On one of the serene hillocks of the Nilgiris stands St Stephen’s Church, one of the architectural marvels from the colonial period and famous landmarks of Ooty. Dating back to the 19th century, the construction of the church started on the birthday of King George IV. A monument of architectural marvel and beauty, it is rich in history. The colossal main beam and the timber for the construction were salvaged from Tipu Sultan’s palace in Seringapatanam after he was defeated by the British in the Mysore War. The fabulous pale-yellow church veiled in the thin white fog of Nilgiris is a testimony to the marvels of British architecture.
The sumptuousness of the church is highlighted by its many unique features. Above the beautiful panelled doors on the west wall of the church is a marvellous painting depicting The Last Supper. Like the hillocks it is situated on, the interior of the church is serene and its windows are decorated with stained glass panels depicting scenes like Mary holding baby Jesus and the crucifixion of Christ. Yet another testimony to the architectural wonders of the church is its unique bell tower. Rather than having an ordinary bell, the bell tower of St Stephen’s Church has four hammer-like structures attached to an inverted V-shaped wooden plank. Attached with wires and rods, this produces a musical sound like a church bell.
Rich in such unique features and history, St Stephen’s Church is a must-visit destination in Ooty. Located on a foggy, scenic hillside, the church and its mystic ambience will definitely be an enchanting experience for visitors.