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Historical churches of Udupi

S V Upendra Charya Dec 18 2017, 21:14 IST

Inaugurated on July 16, 2012, the Udupi Diocese has been religiously facilitating the Roman Catholic community spread over more than 50 parishes in Udupi district. Among the most visited historical churches located in the district are, the Holy Rosary Church in Kundapura, St Peter Church in Barkur, the Basilica of Attur in Karkala, Mount Rosary Church and Our Lady of Miracles Cathedral in Kallianpur. Our Lady of Miracles Cathedral in Kallianpur has been the cathedral of Udupi Diocese. It is also known as Kallianpur Milagres Church.

Located on the banks of River Panchagagavli in Kundapura, the Holy Rosary Church is dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary. Kundapura was an important port town during the Portuguese rule in the 16th century. The church was founded here by Rev Fr Joseph Vaz in 1682 and the tricentenary of the church was celebrated in 1982. Our Lady of Rosary Parish is known for its outreach and seminary services.

Barkur, 15 km from Udupi, has an ancient parish dedicated to the apostle, Saint Peter. The Church of St Peter was originally a filial church of Kallianpur Milagres Church. It became an independent parish in 1863. One of the oldest churches in the Udupi diocese, Barkur St Peter Church celebrated its post centenary golden jubilee in 2013. This Gothic-style church has a community hall, prayer chapel and an eye-catching altar.

The St Mary's Syrian Church, known as the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Syrian Church, was founded in 1889. This church houses a much-revered tomb of Fr Noronha who died in 1936. He conducted the first mass at the Brahmavar Orthodox Syrian Church in the year 1889. He also initiated the Cosmopolitan Higher Primary School in 1916 for children of needy families.

The Mount Rosary, the Milagres and the Attur churches are among the rare religious structures of historical importance. The 180-year-old Mount Rosary Church was originally built in 1837. It was rebuilt and inaugurated in 2015. The church has an artistically designed altar, adoration chapel, tinted glass windows with Biblical depictions, statues of saints and the statue of Our Lady of Mount Rosary. The 150 years of Mount Rosary Church was celebrated in 1988.

The Our Lady of Miracles Cathedral in Kallianpur was originally built in 1680 and was rebuilt in 1806. The church was reconstructed in the year 1881. It is said that followed by a treaty with the Portuguese, Rani Chennamma of Bednur had gifted the required land to build this church for the Christian families, who were forced to migrate from Goa. The Attur Church is located in Karkala, a town around 40 km from Udupi. T he church is as a prominent landmark in the town. St Lawrence Church, situated in the foothills of Parapale Gudde, was inaugurated in 1901. It is believed that a shrine existed here before 1759, and a new building was erected in 1801 and rebuilt 1839.

Dedicated to the third century Saint Lawrence, the Attur Church has a holy shrine with a statue of St Lawrence adjacent to the sacristy and it has a 100 feet high tower symbolising cosmopolitan religious culture. It was rebuilt in 1975 and 1997. The miracle pond, the huge gateway (built in 1999) and the alluring greenery are added attractions.

The pride of Udupi Diocese, the St Lawrence Church was elevated to the status of minor basilica in 2016. It is one among the 21 basilicas in India and the second basilica in Karnataka, after the St Mary's minor Basilica in Bengaluru.

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