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Diocese of Rajkot

Diocese of Rajkot

The diocese is spread over 109,950 square kilometers and is located in the heart of the Saurashtra region. It covers a vast majority of the area including the Rann of Kutchch (Kutchch Desert) bordering Pakistan. People in Rajkot are well known for their afternoon siesta when they close their shops and leave for home for a nap after an early lunch. The resilience of the people here is also well known. After the area was devastated by one of the biggest earthquakes in January 2001, causing death to thousands and injuring many, the area managed to resume normal activity within a year. Christianity is relatively alien to the people in the region.

The Rajkot cathedral is named Prem Mandir (temple of love). It features architectural designs of various religions. The Oriental diocese's cathedral was designed by Ashwinbhai Sanghvi, a Hindu architect and the glasswork done by another Hindu, Balan. It has domes and a pinnacle, and its arches and granite carvings are designed after Indian mosques. There is a mosaic statue of Jesus, seated in a meditation pose, and looking like an Indian holy man.

The symbols depicted on the windows and doors are flame, flute and lotus, symbols associated with Hindu deities. Each of the church's five domes is engraved with symbols of other religions. An Oriental-style cross on a lotus flower stands atop the main dome.


Officially, Gujarati is the language but Hindi is also used sparingly in urban areas. English, for many is alien but is a subject taught in schools. The diocesan area does not have an English speaking population except those who have come from other regions, such as some priests and nuns.


The climate of Rajkot is generally pleasant. The summer season extends from March to June with daytime temperatures reaching a high of around 45 degrees Celsius. But the desert of Kutchch has severe extremes in climates. The temperature in Kutchch ranges from 0 degrees Celsius in the winter to 49 degrees in the summer. Traditionally, the region is drought prone and the crops that are grown are those which require little water.


The diocese comprises the civil districts of Amreli, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Porbandar, Rajkot, Surendranagar and Kutchch. A major part of the diocese is desert, which includes the Rann of Kutchch. Kutchch has a small population as well as low literacy rate. The population of livestock here exceeds that of humans. The other region is the Saurashtra region. Both regions border India's traditional rival Pakistan. Many people from Kutchch still cross Indian borders to Pakistan on foot from the desert evading the eyes of Border Security Force officials to buy small items such as woolen clothes and dates.

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