Dating back to the year 1829, St. Stephen’s Church is one of the oldest churches in the Nilgiris district. Stephen Rumbold Lushington, the then Governor of Madras, who keenly felt the need for a church in Ooty exclusively for the British, laid the cornerstone for the church on April 23, 1829. It is believed that the wood was acquired from Tipu Sultan’s palace in the colonial times in 1829, the year of its establishment. It came under the Church of South India in 1947. The architect in-charge was John James Underwood, Captain, Madras Regiment.
The massive main beam and other timber in the church were taken from Tipu Sultan’s palace on the island of Srirangapatnam. The material was transported up the Sigur Ghat. The architect was Captain J.J. Underwood and the construction cost was about Rs. 24,000 at the time. There is a painting depicting the Last Supper is displayed on the wall on the western side.
This church has an unusual feature of four ‘hammer’ like structures, tied on inverted-V-shaped wooden planks using wires. When these are pulled from the floor, they produce musical sound. Post independence, the church came under “CSI” church of South India. It is interesting to note that the church does not show any wear & tear after so many years.
The visiting hours of this church are from 10 AM to 1 PM and 3.00 PM to 5.00 PM every day. On every Sunday, there is service from 8.00 AM to 11:00 AM.