Some 19 km north-west of Meerut, there lies a renowned Christian shrine in India - the Church of Sardhana. Also known as the Basilica of Our Lady of Graces, the Church of Sardhana is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The church was founded by Begum Samru - a Muslim woman who married Walter Reinhardt Sombre - a European mercenary soldier. She got converted in the year 1781, and adopted a name, Joanna Nobilis. Such is the significance of this popular sacred site in Meerut that it is also often touted as the 'Churches of Churches'. At present, it is the largest of its kind in the entire North Indian region. The church of Sardhana boasts a resemblance with St. Peter Basilica of Rome. However, the architectural structure is a bit different as it includes a touch of Indian along with its Palladio architectural style.
After the death of her husband, Begum Samru inherited the entire principality of Sardhana. She also decided to construct a church at this place that commemorates Virgin Mary. The status of Minor Basilica was given to the church in the year 1961 by Pope John XXIII. The Church of Sardhana is the only Basilica in entire North India.
The architecture of the church boasts resemblance with St. Peter's Basilica in Rome with an additional touch of Indian and Palladio architectural design. Anthony Regeheleni - an Italian architect was the man behind the stunning architecture of this popular tourist attraction in Sardhana. The interior of the church along with the altar is of marble. However, the altar includes some work of coloured stones also. Adding a different charm in the entire architecture of this must-visit tourist place in Sardhana are three Roman domes and two spires. Near this holy place, there is the tomb of Begum over which is an 18-feet high edifice.
Sardhana P.O, Meerut District, Meerut 250342, India
The Church of Sardhana stays open on all days, from morning to evening. Besides, the mass timings differ in both summer and winter season on weekdays and weekends.
Throughout the year, this popular church in Sardhana remains flocked with pilgrims. However, the best time to visit this sacred site is the winter season. Beginning in the month of October, the season enjoys pleasant weather that remains ideal for tourism throughout the season.
No Entry Fee.