Around us, there are many unknown facts in historical Telangana, especially in Medak tourism. Now we are here for marking “Largest diocese in Asia & the second largest church in the world after the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica”. Yes, The century-old Church of South India Cathedral, popularly known as Medak Church or Medak Cathedral, is located at about 100 km from Hyderabad in Medak district, of Telangana State. The church can accommodate as many as 5000 people at a time.
The original name of Medak was Siddapuram which was later changed to Gulshanabad and much later to Methukuseema till this present name MEDAK.
History of Medak Church:
The church was built under the stewardship of the Methodist Christian, the Reverend Charles Walker Posnett, who was driven by the motto My best for my Lord. Charles Posnett had arrived in Secunderabad in 1895, and after first ministering among British soldiers at Trimullghery, had launched into the villages and had reached Medak village in 1896.
In those days there was no railway to Medak (the journey of 60 miles (97 km) from Hyderabad had to be done on horseback – and Posnett could do it in a day) and in the whole Medak area there were hardly two hundred Christians, who were using a small tiled house as their place of worship.
As the number of Christians increased, Charles Posnett raised a moderate structure in the Mission Compound in the shape of a church, but thought it unworthy, and early in 1914 laid the foundations of the present cathedral church, on 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of land in Ghusnabad area.
When the people of Medak district were suffering from famine between 1919 and 1921, Charles Posnett helped them by employing them in the construction of the church instead of running a free kitchen. Construction went on for 10 years. Charles Posnett consecrated the church in 1924, thanking God for mitigating the sufferings of the people.
When several Christian groups became re-united as the Church of South India, the church became the cathedral church of the diocese of Medak in October 1947. Medak Chruch has been the cathedral church of the Diocese of Medak of the south India (CSI) since the year 1947.
Constructed by Reverend Charles Walker Posnett, the magnificent Medak church stands on a sprawling 1000 acres of land. It took ten years to complete the monumental piece of architecture. With its massive dimensions, 100 ft width and 200 ft. length, the church can accommodate as many as 5000 people at a time.
The 173 feet tall main tower is surrounded by four pinnacles. If it hadn’t been for the Nizam, the church would have been taller. Old-timers say that when the cathedral was to be built, the Nizam had one condition, that the church should not be taller than the historic Charminar of Hyderabad.
Stained Glass Work: What sets the Church apart are the three stained glass windows, created by Sir Frank O’ Salisbury of London. They constitute ‘the gospel trilogy’ in art – the nativity, the crucifixion, and the ascension. The stained glass work on the huge windows of the church offers a spectacular view during the daytime, which cannot be replicated by artificial lighting. This is the fascinating feature of the church. It serves as a picture book on the Bible to those who cannot read. Each window is made up of small bits of painted glass which has been placed into a single piece and then delicately set into the stone windows.
All the stained glass windows have inscriptions in English, Hindi, and Telugu. The Hindi inscription came later, at the instance of Vijaylakshmi Pandit, sister of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who felt that the national language must find a mention on the stained glass.
The three magnificent stained glass windows inside the cathedral depict different phases of Lord Jesus Christ’s life. The window to the north which offers a canopy to the altar is very fascinating. It depicts the scene of the assertion of Jesus towering above the altar, dwarfing everything as Jesus ascends to heaven.
The other two windows decorating the East and West facades depict the scene of the birth of Jesus and his crucifixion. The bells cast especially for the church can be heard from far off.
Floor: For the floor, tiles from famous potteries were shipped from England. Then, Italian workmen were brought from Bombay to lay them. The tile’s design is an intricate one in six colors – red, brown, black, yellow, chocolate and gray.
Roof: The roof has been cast to ensure best acoustics and sound proof made by hollow sponge material to have an impressive style of vaulting. With its immensity and beauty, this century old church stands out as one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in India.
The bell-tower is 175 ft (53 m) high. (It is said that when the nizam of Hyderabad discovered that the church would be higher than the Charminar, he made a vain bid to have its height reduced.)
Timings for Visiting
The Church is open from 06:00AM to 06:00PM on Sunday.
Timings on Weekdays: 07:00 AM to 01:00 PM & 02:00 PM to 06:00 PM.
How to Reach
It’s just 90km from Hyderabad. It is hardly 2 hours drive and it is a good weekend destination.
Air: Nearest Airport: Hyderabad – Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (106 Km)
Train: Nearest Train Station: Wadiaram (26 Kms), Kamareddy Railway Station (48 Kms)
Christmas Celebrations every Year: More than one lakh pilgrims are expected to participate in the celebrations on December 25. Devotees from not only the State but also from neighboring Karnataka and Maharashtra will take part in the celebrations.
Conclusion: The Medak Church is one of the most beautiful historically churches in the world. Never miss the great Architecture building in India.