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St James Church

Location: ½ Kilometer from Kashmiri Gate at the intersection of Church Road and Lothian Road

Famous for: James Skinner and William Fraser's grave

Open: On all days

Admission: Free and open to all (caretaker, who opens the church needs to be tipped at least Rs 20)

How to Reach: Tourists can either take local buses from various points within the city to reach this monument, which is located near Kashmiri Gate, Inter State Bus Terminal in Old Delhi or they can hire auto-rickshaws and taxis or metro rail.

Preferred Timings: Morning and evening prayer time (timings to be checked with local authorities)

Photography charges: nil Video charges: nil, prior permission required, check with the local authorities

Nearest Railway Station: Old Delhi Railway Station

Nearest Metro Station: Kashmiri Gate

Functional Metro Station: Kashmiri Gate

Nearest International Airport:

Time required for sightseeing: Approx 40 minutes

(Data are as of July 2005)

Located at the intersection of Church Road and Lothian Road, St. James Church was built by the famous Colonel James Skinner in a Greek cross design. Consecrated in 1836, the beautiful church was said to be an imitation of St Paul's Cathedral in London but according to Percival Spear the church was actually modeled on a church in Venice. With its beautiful gardens and peaceful atmosphere, the church was once situated in Delhi's best European shopping area. The church is designed in a cruciform plan with the altar facing towards the eastern direction and entrance towards the western direction. A ball and a cross surmount the dome of the church. The original ball and the cross were damaged during the 1857 fighting and were later replaced by their replicas. The center of the church is octagon in shape with circular columns supporting the dome and the main seating arrangement being in the central portion of the dome.

In the early 19th century, James Skinner who fought for Marathas after being declined an entry into British army due to his mixed blood was once badly wounded in a war. He was left on the battlefield and the possibility of his survival was very bleak. He prayed to God and vowed that if he escaped the assault of death, he would build a church to commemorate his faith in God. Thus he built the St James Church. Later, Skinner raised a cavalry regiment known as Skinner's Horse or the Yellow Boys and won many battles. Known for his courage in battle, his regiment was finally made the part of the regular army and he was made a Lieutenant Colonel. He died in mid 19th century but a regiment of the same name still serves the Indian Army.

The grave of James Skinner is located in the complex of St James Church just in front of the altar. To the north of the church lie the graves of Skinner's family. Apart from the several graves of victims of 1857 war, the God's acre contains the grave of one of the finest British Commissioners of Delhi, William Fraser near the large Memorial Cross erected in memory of the victims.

A brochure is available about the church and the life of James Skinner at nominal rate.

Special Attraction/ Annual Event

Apart from various cultural and social programmes, the church is beautifully and attractively decorated during Christian festivals.

Nearby Tourist Attractions

Kashmiri Gate, Dara Shikoh Library, St James Church, Lothian Cemetery, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, Salimgarh Fort, St James Church and Rajghat.

Nearby Places to Eat

Karim Hotel, Ghantewala sweet shop, food stalls near Jama Masjid, Paranthewali gali, Natraj hotel, Chor Bizarre of Broadway Hotel, Daryaganj's Flora, Peshwari, Moti Mahal Restaurant, Worker's canteen of Inter-State Bus terminal and many roadside food stalls are there for refreshment.

Nearby Shopping Venues

Chandni Chowk (curios, souvenirs, silver and glass bead jewellery) Nai Sarak (books), Chor bazaar (electronic goods), Daryaganj book market (on Sunday) and Chatta Chowk in Red Fort (traditional and contemporary jewellery and handicrafts)

Last Updated On: 2011/07/04