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March 12: 'How great thou art', is the song that fills the ears of 65-year-old Jane Ajgarni, as she enters the Gothic Revival styled church hall every Sunday for the service. She has been singing this song ever since she was a child.

Now, all the memories of her childhood come racing back, as the Taylor Memorial Methodist Church at Byculla is being restored after 100 years. Even though some minor reparations have been regularly taking place, this is the first time that a heritage architect has been hired to restore the church to its pristine glory.

The church's pointed steeple is a landmark. The restoration has peeled off the worn-out colour coatings only to reveal the beauty of the original structure. "The church is now looking as it did earlier," a delighted Ajgarni said. I am happy that my second home is back to its original beauty."

The church was built in Gothic Revival style, popular during mid-19th century. "The restoration is an indication of transition of the Gothic revival style and the modern pace," said Vikas Bilawari, conservation architect, and the man in-charge of restoration of the church. The restoration, which has been going for the last four years, will be completed just in time for the centenary celebrations which begin today.

But the place surrounding the church has developed over the years. "This beautiful church was in a quiet place once upon a time. Though the area has developed commercially, we have maintained the style of the church" said Reverend Waskar, the church's pastor. This Methodist church was built in 1906 by Taylor William, the Bishop of Virginia, and was erected in place of the Mazagaon Methodist Church.


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