The seat of the Diocese of Calcutta of the Church of North India, St. Paul's Cathedral was built in 1847, effectively shifting the hub of Anglicanism in the city from St. John's Cathedral. Though its main function is as a house of worship, the imposing cathedral also features a decent library with numerous books on theology and general interest.
St. Paul’s Cathedral’s elegant, imposing exterior is Gothic Revival in style, with tall, thin port windows and sharp turrets, while the beautiful interiors feature stained glass windows and carved pews. The church houses a large collection of paintings and sculpture, much of which focuses on the life of St. Paul. The cathedral is a popular stop on city tours, particularly those that spotlight Kolkata's rich architectural heritage.
Things to Know Before You Go
- St. Paul’s Cathedral is a must-visit for history and architecture enthusiasts.
- Men and women should wear clothes that cover knees and shoulders.
- During services, refrain from taking photos or walking around the church.
How to Get There
St. Paul's Cathedral is located at the southern end of Kolkata's largest park, Maidan, right next to the Victoria Memorial and a 10-minute walk from the Rabindra Sadan metro station. It's about a 10-minute drive from the Howrah Railway Station and a 20-minute walk from Park Street, where many of the city's hotels and high-end eateries are located.
When to Get There
The cathedral is open daily, with services on Sundays. Each year in November, the church holds a carnival with choir performances, games, and food. Special services take place during Holy Week and Easter, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and other Christian holidays.
Earthquake-Proofing the Cathedral
St. Paul's Cathedral suffered damage in two major earthquakes. The first, in 1897, caused the steeple to fall off the building. The cathedral then partially collapsed during the devastating 1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake (which measured 8.0 magnitude at its epicenter near the border between India and Nepal). The cathedral was rebuilt soon after in what was dubbed the Indo-Gothic style and was designed to better withstand seismic activity.