Why this blog is called "Gallimaufry".

gal-uh-MAW-free\, noun.

Originally meaning "a hash of various kinds of meats," "gallimaufry" comes from French galimafrée; in Old French, from the word galer, "to rejoice, to make merry"; in old English: gala + mafrer: "to eat much," and from Medieval Dutch maffelen: "to open one's mouth wide."

It's also a dish made by hashing up odds and ends of food; a heterogeneous mixture; a hodge-podge; a ragout; a confused jumble; a ridiculous medley; a promiscuous (!) assemblage of persons.

Those of you who know me, will, I’m sure, understand how well some of these phrases (barring the "promiscuous" bit!) fit me.

More importantly, this blog is an ode to my love for Shimla. I hope to show you this little town through my eyes. If you don't see too many people in it, forgive me, because I'm a little chary of turning this into a human zoo.

Stop by for a spell, look at my pictures, ask me questions about Shimla, if you wish. I shall try and answer them as best as I can. Let's be friends for a while....

9 July 2009

Beauty is a light in the heart...

This morning, thanks to SR's blandishments, I found myself in Bishop Cotton School. That venerable establishment deserves a post all of its own, but for now, I'm going to speak of some moments of magic.
I walked into the BCS chapel.


This is a long room with a wonderful high, arched ceiling, made of the most beautiful dark wood you ever saw. This creates a sort of perpetual twilight. This dimness, coupled with the kaleidoscope of images created by the stained glass windows, is a magnificent feast for the eye. The sombre light elevates the spirit rather than rendering it austere.




Stained glass has been used in chapels, churches and cathedrals for centuries now. Metallic salts are added to glass during the process of manufacture in order to create different colours. These bits of colour are then joined together with lead to form elaborate Biblical scenes. Stained glass windows are unique not only for their beauty, but also their sturdiness in withstanding rain, hail and strong winds.


For me, the greatest artistry lies in the way stained glass windows control light. In these windows, light becomes an accomplice in decorating the chapel, rather than it merely being a medium of illumination!



I particularly loved this so-blond Jesus, pensively holding a lamb to his chest. Rev. Halder, the wonderfully merry shepherd of the BCS flock, tells me that the windows were designed by the redoubtable Martin Travers.



The windows shown above were originally part of the Viceregal Lodge chapel. They were removed to BCS at some point in history.

5 comments:

Melanie O. said...

I am a complete sucker for stained glass windows. I love old cathedrals and chapels and get goosebumps at the sound of an a capella choir singing ancient liturgies.

Liz said...

I have spent many, many happy hours in the Chapel. Initially I used to take all my piano classes there, as well as help the boys who were in the 'Rock Band'. Choir practice,Congregation practice every Sunday evening...oh how we fought with the Psalms. Playing the magnificent pipe organ and working with Rohan Sood, so that he would have the pleasure of accompanying the singing on it. Some of the other boys tried their hand at it too. Having the school song accompanied by boys on the trumpet and saxophone....we used to learn the band tunes there...the ever faithful Aar. What a sense of peace and tranquility....so many memories of happy, happy days in that exquisite Chapel.......

Gallimaufry said...

Me too, Melanie!

Liz, thank you for stopping by. A trip down memory lane can be such a great thing :)

Ravinder Makhaik said...

Despite having spent ten long years attending chapel on every working day morning and much longer hours for a Sunday chapel evening, in the late 60's to mid 70's, I was not aware that these magnificent stained windows were part of the Viceregal Lodge.

How they got to BCS would be interesting to know

Ilmana Fasih said...

Love stained glass. Love it for being colorful, for being made by human hands, out of brilliant imagination.
Love the idea of how seemingly meaningless pieces of glass, of different shapes and colors are bonded together with lead molding and bring out a meaningful vibrant picture...And then the thing that they show their beauty with light from within.
Oh I love Tiffany lamps too for the same reason.

Thanks Geetali. Must see more of such beautiful posts from ya. :)

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