MAC FARLEN CHURCH
By Aishwarya Bhatt
There are two majestic sights that dominate the Kalimpong skies. One is nature’s Kanchenjunga, and the other is man’s MacFarlane church. In 1870, William MacFarlane became the first Scottish Missionary to visit Darjeeling and Kalimpong, who soon fell in love with the place and the people, and in an effort to uplift the conditions of the otherwise marginalized Tibetan community, set up a bunch of Scottish Missionary schools. In 1890, the grandest church to be built in the history of Kalimpong was set up in his name, which almost became synonymous with grand feasts, programs for the needy, and celebration of all things beautiful.
The accolades still hold true, even today. This photograph is of the entrance of the massive Gothic structure that stands in isolation from commercialisation and pollution. Thankfully, since Kalimpong is a town with almost negligible tourist footfall, especially at this time of the year, it felt nice taking pictures of a historical monument without having selfie-taking people in the frame.
At a distance of a mere 400m from The Elgin Silver Oaks stands in all its magnificence, the Mac Farlen Church. Among the top attractions in Kalimpong, Mac Farlen Church is a notable one.
The church was constructed in the year 1890-91, as a dedication to William Macfarlane, the first missionary to visit Kalimpong. The tireless efforts of Scottish missionaries saw the idea of the church brought to life. One among the oldest churches in Kalimpong, this magnificent building has been the landmark for tourists for years. The superlative architecture of the church every year attracts visitors from all over the world. One of the main reasons being that back in the day, it is said that the sermons presented in the Church were in ten different languages namely Lepcha, Sanskrit, Chinese, Bengali, Nepali, Bodo, Hindi, English, Tibetan, and Urdu.
Macfarlane memorial Church is now 128 years. Kalimpong had a mixture of Christian, Buddhist and Hindu. The majority here are Christian. Part of the reason of the missionary work for century by the British colony. And my coming journey to the north east India is dominated by Christianity.