first to be buried was young Ilianor Knight, wife of Henry Knight, supposedly a missionary, and who is believed to have died of malaria in 1899. The church was built in memory of her in front of a small hill where she was buried, later making it an exclusive cemetery for British planters. Before the church was constructed, there was a cemetery at the back of the present structure where many Britishers were laid to rest. History records that the work of the church was completed and dedicated on April 16, 1911. An in-house publication of Tata-Finlay Ltd “Hundred Years of Tea Planting,” says that the church provided refuge for many during the heavy floods in Munnar in 1924. It was the first place people reached for refuge as it is on a hill and near the then-main town.
The present vicar of the church said that young people from Britain come to Munnar only to visit the church. A few tombs have the names of persons buried there written on them, and their descendants come with details of those buried there.
“It is part of Munnar’s history and attracts tourists, especially foreigners, and the church is maintained well”, said Riju Varghese, a former staffer of the church.
As one course through the history of Munnar, where the Britishers introduced the ropeway, railway, and even the first motorbike, one finds many such monuments to its glorious past.