Armenian Church of St. Mary, constructed in 1712 (rebuilt about 60 years later), is one of the oldest churches of the Indian sub-continent. The church functions only as a heritage site and one can visit the monument between 9 AM and 2:30 PM. The graveyard is heavenly abode of about 350 Armenians. The Azdarar’s magazine founder-editor Rev. Haroutiun Shmavonian was supposedly buried here. The Belfry adjoining the main Church is popular for its six large bells.
A few hundred silk, spices and gem merchants travelled through the Hindukush Mountains and reached Madras (or the erstwhile Madras presidency), where they chose to settle down. The affluent Armenian population must have mixed with the local population at some point and certainly a few thousands in this City may still possess Armenian genes. Armenian Church is a reminiscence of a historic human migration.
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