Mysuru's tourist icon St Philomena's Church to regain its original glory

Mysuru's tourist icon St Philomena's Church to regain its original glory

Rs 2.7-crore renovation to begin on Monday

Mysuru's tourist icon St Philomena's Church to regain its original glory

If all goes well, St Philomena’s Church will be restored to its original grandeur in 18 months. From Monday, renovation work will begin at an estimated cost of Rs 2.7 crore funded by the state tourism department.

The church was built between 1933 and 1941, with the then Maharaja of Mysore Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar and Rene Feuga, the first bishop of Mysore, playing a key role. The imposing structure, built in classical Gothic style of architecture, is 170 feet tall and 165 feet wide. 

The building needs major repairs and restoration to preserve its beauty and glory. Parts of the roof are falling apart, while the plaster is crumbling. The poor state of electrical works in and around the church poses a danger and windows and doors have to be replaced. 

The interiors of the church need special attention with re-plastering, and replacement of stained glass windows followed by painting and other miscellaneous works, said Bishop of Mysore Thomas Antony Vazhapilly, who inspected the church on Thursday with MCC commissioner C G Betsurmath, who holds additional charge as Commissioner for Department of Archaeology, Heritage and Museums.

Betsurmath said, “Due to leakage in the roof, parts of the interiors and exteriors of the building require immediate repairs. Parts of the interior and exterior are made of lime mortar, using a mix of lime mortar and cement. The restoration process includes repairing and replacing of windows and doors with similar wood that was used during its construction and the artefacts inside will also be restored, the officer added.

Savani Constructions, Mumbai, has bagged the contract, and work will be carried out by a team of experts under the supervision of officials and experts of the Department of Archaeology, Heritage and Museums. The designs of cornices, flowers and walls will be replicated using lime mortar plastering method. In addition to this, lime stucco work, stone pointing, pillars, dome works and design works will be taken up. 

“The restoration and renovation works of heritage structures is too sensitive and needs special attention. Thus the process may take a little long as various artefacts are also needed to be taken up for restoration,” said Ram Savani, director of Savani Constructions.

Mass in open

Not to disappoint tourists, the church will be open during the works, while mass will be conducted in the open outside the church till completion of the works, Bishop Vazhapilly said.