Sunday, January 26, 2014
Of course, neither can be called a tower, by any stretch of the language, or imagination. But this rather straightforward building, the Church of the Holy Rosary is something that passers-by would miss observing from the road. It is one of the many edifices that predate British Madras, having been built in 1635 by the Portuguese. Since then, the church must have been restored several times, but it has not lost its original contours or details.
Inside the church, there is a great deal of natural lighting; the north-south orientation of the altar and hall allows the sun to come in through the many windows on the eastern and western walls of the building. The solid walls, easily a metre in thickness, do not let the heat come through easily and the interior of the church is cool - the ideal design for a Madras building.
As in many other churches of the era, the interior walls also carry a few memorial tablets. The main entrance is through a door on the southern side. Being very close to the road, that entry seems quite cramped, with little space between the building and the compound wall. Most of the worshippers enter from the east, where a stubby, tiled passageway funnels them in from the grounds of the Rosary Matriculation School. It is a tough choice to make between the convenience of the entry and the chance to admire the grandeur of this 379-year old church!