Locally known as "the Kirk" (Scottish for "the church"), St. Andrew's Church in Chennai was built in 1821 for Scottish Presbyterians in the British Army, and today most of its clergy are from India. It was modeled after St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London and features Palladian architecture, complete with pillars with Corinthian capitals.
While this active church's exteriors are certainly impressive, it's worth going inside to check out the towering Corinthian columns and stained glass windows, not to mention its deep-blue interior dome, which gets its color from a mix of crushed seashells and lapis lazuli stone. The church also houses a large pipe organ that was built in England and installed in 1883.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The church is a must-visit for architecture and history buffs.
- Out of respect for local traditions, dress modestly, with shoulders and knees covered.
- Avoid taking photos or wandering around the church if you visit during a service.
How to Get There
The Kirk is located on Poonamallee High Road in the Egmore neighborhood. It's easy to reach via public transportation, and it's just behind the Egmore Railway Station. The Egmore metro stop is less than 10 minutes away on foot. If you’re coming from Mylapore, taking a taxi or auto rickshaw is the easiest option; the journey takes about 15 minutes, traffic permitting.
When to Get There
The church is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm, and if you’re most interested in seeing the interiors without participating in a service, it’s best to visit during these hours. Worship services are held Sunday at 7am, 9am, and 6pm, as well as on Christian holidays.
Saint Andrew and Scotland
Saint Andrew was a Christian apostle and the brother of Saint Peter. He's particularly revered in European Orthodox traditions and is the patron saint of numerous countries, including Scotland. In fact, the Scottish flag bears the saltire, or Cross of Saint Andrew; the story goes that the saint was crucified on an x-style cross.