The Rajasthan government has decided to conserve two over-century-old churches, which are in dilapidated conditions, at Todgarh in Ajmer and Bandikui in Dausa district.
Christians in the state comprise about 1 percent of the state's total population.
The restoration process would cost at a cost of 75,00,000 rupees each.
work is being undertaken by the Rajasthan Heritage Development and
Maintenance Authority which has replaced the similar body set up for the
conservation of the heritage monuments of Amber.
headed by former chief secretary Salauddin Ahmed, has started the task
of restoring the two churches and all efforts have been made to ensure
that the old buildings do not lose its original design.
is named after the British Political Agent Col. James Tod who wrote the
first authoritative book on the erstwhile Rajputana 'The Annals &
Antiquity of Rajputana'.
The book gives a very interesting aspect
of the state focusing on the various principalities and culture of the
then princely state.
Located in the midst of hills with lush
greens all around, this place was once the summer capital of the British
officers located at Ajmer and they would shift their base for four
months of summer in the cool climes of Todgarh.
As this village
was under the rule of the Mewar state, Maharana Bhim Singh rechristened
it Todgarh to honour the British historian and the Political Agent. Col
Tod with his own money built a small fortress and in this fort, he wrote
the historic book.
Later attracted by its natural beauty, an
English Catholic missionary, William Robb, built a church on one of the
hillocks. He also built a post office and a jail in the hillock. The
church was built by Robb between 1850 and 1860 after the departure of
Col Tod to England.
This church still exists but in a dilapidated
condition where some reverends who live there try and maintain it with
their meager means.
Robb also built a bungalow for himself in
1860 and this bungalow has since been taken over by a Jain spiritual
body, Pragya Shikhar.
Bandikui has been a railway junction for
over a century now and the British chose it as it is located between
Jaipur and Alwar to build the first railway junction in 1873. When
Bandikui was being developed as a railway junction, a number of Britons
and Christians settled there.
Over 140 years ago, a large number
of the British and Indian Christians settled there felt the need to
build a church near the railway station.
This Protestant church
was built in Roman architecture style. After the British left, the
church was maintained by the Anglo Indian communities and Christians,
but as the Christians and Anglo-Indian population started dwindling,
there was nobody to maintain the church.
As the church was almost
deserted, miscreants vandalize it and took away windows, doors and
glasses and even the idol of Jesus was stolen.