Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha virtually inaugurated the St. Luke Church and reopened it for the public on the auspicious occasion of Christmas.
Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir): As a special gift to the people by the Jammu and Kashmir government on Christmas, a century-old Saint Luke's Church in Dalgate, Srinagar was reopened on Wednesday post-renovation after three decades.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha virtually inaugurated the church. The St. Luke Church was renovated and restored under the smart city project. The Jammu and Kashmir government took the initiative to restore the church and opened it for the public on the auspicious occasion of Christmas. The special prayers will be held on December 25 on the eve of Christmas.
“Reopening of St Luke's Church in Srinagar after restoration is a historic occasion to celebrate and imbibe Christ's message of sacrifice, service, redemption, love and compassion”, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said while inaugurating the church.
Manoj Sinha added that the church is a unique symbol of Jammu and Kashmir’s composite culture. “India has been home to diverse religions and cultures for centuries. But despite much diversity, we are living in unity without any discrimination,” the LG said.
"The government asked us everything they should be doing. It was only done after consultations with us. We are all very happy and it's like a dream come true. And not only for Christians but I think the locals who live around the area are happy that the church will have prayers again. The church was established in 1896 and it shows the history of Christianity in Kashmir. A lot of people don't know that Christians live in Kashmir but they are also surprised. With this, the message of brotherhood is sent across. There would be service over there on Christmas. We will have carol service and prayer there," said Reverend Eric in Srinagar.
"It's a 125-year-old church, it was established in 1896 by two people named Arthur and Ernest Neve. It's a beautiful structure of gothic architecture. It's slightly different from the usual architecture we have in Kashmir. The inside interiors of the church have a Khatamband ceiling which is unique to Kashmir. It was in dilapidated condition and there were structural issues. The main structural issues have been restored. Its external facade has been restored. It has a three-floor bell tower which has also been restored. Besides that, we have used the local craftsmen to redo the place. I am happy that under the smart city project we have managed to restore this. We have done it with consultations with the local Christian community. The structure of this place is unique and it definitely will be one of the new landmarks to visit in Srinagar city," said Athar Amin, Commissioner SMC.
The state government has plans to restore heritage structures in the Kashmir Valley to boost tourism.