Bharat Virasat-St. Paul's Cathedral, Kolkata

St. Paul's Cathedral, Kolkata

Place of Worship. Christianity


St. Paul's Cathedral is an Anglican church on Cathedral Road in central Calcutta. It is the seat of the Diocese of Calcutta. The cathedral is across from the Bishop's House on Chowringhee Road. The cathedral is located to the east of the Victoria Memorial and at the southern edge of the maidan, the largest open space in the city. The Cathedral architecture is of Indo- Gothic style with elements of Gothic Revival architecture. The principle design of the cathedral building was done by Major William Nairn Forbes, who later became a Major General of the Bengal Engineers. He was assisted by architect C. K Robinson. The cornerstone of the cathedral was laid on 8th October 1839 and it took another 8 years to complete it. The consecration took place on 8th October 1847 and was attended by the European community and a small number of locals. There is an episcopal throne on the southern flank of the altar and a reredos or decorative wall on its liturgical east end created by Sir Arthur Blomfield, dating back to 1879; it has carvings of episodes related to the life of St. Paul: the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi, and the Flight into Egypt. Entry to the cathedral is from the north through a large gate made of wrought iron called the Sir William Prentice Memorial Gate.

Constructed in:

19th century CE


61 m


75m x 25m


The cathedral suffered damaged twice in earthquakes, the first time was in 1897 which did not do as much damage as it was caused during the second earthquake of 1934 in which the steeple tower had collapsed. Repairs and rennovations were carried out after each of these natural disasters.


The cathedral was built in Gothic revival style, but with modern construction elements, including an iron framework. It was built with a chancel, a sanctuary, chapels and a spire.

The cathedral has three stained-glass windows and two frescoes in the Florentine Renaissance style. The West Window was created by Morris & Co. based on a design by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, a pre-Raphaelite master. These stained glass windows are fitted in half-sunk arches

The roof of the cathedral is in the shape of a shallow curve arching over iron trusses decorated with Gothic tracery.

The materials used in the construction of the cathedral consisted of special bricks, light in weight and with good compression strength. The ashlars used were of Chunar stone. The external and internal surfaces of the cathedral were plastered with fine chunam (lime plaster) in the form of stucco.

The nave of the cathedral is 75m long, and 25m wide. The nave is fitted with well-crafted wooden pews and chairs. The nave of the cathedral is built spaciously without any aisles on its flanks.

The central spire rises to a height of 201 feet (61 m), and the tower on which it stands is square in shape. It was patterned on the lines of the 12th-century Canterbury Cathedral in England.

The tower is fitted with five clocks, each of which weighs about three tons.



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