Cathedral that marks Mumbai’s point zero begins 300th anniversary celebrations
As Mumbai changed from a colonial trading hub to a financial capital, St Thomas Cathedral in Fort stands as testimony to the changing timesmumbai Updated: Mar 13, 2018 17:07 IST
As Mumbai changed from a colonial trading hub to the financial capital of an independent country, a white landmark in Fort stands as testimony to changing times. St Thomas Cathedral, one of the oldest buildings in the city, will begin celebrations this weekend to commemorate three centuries of existence.
“We plan to kick-off the celebrations from March 16 onwards through a music recital, following which we have planned some seminars and a museum, wherein artifacts from earlier times would be put on display,” said Kamal Jadhav, member, tercentenary celebrations committee.
Established as a place of worship for British colonialists, the church is considered ‘point zero’ of the city, from where the 16 milestones of the city are measured, out of which 11 have been discovered. Today, the cathedral is the main centre of worship for Mumbai’s Church of North India congregation.
“St Thomas Cathedral is a grade-1 heritage structure and of historical importance to the city because that is the only landmark from where there were three roads leading to the city, and that’s how we have found a milestone every mile from the church. Which is why it is called the zero milestone of the city,” said an official from BMC heritage department.
“In earlier days, the transport used to take place by horse-cart, since the church was the earliest British structure to come up in Mumbai (then Bombay), various milestones across the city were marked from the church,” said Rev Avinash Rangayya, presbyter-in-charge of the church.
Restoration architect Sheetal Gandhi, who is preparing the church for the celebrations, tries to not change the neo-gothic structure of the church.
“Since the church is the oldest structure in south Mumbai, it has layers of history attached to it. Thus, when we restore the structure, we want an amalgamation of modernity and heritage, which is why we will date everything that is being added there recently,” Gandhi said.