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My first visit to a church happened when I was eight and attending elementary school  in India. Our school took us on a trip to a sugar plant in Meerut , a small town about 100 miles away from New Delhi .There is also a very famous church in a nearby town called Sardhana. Our school being a Private Hindu School was very secular in character and we were taken to this church to learn more about all religions. It was called Basilica of Our Lady of Graces, also known as Churches among the Churches,  dedicated to virgin Mary. The Church was built by begum Samru , a  girl of 14 who married a European mercenary soldier Walter. Samru  converted to Roman Catholicism and adopted the name Joanna Nobilis. She ruled the Principality of Sardhana in 18th and 19th century. The Church is the largest in North India.

My fascination for visiting churches never stopped after that. I am a stoic Hindu yet ready to embrace all religions.There is so much to learn from every culture.My view on religion is to expand the personal and cultural lens through which we see the world to evolve a shared view of humanity.

Ken Folletts book ” The pillars of the earth ” was the final push I needed to visit many more churches . The novel is based on the building of a cathedrals in the fictional town of Kings bridge, England. The story backdrop is set in the middle of the 12th century ( a historical   book  that traces the development of Gothic architecture out of the preceding Romansque architecture, and the fortunes of the Kingsbridge priory .An amazing  and must read for history lovers.

Sometime in this 365 day journey I will post the interiors of the churches that exist in Ridgewood..

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