Srinagar’s 125-Year-Old Church closed for decades, opens ahead of Christmas

One of the oldest churches in Kashmir’s Srinagar, Saint Lukes’s church reopened for the public after being shut for three decades. The church was restored ahead of Christmas eve, and the decision to restore the old glory has been taken after many years, The Quint reported.

The church is located near the Chest Diseases Hospital on the foothills of the Shankaracharya hillock in the Dalgate area of Srinagar. Before its official opening, a prayer was held. The foundation stone of Saint Luke’s Church was laid by Earnest Neve and Dr. Arthur Neve, on 12 September 1896. 

“The Gothic style of architecture has been followed to the dot by artisans, especially inside the prayer hall. Kashmir’s traditional woodwork has lent grace to the ceiling and the main door of the hall,” said Athar Aamir Khan, commissioner of Srinagar Municipal Corporation.

The renovation work was done under the work of by Jammu and Kashmir tourism department under the “Smart City” project. After the local Christian community approached the government and sought its restoration in 2016, the government had allotted around Rs 60 lakh for its renovation.

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The church was in a bad condition where its structures were damaged after its closure in 1990. “There is no change in the original structure or designs of the church. We are only renovating it to restore its lost glory,” said a worker.

The violence that erupted in the Kashmir region is also one of the reasons for the closure of the church in 1990.