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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Towering Above The Tradition

The history of Pune is filled with all colours. It comes then as no surprise that among the plethora of buildings boasting their heritage traditions, a church also celebrates its rich and prideful past. One such place is The 'Church of the Holy Name', also called 'Pavitra Naam Devalaya'. This tall building with marked and unique features is located at Guruwar Peth. The church has planned 12-day celebrations to mark its 125th foundation day this August 7.

Attempts are also on to include this building in the Pune Darshan tour of heritage buildings. The Church of the Holy Name is an historic monument built in the Gothic Style. The work of renovating the floor of this 125-year-old church is just completed.

The original construction of the church was completed in 1885. The cornerstone of the church building was laid in September 1883. The original building extended only as far as today's middle door, leaving a substantial foreground towards the west. It was expanded in 1905. Its uniqueness also lies in the fact that the service is conducted in Marathi here. The construction of the church was completed in 1885. The building is of the Basilica type, made of bricks and also very attractive.

The special attraction of the church is the 130 feet high bell tower which is used on special occasions. This is the only church in South Asia with eight bells. These bells are made by Tailor & Sons Co in Lafbarro. Its association with history goes back to Oct 14, 1890 when the sisters at the Panchhaud Mission served tea and biscuits to Lokmanya Tilak, Mahadev Govind Ranade and Goplakrishna Gokhale

The episode created a storm in the then conservative society since Hindus had tea in a Christain place. Lokmanya Tilak then stated before religious leaders that he had taken expiation for the episode and performed rituals in Varanasi as well as Pune. The mission still preserves the table on which tea was served.

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